LUFTHANSA has announced that Brussels Airlines has become wholly owned by the Lufthansa Group and will join the Eurowings division. The arrangement is scheduled to be closed in January 2017 and full integration is expected by 2018. Lufthansa acquired the remaining 55% it did not own at a cost of 2.6 million Euros.
Quick facts regarding Brussels
According to LH, there will be no immediate changes to how Brussels operates, in fact it appears that things will remain the same for the foreseeable future due to the perfect complement that Brussels is to LH Group as far as routes and fleet are concerned. It is expected that Brussels will continue to fly to their 23 ‘long-haul’ and 79 ‘short-haul’ destinations.
The Brussels network
Becoming part of the Eurowings group will further expand Lufthansa’s presence into the low cost carrier market within Europe where they face significant competition from the likes of Ryanair and easy Jet. Being able to plug in 51 aircraft into Eurowings with immediate effect will certainly be to LH’s advantage.
Brussels fleet information
No plans have been announced as far as any significant livery changes. LH would rather ‘SN’ keep their unique and successful brand identity. The only change that we’ll see on the aircraft is a small footnote that Brussels is a member of ‘The Eurowings Group’. Changes to the reservation system and other passenger-based services are not immediately expected.
A few days ago, Lufthansa Group’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, outlined Lufthansa’s vision for Brussels Airlines and the role that they will play now that Lufthansa Group has decided to acquire all remaining shares of the airline that is does not already own.
The initial announcement stated that Brussels will be integrated in Eurowings, which serves as Lufthansa’s ‘Low Cost Carrier’ product. The recent comments by Spohr suggest that Brussels will continue to operate under its current branding and logo, except for a small footnote stating that it is ‘A member of the Eurowings Group’.
For now it appears that routes and equipment will remain largely unchanged since LH wants Brussels to maintain its dominant position in Belgium and in essence create another fortress hub for Eurowings. Another reason to keep things unchanged at SN for now is the extensive route network it has in Africa and how that can be leveraged for additional benefit to Eurowings. What has not been clarified is how any overlap may be handled as far as route network and staffing is concerned. Additionally, there has been no announcement as to how (if at all), Brussels role may change as a Miles & More / Star Alliance member.
What also has not been clarified as yet is the status of their outstanding Business Class product. I suspect for the near term things will remain unchanged, but it would not surprise me if the product is not ‘adjusted’ to be brought more into the Eurowings LCC model as far as equipment and pricing is concerned. In my opinion, it would be foolish to tamper with SN’s winning formula in Business Class, but my opinion doesn’t really matter in Frankfurt.
A long standing concern for Eurowings has been its viability in a very competitive LCC market in Europe. However, with recent developments such as wet leasing a substantial amount of Air Berlin aircraft along with their routes, and the recent developments with Brussels, it appears that EW has taken a quantum leap that should make it a serious contender in the LCC space.
Lufthansa Group’s Supervisory Board has voted to approve the acquisition of the remain share of Brussels Airlines that it previously did not own, making ‘SN’ a fully owned by the Airline Group. Up until today, Lufthansa Group had owned only 45% of SN. This decision was fully expected.
The deal is expected to be closed by the beginning of 2017.
What happens from here with Brussels remains interesting. One leading idea floating around Lufthansa Group is a plan to meld Brussels into the Eurowings LCC division to bolster EW’s position among LCC carriers in Europe. With Brussel’s 51 aircraft, most of which are short to medium haul specialists, it would seem to be the likely scenario now that LH controls all of Brussels. I
in addition to the 43 short and medium haul aircraft in Brussels’ hangar, they also operate 8 A330 aircraft which would be critically important to EW as plans exist to expand EW’s long haul network next year.
What may change this original plan was the recent news announcing Lufthansa will wet least 40 aircraft from Air Berlin and take over a substantial portion of Air Berlin’s routes in Europe that do not involve AB’s hubs in Dusseldorf and Berlin.
IF both plans come to fruition, we may see Eurowings go from a small LCC with only 34 aircraft and turn into a European LCC powerhouse with upwards of 125 aircraft in the fleet virtually overnight. This would allow EW to take a realistic run at competitors such as Ryanair and Easyjet and have it happen in fairly short order. Which has been the plan along if you ask anyone at Lufthansa.
BRUSSELS has announced it will begin service for the first time to Yerevan, Armenia beginning with their Spring/Summer 2017 timetable. The new service will be a combination of either once-weekly or twice-weekly flights depending on the month.
The planned schedule is as follows, beginning March 31:
Brussels will operate weekly flights between Brussels and Yerevan throughout the year. Flight SN2899 will depart Brussels at 9:25p on Fridays, and arrive in Yerevan at 3:55a the following morning. The return flight from Yerevan will take place on Saturdays, operating as SN2900 and will depart Yerevan at 4:45a and arrive in Brussels at 7:45a.
In addition to this once-weekly flight, SN will add a second weekly flight in July and August due to an expected increase in demand for the summer holiday season. This second flight will operate as SN2899 departing Brussels on Tuesdays at 9:25a, arriving in Yerevan at 3:55a the following morning. The return flight will operate as SN2900 and will take place on Wednesdays with a departure time of 4:45a from Yerevan, arriving in Brussels at 7:45a.
Reservations are now open for these flights.
Brussels Airlines has announced that it will begin service between Brussels, Belgium and Mumbai, India on March 26, 2017.
The new flight will operate 5 times a week under the following schedule:
Flight SN601 will depart Brussels at 10:50a and arrive in Mumbai at 11:05p (Same day). Flights will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Flight time is estimated at 8 hours 45 minutes.
Flight SN602 will depart Mumbai at 1:05a and arrive in Brussels at 7:15a (Same day). Flights will take place on Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Flight time is estimated at 9 hours 40 minutes.
Brussels will use their A330 aircraft on the route.
Reservations can be made now and Brussels is offering extremely attractive fares. From what I see, Economy class roundtrips are running at only $450 for most days, and a very attractive $1700 for Business Class.