Brussels Airlines’ first Airbus A320neo has entered commercial service with the carrier. While not particularly remarkable in itself, the event marks the first time the company has had a brand-new factory-fresh aircraft flying its services in its 17-year history.
Although delivered to the airline from the Airbus plant in Toulouse, France, on November 1, 2023, the newest member of Brussels Airlines’ fleet entered service on December 12, 2023, operating flight SN2905 from Brussels (BRU) to Vienna (VIE).
Departing Brussels at 14:52, the aircraft landed in Vienna just one hour and 10 minutes later at 16:02. The aircraft has since performed multiple sectors visiting various other European cities from its Brussels base including Oslo (OSL), Barcelona (BCN), and Frankfurt (FRA).
All passengers on board the inaugural flight received a small gift as a souvenir to mark the occasion in the form of suikerbonen/dragées, which are special chocolates that are traditionally distributed to celebrate a birth in Belgium. Passengers also received a commemorative birthday card marking the A320neo’s entry into service.
The aircraft, registered OO-SBA, spent the month of November 2023 in the hands of Brussels Airlines’ maintenance department at Brussels Airport undergoing various entry-into-service cabin modifications and final checks before its first commercial service. The aircraft seats up to 180 passengers in a single-class layout.
The introduction of the Airbus A320neo into its fleet represents an important part of Brussels Airlines’ sustainability strategy. The type produces up to 20% less CO2 emissions, uses up to 30% less fuel per seat, and boasts up to 50% less noise than older aircraft in its class.
The quieter cabin also enhances the passenger experience on board, which also offers a flexible lighting system to match the time of day and 40% larger overhead bins for luggage.
“We are happy to get the first brand-new aircraft directly from Airbus in Toulouse, to be followed by 4 more by the end of next year,” said Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO of Brussels Airlines.
The airline is in the process of modernizing its short-haul fleet with the arrival of the A320neo. The type is due to replace the airline’s aging A319 fleet of which it currently operates 15 of the type. The average age of these aircraft is almost 19 years old with many having previously served with Brussels Airlines predecessor, SN Brussels Airlines, before its merger with Virgin Express in 2005.
As an all-Airbus airline, the company also operates a fleet of 18 A320ceos plus nine A330-300s for long-haul services. Brussels Airlines has ambitious fleet renewal plans going forward, with four more A320neos scheduled to join the fleet in the coming months.