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TheLocalYokel

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SN have decided to replace the DH4 leased from BE that is currently used on the BRS-BRU route with a BM ER4 from 30th March.

Brussels Airlines to wet-lease an ERJ-145 from bmi regional in Spring - ch-aviation.com

SN2060 BRS 06:10 BRU 08:35 ER4 x7
SN2056 BRS 11:10 BRU 13:30 ER4 x67
SN2058 BRS 17:25 BRU 19:45 ER4 x6

SN2055 BRU 09:50 BRS 10:15 ER4 x67
SN2057 BRU 16:35 BRS 16:55 ER4 x6
SN2059 BRU 21:05 BRS 21:25 ER4 x6
Confirmation of our discussion on 30/31January. Going back to the smaller E45 from the Q400 will certainly be a limiting factor if the impressive passenger growth on this route over the past five years is to continue.

2013's total of 49,046 passengers is an increase of 57% on 2009's total and it's been a steady increase year on year during this period.

It may be that Flybe's situation precluded the continuation of the wet leased Q 400s and bmi regional was the most favourable replacement, rather than a strictly commercial decision based on route performance although average loads in 2013 would still have fitted in the E45, albeit there were probably some days when more than 49 passengers travelled on a sector. That may be the limiting factor that I mentioned.
 

superking

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Looking at the mayfly today and they have the sn2060 out to brussels at 0610 and operated by a dash 8.Is this correct as thought bmi were doing all these flts now. looking at the departure boards and it says departed but no return from bru on arrivals boards or in the mayfly.how strange, perhaps someone has an answer or is boards and mayfly wrong.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Looking at the mayfly today and they have the sn2060 out to brussels at 0610 and operated by a dash 8.Is this correct as thought bmi were doing all these flts now. looking at the departure boards and it says departed but no return from bru on arrivals boards or in the mayfly.how strange, perhaps someone has an answer or is boards and mayfly wrong.
1. There has only been an outbound BRU on Saturdays this summer at 0610 with no return, but on Sundays there is an inbound at 1655 (SN2057), an outbound at 1725 (SN2058) and an inbound at 2125 (SN2059). I don't what the crew and aircraft do after they reach BRU on Saturday morning and before they leave BRU on Sunday afternoon.

2. Since your mentioning it I've checked Mayfly for all of last week and all of next week and each SN flight (or SAB as its shown in Mayfly) is indicated as a DH 4 but with 32 seats! I was at BRS on Friday morning and the mid morning to BRU was certainly a bmi regional E145 despite Mayfly's assertion that it would be a 32-seat DH4.
 

TheLocalYokel

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From the end of last winter's programme bmi regional took over from Flybe the operation of Brussels Airlines' BRS-BRU route with the smaller E 145 replacing the Q 400. In February I wondered whether this would have a limiting effect on loads as there might be some days (probably not that many) when the 49-seat E 145 would be inadequate in size - see below quote.

Confirmation of our discussion on 30/31January. Going back to the smaller E45 from the Q400 will certainly be a limiting factor if the impressive passenger growth on this route over the past five years is to continue.

2013's total of 49,046 passengers is an increase of 57% on 2009's total and it's been a steady increase year on year during this period.

It may be that Flybe's situation precluded the continuation of the wet leased Q 400s and bmi regional was the most favourable replacement, rather than a strictly commercial decision based on route performance although average loads in 2013 would still have fitted in the E45, albeit there were probably some days when more than 49 passengers travelled on a sector. That may be the limiting factor that I mentioned.
It does seem that my concerns were misplaced. The BRU route continues its growth of the past few years being currently 10.9% up on this time last year.

In the first two months of the bmi regional operation (April and May) loads did drop by 9% and 4% respectively but June, July and August have seen respective percentage rises of 7%, 13% and 22%. So in the five months of the bmi regime total loads are up 4.9% on the same period last year under Flybe.
 

tpm

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I have switched to using the Eurostar for my recent trips to Belgium (you can book it all in one go), the fares with Brussels Airlines were prohibitive, so things must be going well for them.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I have switched to using the Eurostar for my recent trips to Belgium (you can book it all in one go), the fares with Brussels Airlines were prohibitive, so things must be going well for them.
Crikey, the yield ought to be pretty good then.

