Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

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Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by sn26567 » 11 Mar 2018, 17:19

For as far as I know, Brussels Airlines uses three subcontractors for some of its flights:
  • ASL Airlines France B737-400 on feeder flights for Africa flights to/from Paris CDG
  • bmi regional ERJ145 for thin regional flights within Europe
  • CityJet SSJ100-95 for less thin regional flights within Europe
The ASL flights to Paris are almost impossible to book without a connection to/from Africa, but Hannover is an interesting destination flown by a mix of ERJ145s and SSJ100s. I thus took this opportunity to make a day trip to Hannover, outbound on a bmi ER4 and inbound on a Cityjet SU9. This is also an opportunity to compare the service of both subcontractors.

Flight: Brussels Airlines SN2633 (no codeshare, even with LH Group airlines)
Date: 07 Mar 2018
Aircraft: bmi regional Embraer ERJ145 G-CKAG
From-To: Brussels - Hannover (BRU-HAJ)
Seat: 15F (seats are 1-2 A-DF)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Departure: 09:40/09:49 (GMT+1)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Arrival: 10:55/10:48 (GMT+1)
Scheduled/Effective Duration of the flight: 1 hr 15 min/0 hr 59 min


There were no less than 4 bmi regional ERJ145s at a remote parking position near the former satellite. Of course, it meant a long bus ride throughout the airport before boarding under the rain.

The plane is in bmi livery. Service on board is bmi (English only, "Welcome to bmi, etc. ... operating for Brussels Airlines"). Two stewardesses for 49 seats: one more than required. Good point! And a lady captain on the day before the International Women's Day.

Load factor was 100%. The leather seats were very comfortable with ample legroom.

On-time departure and take-off from runway 25R. Cruising altitude FL230.

No SN buy-on-board, but a free drink (coffee, tea, juices, sodas, etc.).

On arrival, the purser said twice that we were landing at "Brussels International Airport" before correcting to "Hannover International Airport".

Landing on runway 27R. No boarding bridge, but the rain had gone!

All considered, a very good flight! Here are the pictures:
P1020644.JPG
Flight SN2633 announced on the large billboard of the entrance hall
P1020646.JPG
At gate A36, tarmac level. This means a bus transfer to the aircraft.
P1020648.JPG
Boarding under the rain
P1020649.JPG
The tail of the ERJ145 with the registration
P1020650.JPG
Not an SN livery, but the original bmi regional one
P1020652.JPG
The long blond hair of our lady captain
P1020654.JPG
Comfortable leather seats in 1-2 configuration and good legroom
P1020658.JPG
After disembarkation in Hannover (without a jet bridge)
SN2633.PNG
Itinerary SN2633 BRU-HAJ
Flight: Brussels Airlines SN2638 (no codeshare, even with LH Group airlines)
Date: 07 Mar 2018
Aircraft: CityJet SSJ100-95 EI-FWD
From-To: Hannover-Brussels (HAJ-BRU)
Seat: 10A (seats are 2-3 AC-DEF)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Departure: 18:55/18:57 (GMT+1)
Scheduled/Effective Time of Arrival: 20:15/19:55 (GMT+1)
Scheduled/Effective Duration of the flight: 1 hr 20 min/0 hr 58 min


On-time arrival of the incoming flight. Gate 3a at the ground floor meant that we would be bussed to the aircraft.

The aircraft is in Brussels Airlines livery, but the cabin crew (one stewardess and one steward) have their own uniform. Trilingual announcements in SN style, unlike bmi. The 97 seats (in 2-3 configuration) are comfortable with enough legroom.

On-time departure and take-off on runway 27R. Cruising altitude FL240. Those regionals don't fly very high!

Regular Brussels Airlines onboard service: buy-on-board for the low-fare economy class (for those who are curious: I bought a Stella Artois and Pringles).

Early landing on runway 25L and deplaning through a boarding bridge at gate A/T61. During the taxiing, the stewardess announced the gates for the connecting flights.

Again an excellent flight, this time in full SN mode.
P1020707.JPG
Gate 3a is at the tarmac level: a bus ride again
P1020709.JPG
Arrival of incoming flight: CityJet SSJ100 EI-FWD in full SN livery
P1020711.JPG
Boarding
P1020713.JPG
Full SN livery with clear indication "Operated by CityJet"
P1020714.JPG
Nose gear with registration
P1020715.JPG
Engine
P1020720.JPG
After arrival at BRU gate A61
SN2638.PNG
Itinerary SN2638 HAJ-BRU
A comparison of both SN subcontractors shows clear differences: when bmi regional keeps clearly its British identity, CityJet managed to give an SN feeling throughout the flight.
André
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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by Homo Aeroportus » 11 Mar 2018, 19:42

Thank you André for this interesting comparison.

I often flew the AZ ER4 to TSR and it was quite nice but for the carry-on.
How was this handled on your flight ? I don't seem to see the baggage cart near the boarding area for the large pieces of luggage to be put in the hold. Were the overhead bins large enough?

Yes the ER4 has short legs to stand on so its door sill is too low for most boarding bridges.

Concerning the max altitude of both flights, maybe this is related to the Eurocontrol MUAC taking care of flights above 24500 ft?
What is the advantage of remaining below? Less costly, easier to file a flight plan, more direct routes?

