Belgium’s largest carrier, Brussels Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo on November 1st. The aircraft registered OO-SBA took off from Toulouse, France, bound for Brussels Airport, where it was received by the airline, which is part of the Lufthansa Group.
Founded in 2006 to fill the gap left by Sabena’s bankruptcy, Brussels Airlines had not yet received a new aircraft directly from the manufacturer.
The agreement with Airbus foresees the delivery of five A320neo by the end of 2024. They will join the current fleet of 43 aircraft, all from the European planemaker, including 16 A319, 19 A320 and nine A330-300.
The cabin configuration chosen by Brussels has 180 seats in a single class and is expected to replace the A319s at first. The jets are equipped with Leap-1A engines supplied by CFM International.
“It is crucial for us to modernize our fleet to be able to reduce our carbon footprint. The A320neo reduces both noise and CO2 footprint significantly compared to the current generation of A320s. We are happy to get the first brand-new aircraft directly from Airbus in Toulouse, to be followed by 4 more by the end of next year. This is a milestone in our history, so today is really a moment of pride,” said Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO, Brussels Airlines.
Experience with the SSJ100
The introduction of the A320neo, an aircraft widely used by airlines around the world, is a contrast to Brussels’ unusual experience a few years ago.
The airline, which has already flown ERJ 145, Boeing 737, BAe 146, Avro RJ85 and RJ100 jets in addition to the Dash 8 turboprop, also had four Russian SSJ100 models in its service.
The regional jets originally manufactured by Sukhoi were operated under an agreement with the Irish CityJet between March 2017 and January 2019.
The aircraft, however, was not capable of offering availability and reliability in service and the contract was terminated ahead of schedule.