Brussels airlines announce to repay emergency COVID loan

Brussels Airlines will pay back the emergency assistance it got from the Belgian State to get through the Covid-19 problem by the end of this year, before the agreed-upon date of 2026.

The Belgian Federal Government provided the firm with a stabilisation package worth €290 million in July 2020 to help it get through the pandemic’s extraordinary crisis and build a sustainable future. The Lufthansa Group will support the Belgian airline to return this debt by the end of 2022, it was revealed today.

“We appreciate the confidence and assistance of the Belgian government. The Lufthansa Group’s repayment of the state loan is a blatant demonstration of its confidence in our future, “Peter Gerber, the CEO of Brussels Airlines, stated in a news statement. With this cash infusion, they reaffirm their conviction that Brussels Airlines can have a prosperous future.

The summer months (July, August, and September) saw an operating profit of €51 million, the company’s “strongest quarter ever,” according to chief financial officer Nina Oewerdieck. This contrasts with the company’s €89 million deficit from January to June.

She said, “Our airline has demonstrated that it can fly economically even despite the difficult economic situation,” adding that Brussels Airlines is convinced it can do so. The firm won’t be profitable in 2022 due to poor early-year performance, but in 2023, “profit is within grasp.”

Four additional short- and medium-haul aircraft will be added to the airline’s fleet the following year, along with new destinations (mainly in Europe) and personnel additions. Additionally, and perhaps more crucially, it will pay back the state loan it received, just as its parent firm Lufthansa and other Lufthansa Group airlines, including Swiss, did in the past.

Two board members of directors of Brussels Airlines were permitted to be selected by the government in exchange for government funding. It is still being determined if they will continue serving on the board.

In response to the social unrest and three-day strike at the airline in late June over excessive workloads and worsening working conditions, Brussels Airlines management has now stated that it anticipates “good collaboration” with the unions during the current discussions.

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