Brussels Airlines records over 3 percent growth in 2016


(Posted 13th January 2017)

Brussels Airlines welcomed over 7.7 million passengers on board of its worldwide flights last year which constitutes an increase of 3.2% compared to 2015, a remarkable result given the challenges the airline faced last year.
Brussels Airlines closed the year 2016 with 7,736,791 passengers, which is almost a quarter of a million or 3% more than 2015. The airline registered growth on both the European and the African and North American network. Out of the 7.7 million passengers, 6.5 million flew on a European flight, 883,995 travelers flew to and from Africa and 290,836 passengers traveled to or from North America. The seat load factor decreased slightly and amounted to 74.9%. The seat offer, expressed in available seat-kilometers increased by 6.8% and the revenue passenger kilometers grew by 7.4%

2016 was also a year of growth for Brussels Airlines’ cargo activity. The total volume of transported freight grew by 6% to 35.338 tons, which is in line with the increased cargo capacity.

The passenger growth was accomplished in very difficult market circumstances. The results of 2016 are very positive in fact, considering the terror attacks that struck Belgium in March and which led to a significant decrease of the number of foreign passengers travelling to Belgium. For the point-to-point traffic to Brussels, 2016 was a tough year. This was partly compensated by an increase of the number of transfer passengers but it is clear that Belgium needs to be further promoted abroad as a touristic and economic destination.

In addition to its scheduled flight activity, Brussels Airlines operates many holiday and group flights for tour operators. Passenger figures for this activity are not included in the figures shown below.

Highlights of the year 2016 included the launch of Brussels Airlines’ very first service to Canada (Toronto) and the expansion of the European network with many new destinations, the launch of the new Economy Privilege product on long haul flights, the opening of new airport lounges “The Suite” in Brussels and Kinshasa and the fleet harmonization project to replace regional single aisle aircraft by larger Airbus single aisle aircraft.

2016 2015 Year/year difference
Passengers 7,736,791 7,495,145 +3.2%
Available seat-kilometres (in millions) 16,991.38 15,913.65 +6.8%
Revenue Passenger-kilometres (in millions) 12,708.24 11,832.51 +7.4%
Freight tonnage 35,338 33,273 +6%
Freight Load Factor 64.6% 65.2% -0.6 pp
Passenger Load Factor 74.9% 75.7% -0.9 pp

December 2016

In December 2016 the number of passengers increased by 15.2%, while the seat load factor grew by 1,7 percentage points. The freight volumes evolved positively as well.

December 2016 December 2015 month/month difference
Passengers 589,913 512,245 +15.2%
Available seat-kilometres (in millions) 1,336.43 1,175.30 +13.7%
Revenue Passenger-kilometres (in millions) 976.15 851.34 +14.7%
Freight tonnage 3,240 2,470 +31%
Freight Load Factor 71.6% 66.0% +5.6 pp
Passenger Load Factor 71.1% 69.4% +1.7 pp

Figures based on preliminary figures currently available.
Brussels Airlines serves nearly two dozen destinations in Africa with three of those in East Africa. Entebbe is served five times a week in conjunction with Kigali while Bujumbura continues to receive one flight a week, also in conjunction with Kigali, which can offer Rwandan travelers six nonstop flights to the European capital Brussels every week.
For 2017 will an expansion of the airline’s long haul network to Mumbai become reality in March while again a number of new European destinations are due to be launched this year. This further expands the reach of Brussels Airlines with its own flights beyond existing code shares under Star Alliance and Lufthansa Group agreements.