russels Airlines has seen a slight increase in bookings for holiday destinations over the past few weeks, the airline said on Tuesday.
It is the first positive sign since the start of Belgium’s second lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
Several factors could explain the rise in bookings, including the usual increase in bookings in December and January as people travel for the holidays. Positive news regarding Covid-19 vaccines could also have an impact.
For example, the UK on Tuesday started vaccinating people with the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine after approving the vaccine on 2 December.
People over 65 in particular seem to want to travel, according to Yves Meyers, a travel agent in the province of Limburg who told Het Laatste Nieuws that there was “a flood of requests for offers and also reservations” in the past few days.
Nevertheless, 2020 has been a difficult year for Brussels Airlines, as it was for many other companies in the aviation industry. In November, the airline announced that it had lost €233 million in the first nine months of this year, primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Belgian government came to the company’s aid with a €290 million relief package, made up of a loan of €287 million and a capital injection of €3 million, after months of negotiations in which then-Finance Minister Alexander De Croo pushed for growth assurances for Belgium’s air travel industry.