Bernie Baldwin

Although Brussels Airport regularly wins awards, particularly for its marketing activities, the city it serves deserves more accolades.

“Brussels needs to be recognised as more than a political hub,” Sonja Gehlen, the airport’s senior manager, aviation development, elaborates. “Yes it does have that aspect. It’s important for us and we really appreciate the business  traffic it brings. But Brussels is so much more. It has fine architecture, arts and culture, plus the gastronomy is of a very high standard. We want more people to experience the city.”

BRU took a hit earlier this year when UK airline  flybmi ceased operations. “It may not have been the biggest airline but it was an important client,” confirms Gehlen. “flybmi had services to a number of important destinations, some of which – but not yet all – have been taken over by Loganair,” she explains. “The airline did begin service on the Newcastle route in March, not long after flybmi’s closure. And on 2 September it will bring back service from BRU to East Midlands Airport. However, flights to Bristol, Hannover, Nuremberg and Strasbourg are still not part of our schedule.

“Brussels Airlines is convinced of the need for flights to Hannover and Bristol, but nothing has been agreed up to now,” she adds.

One route not about to be underserved is from BRU to Valencia, as Brussels Airlines is adding a four times weekly service. Three other airlines are already operating flights serving this route – Vueling, TUI and Ryanair.