Brussels Airlines in 2020

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Flanker2
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Flanker2 »

So it looks like Belgium is offering Lufthansa version after version of a deal and Lufthansa is not taking any, only complaining about it through Vranckx and their PR people that the deal has to be structurally the same as the other deals, etc..., while Austria got a better deal.

The Belgian government has ruled out paying for the restructuring.
If this is true, they are showcasing responsible leadership.
Paying for a restructuring would be like paying to fire people, which is insane.

Lufthansa will probably only save SN if the Belgian government gives them free money.
If the government gives free money, I or others on this forum can save SN too, and probably do it much better than Lufthansa.

Pocahontas
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Pocahontas »

Only 1 person can save Bru Air:

In the end there can only be one, Flanker2, the knowitallosaurus.

MHG
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by MHG »

Flanker2 wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 08:28 So it looks like Belgium is offering Lufthansa version after version of a deal and Lufthansa is not taking any, only complaining about it through Vranckx and their PR people that the deal has to be structurally the same as the other deals, etc..., while Austria got a better deal.

The Belgian government has ruled out paying for the restructuring.
If this is true, they are showcasing responsible leadership.
Paying for a restructuring would be like paying to fire people, which is insane.

Lufthansa will probably only save SN if the Belgian government gives them free money.
If the government gives free money, I or others on this forum can save SN too, and probably do it much better than Lufthansa.
If I were Belgian Government I wouldn't give in, too.
But LH is - of course - greedy and I don't see why the B-government (the Belgian taxpayers) should pay for restructuring that had nothing to do with covid-19.
If LH decides to let SN go belly up then be it.
I can imagine a new operator starting from scratch would generally have a much better perspective.

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Conti764
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Conti764 »

MHG wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 09:41 I can imagine a new operator starting from scratch would generally have a much better perspective.
That went well in the past.

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sn26567
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by sn26567 »

Let's summarise yesterday's discussion at the Parliament:

Finance Minister Alexander De Croo hopes that an agreement can be reached quickly with Brussels Airlines and the parent company Lufthansa to help the Belgian airline. The discussions are still focused on the nature of this aid, he said Wednesday in the House Finance Committee. Since 17 March, the federal government has worked hard, according to the minister: 24 videoconferences, 3 letters from the Prime Minister and 6 different versions of a draft agreement, written for the most part by the Belgian authorities. Long delays have also passed. Between 11 May and 11 June, the government and the Federal Holding and Investment Company (SFPI/FPIM) did not receive a counteroffer from Lufthansa. The German state has become the largest shareholder in Lufthansa.

Numerous contacts have taken place with the German authorities "at the highest level". They were fruitful, according to the minister: "In Berlin, I hear that it is said that a reasonable agreement with our country is needed. I hope that quickly, the same attitude will be adopted at the enterprise level" . The Belgian efforts were mainly focused on the business plan of Brussels Airlines. A first version stopped in 2023 and only took account of the restructuring. The Belgian authorities have obtained that a "growth" component be added and that the period 2023-2026 be sufficiently detailed. "Otherwise, we would have been asked to finance a restructuring plan, which is excluded," added De Croo.

Belgium wants to remedy the under-capitalisation of the company while Lufthansa considers that it does not matter since it takes into account the whole group. The German company would therefore like to be satisfied with a loan or a form of subsidy. A proposal was made by the Belgian authorities for a "profit sharing certificate", a kind of loan to be taken into account in the capital of the company. "Finally, if we can guarantee that the capitalisation of the company is a commitment that will be respected by Lufthansa, in my view, this can be done by borrowing. It is not the financing tool that is essential, but it is how the agreements are respected, "said De Croo.

The government is trying to develop an arbitration formula which would make it possible to sanction Lufthansa in the event of non-fulfilled commitment when the conditions to implement it are met. "It is only if Lufthansa does not respect the business plan when it can be executed that a sanction can be imposed, the aim being to find a method not to block the situation if the commitments are not respected", added Mr. De Croo.