On your return flight are you sure that it was the reg on the NG door panel? Maybe somebody found the need to stress that this is the forward section?
;)

H.A.

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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by sn26567 » 11 Mar 2018, 20:48

Homo Aeroportus wrote:
11 Mar 2018, 19:42
I often flew the AZ ER4 to TSR and it was quite nice but for the carry-on.
How was this handled on your flight ? I don't seem to see the baggage cart near the boarding area for the large pieces of luggage to be put in the hold. Were the overhead bins large enough?
I had only a small rucksack which I kept on my feet. Most people with trolleys had to remit them before the stairs. The overhead bins are indeed small, and only on the starboard side.
Concerning the max altitude of both flights, maybe this is related to the Eurocontrol MUAC taking care of flights above 24500 ft?
What is the advantage of remaining below? Less costly, easier to file a flight plan, more direct routes?
No idea. Maybe the distance is too short to have the time to climb higher?
On your return flight are you sure that it was the reg on the NG door panel? Maybe somebody found the need to stress that this is the forward section?
😂
André
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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by Homo Aeroportus » 11 Mar 2018, 22:13

sn26567 wrote:
11 Mar 2018, 20:48
..
Concerning the max altitude of both flights, maybe this is related to the Eurocontrol MUAC taking care of flights above 24500 ft?
What is the advantage of remaining below? Less costly, easier to file a flight plan, more direct routes?
No idea. Maybe the distance is too short to have the time to climb higher?
I am sure neither the ER4 nor the SU9 are capped at FL240.
I checked on FR24 and your "FWD" flew BMA today, crossing FL240 vertical Breda and reaching cruise at FL350 before leaving Netherlands.
Anyone to inform on this, or maybe it is you André who insisted on some sightseeing flight?
:lol:

H.A.

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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by sn26567 » 11 Mar 2018, 22:36

Homo Aeroportus wrote:
11 Mar 2018, 22:13
sn26567 wrote:
11 Mar 2018, 20:48
..
Concerning the max altitude of both flights, maybe this is related to the Eurocontrol MUAC taking care of flights above 24500 ft?
What is the advantage of remaining below? Less costly, easier to file a flight plan, more direct routes?
No idea. Maybe the distance is too short to have the time to climb higher?
I am sure neither the ER4 nor the SU9 are capped at FL240.
I checked on FR24 and your "FWD" flew BMA today, crossing FL240 vertical Breda and reaching cruise at FL350 before leaving Netherlands.
Anyone to inform on this, or maybe it is you André who insisted on some sightseeing flight?
:lol:

H.A.
All the time above rain clouds? Not much to be seen that day...
André
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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by sn26567 » 12 Mar 2018, 11:38

Comment posted by "Anonymous" on the main page:
Low level cruising altitude doesn’t have anything to do with the a/c type on this particular flight. SSJ can go up to FL400. It’s due to a relative short distance and airspace restrictions.
André
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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by BAAV » 12 Mar 2018, 14:40

thanks for this report. Was the load factor on the return flight as good as on the ERJ?

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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by convair » 12 Mar 2018, 16:16

Nice report. Any picture from inside the SSJ?

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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by sn26567 » 12 Mar 2018, 16:27

BAAV wrote:
12 Mar 2018, 14:40
thanks for this report. Was the load factor on the return flight as good as on the ERJ?
Close to 100% as well. Hannover is essentially a business destination, hence I guess that the profitability should be OK.
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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by sn26567 » 12 Mar 2018, 16:31

convair wrote:
12 Mar 2018, 16:16
Nice report. Any picture from inside the SSJ?
Not on this trip, but here is a pic from a trip to Nantes on 12/12/2017:
P1020188.JPG
Inside the SSJ from seat 14F
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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by Comet » 20 Apr 2018, 10:57

Great report :mrgreen: I always liked flying on bmi - their inflight catering was dire at first but did improve over the years, and the legroom was always reasonable. I have never boarded the ERJ through a boarding bridge though, wherever I've been flying from. (Will the boarding bridges even go so low to accommodate the low height of the ERJ?)
We also had a female captain on a flight from BRU to EMA, bmi have the right idea :mrgreen:
Sabena and Sobelair - gone but never forgotten.
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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by airtrainer » 20 Apr 2018, 14:53

Great report, André, I was just wondering which destinations would have the more chance to get those birds as I'd like to fly them :)

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Re: Travelling BRU-HAJ-BRU on Brussels Airlines subcontractors: bmi regional & CityJet

Post by sn26567 » 21 Apr 2018, 20:40

Comet wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 10:57
I have never boarded the ERJ through a boarding bridge though, wherever I've been flying from. (Will the boarding bridges even go so low to accommodate the low height of the ERJ?)
Thanks Louise. On my side as well I never saw boarding an ERJ135 or 145 with a jet bridge.
airtrainer wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 14:53
I was just wondering which destinations would have the more chance to get those birds as I'd like to fly them :)
Besides Hanover I think the ERJ145 still flies to Bristol and East Midlands. The SSJ100 destinations vary: my wife will fly one to Warsaw in August. And of course there is always BMA...
André
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