EUROPEAN DEMAND RISING FAST AFTER MANY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ARE LIFTED
(Posted 29th June 2021)
- Brussels Airlines reports a strong increase in the number of incoming bookings.
- Ever since the lifting of the travel ban for Belgians on 19th of April, the airline has noticed a positive trend.
- However, the past few weeks the increase in bookings grows even stronger. Thanks to the vaccination programmes that are running at full speed, the implementation of the digital green certificate and the evolving of the travel restrictions, the airline has recorded weekly increases of 30% to 50%, each time compared to the previous week. Holiday destinations in the south of Europe are performing particularly well at the moment.
Said Peter Gerber, Chief Commercial Officer of Brussels Airlines:
"We are still in a difficult period and also the coming months will be very challenging, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. We see an eagerness to travel and it is clear that many people do not want to postpone their long-awaited trip abroad with another year. Since mid-April, the booking figures have been showing us that many passengers are entrusting us with their travel once again. With 40% more reservations than the previous week, we saw a spike in bookings over the past seven days. The positive trends we see make us confident towards the future."
This summer, the Belgian airline expects to offer 70% of the capacity it operated in 2019, being 60% for the short- and medium-distance network and 77% for the long-distance network. For the months of July and August, Brussels Airlines is preparing to welcome over one million passengers, although that figure remains difficult to predict due to the fact that many passengers are still booking last-minute. During the same months last year, the company welcomed roughly 390,000 passengers.
Top destinations this summer are situated in the south of Europe, to which Brussels Airlines is adding 150 extra flights following the high demand. The most popular countries are Spain (Malaga, Alicante, Barcelona, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands), Portugal (Faro, Lisbon and Porto), Greece (Athens, Kos, Rhodes, Heraklion, Corfu and Zakynthos) and Italy (Florence, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia and the new destination Bari). Also on the list of popular destinations are Croatia (Dubrovnik and Split) and France (Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and new destination Bordeaux).
The brand new destinations Tangier and Nador, offered by Brussels Airlines in partnership with ML Tours, are also doing well. So well in fact, that the number of scheduled flights to these destinations has now doubled: 4 flights a week as opposed to the originally scheduled 2 flights.
Earlier this week, Brussels Airlines relaunched its flights to the United States after a hibernation period of almost 15 months. The flights to New York and Washington D.C. on June 14th and 15th respectively were the first trans-Atlantic flights of Brussels Airlines since March 2020 and an important symbolic milestone for the airline. The Belgian carrier is now hoping for rapid easing of the currently applicable travel restrictions between the two continents to make travelling easy and accessible to everyone again.
Brussels Airlines is not only noticing an increase in individual bookings, also group bookings are making a strong come back. Schools and youth movements, among others, have definitely started planning trips abroad again. Through its online booking platform, groups.brusselsairlines.com, 215 group bookings were made in the past two months.
Brussels Airlines and all Lufthansa Group airlines make it possible for their passengers to plan their trip with peace of mind as they extend the free rebooking option. Since the end of August 2020, all fares of Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings can be rebooked to a new date and or destination without a rebooking fee. All airline fares can be rebooked free of charge as often as desired up to July 31st, 2021. After that date, one more rebooking is possible free of charge. However, additional costs may arise for rebookings if, for example, the original booking class is no longer available when rebooking to a different date or to a different destination.
Sanitary measure remain key
Welcoming more passengers means that it is important to emphasize that the airline continues to apply the same Corona measures as before. These include a mandatory face mask during the entire flight (as of arrival at the airport) for every passenger as of six years old, row by row boarding and de-boarding to avoid queues in the aircraft, extra disinfection of the aircraft and of course proper hand hygiene. All the airline’s aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters that continuously supply clean air on board. See the complete overview or measures here.
As usual, the airline asks passengers who feel unwell not to travel, to protect the health of other passengers and the crew. As many countries still have specific restrictions, passengers are required to check the requirements before they travel.
CO2-neutral flights with Compensaid
Recently the Belgian airline launched a new booking platform, offering its customers a broader flight offer aligned with the Lufthansa Group, as well as more options to rebook flights online and the possibility to make flights carbon neutral with Compensaid. It is the first time that Brussels Airlines customers have the option to avoid CO2-emissions by sponsoring Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), the first viable alternative for fossil fuels. The aim of SAF is to reuse carbon from existing sustainable biomass or gases and recycle it back into jet fuel so that it replaces fossil jet fuel refined from petroleum crude oil. The process is a first step towards closing the CO2 cycle.
Brussels Airlines in mid June also resumed daily flights from the European capital city to Entebbe in Uganda, with two of the flights routing via Bujumbura in Burundi and the remaining five flights via Kigali in Rwanda.
Given the current COVID19 situation in this part of East Africa, especially in Uganda, has the European Union and member states introduced added travel restrictions, which may wipe out previous gains in traffic volume – Belgian and EU citizens coming from Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi must now quarantine again for 14 days and are subject to stricter controls.
ATCNews will continue to monitor the situation and will report any changes as soon as the information becomes available.