Brussels Airlines is preparing for its gradual summer relaunch.
In addition to getting the planes ready to hit the skies again, the airline is training the cabin and cockpit crew and ground operations colleagues.
“In aviation, nothing is left to chance and safety is at all times the highest priority. Therefore, our Training department worked out a very thorough and intensive training programme to make sure we fully prepare our pilots to take off again,” the airline stated in an official release.
The first group started their training at the beginning of April. For each pilot, the programme takes approximately one month to complete and includes 14 hours of theoretical training, including self-study and classroom trainings to review all flight and aircraft procedures, 12 hours of simulator and ten to 20 flights with an instructor. Every pilot performs a line check before they are released to fly on their own again.
In total 150 pilots need to go through this complete training. Around 400 other pilots have continuously been trained during the past months.
Similarly, as of May 1, 130 cabin crew members who have been in full temporary unemployment will gradually be retrained for flying duties with seven to ten days of refresher courses, depending on the type of flights they operate. All safety procedures and Covid-related hygiene measures will be a part of the training.
Refresher courses are also being arranged for on-ground staff.
At present, 21 of the airline’s 38 aircraft are operational.
Brussels Airlines stated, “As aircraft are made to fly, not to stand on the ground, we have kept busy meticulously maintaining our birds while they were inactive, in order to keep them in great shape once we could reactivate them.
“To reactivate an aircraft after such a long period (some have been parked since March 2020), our maintenance teams go through thorough procedures, checking every nook and cranny of the fuselage and moving parts, checking every valve and tube, and test-running all electronic systems.”
They test the engines, replace life vests and other safety equipment if they are expired, and get the cabin ready with a thorough cleaning. They, then run a test flight to give the aircraft a final go for operations.
The safety and hygiene measures include mandatory face mask during the entire flight (as of arrival at the airport) for every passenger as of six years old, row-wise boarding and de-boarding, extra disinfection of the aircraft and proper hand hygiene. The aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters.
Besides, the airline is offering rebookable tickets, so customers have flexibility to change their travel plans and they can book their flights with peace of mind.