This is gonna be interesting........a new combined brand will be introduced, over the past years, the SN
Brussels has done rather well and pax seem to like and respect the product, an amazing turnaround from the Sabena days. I really do not expect SN
Brussels to walk away from this progress, and I guess that the new combined product and image will emphasize the SN
Brussels brand and phase out the Virgin brand. Its clear that the combined SN
Brussels wants to compete in both the higher yeild biz markets and the low fare markets, so it will be tricky, but the managment of SN
has done suprisingly well in the past years, so they should be able to pull this off.
As for new routes, again and again, SN
Brussels management has stated that it wants to stay away from the crowded and highly competitive transatlantic market, and that the code share arrangement with AA
was fine for its needs. SN
Brussels will look beyond Africa for longhaul, my guess would be new routes to the Gulf, India, China and Asia........all growing markets with increased demand.....there is little or no nonstop service current from BRU
to these key business destinations. Opportunities in flying to India, China, etc would probably be far more financially interesting that fighting it out with Delta, America and Continental on the BRU
And, the fleet.....additional longer haul aircraft will be needed, my guess is that SN
Brussels will look for additional A330s for its near-term needs....likely A332s will be added to gain range for new destinations. Remember, the SN
A330s are early build -light- shorter range variants of the A333. In the future, we are very likely to see a 787 vs A350 competition at the newly branded SN
Brussels. As for the 130-160 pax market, anything can happen.....A32X or 737NG, a case can be made for both but I have a feeling that we may see a big surprise with a 737NG order....Sabena did love their 737s and Virgin has done quite well with the type. At some point, the RJ
/146 fleet will need replacement......the E175/195 family looks like the ideal choice, but time will tell.
In any case, the SN
Brussels story has been a remarkable one, they have survived and done well against all of the odds.....I hope that their success continues into the future.