What's the overall time from the Bristol area to Brussels by Eurostar, assuming (perhaps wrongly) that you also travel from the West Country to London by train?

My wife and I have used Eurostar for leisure trips several times but we usually take the train from Bristol to London the previous day.
 

alphagolf

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This evening I have booked next summers holiday flights to Malaga flying from Bristol via Brussels.

Flight prices with the Charters, Thomson/Thomas Cook and Low Costs, Ryanair, Monarch, Vueling, BA etc with relatively good flights times are ranging from £1100 to £2000 for 2 Adults and 2 Kids and minimum of 40kg of Hold Luggage.

However booking with Brussels Airlines I have paid £755, with 23kg of luggage each, admittedly a longer overall journey time but why fly direct when you save yourself a huge amount of money flying in-direct.

When easyJet released flights up to end of May 2015, a test booking came out at over £1600, so the low costs are always the lowest cost.
 

tpm

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It's about 5.5 hours from Temple Meads to Brussels Midi station. I'd say it's about 4 hours to go by plane from TM if you don't cut it too tight (30 mins TM to airport, 30 mins checking+security, 30 mins boarding before take-off, 30 mins slack, 1 hour flight, 30 mins taxiing, waiting to disembark, pick up luggage and get to trains, 30 mins train to midi incl. wait). In my case I need to go to West Flanders, so I get off at Lille and take the train into Belgium from there, whilst a train from Brussels airport would add another 1.5 hours, so that makes it pretty much the same in terms of travel time. (Apologies for straying off-topic).
 

Aviador

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Whilst the train can be a comfortable journey I would say many people only take into account the actual travel time without including the time spent checking-in and waiting around. Personally even if the door to door time was equal between air and rail travel the shorter travel time by air would win for me rather than being stuck on a train for hours.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Thank you for the train/plane comparison tpm.

Interesting that the SN air fares seem so high but that next year they beat the low cost airlines and charter airlines for BRS-AGP. It may be that the long lead-in time to the journey itself means competitive fares whereas those booked nearer the flight date are substantially dearer (a la easyJet et al).

My only negative point in travelling from Bristol to Belgium by train, when not in holiday mode when time is of less importance, would be the cross-London journey from Paddington to St Pancras. Taxi, underground or bus can all have their own problems at times.
 

tpm

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Was on the last flight back from BRU to BRS on Friday and caught a glimpse of the computer screens at the gate which said that 33 out of the 39 pax on that flight were transfer passengers. Which I find quite surprising. Maybe it's just the time of day or a one-off, but you'd think that the whole of Belgium must generate more than 6 passengers returning home at the end of a day and/or week!

In case of Amsterdam, Bristol seems to be able to support not only 4 KLM flights (with larger jets than the Embraer used on the BRU route), but also a daily Easyjet flight. Wonder why Brussels/Belgium is served less well comparatively. Can't be just the lack attraction for hen parties or the Eurostar. Out of curiosity: did Ryanair ever operate from Bristol to Charleroi?
 

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Brussels and Belgium generally seem something of an acquired taste from the UK by air and are not that popular. How much the Eurostar is to blame I don't know.

Looking at the CAA stats for 2014 (2015's final figures won't be published for a couple of months or so) these UK airports had scheduled services to BRU.

Heathrow 575,000 annual passengers
Manchester 165,000
Birmingham 120,000
Gatwick 98,000
Edinburgh 90,000
Bristol 52,000
East Midlands 21,000
Newcastle 21,000

How many of these involved transfer passengers is unknown.

Many other UK airports have had BRU services in the past but they haven't lasted: SOU, LBA, CWL and MME from personal memory.

BRS has had an unbroken BRU service for well over 20 years from the Sabena days. I remember flying back one Sunday evening in the early/mid 1990s from BRU to BRS in a 30-seat Sabena Embraer 120 'Brasilia'. There was a full meal service then. Sabena and its successors progressed to DH 8-300s and then 80-seat ARJs (at one time up to 4 daily) on the BRS route. Around 2007 my wife and I flew BRS-BRU-BRS on an ARJ.

