Brussels Airlines expects 2021 to remain a challenging year after it saw its number of passengers drop by 77% in 2020 and its revenue slump by 72% compared to 2019.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, which saw restrictions being put on international travel to control the spread of the virus, the number of people flying with the airline decreased to 2.4 million, according to figures released on Thursday.
“Rapidly changing travel restrictions and hygiene measures along with unprecedented drops in demand and production formed great challenges for everyone at Brussels Airlines,” Peter Gerber, who became the company’s new CEO on 1 March, said.
The airline recorded a loss of €293 million in 2020, as its turnover dropped to €414 million, compared to €1.47 billion in the previous year.
In the coming year, the airline has ‘cautiously’ planned to operate at just over half (55%) of its 2019 capacity, but hopes to gradually increase this between March and July 2021, recognising that “the summer season will prove to be very important.”
“A reliable testing and vaccination strategy remains essential for a recovery of the entire aviation and tourism sector. It is important that the Belgian government takes the aviation industry into account in its economic recovery plan,” said Nina Öwerdieck, CFO of Brussels Airlines.
The Belgian government had granted a loan of €290 million to the company to overcome the crisis, of which it withdrew the first part in December and the second last month.