The Minister did not advance on a plan B if the discussions failed. For his party, however, the nationalisation of the Belgian company "is not an option," assured MP Tim Vandeput.

Source: Belga
André
ex Sabena #26567

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Atlantis
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Atlantis »

MHG wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 09:41
Flanker2 wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 08:28 So it looks like Belgium is offering Lufthansa version after version of a deal and Lufthansa is not taking any, only complaining about it through Vranckx and their PR people that the deal has to be structurally the same as the other deals, etc..., while Austria got a better deal.

The Belgian government has ruled out paying for the restructuring.
If this is true, they are showcasing responsible leadership.
Paying for a restructuring would be like paying to fire people, which is insane.

Lufthansa will probably only save SN if the Belgian government gives them free money.
If the government gives free money, I or others on this forum can save SN too, and probably do it much better than Lufthansa.
If I were Belgian Government I wouldn't give in, too.
But LH is - of course - greedy and I don't see why the B-government (the Belgian taxpayers) should pay for restructuring that had nothing to do with covid-19.
If LH decides to let SN go belly up then be it.
I can imagine a new operator starting from scratch would generally have a much better perspective.
The restructuration is paid by LH not the BG.

But like I said some time ago, there need to be a plan B and C.

BRU is between CDG, LHR and AMS. The last 2, before COVID, were reaching there max capacity. BRU has still a lot of growth capacity and they, SN, has the links to Africa. LH will not leave their backyard to the competition but the BG will also not give the Africa routes to Germany.

So in the middle they have to find each other. Otherwise it would be again an example that other parties can reach an agreement and in Belgium not.

Passenger
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Passenger »

Atlantis wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 10:45 The restructuration is paid by LH not the BG.
Finally someone who understands that Lufthansa isn't asking state aid for their long term restructuration problem, but for their short term corona cash problem.

Atlantis wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 10:45 But like I said some time ago, there need to be a plan B and C.
Lufthansa has them, and Alexander De Croo's hostile statement in the Parliament yesterday will cause that Lufthansa will unfold their plan B within just a few days.

But what is Alexander De Croo's plan B? Anyone knows?

Atlantis wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 10:45 ..Otherwise it would be again an example that other parties can reach an agreement and in Belgium not.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening: Lufthansa has made agreements with the German government, the Swiss government and the Austrian government. All three for more money then needed for Brussels Airlines. All three with less commitments then what the Belgian government demands.

oldblueeyes
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by oldblueeyes »

Why not looking after the situation wihtout starting the blame game?

The Belgian government made some proposals which were declined. At the same time Lufthansa was closing deals with the other 3 involved countries. So there is nobody to blame here, the fact is that both parties did not came to a model suitable to close a deal.

The fact that other countries have already closed and start executing deals put the conditions into the Belgian proposals under a benchmark - at the end of the day, the Lufthansa management is responsible towards its shareholders.

Let's look to the major bullet points:

- the Belgian govenrment wanted to opt in and recapitalize the local company - so getting shares and having a word to say - fair enough, but if we benchmark this- it was not the model neither for Swiss nor Austrian, whereas the Austrian government wanted this initially; Germany is a different situation, as the meassure is aimed to protect the company from ahostile take over and the shares shall be repurchased

- the Belgian governemtn wanted a growth scenario beyond 2023 - this is also far above anything committed to other countries, where just the plan until 2023 was agreed and the rest shall be entierly under LH management

- restructuring - this was anyhow a plan even before the COVID situation - it would happen anyhow - linking this to crisis help and claiming that the money would subsidize laying people off is populistic - there will by in any case lay offs caused by the pre-COVID restructuring, there will be a re-adjustment looking forwrd post covid and there is another topic related to the short term impact of the crisis

What are the options?

