brightcedars
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SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:10 am

Worthy of a new topic without misleading words in the title (no pun intended).

SN Brussels Airlines has issued its press release on the merger between SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express.

Most interesting part of the release if you ask me is the following:

Quote:
Network

The current network will be further optimised with greater emphasis being placed on the major economic centres of Europe.

The strategic plan also envisages an expansion of the medium and long haul fleets - the latter to extend long haul destinations to continents other than Africa. In conjunction with this, projects are currently also under way to participate in local intra Africa airlines’ ventures, in order to give greater support to certain existing routes.

Negotiations with aircraft lessors and manufacturers, to allow this expansion, were started some time ago.

Comment welcome!
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PlaneGuy27
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:12 am

We need competition on the IAD-BRU route. Come back SN.
 
MEA-707
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:14 am

I guess they will just expand and optimize their codeshares to the US and Asia. The biggest lessons Sabena learned is that they, with their relative high cost (labor) structure can never make a profit on flights to the US or Bangkok/Tokyo kind of Asia destinations where Y class returns start around 300 resp. 500 euro.
Pity they didn't tell anything of fleet updates. Will they use Virgins clapped out 737-300s to Barcelona, Madrid, London kind of European main destinations for long?
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ka
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:20 am

The 2 ex-SN A332 flying for LH (D-AIMD/ME) at the moment until end of Su06 are no longer listed for lease....

Are they heading back to SN??

KA.
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BestWestern
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:26 am

Quoting BrightCedars (Thread starter):
greater emphasis being placed on the major economic centres of Europe.

Is this a move away from Sun Sea Sand routes towards major European business destinations?

Is this a move away from regional cities in the UK?
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brightcedars
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:30 am

I sincerely hope that expansion of the medium haul fleet (and network) will be meaning the opening of the Beirut station in a not too distant future!
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manni
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:30 am

I wonder wich of todays modern longhaul aircraft seat only 220 people. Could that be a A332 in a very comfortable layout?

As for destinations outside Europe and other than Africa, I very much doubt SN is going to burn her money on US flights. I'd put a euro on Montreal and a codeshare with Hainan to a Chinese destination other than the one Hainan intends to fly from to BRU, NRT in codeshare with ANA or JAL could be a possibility aswell IMO.
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MAH4546
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:45 am

Wouldn't be shocked to see them flying to Boston and/or Miami seeing their strong cooperation with American Airlines that is bound to grow.
a.
 
CRGsFuture
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:59 am

Or JFK either, want to see SN back. I hope to go to BRU in the next 5 years, how good is SN's product, better then Sabena's?
Flying you to your destination; your girlfriend to her dreams.
 
Humberside
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:15 am

Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 7):
Wouldn't be shocked to see them flying to Boston and/or Miami seeing their strong cooperation with American Airlines that is bound to grow.

Are AA considering those routes themselves?
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PanAm747LHR
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:38 am

If they start US operations, I wouldn't be surprised to see A) DFW opened up again, or B) a codeshare from DFW with AA, given their already strong cooperation with AA. According to people here in Dallas, SN enjoyed very good loads in and out of DFW for the short time that they operated here.

Nick
 
kiwiandrew

RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:43 am

Quoting PanAm747LHR (Reply 10):
SN enjoyed very good loads in and out of DFW for the short time that they operated here.

loads are one thing , yields are another ... does anyone have any idea whether the service generated money or cost money ?
 
jambo
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:16 am

local intra Africa airlines’ ventures -- what about Air Tanzania?
 
brightcedars
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:23 am

If it is the States I believe Boston was one profitable routes at some point. But maybe operating an AA 757 daily would be better than anything larger or less frequent - even in an eventually better SN layout.

Miami has been talked about a lot but I cannot really see that destination support daily 767 sized flights to/from BRU whether by AA or SN unless it becomes the main and only gateway to Central and Latin America, contradicting recent agreements with Air Madrid. DFW would make sense with the same provisions, adding West Coast connections.

