Brussels Airlines has recorded a loss of €143 million for the first half of this year, and refused to make projections for the second half, the company reports.
At the root of the problem lies the coronavirus pandemic, and the drastic initial effect it had on travel as a result of compulsory restrictions, and the consequent lack of confidence among the public to even board an aircraft, let alone travel to a different country with different regulations.
This summer, the second during the pandemic, has seen a renewed appetite for travel with many passengers now vaccinated. But this change was not enough to reverse the downward trend in air travel.
The loss of €143 million in the first half compares with a loss of €211 million in the first half of 2020 - the very height of the pandemic when many aircraft worldwide were grounded by government restrictions. So a slightly better result in 2021 is no great news.
Despite the severe restrictions of 2020, Brussels Airlines managed to operate 14,114 flights, compared to only 6,295 this first half.
Revenue in the first half of 2021 fell by 45% to €138 million, as the number of passengers was down by 57%. The number of seats filled fell by 11.7% to 60.7%. In other words, flights were on average operating at less than two-thirds capacity.
"After a good start to the year, the crisis forced Brussels Airlines to suspend its operations almost completely between mid-March and mid-June 2020. Since then, levels have been significantly lower and have not yet recovered to pre-crisis levels,” the company said in a statement.
In the first half of 2021, costs fell by 37% to €290 million, mainly because there were fewer materials and services to purchase.
The company is declining to offer projections for the rest of the year. By contrast, parent company Lufthansa is looking forward to traffic increasing in the third quarter of 2021 to 50% of 2020 levels, at which point the company will enter into profit once again.
"In June alone, the number of reservations doubled compared to the beginning of the quarter," Lufthansa said.