From the capitalisation point of view, Lufthansa is now well capitalized - but it is limited to use these money solely in the countries it became funded - so no penny for Belgium, regardless how much is in the bank accounts and what Flankers imagination might request.

So a rescue scenario can happen if the Blegian government is actively involved. But it makes no sense for the Lufthansa Group, unless the conditions are aligned with those of the other countries and aknoledge the additional cost of being late.

No deal might also be an option for Lufthansa - reset and plan E(urowings) basse in Brussels could be immediately executed - but with German pilots and funded by German money.

AvGeek
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by AvGeek »

oldblueeyes wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 11:51 [...] So a rescue scenario can happen if the Blegian government is actively involved. But it makes no sense for the Lufthansa Group, unless the conditions are aligned with those of the other countries and aknoledge the additional cost of being late. [...]
Of course it makes sense for Lufthansa to align the Belgian deal with the others. But it doesn't make sense for Belgium. Brussels Airlines has never been treated equally to Austrian or Swiss. Therefore it makes sense to have a different and more secure deal. As the minister said, we are not going to blindly give money to a company that tried to make Brussels Airlines a low cost carrier and lost a lot of time trying to do so... for nothing. This has never been the case for the other carriers. Completely different situations require different deals.
Alexander De Croo wrote:Il eut été naïf d'octroyer aveuglément de l'argent belge à l'entreprise. N'oublions pas qu'au cours des dernières années, Lufthansa a voulu faire de Brussels Airlines une compagnie à bas coût, intégrée dans Eurowings. L'idée a été abandonnée par la suite, mais le temps qui a été perdu à l'époque ne reviendra plus (...)

oldblueeyes
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by oldblueeyes »

Well, was Virgin Express not a low cost carrier?

The DNA of Brussels was never the one of a full service airline.

So we have two positions that are not compatible.

sean1982
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by sean1982 »

oldblueeyes wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 13:45 Well, was Virgin Express not a low cost carrier?

The DNA of Brussels was never the one of a full service airline.

So we have two positions that are not compatible.
The problem is two-fold and well stated in the above two posts:

The “hybrid formula” has never worked. SN was too expensive for the real low cost customer and too dressed down for the legacy customer. They have always found themselves between schip en wal and that’s is directly also the reason why they never made a useful profit and there was a re-structuring scheduled before COVID already.

Secondly, LH has never had any real plans with the company. Changing Its direction multiple times and injecting just enough to keep it on life support but without the company being able to get out of the problem situation they created by their unsustainable growth “to fight of Ryanair”. Hence the government is very wise too ask strong signals from LH that they really want to invest in the company rather than dumping tax payers money in a black hole at a time where nearly the whole economy needs saving.

oldblueeyes
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by oldblueeyes »

The argumentation seems to be pretty much emotional.

So what the scenarios?

1. Both parties align to an agreemt like in the other countries as well - as many as possible of the existing jobs will be saved; the downsside is that some local pride will have to be swallowed, but this happened to the Austrian Prime Minister as well

2. Both parties do not come to an agreement

2.1 if the Belgian governemnt does nothing, than Lufthana might shrink the operations to the lowest level sustainable by the real assets of the local company and if there is any interest into routes, slots etc will transfer them to other entities were funding is arranged; no big deal to fly Verona-Brussels operated by Dolomiti instead of Brussels Airlines - just to have a kind of example ; with this local jobs will get lost, other structures of Lufthansa will get help to regain critical mass and local taxpayers money will be "saved" - before any offset to the job losses

2.1 if the Belgian governemnt will support another company - than there might be a larger portion of local jobs saved on the short term; but would be such a company winning proposition? No interest from the major alliances to get it in, most likely fierce competition from other in the home market - just think about Transavia and Eurowings and even more agressive Wizz etc, so maybe some pride for short term and than again a quastionmark.


You can take it how you want, the aviation market is goig to consolidate further in the coming years - and Belgium is - regardless if one likes it or not - just a minor market in between some major hubs dominated by companies that dominate their respective alliances etc Whomever might be the startegic partner, the Belgian arm will be a secondary daughter company/brand etc.

