With vaccination programs underway in many countries and demand for travel slowly starting to pick up for summer Brussels Airlines prepares its operations for a gradual build-up of its flight offers.
1. Training pilots, crew and ground staff
In aviation, nothing is left to chance and safety is at all times the highest priority. The training department has worked out a thorough and intensive training program to make sure that their pilots are ready to take off again.
At the beginning of April the first group began training. Each pilot takes approximately one month to complete the program and it includes 14 hours of theoretical training, including self-study and classroom training to review all flight and aircraft procedures, 12 hours of simulator and 10 to 20 flights with an instructor, depending on the experience of the pilot.
Last but not least, every pilot performs a line check before they are released to fly on their own again. There are 150 pilots who will go through this complete training and they expect to finish the training by summer. The rest 400 pilots have been training regularly.
As for the cabin crew, on 1 May, 130 cabin colleagues who have been in full temporary unemployment will gradually be retrained for flying duties within seven to ten days of refresher courses, depending on the type of flights they operate (short haul or long haul), and several familiarization flights to have all safety procedures and Covid-related hygiene measures fresh in mind when they welcome our passengers on board again.
2. Getting the aircrafts ready
As of today, 21 of 38 aircraft are operational. In order to increase their flight offers, they need to get more aircrafts back in the air to prepare for summer.
Some aircrafts have been parked since March 2020 and to reactivate them, the maintenance teams go through thorough procedures, checking every nook and cranny of the fuselage and moving parts, and doing test runs on all electronic systems. They test the engines, replace life vests and other safety equipment if they are expired, and get the cabin ready with a thorough cleaning. Finally, they run a test flight to give the aircraft a final GO for operations. The de-storage process takes approximately 200 man-hours per aircraft.
3. Hygiene measures
Welcoming more passengers means that it is important to emphasize that the airlines continue to apply the same Covid-10 measures as before. These include a mandatory face mask during the entire flight for every passenger as of six years old, row by row boarding and deboarding to avoid queues in the aircraft, extra disinfection of the aircraft and of course proper hand hygiene. All aircrafts are equipped with HEPA filters that continuously supply clean air onboard.
As usual, passengers who feel unwell are asked not to travel, to protect the health of other passengers and our crew. As many countries still have specific restrictions, passengers are asked to check the requirements before they travel. And of course, they continue to offer rebookable tickets so our customers have maximum flexibility to change their travel plans and they can book their flights with peace of mind.