As travel demand increases with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, Brussels Airlines has expanded its fleet and bought two new medium-haul aircraft. Brussels Airlines has ordered an Airbus 319 and A320 as they feel they need extra aircraft to cater for the high demand for leisure travel.
Brussels Airlines released in a statement that the increased demand for travel resulted in “75% more requests from tour operators, 140% more requests for charter business compared to 2020”. They expect that this will upsurge leading up to the summer.
Brussels Airlines CEO Statement
In March 2021, Peter Gerber was appointed the new CEO of Brussels Airlines, having transferred from Lufthansa Cargo. Gerber said in a statement that the company could see “clear signals” that the [Covid-19] crisis is slowly coming to an end. He stated that “The leisure segment in the market recovered more quickly than originally expected and we also see a slow but steady increase in the demand for corporate travel.” Gerber revealed that the carrier hopes to reach pre-pandemic (2019) demand for business travel by 2024. He added:
“This is definitely the right time to increase our market share and once again confirm our position as Belgium’s home carrier.”
In 2019, Brussels Airlines had a fleet of 42 aircraft. However, with the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on the travel and aviation industry, their fleet dropped to just 30 in 2020. Many Pilots were also transferred onto part-time contracts, and thousands of employees were made redundant or furloughed. The return in demand in the travel industry and the purchase of their two new aircraft means that many Pilots will be offered full-time work again.
Brussels Airlines has also started the recruitment process for new Cabin Crew. As part of their ‘Reboot Plus’ programme, the carrier had promised that it would first contact its ex-colleagues who were made redundant last year for its recruitment. They revealed that 135 out of the 165 colleagues who were asked to return had accepted.
Brussels Airlines is extending the lease on their current Airbus 319, with a seat capacity of 141, to October 2022. The new Airbus A320, with a larger seat capacity of 180, will be phased in by June 2022 to meet their predicted demand for this summer.