I know that this is not the reality that many of you want to read, but it is as it is.

Flanker2
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Flanker2 »

oldblueeyes wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 14:58 The argumentation seems to be pretty much emotional.

So what the scenarios?

1. Both parties align to an agreemt like in the other countries as well - as many as possible of the existing jobs will be saved; the downsside is that some local pride will have to be swallowed, but this happened to the Austrian Prime Minister as well

2. Both parties do not come to an agreement

2.1 if the Belgian governemnt does nothing, than Lufthana might shrink the operations to the lowest level sustainable by the real assets of the local company and if there is any interest into routes, slots etc will transfer them to other entities were funding is arranged; no big deal to fly Verona-Brussels operated by Dolomiti instead of Brussels Airlines - just to have a kind of example ; with this local jobs will get lost, other structures of Lufthansa will get help to regain critical mass and local taxpayers money will be "saved" - before any offset to the job losses

2.1 if the Belgian governemnt will support another company - than there might be a larger portion of local jobs saved on the short term; but would be such a company winning proposition? No interest from the major alliances to get it in, most likely fierce competition from other in the home market - just think about Transavia and Eurowings and even more agressive Wizz etc, so maybe some pride for short term and than again a quastionmark.


You can take it how you want, the aviation market is goig to consolidate further in the coming years - and Belgium is - regardless if one likes it or not - just a minor market in between some major hubs dominated by companies that dominate their respective alliances etc Whomever might be the startegic partner, the Belgian arm will be a secondary daughter company/brand etc.

I know that this is not the reality that many of you want to read, but it is as it is.

I think that in the coming years, the government will nationalize LH at the next round of bailout and LH will have to downsize to a core size with Eurowings payscales while LX will probably end up being sold to hedge funds, the Swiss government or a combination of those.
OS the same if they're lucky, most likely the Austrian government will have to nationalize it.

I don't see AF-KLM surviving this crisis as a group, eventually they'll break apart and be nationalized.

IAG could hold it together, but they'll downsize too, with Vueling becoming the new base payscale for Iberia.

I think that the market will deconsolidate, with more new players appearing in the recovery, while groups get cut up and nationalized or parts thereof go bankrupt or closed down.

The above seems overstretched, but let's talk again in 6 months and you'll probably see that we will be in a new normal and all of this will seem much more acceptable.


Coming back to SN, I think that Belgium has a plan B.
If you ask me though, there is a proper way to execute it. Now is not the time to send aircraft packed full of people to Lisbon, as I have been saying.
Preventing Covid-19 expansion is the first priority so that we can maintain a functioning domestic and local economy in Belgium. SME's are the foundation of the Belgian economy, so first we need to keep those running and surviving. If you bankrupt the SME's, there will be no sustainable travel demand in a recovery. When Covid is gone, if we can keep SME's alive, we will be able to grow back quickly and strongly. In the meanwhile, staff at airlines should be kept on standby through unemployment and maintaining currency by operating only minimal essential services with respect for social distancing (middle seat).
The government should ask the same of LCC's, because it's not responsible to send Belgians to the Mediterranean on aircraft packed full of people, so that they can come back infected and destroy our local economies by forcing us into lockdowns.


In short, Belgium should "close down" the borders immediately and limit air travel to essential services only, keep an open and functioning local economy with safety measures in place, watch reckless neighboring countries fall back into lockdowns, while we are able to stay open and keep businesses afloat, to emerge much stronger in a recovery.
That should be Belgium's strategy and SN's plan B should be a part of that strategy.

The current non-strategy will see us in lockdown again by September and for a long winter, with virtually all businesses bankrupt by Christmas. Even if SN survives that, they won't be able to recover with an economy in shambles.

