Brussels Airlines posted positive financial and operating results for 2017 in what it said was a “highly competitive environment”.
The carrier’s operating profit (EBIT) was €14.98 million while it posted a net result of €3.57 million. Excluding one-time costs of strategic investments, the operating result amounted to €25 million.
Last year, 9.1 million passengers were welcomed, which was an increase of 17.3 per cent over 2016, and the first time the nine million mark was passed. The passenger load factor of 78.8 per cent, 4.1 percentage points up on the year before. Capacity was up 11 per cent.
The increased capacity on the long-haul sector was realised thanks to the addition of an Airbus A330, which was mainly deployed on the new Mumbai route.
Last year, Brussels Airlines integrated in Belgium the Thomas Cook Airlines activities and two of its Airbus A320 aircraft. The closer cooperation with tour operator Thomas Cook Belgium allowed it to add 26 new destinations to its existing leisure network and to further improve its productivity.
For the first time ever, the airline surpassed the one million passenger mark on the African network, corresponding to an increase of 14 per cent and resulting in an average seat load factor of 87 per cent, a record for Brussels Airlines.
On the North Atlantic sector, Brussels Airlines focused on the performance of its three destinations New York, Washington and Toronto and overall passenger number grew by 13.7 per cent.
Brussels Airlines expects a further improvement of the North Atlantic performance thanks to the recently signed sales agreement with the Lufthansa Group.
Launched in April last year, Brussels Airlines’ first Asian destination Mumbai reached an average seat load factor of 75 per cent and financials are in line with the business plan.
As for 2018 to date the airline said: “The first two months of this year show a positive trend in terms of passenger volumes and revenues – even though the pressure on the yield remains very high.
“With a passenger growth of 15 per cent and 16.5 per cent in respectively January and February, Brussels Airlines could further reinforce its market position. The overall costs per seat are also lower than during the same period last year – especially thanks to the first results of the investments done in 2017.”