Gustin Out, Foerster Takes Over at Brussels Airlines

On February 5, the operation to cement Brussels Airlines firmly into the Lufthansa organization, through its integration in Eurowings, was triggered by a major management reshuffle. Christina Foerster, who will replace Bernard Gustin as CEO, is the first female top manager to head an airline belonging to the Lufthansa Group.

Christina Foerster
Christina Foerster

For Christina Foerster, currently Brussels Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, a transitional time has begun, ending on 1 April when she becomes CEO of the Brussels-based carrier. Frau Foerster succeeds Bernard Gustin who leaves the carrier that same day after serving in this position since 2012. Together with him, CFO Jan De Raeymaeker will also leave by March 31 while Thibault Demoulin will take on the role of COO. In an announcement, Brussels Airlines said that two further management board members will be named shortly.  

Integration model beats hybrid plans
The management shake-up is anything but surprising. It ends a lengthy dispute between Brussels Airlines’ CEO Gustin and parent Lufthansa over the Belgian carrier’s future strategy that required a final decision to avert any damage. While Gustin together with some top-ranking SN executives favoured a “hybrid business model” of appealing both to business and low-cost passengers, Lufthansa intends to integrate Brussels Airlines deeper into its budget carrier Eurowings.

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According to information obtained by CargoForwarder Global, all of Brussels Airlines’ operated intra-European point-to-point connections will become part of the Eurowing network, managed from their German headquarters, while long-haul flights will be conducted under Brussels Airlines’ own responsibility, as is presently the case. 

 

No foreseeable changes in cargo
After the Brussels Zaventem-based carrier achieved rather sobering financial results in 2017, CEO Gustin lacked the arguments to continue along his previous course. 
It is expected that more information on the future role of Brussels Airlines will be given after another Board meeting this Wednesday 7 February.
According to cargo chief Alban François the air freight business will not be affected by the forthcoming management changes.

Heiner Siegmund  /  Marcel Schoeters

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