And on the competition side, all eyes are on other low-cost players like TUI (with TUIfly Belgium, ex-JetAir) or the Hungarian Wizz Air… Even Brussels Airlines. Nature abhors a vacuum.
From “pipe“to silence dissent
Some “pipe” also for Alain Vanalderweireldt, the president of the BECA (Belgian Association of Airline Pilots): “It is a pure strategy of balance of power to silence the challenge of the Belgian pilots. It will tense the situation and make things even worse. The other hypothesis, namely to operate in our country exclusively with crews or aircraft based abroad also seems economically and technically very complicated. They can do part of the operations from Italy, Spain, but it’s less lucrative for them, more restrictive. They adore Charleroi, it is their historical cash cow, and with Brussels they are strategic places, with a real clientele with high purchasing power from which it would be unwise in the long term to withdraw; so it’s bodybuilding on their part.”
Bluff then? Likely. Possible… The Charleroi-Brussels South base is indeed for the low cost company no less than 121 destinations, a real strategic nerve center and even the first continental airport, the third most profitable base in Europe in total for Ryanair after Dublin historic base and London Stansted – without forgetting all the same 16 other destinations from Brussels-Zaventem. A total of 9 million passengers transported from home.
A withdrawal would therefore mean a solid cascade of line cuts, this while the company is surfing on the end of the covid period, has seen its traffic finally explode again since the beginning of 2022 with a very strong recovery for the entire air sector – often poorly anticipated by most companies – and multiplies the announcements of new routes.
The unions therefore consider it unlikely that management will suddenly give the signal for a contraction and a resizing of its offer when it will need all its lines and bases to meet demand.