To buy or not to buy – Lufthansa mulls over Brussels Airlines acquisition


(Posted 25th March 2016)

Lufthansa, the German flag carrier, presently holds a 45 percent stake in Brussels Airlines. Come April is the deadline nearing when a call has to be made by Lufthansa’s top management and board, if one of Europe’s largest airlines will seek the acquisition of the remaining 55 percent and gain a 100 percent controlling interest in the Belgian flag carrier, or else let the opportunity pass for another year.
A precedent has of course been set with the full acquisition of Austrian Airlines, which has since been integrated into the LH family, permitted under EU rules.
The acquisition of the remaining shares has just become a lot more tempting for Lufthansa, as Brussels Airlines has turned its financial fortunes around and posted a profit of 41.3 million Euros for 2015, compared to a loss of 4.2 million Euros in 2014.
Passenger numbers rose by over 12 percent between 2014 and 2015, a sign of strong demand for quality air services where the classic theme of ‘Savoir Vivre‘, in existence since the old SABENA days, still reverberates through the cabin, both upfront and in the back.
Lower fuel prices no doubt had an impact on Brussels Airlines’ performance but it must be said that in particular the airline’s extensive Africa network makes it a key connector from the European capital to the continent. The addition of a fifth flight from Brussels to Entebbe – all services operate a triangular flight BRU EBB KGL BRU – coincides also with the launch of flights to Toronto, a top 10 destination for Ugandan travelers to North America, and the resumption for the summer of flights to Washington DC.
To accomplish the added flight – as previously mentioned here – has another Airbus A330 joined the fleet this week and another such aircraft will be delivered in 2017 to boost long haul destinations, while the short haul fleet of AVRO’s will be progressively replaced by new Airbus A320 models.
As a member of Star Alliance does Brussels Airlines have the advantage of partnership agreements with Lufthansa, United and in Africa with Ethiopian Airlines.
Brussels Airport, inspite of the events earlier in the week, is generally seen as an airport of short ways and great functionality. When the facility reopens, now expected for Monday 28th of March, no doubt with significantly raised access security into the terminal – something which is the norm already across Eastern Africa – will ongoing expansion and improvements continue to see BRU ranked as a top connection airport both to and from Africa.
As the leading European airline offering connections to West and East Africa is Brussels Airlines able to tap into one of the fastest growing airline markets in the world, as passenger numbers across the continent continue to rise ahead of other continents.
Combine the Belgian ‘Savoir Vivre‘ with German precision engineering – as long as the spirit of the Belgians is allowed to roam on the ground and above the clouds – and you have a winning combination for attention to the smallest detail and a service mentality by ground and cabin crews which is second to none.
To find out what the Germans will decide, look no further but this space where breaking and regular aviation news about aviation in Africa and about airlines flying to Africa make headlines.