Expatica news

Virgin and SN Brussels to join forces

16 March 2004

BRUSSELS – Virgin airlines and SN Brussels, the company that rose from the ashes of defunct Belgian carrier Sabena, on Tuesday said that they would join forces.

But the two companies, which both fly out of Zaventem airport just outside of Brussels, stopped short of announcing a fully-blown merger.

In a carefully worded joint statement they said Virgin and SN Brussels would remain separate entities but be placed under common ownership.

The details of the joint venture still have to be finalised.

But the two companies said they expected “considerable mutual benefits” if the deal goes ahead as planned.

The two said their planned co-operation should “offer the market two airlines with different brands and products to satisfy the growing needs of the competitive market in Belgium: a flexible full service and a low fare airline.”

The two also promised that their join-up would present “no product confusion” for customers. 

SN Brussels and Virgin have been talking about a possible joint venture for several months.

Some analysts say their decision to announce their plan on Tuesday may have been hastened by cut-price Irish airline Ryanair’s recent announcement that it will be ending flights between London and Charleroi airport in southern Belgium.

That route carries over 360,000 passengers a year, and BMI, another airline that flies out of Zaventem, has already made it clear it would like a part of that business.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news