Maybe sending their own metal to JFK while still codesharing with AA replacing the current service or to complement the current daily return with a later in the day or even evening time second frequency.

Flying to Narita would be cool whoever the codeshare partner is, if any. It was also one yielding destination and a good feed for African services. But yields have lowered on Japan routes in the last years and there are now shorter, more comfortable ways to go from Japan to Africa that SN cannot compete with e.g. Emirates.

And I'm really hoping to see Beirut introduced as a medium haul destination!
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baw716
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:47 am

BrightCedars:
Questions:
1) Who is the surviving brand? SN Brussels? (I assume this since they are talking about long haul expansion and I can't believe that the Virgin license will be granted for long haul operations that may compete with VS).

2) To expand long haul, they are going to need more aircraft. Will the aircraft leased to LH come back and/or will SN acquire additional aircraft to handle this expansion?

3) I find it interesting that they were so vague about where they intended to expand beyond "their flights to Africa". Far East is obvious, but how will SN differentiate itself from the many other carriers that fly to these long haul destinations?

Thanks
baw716
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
 
brightcedars
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:11 am

Quoting BAW716 (Reply 14):
1) Who is the surviving brand? SN Brussels? (I assume this since they are talking about long haul expansion and I can't believe that the Virgin license will be granted for long haul operations that may compete with VS).

A whole new brand will be rolled out at the end of the Summer. SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express will cease to exist. Speculations are open as far as the new brand is concerned: Sabena? SNV? Who knows?!

Quoting BAW716 (Reply 14):
2) To expand long haul, they are going to need more aircraft. Will the aircraft leased to LH come back and/or will SN acquire additional aircraft to handle this expansion?

We don't know. They state they have been in touch with leasors and manufacturers. My heart hopes Boeing will support them with sweet prices to regain what once was a prime customer. Will there be a 737-829 or even a 787-829? I guess an order for 767-329s at this point would help Boeing keep the 767 line open in light of possible future military orders. Don't know if Boeing would reuse Sabena's customer code though. Are there known precedents?

Quoting BAW716 (Reply 14):
3) I find it interesting that they were so vague about where they intended to expand beyond "their flights to Africa". Far East is obvious, but how will SN differentiate itself from the many other carriers that fly to these long haul destinations?

I'm no insider so I'm sorry I cannot answer that question. Not that I think an insider would answer either, for different motivations.

Thanks for taking a look at my RR  Wink
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CRGsFuture
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:18 am

Cedars with the type of route network SN has, wouldn't a 764 make more sense?
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dutchjet
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:37 am

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-NYC route.

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.
 
brightcedars
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:08 am

Quoting CRGsFuture (Reply 16):
Cedars with the type of route network SN has, wouldn't a 764 make more sense?

I do think so. And indeed if one orders it, Boeing will build it. But wouldn't it have a really bad reselling value? This is the kind of aircraft you'd buy only if you plan to stick with it for it's entire life. Also, range is an issue with the 767-400ER and it's legs are too short for many Asian and even African destinations.

DutchJet, I'm confident that anything happening on the Atlantic front would be in very close cooperation with AA. If SN metal has to be put on a route, it will be part of an agreement with AA.

Service to China, India and eventually Japan maybe on the agenda. But it will be a very tough call unless supported by one of the major alliances. LH has big plans for India, so does BA, and AFKL are not far behind. Same in China, look at AFKL's presence. Same for Japan, so many daily nonstop flights from a 300km radius from BRU. As for the Gulf, I don't think they can fight Gulf carriers on their own turf and O&D must be depressing.

This leads me to wonder what will be the future of the new company as far as joining an alliance is concerned. SN Brussels Airlines seems close to British Airways and American Airlines but has been known to codeshare with anyone willing. Will they join oneworld? It doesn't seem like they have much of a choice with AFKL (SkyTeam) at AMS and CDG and LH (Star Alliance) at FRA. BA seems to be the best party, especially as it focuses on O&D out of LHR and may be willing to take a share of the continent's market by using a less restricted airport like BRU, the best located airport to bother AMS, CDG and FRA altogether. One wet dream would be to have BRU as the oneworld continental hub with carriers like CX. HKG is thought to be one of only a few Asian destinations with a good potential for BRU.
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BA
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:17 am

Quoting BrightCedars (Reply 13):
And I'm really hoping to see Beirut introduced as a medium haul destination!

