Brussels Airlines looks for Airbus A330 replacement

Belgian flag carrier Brussels Airlines has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for its Airbus A330 replacement, as it progresses with its Avro RJ100 phase-out, ATW reports.

“For the refleet of the A330, the RFP is already in the market and we’re talking to different lessors,” a Brussels Airlines spokeswoman told ATW, adding that the phase-out of its oldest A330s will begin in 2018–19.

Brussels Airlines currently operates nine A330s. A 10th aircraft is due to arrive to operate its new Brussels–Mumbai service, which will open in March 2017. The 5X-weekly Mumbai route, which will be operated by A330s in a three-class configuration, is being launched following Jet Airways’ decision to switch its main European base from Brussels to Amsterdam.

“[This] will be the first time that the Belgian airline [will land] on the Asian continent,” Brussels Airlines said. “With more than 50,000 passengers per year, Mumbai is the third-most-important intercontinental destination from Belgium.”

Beyond the nine A330s, Brussels Airlines operates eight RJ100s, 20 A319s and nine A320s. However, the RJ100s are leaving the fleet; the last will be phased out in November 2017.

Between January and May 2017, five of the remaining eight RJ100s (OO-DWA, OO-DWJ, OO-DWK, OO-DWL and OO-DWB) will exit at the rate of one per month. A further two (OO-DWC and OO-DWE) will go in September, followed by the final aircraft (OO-DWD) in November.

Brussels Airlines uses wet-leased aircraft to fly to smaller airports. The airline currently has two BMI Regional Embraers and two Flybe Bombardier Q400s operating these services. The spokeswoman said there is no plan to change this model.

“We are upgrading to larger aircraft which can offer more seats,” the spokeswoman said. “We are definitely moving toward A319s and A320s. We want to move toward a more unified fleet to bring down costs and simplify our maintenance.”

Brussels Airlines has already taken delivery of four A319s and two A320s in 2016. Two more A320s will join the fleet in 2017.

Given the carrier’s push to create an all-Airbus fleet, Airbus seems a likely choice for the A330 renewal, but the spokeswoman stressed that the talks are at an early stage and no decision has been made.

The author: Clémentine FORISSIER

Clémentine Forissier, a youthful journalist hailing from Brussels, has been making waves in the field of media. Despite her relatively young age, she has quickly risen to prominence as a prominent voice in Belgian journalism. Known for her fresh perspective and dynamic reporting, Clémentine has become a recognized figure in the Brussels media scene, offering insightful coverage of various topics.

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