2008 Financial results
In 2008, a year marked by high fuel prices and the first negative impact of the financial crisis as from the last quarter, Brussels Airlines group posted a positive consolidated operating result of 1,5 million euro and limited the consolidated net loss to 12,2 million euro.
A positive operating result of 1,5 million euro was achieved through capacity optimisation and strict budgetary control.
2008 was a crucial year in the history of Brussels Airlines as the foundations for the further development of the airline were created. Indeed, on September 15th the company announced that the Brussels Airlines shareholders concluded an agreement with the Lufthansa group on a new joint future.
This partnership with Lufthansa is essential for Brussels Airlines’ further development as the airline that connects the European capital with the rest of the world as well as for the realisation of future necessary investments.
On top of that, Brussels Airlines was invited in December 2008 to join the world’s largest alliance in air traffic, the Star Alliance. This membership will give Brussels Airlines the opportunity to offer its clients an even broader and better service.
In 2008, the airline built further on the innovative b.flex economy + and b.light economy product strategies that were successfully launched in 2007. In Africa, Brussels Airlines grew thanks to an additional long-haul aircraft, an Airbus 330.
As the first Belgian passengers airline, Brussels Airlines received the international IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) safety certificate, awarded only to airlines permanently working on achieving the highest international safety requirements possible.
The consolidated turnover of Brussels Airlines increased by 7 percent compared to 2007 to a total of 984,6 million euro.
Even though the economic downturn and capacity adjustments resulted in a slight decrease in European passengers, the success of the fleet expansion on the African market was confirmed by an increase in passenger numbers to and from Africa of 15 percent. In total, 4,6 million passengers chose to fly Brussels Airlines on European destinations and 0,46 million passengers chose to fly Brussels Airlines to African destinations. Code share passengers included, the company welcomed 5,456 million passengers.
The Brussels Airlines cargo activities also grew: cargo and mail on flights to Africa increased by 30 percent; from Africa to Europe, 15 percent extra cargo was transported.
The operating result of 1,5 million euro was negatively impacted by the rising fuel prices, not completely offset by the low US Dollar exchange rate nor by fuel surcharges. The negative impact of the financial crisis significantly influenced the Belgian home market as from the last quarter. The implemented capacity reductions on the European network however minimized the impact on the results.
The consolidated net loss of the financial year amounted to 12,2 million euro, due in part to the necessary provisions for the market-to-market consequences of the fuel hedging.
Prospects for 2009
Just like all other airlines, Brussels Airlines is currently being impacted by the recession. In this challenging economic environment, the company is taking the necessary measures to further reduce costs, safeguard its market position and increase revenues.
Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa are expecting a decision from the EU Commission before June 2009.
The Brussels Airlines European network will expand this summer with new flights to Vilnius, Palermo and Seville while on the African network a 2nd frequency will be added to and from Angola. During the summer, there will also be an increase of flights to Rwanda and Kenya.