(Posted 02nd November 2022)
The Belgian airline will repay state loan early and grow strongly in 2023
During the third quarter of 2022, Brussels Airlines welcomed 2.28 million passengers on board its flights. This accounts for a rise of almost 50% compared to the same period last year.
The airlines’ revenue also increased during the third quarter, amounting to EUR 436 million. This brings the Year-to-date result to EUR 888 million, whereof nearly half was earned in the last quarter.
Both of the above results are to be explained by the combination of upcoming business traffic and the further recovery of the demand for leisure travel, where again a prolonged summer is noted.
Operating expenses increased to EUR 408 million, mainly due to the higher production volume, the strong position of the dollar and a steep increase of the costs of fuel, personnel, airport fees and other taxes.
As a result, the Adjusted EBIT for the third quarter of 2022 amounted to EUR 51 million.
“With an Adjusted EBIT of 51 million euro in the third quarter, we achieved the best quarterly performance in our history. Our turnaround program REBOOT Plus and the according cost savings have proven to be successful. Our company has shown that it can fly profitably even considering the challenging economic reality.” said Nina Oewerdieck, Chief Financial Officer at Brussels Airlines
“I wish to thank all our employees for giving their everything this summer and keeping our customers at the center of their attention. We know this positive result will not be enough to end the year break-even, yet we have proven that we are capable of turning the tides and I am convinced that we can make our future a success.” she added.
Brussels Airlines repays state loan by end of 2022
?In July 2020, the Belgian Federal Government granted a stabilization package of EUR 290 million to Brussels Airlines to overcome the unprecedented crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and to create a sustainable future. Today, the Belgian airline announced the repayment of this loan by the end of the year, with the support of the Lufthansa Group.
“We want to thank the Belgian government for their confidence and support. The repayment of the state loan is a clear sign of trust from the Lufthansa Group in our way forward. With this capital injection they confirm their belief that a profitable future for Brussels Airlines is within reach.” said Mr. Peter Gerber, the CEO of Brussels Airlines.
Brussels Airlines expands its fleet
?In order to reinforce its position as market leader at Brussels Airport, the Belgian airline will expand its fleet in 2023 with 4 medium haul aircraft. While the modalities for the fleet expansion are still being finalized, it is clear that the company will amongst others increase its traffic to neighboring countries as well as optimize its European point-to-point and feeder network.
Together with the two medium haul and the one long haul aircraft that assumed operations earlier this year, this will bring the Brussels Airlines fleet to 36 medium haul and 9 long haul aircraft next summer, compared to respectively 30 and 8 in 2020, as was decided in REBOOT Plus. With this fleet, network and staff expansion, the Belgian airline achieves its intended growth four years earlier than planned.
More details about the fleet expansion and network reinforcement will be known and communicated in the coming weeks.
“The reorganization of our company in 2020 was inevitable and allowed for a significant decrease of our costs at a time when it was absolutely necessary for survival. This summer we have proven to be able to operate profitably. We are in the right position to grow, and this growth will allow us to strengthen our market position, while also lowering the unit cost.” added Mr. Gerber.
Partial come back of business traffic still expected
?During the fourth quarter, Brussels Airlines is expecting a further come back of the business traffic. While some sectors like the public sector and the marine business have fully restarted travelling, some others are still travelling at a slower pace. Brussels Airlines expects to reach 80% of the 2019 levels when it comes to business traffic.
Aiming for profit in 2023
?Due to the difficult first half of the year and the accumulated losses, still heavily impacted by the pandemic and the tremendous rise of fuel costs, Brussels Airlines will not reach a break-even for the full year. For 2023, the airline still aims for a positive result.
Brussels Airlines and its social partners continue to work on the future
?Besides the aspired growth for 2023, the airline already grew with one long haul and two medium haul aircraft in the past quarter. The hiring campaign that followed accordingly has reconfirmed the employer’s attractiveness with over 12,000 applications (of which more than 1,800 pilot candidates) leading to almost 300 new hires. Brussels Airlines now counts 3,217 employees.
“Next to the competitive cost position, the collaborative relationship established over the summer with the social partners is essential to guarantee a future for Brussels Airlines. If we succeed in maintaining that cost position and avoid social conflicts while we grow next year, I am convinced we can make it to a profitable future.” concluded Mr. Gerber.