Brussels Airlines was created following the merger of SN Brussels Airlines (SNBA) and Virgin Express. On 12 April 2005, SN Airholding, the company behind SNBA, signed an agreement with Richard Branson, giving it control over Virgin Express. On 31 March 2006 SNBA and Virgin Express announced their merger into a single company. On 7 November 2006, the new name, Brussels Airlines, was announced at a press conference at Brussels Airport. Brussels Airlines began operations on 25 March 2007.
On 15 September 2008, it was announced that Lufthansa would acquire a 45% stake in Brussels Airlines with an option to acquire the remaining 55% from 2011. As a part of this deal, Brussels Airlines would join Star Alliance. From 26 October 2008, the ICAO code was changed from DAT to BEL.
On 15 June 2009, Brussels Airlines announced that the European Commission had granted approval for Lufthansa to take a minority share in Brussels Airlines. As a result of this clearance by the EU, the road was cleared for Brussels Airlines to finally join Star Alliance.
Since 25 October 2009, Brussels Airlines has been a member of Lufthansa's frequent flyer programme Miles & More. On 9 December 2009, Brussels Airlines became the 26th Star Alliance member during a ceremony at Brussels Town Hall.
On 15 December 2009, Brussels Airlines officially approved an extra A330. On the same day, Brussels Airlines announced it was working on a new regional airline in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name of the airline is "Korongo". The main base of the airline is at Lubumbashi in Congo. The airline was launched in April 2012. Brussels Airlines has cancelled the former airDC project, due to disagreements with Hewa Bora.
On 5 July 2010, the fifth Airbus A330-300 entered into service. Brussels Airlines increased its frequency to Abidjan (up to 6 weekly) and added Accra, Cotonou, Ouagadougou, and Lomé as new destinations. On 11 August 2010, Brussels Airlines and tour operator Club Med announced a new cooperation. As from April 2011, Brussels Airlines will transport 80% of all Club Med passengers out of Brussels, both on existing regular Brussels Airlines routes as on new charter routes operated by Brussels Airlines. Brussels Airlines also announced that it will lease 2 Airbus A320 aircraft from January 2011.
On 26 August 2010, the company announced its new maintenance project. The contract with Sabena Technics for the A330 and Boeing 737 ended on 1 January 2011 and Brussels Airlines will then do the maintenance on the planes. To be able to do this, the move from Building 117 to Hangar 41 was necessary. Also, 73 people from Sabena Technics joined the Brussels Airlines maintenance staff.
Brussels Airlines is adding more American destinations to its network. On 1 June 2012 Brussels Airlines inaugurated the route to New York JFK, operating daily with an Airbus A330-300 fitted with the new interior. This is the first Belgian airline in 10 years to fly to New York, after the collapse of Sabena and Delsey Airlines. Since 18 June 2013 they also fly 5 times a week to Washington Dulles. Since April 2016 Toronto Pearson has been added to the North-American network. It has been announced that as from March 2017 a new service to Mumbai will commence with 5 flights per week operated by a new Airbus A330-200 arriving early 2017.
On 30 January 2014, Brussels Airlines launched its most important expansion in its history, with nine confirmed seasonal destination and a return to the Polish market after some years of absence. It also confirmed the permanent exit of its Avro RJ100 fleet by 2016.
On 22 March 2016, members of the terrorist organization ISIL detonated two bombs in Brussels Airport, closing the airport until Sunday, 27 March 2016. Brussels Airlines shifted some long haul flights to Zurich and Frankfurt and began Airbus A319/Avro RJ100 shuttle service between Liege/Antwerp and Zurich/Frankfurt, as well as provided contracted bus service from Brussels to Antwerp and Liege from where it flew to European destinations.
On 28 September 2016, the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa announced that the airline would exercise the option to acquire the remaining 55% of Brussels Airlines' parent company SN Airholding. The modalities would be defined before the end of the year in order to conclude the transaction at the beginning of 2017. .
Brussels Airlines is the operating name of Brussels Airlines SA/NV (previously Delta Air Transport SA/NV) which has its registered office in Elsene-Ixelles, Brussels.
Brussels Airlines is almost 100% owned by SN Airholding SA/NV (1,811,308 shares out of 1,811,309), a Belgian holding company of over 30 shareholders, including the Virgin Group, Fortis, ING, Suez, Tractebel, Brussels Airport, la Société Régionale d’Investissements Wallone (SRIW) and Société Régionale d’Investissements Bruxelloise (SRIB). In turn, SN Airholding SA/NV is 45% owned by Lufthansa AG.
