After 12 weeks of staying put on the ground, Brussels Airlines aircraft will once more take to the skies come June 15th. The carrier will gradually add destinations over the coming weeks, ramping up to a capacity of 30% of its usual European summer program.
Gradually ramping up
A couple of months ago, airline after airline canceled flights to virus hotspots, reduced overall capacity and finally suspended operations altogether. Now, it feels as if it is going in reverse, with one carrier after the next announcing a return to service.
Far from the confident strides of a pre-COVID industry, however, its comeback is somewhat timid, as it weighs and calculates potential demand over the coming months. Brussels Airlines said in a statement issued Monday that it has,
“…designed a limited network for the summer season to meet market demand for both holiday and business travel.”
This limited network means that from June 15th onward, it will gradually add destinations over the coming two months, operating 30% of European and 40% of long-haul flights for the summer season. Come August, the carrier expects to operate 240 weekly flights.
45 destinations in Europe by August
The European network will progressively build from June 15th onwards to reach 45 destinations in 20 countries by August, including Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, France, Armenia, Sweden, and Denmark.
The UK is also on the list, with London for June and Manchester for July, but this could potentially be subject to the new quarantine rules for travelers to the country, depending on how hard this will end up hitting demand.
Long-haul back to 40%
The Lufthansa subsidiary is betting that demand for long-haul traffic will also be back, albeit in a stunted capacity as air travel restrictions are lifted. Subject to local government approval, the airline will, beginning from June 22nd, serve 13 out of its 17 African destinations.
The list includes routes to West Africa, such as Yaoundé, Cameroon, and Accra, Ghana, but also leisure destinations in North Africa, namely Hurghada in Egypt.
The Belgian flag-carrier will also add New York JFK from July. The new North American route to Montreal in Canada that was planned for March this year will instead join the network sometime in 2021.
50% of flight schedule by end of the year
The airline said it is planning to expand further come fall, and that it will announce the schedule at the beginning of next month.
“By the end of this year we hope to offer 50% of the flight schedule as planned before the coronavirus crisis broke out,” Dieter Vranckx, Brussels Airlines’ CEO said in the statement.
Brussels Airlines says that its reservations systems will not reflect all of the flights until the end of the week when it will have been fully updated. It added that rebooking procedures may take longer than usual as a result, but that flexible rebooking policies still apply.