Brussels Airlines reports loss of 70 million euro in first quarter

Brussels Airlines reports loss of 70 million euro in first quarter

As a result of the Corona crisis, Brussels Airlines reports an adjusted EBIT of EUR -70 million for the first quarter, only a 9% decrease compared to the same period last year, which included January and February 2020, two “normal” months ​ before the Coronavirus reached Europe. The first quarter is traditionally the lowest performing one of the year in the aviation industry. The Belgian airline’s revenue fell by 76% year-on-year to EUR 55 million, while operating costs were brought down by 59% to EUR 130 million, in part due to lower production, but also thanks to cost-saving measures in its Reboot Plus program.

 

Between January and March, Brussels Airlines welcomed 192,000 passengers, a drop of 88% compared to the first quarter of 2020, when two out of the three months were “normal” months without the impact of Covid-19. The airline operated 1,791 flights, also an 87% decrease. The average seat load factor fell by 15.3 percentage points to 58.2%.

The ban on non-essential travel issued by the Belgian government severely impacted both the Brussels Airlines’ medium-haul- ​ and ​ long-haul passenger numbers. The intercontinental traffic performed however better than the European operations due to the company’s focus on African routes with a stable demand in the VFR segment (Visiting Friends & Relatives) and at the level of cargo, especially in terms of medical supply transport.

Brussels Airlines' revenue fell by 76% year-on-year to EUR 55 million in the first quarter of 2021 as a result of the Corona crisis, while operating revenue was 76% lower year-on-year at EUR 60 million.

Operating expenses decreased by 59% to EUR 130 million primarily due to the volume-related drop in material expenses. Despite a large proportion of fixed costs, cost reductions were made thanks to a near completion of the restructuring phase of the Reboot Plus program.

Brussels Airlines’ Adjusted EBIT decreased accordingly by 9% to EUR -70 million (previous year: EUR -64 million). The EBIT improved by 25% to likewise EUR -70 million (previous year: EUR -93 million), although the previous year's figure was impacted by impairment losses on aircraft and rights-of-use of aircraft amounting to EUR 29 million.

Within its Reboot Plus transformation program Brussels Airlines has almost completed the restructuring phase which reduces the fleet size by 30% and staff numbers by 25%. Among other additional measures in this program, new collective labor agreements have been in force since January 2021 for all employee groups, generating a competitive cost structure at the level of the personnel costs. The Reboot Plus program, targeting a structural 8% EBIT margin by 2024, now enters a second phase, a phase of strategic investment in customer servicing, in efficiency, employee development ​ and in tools in order to create a long-term profitable future for the company.


​Since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, Brussels Airlines has strictly adapted its flight capacity to respond as closely as possible to the market demand in order to safeguard its cash position. Thanks to this very proactive and restrictive capacity management, Brussels Airlines was able to maintain cash-positive flight operations every week since its restart on 15 June 2020.

Currently Brussels Airlines is gradually building up its flight capacity to be able to provide a flight offer in line with the expected demand for the summer holiday season (on average 65% of its 2019 capacity), with a focus on the leisure segment and of course its large African offer.

 

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About Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines is the home carrier of Belgium and one of the four network airlines of the Lufthansa Group. It connects the European capital from Brussels Airport with over 85 destinations, 17 of which are in Sub Saharan Africa. The company employs 3,100 people and operates 41 aircraft.

Brussels Airlines aims to emit 50% less CO2 by 2030 compared to 2019 and plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. The airline is participating in the Stargate Project led by Brussels Airport and is therefore part of the testing ground for sustainable aviation at its home base. In addition, the airline signed the Circular Economy agreement of the Antwerp Management School in 2021. In 2023, Brussels Airlines welcomes three state-of-the-art Airbus A320neo allowing the airline to significantly lower its CO2- and noise-emissions on its medium-haul network. Next to that, the airline aims to operate its first flight using Sustainable Aviation fuel (SAF) by 2023.

As an ambassador of its country, Brussels Airlines brings the world to Belgium and the best of Belgium to the world, among others through collaborations with Belgian Star Chefs, Belgian culinary products and the  Belgian Icons, specially painted aircraft that honor a Belgian iconic person, team or event to promote Belgian culture worldwide.

More information on brusselsairlines.com 

Brussels Airlines
b.house
Zone General Aviation - Airport Building 26
1831 Diegem