Brussels Airlines prepares to transport one million passengers this summer
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Brussels Airlines prepares to transport one million passengers this summer

Credit: Belga

Brussels Airlines recorded a strong increase in its number of bookings and is preparing to carry one million travellers this summer, the airline said on Friday.

Both the airline and tour operator TUI Belgium have noted a positive trend in bookings since the lifting of the ban on non-essential travel in Belgium on 19 April, with an increase that has become even more pronounced in recent weeks.

While TUI has scrapped packages for travel outside of Europe this summer due to uncertainty regarding the coronavirus, southern European destinations are particularly popular for travellers with both companies.

The one million passengers Brussels Airlines expects for the months of July and August are far more than the approximately 390,000 passengers it transported in the same period last year.

The top destinations for this summer are in southern Europe, to which Brussels Airlines is adding 150 extra flights due to high demand. The most popular countries are Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy.

Earlier this week, Brussels Airlines also relaunched its flights to the United States (New York and Washington, D.C.) after a hibernation period of almost 15 months. It’s now hoping for a rapid easing of the current travel restrictions between the two continents.

“We are still in a complicated period and the coming months will also be very difficult, but there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Peter Gerber, CEO of Brussels Airlines.

“We see an eagerness to travel and it is clear that many people do not want to postpone their long-awaited trip abroad by another year. With 40% more bookings compared to the previous week, we have seen a peak in bookings over the last seven days. The positive trends we are seeing make us confident for the future.”

The airline credits vaccination programmes, the introduction of the Covid-19 travel certificate, and the change in travel restrictions.

Brussels Airlines has not only seen an increase in individual bookings, but also a strong return of group bookings (215 in two months), including from schools and youth movements.

This summer, the airline expects to offer around 70% of the capacity it did in 2019, with 60% for the short- and medium-haul network and 77% for intercontinental flights.

The Brussels Times

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