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    Brussels Airlines rescue package awaiting EU approval

    Credit: Brussels Airlines

    The rescue package deal for Brussels Airlines has been signed of by all parties, in a win for the Belgian flag carrier that comes after months of strained negotiations.

    Brussels Airlines on Friday confirmed that they had clinched a deal with the Belgian government as well as with the board of its parent company, Germany’s Lufthansa.

    In a press release Brussels Airlines confirmed preliminary reports that it would receive a €290 million loan from the Belgian government as well as a €170 million cash injection from Lufthansa.

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    “We are very satisfied, this was really the last piece of the puzzle, it makes everything ready for our turnaround,” airline spokesperson Kim Daenen told The Brussels Times.

    The terms of the rescue deal must still be approved by the German government as well as by the European Commission, a process with Daenen said would be launched “as soon as possible.”

    The final deal between the three parties bring to a close months of protracted negotiations, as the Belgian government pushed Lufthansa for growth assurances for Belgium’s air travel industry.

    Announcing a preliminary agreement on Tuesday, Finance Minister Alexander De Croo said that the deal guaranteed positive employment prospects and included binding commitments that paved the way for Brussels Airports to become a leading aviation hub.

    De Croo also said that the deal would forbid that Belgian funds unblocked for Brussels Airports flow up to the coffers of Lufthansa.

    “In the event of non-compliance with the agreements, the agreement provides for an arbitration mechanism,” De Croo wrote in an online statement.

    The Belgian government’s search for assurances from both airlines came in efforts avoid a new Sabena scenario, after the former national airline went bankrupt in 2001 despite assurances from its parent company Swiss Air, which also ended up collapsing.

    Daenen declined to provide details on the terms of the agreement ahead of its review by the EU Commission and by German authorities.

    In the press statemento on Tuesday, De Croo said that Belgium’s million-euro loan to the airline would need to be paid back by 2026 and added that it was expected that the deal would receive approval and go into effect “in the course of this month.”

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times