Brussels Airlines closed the year 2016 with 7,736,791 passengers, which is 3%, or almost a quarter of a million more than in 2015. The airline registered growth on its European, African and North American networks. Out of the 7.7 million passengers, 6.5 million flew on a European flight, 883,995 travellers flew to and from Africa and 290,836 passengers travelled to or from North America. The seat load factor decreased slightly, to 74.9%. The seat offer, expressed in available seat-kilometers increased by 6.8% and the revenue passenger kilometers grew by 7.4%
The airline’s passenger growth was accomplished despite very difficult market circumstances. The results of 2016 are very positive considering the terror attacks in March, which led to a significant decrease in the number of foreign passengers travelling to Belgium. 2016 was a tough year for point-to-point traffic to Brussels. Although this was partly compensated by an increase in the number of transfer passengers, it is clear that Belgium needs to be further promoted abroad as a touristic and economic destination.
Highlights of 2016 included the launch of Brussels Airlines’ very first service to Canada (Toronto), the expansion of the European network with many new destinations, the launch of the new Economy Privilege product on long haul flights, the opening of new airport lounges “The Suite” in Brussels and Kinshasa and the fleet harmonization project to replace regional aircraft by larger Airbus aircraft.
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