PttU
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by PttU »

oldblueeyes wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 14:58
2.1 if the Belgian governemnt does nothing, than Lufthana might shrink the operations to the lowest level sustainable by the real assets of the local company and if there is any interest into routes, slots etc will transfer them to other entities were funding is arranged; no big deal to fly Verona-Brussels operated by Dolomiti instead of Brussels Airlines - just to have a kind of example ; with this local jobs will get lost, other structures of Lufthansa will get help to regain critical mass and local taxpayers money will be "saved" - before any offset to the job losses
That would only work for a small part of the flights, where another LH-subsidiary is present at the destination.
For the other destinations: do you mean they would re-route through FRA/MUC/...? This might be feasable for long haul, but for instance flying BRU-BMA router through a LH-hub for instance would be awful. Maybe there would be no-one at BRU takning over those flights, but for some parts of the BRU-market it may make flying to Stockholm from AMS, EIN, DUS,... more interesting, thus loosing jobs in Belgium.

The problem with downsizing, I think, is that long haul makes short haul profitable and short haul makes long haul profitable. If you cut short haul destinations, you loose transfer pax for your long haul destination. Cutting long haul destination means you'll have a lower LF on short haul, making those flights less cost-effective.
I know it would be very hard in current conditions, but becoming profitable is easier to achieve with bigger volumes, more flights and more destinations than it is with downscaling. A tree doesn't grow better when you cut off too many branches and leaves... Hence I believe it's better to remain part of the Lufthansa group and achieve some mutual benefits than it is to try and stand on it's own legs in these difficult times.

oldblueeyes
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by oldblueeyes »

Well, Brussels has a unique long haul and all the network is feeding it.
Assuming the company is collapsing, why should Lufthansa not open Africa routes from other hubs? There are enough empty planes available, aside the reality that the current A333 are sublaesed from Lufthansa. Of coure this might take some time to get approval work done, but for somebody flying from Birmingham or Prague to Accra it wouldn't make any difference.
Short haul can be optimized as P2P - at the end of the day this works for other markets such as DUS - you just have to do it properly.

But this is generally the dilemma Brussels has: all data are speaking against a classic hub and spoke model, but neither P2P nor a positioning below a classic legacy are desired and perceived as LCC.

AvGeek
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by AvGeek »

oldblueeyes wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 14:58 The argumentation seems to be pretty much emotional.

So what the scenarios?

1. Both parties align to an agreemt like in the other countries as well - as many as possible of the existing jobs will be saved; the downsside is that some local pride will have to be swallowed, but this happened to the Austrian Prime Minister as well

2. Both parties do not come to an agreement

2.1 if the Belgian governemnt does nothing, than Lufthana might shrink the operations to the lowest level sustainable by the real assets of the local company and if there is any interest into routes, slots etc will transfer them to other entities were funding is arranged; no big deal to fly Verona-Brussels operated by Dolomiti instead of Brussels Airlines - just to have a kind of example ; with this local jobs will get lost, other structures of Lufthansa will get help to regain critical mass and local taxpayers money will be "saved" - before any offset to the job losses

2.1 if the Belgian governemnt will support another company - than there might be a larger portion of local jobs saved on the short term; but would be such a company winning proposition? No interest from the major alliances to get it in, most likely fierce competition from other in the home market - just think about Transavia and Eurowings and even more agressive Wizz etc, so maybe some pride for short term and than again a quastionmark.


You can take it how you want, the aviation market is goig to consolidate further in the coming years - and Belgium is - regardless if one likes it or not - just a minor market in between some major hubs dominated by companies that dominate their respective alliances etc Whomever might be the startegic partner, the Belgian arm will be a secondary daughter company/brand etc.

I know that this is not the reality that many of you want to read, but it is as it is.
So what? Belgium is just supposed to accept whatever Lufthansa proposes without any guarantee? We finance the restructuring of Brussels Airlines and 2-3 years later we are still here discussing about the business model and future of the company. Or Lufthansa just decide to abandon and we threw 300-400K€ in the bin. Everyone would then blame the government for the bad deal they made.

