By the end of 2006 Belgium should finally have a quasi-national carrier capable of taking on Ryanair at something like it’s own low-cost game.
The full integration of SN Brussels and Virgin Express is unlikely to be completed within the year, but if newly appointed chief executive of the two carriers Neil Burrows (above) has his way the combined force will become more competitive as 2006 goes on.
It has taken a while to get to this stage, a process complicated by what one source close to the carriers describes as the inevitable “Belgian politics”. The two carriers came under a common holding company – SN Airholding – in October 2004. A year later the executive chairman and chief executive of SN Brussels resigned suddenly.
Now Burrows, who has led Virgin Express for 5 years, takes the helm. He has a tough job, but on the plus side SN Brussels and Virgin Express seem to be able to stick around when others have fallen.
Read the exclusive Airline Business interview with Neil Burrows.