Brussels Airlines Swaps Toronto For Montreal

Brussels Airlines has announced it will be dropping its Brussels-Toronto service early next year. It will replace the old route with new Brussels-Montreal flights which are set to operate five times weekly from 29th March.

A Brussels Airlines Airbus A320
Brussels Airlines is swapping its Canadian desinations. Photo: Transport Pixels via Flickr

Yesterday, Brussels Airlines announced it will be swapping its Brussels-Toronto service for a new Brussels-Montreal service early next year. The airline will operate its last flight from Brussels to Toronto on 7th January, with the new service to Montreal beginning later in the year on 29th March.

Brussels Airlines’ Senior Director Sales Belgium, Frederic Dechamps, describes Montreal as a promising market for Brussels Airlines, saying in a press release,

“Montreal is a real added value for the Brussels Airlines network. It is a strong market out of Belgium, with over 75,000 potential travelers a year,” he said.

The airline will be running the route using its Airbus A330-300s, which feature the new ‘boutique hotel experience’.

Despite Brussels Airlines’ decision to move away from Toronto, Air Canada has announced it will be stepping in to fill the route with five-times-weekly flights beginning 1st May, 2020.

Can Air Canada make a success of the route?

Taking Brussels Airlines’ place on the Brussels-Toronto route, Air Canada will be expecting to gain something where Brussels Airlines didn’t. Air Canada will operate the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on the new transatlantic flights. These will include Signature Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class seats.

An Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
Air Canada will be taking the Toronto-Brussels route dropped by Brussels Airlines. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada appears to be targeting business travelers with the new Toronto-Brussels route. In a statement, Air Canada’s Vice President of Network Planning, Mark Galardo, said,

“Our new Toronto flights, together with our Montreal service, offer North American business travelers the most convenient links to this important European city.”

Both Brussels Airlines and Air Canada are members of the Star Alliance, meaning their networks are already interlinked for passengers looking to move from continent to continent.

With more of a focus on business travelers from North America going into Europe, Air Canada may find it is better positioned to fill flights and make a success of the route.

Why is Brussels Airlines dropping Brussels-Toronto?

Despite flying to a huge number of US destinations, Brussels Airlines only currently flies direct to one Canadian city. As a result, the airline is seemingly more picky about the Canadian destinations it chooses.

With regards to the route change, a Brussels Airlines representative told Simple Flying that, “Montreal is a very good potential market for Africa, which is Brussels Airlines’ core business.”

A Brussels Airlines Airbus A330
Brussels Airlines will fly its Airbus A330-300s on the Brussels-Montreal route. Photo: Brussels Airlines

With its key African market and wider network of flights on the other side of the Atlantic, it makes sense for Brussels Airlines focus on its operations closer to home.

Brussels Airlines has also recently announced targets to reduce costs by 8 to 12 percent by 2022. This is part of a general restructuring within Lufthansa Group’s airline brands, which aims to set individual priorities for each.

Earlier in the year, Lufthansa announced its plans to integrate Brussels Airlines into Eurowings, but these plans were subsequently called off.

Rather than a sign of trouble, Brussels Airlines’ route switch appears to just be an example of pragmatic route planning as the carrier looks to reduce costs.