Lufthansa has announced plans to buy SN Airholding, the parent company of Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines.
Subject to antitrust clearance and approval by the boards of the two airlines, Lufthansa will initially acquire a 45 per cent stake in SN Airholding for €65m, with an option to purchase the remaining 55 per cent after two years.
Lufthansa says it plans to run Brussels Airlines as a “self-dependently operating airline within the Lufthansa affiliated group”, similar to Swiss following its takeover by the German carrier.
The move will give Lufthansa access to one of Europe’s most lucrative business hubs, and one which has both capacity to grow and is potentially close enough to London to compete with UK aviation. It will also give the German carrier access to Brussels Airlines’ profitable African routes, an area of the world where Lufthansa is not so strong.
Aside from Africa, Brussels Airlines flies to over 50 destinations throughout Europe, and was itself created by the merger between SN Brussels and Virgin Express in 2005. The takeover of the Belgian carrier by Lufthansa is likely to lead to Brussels Airlines joining Star Alliance (of which Lufthansa is a founding member), putting paid to rumours that the airline would align itself with rival alliance Oneworld.
Report by Mark Caswell