The argumentation is not emotional. The argumentation is if you spend a certain amount of money, you want to have a return on your investment. Either with jobs, growth, ... or at least repayment.

You are right though, we clearly need to stay within the Lufthansa Group. But not at any cost, and certainly not without having strong guarantees about the future.

oldblueeyes
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by oldblueeyes »

The majority of the budget is a LOAN, so where is the problem?
So why are things mixed here?

And nobody speaks about getting any deal - this has to be realistic for both sides.

Belgium can not expect better conditions than other countries - more guarantees, longer term comittments etc.

And Lufthansa can not mix the structural problems it has to sort - eg Reboot associated cost - with help provided to bridge low demand over the crisis and credits to resume operations.

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Atlantis
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Atlantis »

Passenger wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 11:27
Atlantis wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 10:45 The restructuration is paid by LH not the BG.
Finally someone who understands that Lufthansa isn't asking state aid for their long term restructuration problem, but for their short term corona cash problem.

Atlantis wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 10:45 But like I said some time ago, there need to be a plan B and C.
Lufthansa has them, and Alexander De Croo's hostile statement in the Parliament yesterday will cause that Lufthansa will unfold their plan B within just a few days.

But what is Alexander De Croo's plan B? Anyone knows?

Atlantis wrote: 16 Jul 2020, 10:45 ..Otherwise it would be again an example that other parties can reach an agreement and in Belgium not.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening: Lufthansa has made agreements with the German government, the Swiss government and the Austrian government. All three for more money then needed for Brussels Airlines. All three with less commitments then what the Belgian government demands.
I don't know what is the plan of ADC but I found his feedback in De Kamer quite strange when it came to the decision of SN to postpone the long haul in August. To me it seems that the company is taking a responsible decision and taking care of the money they still have. This should be praised.

I also don't understand in the latest posts here why people are still repeating that SN will be a LCC. LH announced, and we saw already some result of it, that SN is added to the network carriers. There is only one LCC and this is Eurowings. But CS also confirmed that this one is not doing what it should do. So why people are thinking that this is a golden egg.

In the latest interview our CEO gave, Arnoud Feist, he also repeated that many flights to BCN is not the future for BRU. The future of BRU are long haul.
So the only valid who can do this from BRU is SN. A LCC like Eurowings is even not thinkable. They are flying with a mix of A330 and A340. Well, as from 2022 the more noisier planes will have to pay much more higher fees at BRU. So forget to see them.

LH is still finding there way. Now they created a new LCC with the first flight to Windhoek. The plane will be in Eurowings livery but Belgian registered. On this way you can see that LH itself don't believe in the Eurowings concept.

For sure BRU will not allow that their home carrier will be a LCC. If so, then they also could operate from Charleroi or Ostend.

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Atlantis
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Atlantis »

Boeing767copilot wrote: 15 Jul 2020, 19:58 Has the time not come to examine and prepare a Plan B? For example, a restart with the support of or the cooperation of Tui fly Belgium?
Why with TUI? They have their own shops and a lot of clients. Thomas Cook went bankrupt so they have even more clients.
TUI Belgium was, before COVID, a very healthy company. Fabric new planes, very young fleet. So they can do it on their own and they are using already third party companies to have extra planes.

So why not to work together with a real Belgian company, Air Belgium? They will fly from BRU too. Why not let SN and Air Belgium working together to feed their short and long haul? SN has many flights from Europe where airlines are not flying to Martinique, Guadeloupe or Mauritius. On the way back they can connect on the SN network.
Instead of working solely, work together and being stronger

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Conti764
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Re: Brussels Airlines in 2020

Post by Conti764 »

I don't understand why everyone keeps saying LH might f*ck over the Belgian government for the restructuring 2020-2023 and then abandon SN while De Croo said they obtained a post 2023 growth plan.

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