Brussels Airlines posts record profits, but threat of strikes remains

Brussels Airlines achieved record results last year. Revenue climbed back to pre-pandemic levels and operating profit reached 53 million euros, the airline announced on Thursday.

In 2022, Brussels Airlines made an operating loss of 75 million euros. But 19 per cent more flights, an expanded network, high demand and higher margins led to an improvement in 2023, the company said. For the full year, it carried 8.3 million passengers, 21 per cent more than in 2022.

"We are proud to end 2023 with a nice profit after an intensive reorganisation and several years of losses," said finance director Nina Öwerdieck in a press release. "But we still have a long way to go before we reach our target profit margin of 8 per cent and before we can really talk about a sustainably profitable company."

Social unrest

Brussels Airlines plans to hire 250 new employees this year. By the end of 2023, the airline will employ 3,394 people, many of whom are unhappy with their wages. Since the beginning of this year, unions have held regular strikes, costing the company around 4 million euros.

Brussels Airlines has been negotiating with the unions and is proposing an average 6 per cent "increase in purchasing power" for its employees. CEO Dorothea von Boxberg said this was the company's final offer: "Even if there are more strikes, we will not go further than this."

"Even if there are more strikes, we will not go further than this"

For now, unions are not satisfied with this offer, Öwerdieck said. In some cases they are said to have demanded three times what management is offering, and further strikes cannot be ruled out. But the Brussels Airlines management says that would be fruitless: "We are at the limit of what we can offer."



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