Brussels Airlines, Belgium’s national airline is celebrating its 20th birthday today/Tuesday. On February 15, 2002, the airline SN Brussels Airlines was placed on the baptismal font following the bankruptcy of the national company Sabena.
Sabena had first experienced a restart through its regional subsidiary Delta Air Transport (DAT). The DAT shares were then sold at the symbolic price of 1 euro to SN Airholding, a consortium of around forty investors. The name change to SN Brussels Airlines was announced on February 15, 2002. When the company started, the planes still bore the famous Sabena S logo.
The name Brussels Airlines was adopted on March 25, 2007 after the merger of SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express. The planes were then adorned with the “b” logo surrounded by red spheres which remained in force until the end of 2021.
In September 2008, Lufthansa acquired a 45% stake in the company for 65 million in SN Airholding. Brussels Airlines has been 100% owned by the German giant since early 2017.
First, Lufthansa wanted to integrate Brussels Airlines into its low-cost subsidiary Eurowings. This decision had been disapproved by the staff and in mid-2019 it was decided that Brussels Airlines could still stand on its own two feet.
Savings were demanded, however, and these were accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic which broke out at the start of 2020. The fleet fell by almost a third, the workforce by a quarter. In order to survive the coronavirus crisis, Brussels Airlines also received 290 million euros in state aid, supplemented by 170 million euros from the parent company.
The company is gradually coming out of the red. In the third quarter of 2021, it made an operating profit for the first time since the coronavirus crisis. It also displays a new logo consisting of nine red balls forming a square.