The Belgian air scene has been an absolute mess for the last few years, but it finally looks like some sanity will be arriving thanks to a merger between the country’s two largest carriers.
For years and year, Sabena owned the skies over Belgium. That airline had an extensive network to several continents and really there wasn’t much competition within the country. In 1996, Virgin took over a smaller Belgian airline and transformed it into Virgin Express, arguably Europe’s first low cost carrier.
Back in 2001, Sabena collapsed in relation to the meltdown of its partial owner, Swissair. At that time, a smaller carrier, SN Brussels, was resurrected from the ashes on a much smaller scale. The airline focused on intra-European flying along with some long haul Africa routes to former Belgian colonies. The US flying was dropped completely.
Both airlines have limped along since that time. SN Brussels has held its own, but it hasn’t been particularly successful. Meanwhile, Virgin Express could easily be determined a failure since it has barely grown while other European low cost carriers have exploded around the continent. It’s financial performance has been less than stellar as well.
This has led both of these airlines to tie the knot and form the new Brussels Airlines in the spring. You can read the press release here (PDF).
Really, this isn’t huge news for most of the world, but the way they are starting to market the new airline is highly amusing. Check out this commercial that is apparently playing locally. Now that’s comedy, and it’s a great way to get some attention.