In an article from the news site ‘De Standaard’ (date: March 8th), Brussels Airlines claims that no one takes the airplane only to travel from Brussels to Paris. This statement was made in the debate on the impact of short flights on climate change. In the article there is no mention of which sources or data support this statement.
When we contacted Brussels Airlines, asking for their specific arguments in the ruling, the tone is immediately more moderate. According to Brussels Airlines’ spokeswoman Kim Daenen, 2% of the passengers for the flight between Brussels and Paris don’t continue their travels with a connecting flight via Brussels Airlines. Whether or not these passengers stay in Paris or have a connecting flight via a different airline, is not clear.
Brussels Airlines also clarifies that these flights aren’t promoted or encouraged in any way. Nevertheless, two flights from Brussels to Paris are available on a daily basis. Flights that span a distance of less than a thousand kilometres, such as those between Brussels and Paris, are discouraged by Brussels Airlines through their high cost price. Yet we wonder why these short-haul flights are scheduled this frequently. Two flights a day equal more than seven hundred flights a year.
Also the fact that the airline doesn’t discourage other short-haul flights, is highly remarkable. The travel routes between Brussels and Milan or Berlin are also less than a thousand kilometres, but when we present that question to Brussels Airlines, they tell us that those destinations are not feasible by train.
Another article of the newspaper ‘De Standaard’ (March 6th) tells us that among Belgian politicians many would support the discontinuance of short-haul flights. Solutions and collaborations among different parties are being sought after, but so far none of those have proven to be successful in the past. For example, Brussels Airlines, in collaboration with Thalys, have tried to offer alternatives in the form of high-speed train routes. This project never really caught on, due to the fact that many passengers often had to transfer. On his way to Paris the high-speed train always departs from Brussels South train station, and doesn’t drive past the airport of Zaventem. The Brussels Airlines spokeswoman also says that if this train were to stop at the airport, it could very well be an alternative to short-haul flights.
To say that ‘no one takes the airplane from Brussels to Paris’, is pretty blunt. From the information the spokeswoman has given us, we can conclude that 2% of the passengers on these flights don’t have a connecting flight via Brussels Airlines. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that these passengers don’t have connecting flights through other airlines. We therefore consider this statement to be ‘mostly true’.