Despite the negative impact of the volcanic ash cloud, strike actions from Air Traffic Controllers and the numerous traffic interruptions in Europe due to severe winter weather conditions, Brussels Airlines transported more passengers in 2010 compared to the year before. In the period January through December 2010, 4, 89 million passengers flew with the Belgian carrier, an increase of 4,4 per cent over the year 2009.
If there wouldn't have been an impact of the airspace closure during the ash cloud period, Brussels Airlines would have flown more than 110.000 extra passangers, registered a 7 pct growth and passed the symbolic 5 million passenger mark.
Despite a slower economic recovery than initially foreseen, the passenger growth was realized thanks to the success of several commercial actions, the opening of new routes, the new Star Alliance membership resulting in an increase of codeshare passengers and new connecting traffic and partnerships with new corporate clients.
Passenger numbers increased in all traffic regions, especially in Africa, the second home market of Brussels Airlines where additional capacity was introduced in the summer season of 2010 resulting in the opening of four additional destinations (Accra, Cotonou, Ouagadougou, Lomé). In Europe, Brussels Airlines initiated own operations to Hannover and expanded its flight offer to the UK with flights to London Heathrow and frequency increases to Bristol and Newcastle.
"These encouraging figures realized despite challenging market and operational conditions prove that our strategy of creating a good performing Star Alliance and Brussels Airlines/Lufthansa hub at Brussels Airport is materializing and leads to passenger growth", say Brussels Airlines co CEO’s Michel Meyfroidt and Bernard Gustin. "We will continue to invest in our Brussels hub in 2011 by adding capacity, opening new destinations and supporting the development of our Star Alliance partners by enabling smooth connections on our joint networks."
Brussels Airlines Cargo welcomed in 2010 a freight and mail increase of nearly 22 pct.
Not included in these figures are the passenger volumes generated by the charter activity of Brussels Airlines on behalf of tour operators. Also this activity was successful.
The financial results of Brussels Airlines in the 2010 business year will be published later this year.