Brussels Airlines has announced its first quarter financial performance, showing reductions of its EBIT losses despite increased costs in the low season.
First Quarter Performance
Brussels Airlines finished Q1 2023 with a loss of 44 million EUR EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes). It was reported this was an improvement of 29% compared to the same period in 2022.
The improvement in its EBIT results was attributable to the increase in the airline’s revenue. The carrier made 123 million EUR in additional revenue, a year-on-year increase of 79%. Total revenue was 280 million for the quarter.
Comparing the route network and compacity, Q1 2022 was still impacted by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Q1 2023 results show an increase in Available Seat-Kilometres (ASKs) by 37%.
Last year’s capacity was at 61% of the 2019 levels. This year’s quarter increased to 84% of the 2019 levels.
The European Winter months are generally the lowest-performing period of the year for airlines, which results in reduced revenue. This Winter also saw increasing fuel prices and inflation.
For Brussels, its operating expenses increased by 123 million EUR, or 54% compared to the previous year. Total operating expenses were reported at 350 million EUR.
The airline attributed the increase to the combination of increased volume and increased costs due to fuel costs and inflation.
Nina Oewerdieck, Chief Financial Officer at Brussels Airlines, said: “The results of this first quarter are in line with our expectations.”
“The improvement of our Revenues by almost 79% and the Adjusted EBIT by 29% gives us confidence and confirms we are on track to reach solid black results for the whole of 2023.”
Building for Summer
The airline is making preparations for the European Summer season, tipped to the busiest since 2019 with most of the travel restrictions having been removed globally.
“For several months now, we are in continuous dialogue with the different communities within our company and our union delegates.”
“The responsibility for the future of our airline is shared by all participants. We are confident to find agreements with all employee groups which will ensure a solid base to be prepared for the summer season.” Oewerdieck added.
The carrier will add two wet-leased CRJ-900 aircraft from CityJet from 26 March until 28 October. In-house, there have been two additional Airbus A320s introduced to the fleet to serve its medium-haul network.
The airline plans to grow its operations by 10% this summer with the wet-leasing agreements and new aircraft designed to “grow its fleet in a flexible manner and increase its European offer.”
Confidence in Leadership
The airline has also recently made changes to its senior management team. Dorothea von Boxberg was appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) in April.
In a move that can be seen as a reflection of its confidence in the financial performance, the Board has extended the tenure of Öwerdieck as CFO of the airline for a further five years. She has been in the role since 2020, navigating the airline’s finances through the pandemic.
“Under Nina’s leadership, Brussels Airlines has been able to exit the worst crisis ever in its history by achieving a very strong financial third quarter result in 2022. Furthermore, Nina has successfully led the turnaround plan Reboot Plus and secured an early repayment of the Belgian government loan.”
“I am very happy that Nina will remain member of the Brussels Airlines Management Board for five more years,” Christina Foerster, member of the Lufthansa Group Executive Board and Chairwoman of the SN Airholding Board, said in the statement.
The airline has been able to achieve an early reimbursement of the Belgium government loan received to support it through the pandemic. Her mandate now is to continue to create sustainable profitability for the airline.
Öwerdieck added, “I am grateful for the trust that the SN Airholding Board and Brussels Airlines are placing in me. The extension of my mandate allows me to continue working on a strong future for Belgium’s home carrier.”