I'd love that, but I honestly don't see it happening...
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brightcedars
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:26 am

Quoting BA (Reply 19):
I'd love that, but I honestly don't see it happening...

Come on BA. SN used to fly to BEY. The total yield is not very high because of the lack of business class passengers but a red-eye like they run on BRU-TLV (that one has more premium pax but a lower Y yield) would definitely cost not much and bring in some cash.

Same or higher fare than across the Atlantic, half the distance, utilize an aircraft that would otherwise generate no revenue sleeping on the tarmac at night (not like having to actually dedicate metal), minimum service level common for this kind of operation.

There is at least hope!
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IL96M
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:34 am

Quoting BrightCedars (Reply 18):
Also, range is an issue with the 767-400ER and it's legs are too short for many Asian and even African destinations.

Why not just go with the 772?

Thank you,
 
manni
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:42 am

Quoting BrightCedars (Reply 15):
I guess an order for 767-329s at this point would help Boeing keep the 767 line open in light of possible future military orders.

That would b a step back. A 767 with 220 seats including a bussines class section is very tight, SN would also loose out on a lot of cargo, wich the superior A330 would be able to take. Crew would need to be retrained aswell. Depending on the timeframe they plan to introduce the new aircraft I can think of atleast 2 different scenarios.

1) Keep the current widebodys and introduce the smallest 787 if slots are available in 2008.

2) Pull a TAP, and order/lease A332's. The A332 could be configured in a 3 class configuration Busines, premium economy and economy. SN could get them on short notice and when the time is right the A350's can replace these.
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MAH4546
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:38 pm

Quoting BrightCedars (Reply 13):
Miami has been talked about a lot but I cannot really see that destination support daily 767 sized flights to/from BRU whether by AA or S

During the winter, easily filled. During the summer, 5x a week shouldn't be hard. The key is tapping into Miami-Africa traffic to fill the plane with high yielding passengers. Miami is the third largest O&D market between the US and Africa.
a.
 
commavia
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:23 am

One side comment: while I think SN is a good airline, with a great hub operation in BRU, I wish they would change the name. My idea (not sure if it's already taken): European Airways. SN is based in BRU, the home base of the E.U., and 'European' would give it a nice cache across the continent and especially in the U.S., where few people have heard of 'SN Brussels Airlines.'

Quoting PanAm747LHR (Reply 10):
I wouldn't be surprised to see A) DFW opened up again, or B) a codeshare from DFW with AA, given their already strong cooperation with AA.

I, too, would not be surprised to see a restart of the BRU-DFW route, althought I also would not be surprised to see it last only a short time. While it is true that connections over DFW and BRU would be excellent, I am not quite sure if the market can support it. If SN downsizes the route from the A330 it flew around 2000 to a 767 this time around, though, I think it actually could work.

Quoting PanAm747LHR (Reply 10):
According to people here in Dallas, SN enjoyed very good loads in and out of DFW for the short time that they operated here.

From my recollection, the SN flight BRU-DFW-BRU did do fairly well, but this was pre-9/11.

Quoting BrightCedars (Reply 13):
But maybe operating an AA 757 daily would be better than anything larger or less frequent - even in an eventually better SN layout.

I think an AA 757 on BOS-BRU would be a more realistic size aircraft for the market than SN flying a 767.
 
dutchjet
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:47 am

Quoting Commavia (Reply 24):

I, too, would not be surprised to see a restart of the BRU-DFW route, althought I also would not be surprised to see it last only a short time. While it is true that connections over DFW and BRU would be excellent, I am not quite sure if the market can support it. If SN downsizes the route from the A330 it flew around 2000 to a 767 this time around, though, I think it actually could work.

