Lufthansa announced that it was exercising an option to buy the remaining 55 percent of Brussels Airlines for US$2.7 million.
The deal adds 51 planes to the Lufthansa group, and expands its footprint in Africa, where Brussels Airlines flies to many sub-Saharan destinations. The Belgian carrier will become part of Lufthansa’s Eurowings Group, but neither airline has yet commented on what will happen to Brussels Airline’s cargo operations.
Lufthansa’s takeover of Austrian in 2009 saw management of the latter’s cargo operations taken over by Lufthansa Cargo. However, Swiss (another Lufthansa takeover) still operates its own freight division, and it remains to be seen what will happen with Brussels Airlines. Should Lufthansa Cargo take a bigger role, it may be that some freight would be rerouted through Frankfurt.
Brussels Airport has seen consistent monthly increases in cargo volumes since the attack earlier this year that knocked out a significant volume of bellyhold cargo in the wake of extensive passenger flight cancelations.
The airport stated that it was “delighted” with the integration of Brussels Airlines into the Eurowings Group. Arnaud Feist, chief executive of Brussels Airport Company, said, “The integration within an international group such as Lufthansa will give Brussels Airlines more commercial opportunities, advantages to renew the fleet and further develop its network in Africa, North America and India.”
A Brussels Airlines spokesperson told The Loadstar that, “At this stage we can’t predict what this will mean for the organization of the cargo business – for the time being, the set-up remains the same.”
Lufthansa has explained the takeover as part of an effort to compete with low-cost carriers that are driving down ticket prices. “I’m convinced we will see a lot more consolidation in years to come,” Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told reporters. the strong ones will get stronger and bigger.”