Brussels Airlines today revealed that it has processed less than a third of refund requests filed as a result of over 36,000 flights cancelled following the onset of Covid-19.

The carrier said that it had received over one million calls to its service centre since the start of the crisis, and compared this to the 400,000 calls it received over the whole of 2019.

It admitted that “despite a maximum number of service agents and the 24/7 call centre service, the airline regrets that it wasn’t able to provide its guests with the service level they are used to receive at Brussels Airlines and customers requesting a refund are facing long waiting times”.

Brussels Airlines has so far received refund requests to the value of €122 million, and said it had processed 31 per cent of requests so far.

It pledged to resolve “the bulk of the refund backlog by the end of October”, with the exception of “more complex requests, such as bookings involving several airlines”.

Covid-19 led the Lufthansa Group carrier to ground its entire fleet for three months, with flights gradually resuming from mid-June.

The EU Commission recently approved a €460 million ‘Stablisation Package’ for the carrier, consisting of €290 million from the Belgian Federal government and a further €170 million from Lufthansa.

Last week Lufthansa Group said that all refund applications for the first half of the year to the end of June would be processed and paid by the end of August.

Lufthansa Group processes 140,000 refunds in seven days

Commenting on the news Dieter Vranckx, CEO of Brussels Airlines said:

“We are well aware that the last weeks and months have been extremely difficult for our passengers affected by schedule changes or flight cancellations and we sincerely apologize for the inconveniences caused by overloaded call centres and delays in terms of our response time, especially for the processing of ticket refunds.

“But rest assured, every passenger who is entitled to a refund and who applied for it, will be reimbursed within the coming weeks.”