Bernard Gustin has been the sole CEO (previously joint with Michel Meyfroidt) since June 2012. The Executive Committee consists of Gustin, Lars Redeligx (CCO) and Jan De Raeymaeker (CFO).
Limited information appears to be published (and as it is only minority-owned by Lufthansa, the German group also does not reveal any financial data for Brussels Airlines). However, accounts for all Belgian companies must be filed with the National Bank of Belgium. Information available since 2007 (the first year of operations as Brussels Airlines) appears to be as follows (for years ending 31 December):
The company is headquartered in the b.house (Building 26) in the General Aviation Zone on the grounds of Brussels Airport and in Diegem, Machelen. The airline asked the Belgian design agency MAXIMALdesign to design the interior of the facility.
Brussels Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
As of February 2017, the Brussels Airlines fleet consists of the following registered aircraft:
Brussels Airlines Fleet
In addition, Brussels Airlines also leases 2 Bombardier Dash Q400's of FlyBe , 1 Boeing 737 from ASL Airlines and up to three Embraer ERJ145 of BMI regional.
Brussels Airlines previously operated 6 BAe 146-200s which were withdrawn in 2008.
During 2009, the airline tested the fuel burn reduction of the AeroTech Services B737 Wing Modification on one Boeing 737-400. After realizing favorable results, the airline modified three more 737s in May and June 2010.
During 2010, two Airbus A319-100s joined Brussels Airlines' fleet. The first Airbus A320-200 joined the fleet in February 2011 and made its first commercial flight on 23 April 2011.
With improving financial performance, rising cash reserves and a desire to reduce costs more rapidly, Brussels Airlines accelerated their fleet replacement plan by ordering 12 aircraft in August 2011. Six A319s, four A320s and two A330-200s were added to the fleet. This has completed the exit of Boeing aircraft from the fleet and accelerated the replacement of the Avro RJ85.
Starting 2016, Brussels Airlines began to phase out the Avro RJ100 and replaced it with the Airbus A320 family. This will be completed by the end of 2017.
The aircraft livery consists of a 'dotted B' logo on the blue tail, a white belly covering the whole aircraft's length, with the name 'Brussels Airlines' written in dark blue on the upper fuselage, preceded by the airline's 'b' logo. Most planes have an altered 'b' logo after superstitious travellers complained about the thirteen dots bringing bad luck. The logo now contains fourteen dots. Besides the familiar blue, red and white livery, Brussels Airlines launched a series of Belgian Icons in their Airbus A320 fleet, all representing things that are typically Belgian: Rackham (a Tintin themed aircraft), Magritte (an ode to the famous surrealist artist), Trident (the aircraft for the Belgian national football team the Belgian Red Devils) and Amare (the Tomorrowland themed plane)
On European flights, the airline offers four types of tickets – Check&Go, Light&Relax, Flex&Fast and Bizz&Class (business class):Check&Go is a low cost formula, without checked-in luggage and with a buy on board programme offering snacks and drinks for purchase.
Light&Relax is a regular economy class with a buy on board programme offering snacks and drinks for purchase.
Flex&Fast is an economy plus class, offering full service, such as complimentary newspapers, catering, fast lane at security, change flexibility and priority boarding.
Bizz&Class is a full-service Business class on the European network. It offers premium meals, free champagne and full flexibility.
On medium-haul and long-haul flights (Africa, United States and Tel Aviv), Brussels Airlines offers economy, economy privilege and business classes.
Brussels Airlines has two inflight magazines. For the European network there is b-there! which is a monthly magazine. On the African network, the magazine is named B Spirit Magazine and is published every two months. Both magazines are available on board or as a PDF download through their respective websites. The magazines are also available as a freely downloadable application for Apple's iPad.
From November 2011 until the end of 2012 Brussels Airlines has introduced a new interior on the A330 fleet. The new economy seats feature AVOD personal in-flight entertainment 9 inch screens. Also business class got new lie-flat seats with an improved AVOD IFE system with 15 inch screens, coming from The IMS-Company and known as "RAVE".
Brussels Airlines is an integrated partner of Lufthansa's frequent flyer programme called Miles & More. Miles can be earned on all the flights operated by airlines which adhere to the programme, in addition to the Star Alliance member airlines. Miles can also be earned thanks to Brussels Airlines' non-airline partners.
Brussels Airlines customers have been able to earn Miles & More benefits since 25 October 2009, when Brussels Airlines' previous frequent flyer programme, Privilege, ended and became Miles & More. There was a conversion of Privilege Gold members into Miles & More Frequent Travellers, while Privilege Platinum card holders became Miles & More Senators. Privilege miles were converted on a 1 to 1 basis.