Brussels Airlines in expansion mode as carrier acquires leisure airline Thomas Cook Belgium


(Posted 02nd June 2017)

Information is emerging from Brussels that the country’s national carrier Brussels Airlines has gone ahead with a deal to acquire a major portion of Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, the country’s leading leisure airline, subject now only to regulatory approvals.
Brussels Airlines, under the deal, will absorb nearly all of Thomas Cook Belgium’s leisure operations through the integration of at least two Airbus A320’s, by absorbing TCB’s pilots and cabin crew and by taking over the respective slots needed for the operation of these flights.
This will make Brussels Airlines, already a major player in the leisure aviation industry in Belgium, the leading carrier of its kind in the country for short and medium haul operations. It is understood that Thomas Cook Belgium and Brussels Airlines may also look at a closer cooperation in the future for long haul leisure flights which could be combined with new scheduled long haul destinations.
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium has an annual passenger uplift of over 1 million travelers and the acquisition is thought to swell Brussels Airlines own passenger numbers substantially which for the last financial year stood over 7.7 million guests on board their fleet. It is expected that Brussels Airlines’ network will grow by over 20 new destinations from the summer schedule onwards, making the Belgian flag carrier an even better choice to fly with.
Said Thomas Cook Belgium’s CEO Jan Dekeyser: ‘[This] is great news for Belgian holidaymakers. By extending our successful partnership with Brussels Airlines, Thomas Cook Belgium will offer customers from Neckermann, Thomas Cook and Pegase 20% more flights to some of the most popular sun and beach destinations. Across our brands, we will work together with Brussels Airlines to offer a tailor-made travel experience and build the most attractive holiday offering for Belgian consumers. Our extended partnership is consistent with Thomas Cook Group’s strategy as we develop closer relationships with selected third parties to work with us to support profitable growth‘.
Only very recently, as reported here, did Brussels Airlines also extend their deal with Club Med as their airline of choice to fly their clients to their resort destinations.
Brussels Airlines has the arguably most extensive Africa network of any of the European legacy carriers and flies five times a week between Brussels and Entebbe while also serving the Rwandan capital Kigali six times a week, once in conjunction with Bujumbura / Burundi. Today an airline of choice for many travelers out of these Eastern African locations has Brussels Airlines steadily increased load factors and cargo uplift on their flights, supporting the local business community, the agricultural and fishing industries.
Brussels Airlines presently employs over 3.500 staff and operates a fleet of 51 aircraft, carrying out over 300 daily flights from and to Brussels Airport.

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