Sun-Air announces Billund – Brussels from 7 September
Denmark’s Sun-Air, the British Airways franchise, has announced it’ll operate Billund – Brussels from 7 September. The 620-kilometre route is currently unserved following Brussels Airlines ending it last month. Jesper Klausholm, Billund Airport’s Chief Marketing Officer, told anna.aero: “In these difficult times, we are truly happy that British Airways, operated by Sun-Air, sees the potential in the market. Its high-frequency operation is vital for West Danish business as well as politicians working with the EU parliament.”
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||Timings (from Billund first)||Aircraft||Direct competition|
|Billund – Brussels||7 September||10||Mon-Thu: 0800-0925, 1000-1125; Mon-Fri: 1525-1650, 1720-1845; Sun: 1900-2025, 2055-2220||Dornier 328JET||None|
|Source: Sun-Air’s website|
Sun-Air returns to Brussels
As Léon Verhallen, Director of Aviation Development at Brussels Airport, told us: “We are delighted with Sun-Air taking over the Brussels – Billund route of Brussels Airlines. Sun-Air had been operating successfully to Brussels until 2016, so it’s really a ‘welcome back’. What is even more encouraging is the confidence that Sun-Air has in the near-term recovery of air travel. Every cloud has a silver lining.”
Different approaches of Sun-Air and Brussels Airlines to the airport-pair
Sun-Air often had low annual capacity on Billund – Brussels, at 30,000-40,000 seats according to OAG Schedules Analyser. This is because it focused on point-to-point demand with a business-orientated timetable based on working in Brussels. While the carrier primarily used its 32-seat Dornier 328JETs, it normally operated the 19-seat Jetstream 31 on some flights each week. This increased the block time from 1h 25m to 1h 40m.
In contrast, Brussels Airlines focused on local but also connecting traffic over its hub, so its much greater capacity. It primarily operated Dash-8-400s (operated by flybe), Superjet 100s (CityJet), and CRJ-900s (CityJet). In its peak year, 2018, Brussels Airlines was operating up to a 17-weekly service using the 98-seat SuperJet. Interestingly, OAG Traffic Analyser suggests that almost 70% of the carrier’s Billund traffic connected over Brussels, with top destinations Madrid, Rome, and Edinburgh. So the capacity offered by P2P-focused Sun-Air.