Since 2008 the annual passenger figures on BRS-BRU have seen a steady improvement:

2008 36,000
2009 31,000
2010 38,000
2011 43,000
2012 42,000
2013 49,000
2014 52,000
2015 57,000 (provisional)

Charleroi had only two UK routes in 2014 and that applies now. They were Ryanair flights from MAN (167,000 passengers in 2014) and EDI (63,000). It's probably safe to say that most of these passengers would have been point to point. BRS has never had a Charleroi service.

The only other Belgian airport that sees scheduled traffic from the UK is Antwerp with 56,000 from London City and 11,000 from Southend in 2014.
 

tpm

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Thanks YL. Just to satisfy my own curiosity I went and compared passenger numbers to Manchester and Edinburgh, taking CAA data from January 2015:

BRS:
Brussels 3 969
Amsterdam 25 648
=> Belgium = 15% of Netherlands

MAN:
Brussels 13 316
Charleroi 12 420
Amsterdam 58 065
Eindhoven 4 387
=> Brussels BRU = 23% of AMS
=> Belgium = 40% of Netherlands

EDI:
Brussels 5 660
Charleroi 5 098
Amsterdam 35 444
=> Brussels BRU = 16% of AMS
=> Belgium = 30% of Netherlands

Maybe that's a bit of a silly way of looking at it, but it may be worth noting that both Manchester and Edinburgh have a Charleroi service that's almost equal in pax to the BRU one. This makes me wonder if there's not significant suppressed demand for flights to Belgium from BRS that could be picked up by Ryanair or Easyjet, at the right price. I'm sure they'd be doing it if they thought it worthwhile, it just seems slightly inconsistent to me.
 

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It's perhaps relevant to note that such airports as Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast (neither airport) and Leeds-Bradford have no Belgian scheduled service at all.

easyJet has a number of mainland European destinations at BRU but only to LGW in the UK and that will cease in March.

At Charleroi Ryanair has the MAN and EDI we previously discussed but its many other routes from there are to mainland Europe. Ryanair also has about a dozen routes from BRU to Iberia and Italy, plus DUB and LCA.

Ryanair said in an interview given in connection with BRS and devolved APD that it makes far more money per passenger in Europe than in the UK, citing the UK's onerous air passenger duty (I'm not so naive that I don't realise that it was another useful opportunity to have a pop at UK APD which Ryanair detests).

I'm not sure about Charleroi. easyJet's new Basle route seems to be struggling a bit with passenger numbers and, perhaps surprisingly, Vienna is not setting the world alight either.
 

kraktoa

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Not surprisingly a good number of travellers on the Vienna route are Slovakian passengers. Mainly British holiday makers but also fair amount of Slovakian born UK residents who probably live too far away from Kosice.
 

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Following today's terrorist outrage at BRU the Brussels Airlines (operated by bmi regional) service between BRS and BRU has been all but cancelled. The first outbound of the day was in the air when the first incident occurred at BRU and local press reports say the flight was diverted to 'another Brussels airport' - Charleroi?

The return did not operate and the two rotations later today were cancelled. Tomorrow all three rotations have been cancelled as BRU remains closed.

The authorities are hoping to re-open BRU on Thursday but I suspect if that does happen it will be a limited operation.
 

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No passenger flights until 27 March included
Following the terrorist attacks of Tuesday 22 March, there will be no passenger flights into and out of Brussels Airport until Sunday 27 March included.

Because the forensic investigation is still underway, we currently have no access to the building. Until we can assess the damage, it remains unclear when we can resume operations.
http://www.brusselsairport.be/en/alarm/69875/
 

TheLocalYokel

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BRS website showing SN2058 which departs at 1730 today as 'self-service-checkin', instead of cancelled as has been the case with all these BRU flights since the terrorist attacks.
 

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Further to my previous post, the BRS website shows SN2058 to BRU today as 'departed'.

Tomorrow all three departures (SN2060 at 0605, SN2056 at 1035 and SN2058 at 1730) are all showing 'self check-in' on the BRS website departures page. For the past (nearly) three weeks they have always been shown as 'cancelled'.
 
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