Brussels Airlines Cancels All Flights For A Month

Filed Under: Brussels

Brussels Airlines is joining the list of airlines that are suspending operations. Their Lufthansa Group partner Austrian Airlines has already stopped flying, so they’re the second airline in the group to do so.

Brussels Airlines suspends operations as of March 21

Brussels Airlines has announced that they will suspend all regularly scheduled flight from March 21 through April 19, 2020.

While the airline will still operate flights until Saturday, they’re gradually winding down operations, so you can expect less service each day through Saturday. The airline is putting all effort into restarting operations on April 20, 2020 (though I imagine whether or not that actually happens is beyond their control, depending on conditions).

While regularly scheduled flights will be suspended, the airline will keep a couple of planes on standby in order to offer reparation flights, should they be required.

Brussels Airlines A319

What should you do if you have a ticket on Brussels Airlines?

The airline is saying that hold times by phone are especially long right now (as is the case at most airlines), and they’re asking people to only contact the airline if they wish to fly in the coming four days, before the airline shuts down. That way they can help the passengers that need the help most urgently.

Other guests have until June 1, 2020, to decide what they want to do with their tickets. They recognize people don’t know right now when they want to travel, so they are telling people to take their time and get in touch when ready to plan travel again.

Brussels Airlines A330 business class

What happens to Brussels Airlines employees?

Since March 16, 2020, Brussels Airlines employees have already worked in a 30% temporary technical unemployment regime. The company is working on expanding the partial temporary technical unemployment to 100% for the period of flight suspensions.

Some exceptions will be made to cover reparation flights and the restart of operations, as needed.

Brussels Airlines A330 premium economy

Bottom line

Brussels Airlines is shutting down for about a month. One interesting thing is that Austrian Airlines is suspending operations indefinitely, while Brussels Airlines is at least pretending like they’re confident they’ll relaunch on April 20.

I feel bad for the employees who are temporarily unemployed, but this seems like the right decision…

  1. Lh group is now apparently looking into their 747 fleet to increase cargo capacity if I understood Spohrs comment correctly.
    Are there any insights on how this would work?

  2. @john:
    This may be a silly question but is there a quick way to convert a 747 into cargo usage short of doing a full conversion? I.e., removing the seats and adding the floor structure to fit cargo. Obviously the regular containers wouldn’t fit through the passenger doors and there wouldn’t be the front loading capacity but may be small containers can be quickly designed that fit through the passenger doors?

    I think we’re going to see a wave of aircraft type retirements (e.g., 747s, 767s) akin to 9-11 when older generation 747s,DC10s, were swiftly retired.

  3. A pattern is developing which follows nature. Expand,expand but when things happen circle the wagons and protect your own. Thus LH shuts down subsidiaries and Amazon now is stopping the outside sellers. The new world is following the motto, “use them while you can, then dump them”.

  4. @John @at
    They can just fill the cargo/baggage compartment and stack lighter boxes on the seat. Medical supplies don’t take that much space. At this moment, even flying with a full lower deck and empty cabin makes money, as cargo capacity is in high demand. All the passenger routes that used to carry a lot of cargo is suspended.

  5. @John
    Air Cargo prices have increased by the factor 3.5x in the last 2 days alone. And supply is very limited as most passenger airplanes who also have some under-floor capacity besides the baggage are grounded right now.
    Furthermore the other transport modes such as rail, trucks and cargo ships are in gridlock right now as most intemodal containers are not at the rigth place. Therefore the quick air freight is the only way to preserver supply chains at least to some degree.

    All this combined means that Lufthansa is easily profitable selling just the underfloor cargo capacity of their passenger planes and having the cabin itself completely empty.

  6. I am a small importer with years of small quantity importing. The mathematics of flying passenger jets involves huge revenue of freight. It is so important that I have seen freight unloaded before passenger luggage!
    I can not imagine passenger aircraft will ever fly with boxes on seats, they are loose, move and the shifting can be an emergency situation in massive turbulence.

  7. It’s quite funny everyody is speaking about an “extraordinarily high demand in air cargo” right now. Of course temporarily the demand will increase – due to the fact passenger flights are mostly cancelled and other means of transport have been limited too.

    But in the next weeks? Being from the industry we already now experience a huge decline in demand. Two big German companies (more than 150,000 employees in Germany combined) already announced to halt production until further notice. And this is just the beginning.

    Still everybody reporting airfreight will profit so much from this – quite a farce.

  8. If we are really lucky this temporary grounding of Brussels Airlines will become permanent and it will be the back of Europe’s most sick and confused carrier.

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