I hate to disagree, but DFW-BRU is a very difficult route: AA flew it with their metal (762s I believe) in the mid 1990s and then SN flew it with A332s for a couple years before the airline closed down. Both times, loads were marginal and yeilds were very poor - most of the pax were travelling to/from Las Vegas and California destinations - ie, leisure traffic. The premium cabin traffic was almost non-existant. Problem is that there is weak O&D on both ends of the route - no one is really going to BRU and no one is really going to Dallas - thus is all about connecting (or multi-connection) traffic which results in poor yeilds.

Quoting Commavia (Reply 24):

From my recollection, the SN flight BRU-DFW-BRU did do fairly well, but this was pre-9/11.

Loads were OK during the summer of 2001 - which was a rather strong travel period - but, as discussed above, the yeilds were not what the should be - and this is before the price of fuel skyrocketed.

Quoting Commavia (Reply 24):

I think an AA 757 on BOS-BRU would be a more realistic size aircraft for the market than SN flying a 767.

I agree - Sabena flew BOS-BRU for years with their A310-300 and the flight was a success; a 757 service would be right move, but a J class cabin would be necessary to balance out the yeilds. Due to the NATO and EU presence at BRU, plus good amount of premium cabin pax transferring to/from African destination, offering J class is rather important.

Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 23):

During the winter, easily filled. During the summer, 5x a week shouldn't be hard. The key is tapping into Miami-Africa traffic to fill the plane with high yielding passengers. Miami is the third largest O&D market between the US and Africa.

As much as I would personally support a MIA-BRU service (I fly BRU-EWR-FLL 10 or 11 times per year roundtrip).....its gonna be difficult to make this flight work. The issue is yeilds - is there enough O&D traffic between MIA and BRU to support the route at fares that make sense to the airlines. When City Bird flew the route, the planes were full but the fares were shockingly cheap....part of the reason that Citybird is no longer with us. When KL/NW tried AMS-MIA, it did not work out as well as expected and in recent years has been flown exclusively by Martinair. The African connection could help - but would it help enough to make the flight a financial success - thats hard to say. MIA is such an interesting destination - its certainly not low yeild anymore and there is biz traffic and premium traffic, but some routes are problematic......AA has thought about MIA-BRU for a long time but never proceeded, I am not optimistic that this route would work.
 
MAH4546
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:59 am

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 25):
As much as I would personally support a MIA-BRU service (I fly BRU-EWR-FLL 10 or 11 times per year roundtrip).....its gonna be difficult to make this flight work. The issue is yeilds - is there enough O&D traffic between MIA and BRU to support the route at fares that make sense to the airlines.

I agree, the issue is yields. Miami's strong yielding European traffic is concentrated on southern Europe - Madrid, Milan, and Paris especially - and London. Northern Europe yields are weaker, and are best accomplished with either a megahub connection, like Lufthansa at Frankfurt, or operating on a holiday airline, like Martinair Holland and LTU. That said, if the AA/SN realationship continues to strengthen, I don't think it will be a problem to pull good yields. Remember, now with Swiss at Star, AA still doesn't have a powerful European partner hub, because AA/BA can't codeshare on London routes. Don't be surprised to see AA and SN develop their relationship to become much stronger in the future. This will allow the missing piece to make MIA-BRU, and possibly DFW-BRU, work. Not to mention the poorly kept secret that American Airlines is expected to announce service to Mumbai for 2007 - with Brussels the likely European stopover point.
a.
 
commavia
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:23 am

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 25):
AA flew it with their metal (762s I believe) in the mid 1990s

I could be mistaken, but I don't think AA ever flew DFW-BRU. I think it was just ORD-BRU, and then JFK-BRU in the early 1990s, which then returned in 2003/2004 after the SN Brussels/AA tie-up.
 
dutchjet
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:28 am

Quoting Commavia (Reply 27):

I could be mistaken, but I don't think AA ever flew DFW-BRU. I think it was just ORD-BRU, and then JFK-BRU in the early 1990s, which then returned in 2003/2004 after the SN Brussels/AA tie-up.

