Brussels Airlines has announced that it will suspend operations for a month. In a message on its website, the airline announced that it would not operate flights between the 21st of March and the 19th of April.
It seems as though airlines within the Lufthansa Group are slowly shutting up shop in response to coronavirus, albeit temporarily. Yesterday, Group airline Austrian Airlines announced a 10-day flight suspension due to start from tomorrow. The moves come as demand for air travel has tanked due to government restrictions, and the risk of infection around the globe.
21st of March
The airline will begin suspending services from the 21st of March. Unlike sister airline Austrian, Brussels Airlines will remain grounded for a period of around a month. The airline won’t ground all of its flights instantly; instead, it will be gradually winding down services.
From tomorrow, it will move its long-haul African flights from the morning to the afternoon. Then, from the 21st of March, no services will be operated for a month. However, like Austrian, Brussels Airlines will keep some aircraft on standby for repatriation flights. Earlier today British Airways flew three Boeing 777s to Havana to rescue brits stranded on a cruise ship in the region.
As a result of the flight suspension, the majority of Brussels Airlines staff will be technically unemployed for the time being. Prior to the announcement, 30% of staff were technically unemployed. Brussels Airlines currently has in excess of 4000 employees.
In a statement on the matter, Brussels Airlines CEO Dieter Vranckx said:
“We will continuously monitor the situation and communicate accordingly, planning a restart of our operations on 20 April to welcome our guests on board again. As a responsible company, we need to take the decision to temporarily cease our operations. It will allow us to reduce the negative financial impact on our company.”
The aviation industry is currently facing an unprecedented situation. Even past major events such as 9/11, SARS, MERS, and the financial crisis have never caused such an effect. Airlines globally are seeing demand plummet as a result of the virus.
As a result, airlines have been forced to drastically cut schedules in an effort to plug leaking money. Some airlines have simply shut their doors for the time being hoping to startup once the crisis has passed.
However, the major carriers which would struggle to completely shut down are issuing warnings. Last Friday British Airways’ CEO, Alex Cruz, warned that job cuts would be unavoidable. When it recovers, the airline industry will likely be unrecognizable from last year. More airlines will likely fail in the meantime.
Will you be affected by Brussels Airlines shutting its doors? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.