As of 2018, Brussels Airlines will be fully integrated into the Lufthansa Group and join the Eurowings Group.
The unique characteristics of Brussels Airlines, including its attractive Brussels market, its well established Africa network and its advantageous cost structure which has allowed the leading Belgian airline to successfully compete with the tough low-cost competition in the Belgian market, will further strengthen the Lufthansa Group and Eurowings Group market position.
After the agreement of Lufthansa and the shareholders of SN Airholding on the modalities of the complete take-over, Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Executive Board decided to exercise the call option for the outstanding 55 percent of the shares. The call option comes into effect by 31 December 2016. The closing of the transaction will happen by the beginning of January 2017.
The price for the take-over of the remaining 55 percent of the shares had already been part of the agreement for the call option in 2008. The price for the acquisition of the remaining 55 percent of the shares is 2.6 million euro, which will be transferred to a consortium of 30 shareholders.
Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Deutsche Lufthansa, said:
“Following the acquisition of the 45% share of SN Airholding eight years ago, we now want to take a next step in our already very solid and successful cooperation. As a longstanding shareholder and partner of Brussels Airlines, we are already closely linked to each other. Therefore we value Belgium and especially Brussels as highly attractive markets that perfectly complement our offer in the heart of Europe. In addition, Brussels Airlines already has a very competitive cost structure and brings a well-established long-haul network, especially to and from Africa, to the Lufthansa Group portfolio. We also very much appreciate the high qualification, motivation and performance of the 3,500 Brussels Airlines employees.”
After the acquisition, Brussels Airlines will operate its 23 long-haul destinations as well as 79 destinations in Europe under the umbrella of the Eurowings Group. The brand Brussels Airlines will over time be complemented by the claim “member of the Eurowings Group”. The common goal of Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines is to further strengthen the market position in the Belgian aviation market.
Brussels Airlines’ current fleet harmonization towards an Airbus A320 family fleet for the European network will be continued. With its fleet of 42 short- and medium-haul aircraft, including two in wetlease, and nine A330 long-haul aircraft, Brussels Airlines has significantly increased its passenger numbers. Between 2013 and 2015, this number has increased by 30% to a total of 7.5 million passengers. Medium-term investments are planned to further improve the fleet efficiency and increase the capacity on the short- and long-haul networks.
In the past three years, Brussels Airlines reduced its overall costs by 15% and established efficient sustainable structures. For the fiscal year of 2015, the leading Belgian airline generated an operating profit of 43.4 million euros. With the full integration of Brussels Airlines, synergies will add up to a mid-double digit million euro amount per year.
Viscount Etienne Davignon, Chairman of the Board of SN Airholding, said:
With its expertise and experience and based on its hybrid focused hub model, Brussels Airlines will assume an important role in the further development of the Eurowings Group into a pan-European platform with a large long-haul and short-haul network. In order to personally follow up the integration process, the Chairman of the Board of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Carsten Spohr will join the Brussels Airlines Board as Co-Chairman, next to Viscount Etienne Davignon. In 2017, Lufthansa will hold the majority in the Board. However, during this period, the Board will make its decisions by consensus. Concerning the three current Belgian directors of the Brussels Airlines Board, the Board co-opted Bernard Marchant, CEO of the Group Rossel, as replacement for Luc Coene, who presented his resignation for personal reasons. Etienne Davignon: “We wish to thank Luc Coene for his exceptional contribution to our company and this from the start and welcome Bernard Marchant as new member in our Board.”
The Brussels Airlines Management Board remains unchanged under the leadership of CEO Bernard Gustin. In addition an Advisory Council will be established and will support the integration process.
Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Deutsche Lufthansa, added:
“As the leading aviation group, we have already demonstrated on several occasions that, during the expansion process of our airline group, we fully respect the interests of the respective domestic markets. We want to further sustainably strengthen the important aviation location of Brussels and continue to improve the connectivity of the European capital. Based on its successful development, Brussels Airlines is able to play a leading role in bringing our pan-European point-to-point offer under the brand of the Eurowings Group to new successful heights. Together, we will be successful for our customers, shareholders and employees, and this specially for Belgium.”