Yep, AA did fly DFW-BRU with their own metal for one or two seasons back in the mid 1990s.......at one point they had 3 flights per day out of BRU: ORD, JFK and DFW. As you pointed out, JFK was dropped at a certain point and returned after the SN/AA tie-up.
 
BA0242
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:56 am

What's about Latin America?

I think there could be a market for SN to countries like Mexico or Brazil (destinations like MEX, CUN, GIG or GRU).

Particularly talking about Mexico, I think there is enough demand for an eventual BRU-MEX-BRU service, maybe 3 times per week or so.
KL, BA, LH, IB, AF and AM are doing a lot of money already with the traffic bewteen Europe and the biggest city in the world (MEX). Would be great to see SN joining that market.
Sabena already flew to MEX ages ago, and CityBird already flew between MEX and BRU in the nineties, so it wouldn't be so rare.


Groetjes/Salutations.
Favourite visitors at MEX: British Airways B747-400 and Japan Airlines B747-400.
 
dutchjet
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:03 am

Quoting BA0242 (Reply 29):
I think there could be a market for SN to countries like Mexico or Brazil (destinations like MEX, CUN, GIG or GRU).

There could be opportunities for SN in Latin America, as you said, Sabena served MEX at one time and other European carriers do especially well with their MEX flights....CUN is too leisure oriented a destination for SN, most Europeans visiting CUN do so by buying a package holiday that includes charter flights.

As for Brazil, VASP flew to BRU in the 1990s with MD11s, between two and four flights per week were operated between BRU and GRU, some with stops in REC, SAL and some continued to GIG. The flights were generally packed, but the fares were rather low, again the yeild issue. J class demand was rather weak (and the J class product was awful, trust me, I flew on these flights several times and the service and product were not good) but that could be more because VASP did not have the best reputation or marketing stength.

There are lots of possibilities, my thoughts are simply that SN will look to the growing Indian and China markets for new opportunities.
 
commavia
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:43 am

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 28):
Yep, AA did fly DFW-BRU with their own metal for one or two seasons back in the mid 1990s.......at one point they had 3 flights per day out of BRU: ORD, JFK and DFW. As you pointed out, JFK was dropped at a certain point and returned after the SN/AA tie-up.

I pulled old AA timetables from the early 1990s, and sure enough, right you were, AA 163 operated BRU-DFW for the summer season 1993. My apologies.
 
dutchjet
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:13 am

Quoting Commavia (Reply 31):

I pulled old AA timetables from the early 1990s, and sure enough, right you were, AA 163 operated BRU-DFW for the summer season 1993. My apologies.

Apologies - hahaha - I just happened to know about the AA BRU-DFW flight because I fly have flown in and out of BRU on a regular basis for about 15 years.

On a more general note, AA has attempted quite a few transatlantic routes that did not work out as planned (or did AA not give the routes adequate time to mature......but that is another discussion) - DFW-BRU is one of many short lived AA transatlantic services.

Regards!!
 
LipeGIG
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RE: SN Brussels Airlines 31/03 Press Release Out!

Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:40 am

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 30):
As for Brazil, VASP flew to BRU in the 1990s with MD11s, between two and four flights per week were operated between BRU and GRU, some with stops in REC, SAL and some continued to GIG. The flights were generally packed, but the fares were rather low, again the yeild issue. J class demand was rather weak (and the J class product was awful, trust me, I flew on these flights several times and the service and product were not good) but that could be more because VASP did not have the best reputation or marketing stength.

Vasp was not the best as you said, but the demand Brazil-Europe has improved a lot since 1990s. If SN can offer a wide range of connections to other European countries, they could be very successful in GRU, GIG and even northeast. Investors like Tractebel, Imbev (Ambev) and Solvay are in Brazil.

Felipe
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