Lufthansa's Brussels Airlines set to cut costs by 10-15 percent

Lufthansa's Brussels Airlines set to cut costs by 10-15 percent
FILE PHOTO: Brussels Airlines aircraft are seen on the tarmac at Zaventem international airport near Brussels, in this file picture taken November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Files
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Brussels Airlines, a unit of Lufthansa <LHAG.DE>, plans to cut its costs by between 10 and 15 percent in the coming years in order to remain competitive with low-cost rivals, its chief executive told Belgian daily De Tijd.

The Belgian carrier, which Lufthansa took full control of in December 2016, has already reduced costs by 15 percent in the past three years through savings on staff and more efficient baggage and catering operations.

Bernard Gustin told De Tijd in an interview published on Saturday that cost-cutting had to continue. Passengers would pay a little more to travel with Brussels Airlines compared with a low-cost carrier, but that premium had to be kept to a minimum.

“We need to bring our costs down by at least 10-15 percent. This year already they have fallen by 5 percent,” he said.

Brussels Airlines expects to carry a record 9 million passengers in 2017 and Gustin said he was targeting an increase to 10 million in 2018.

Lufthansa has said it wants to integrate Brussels Airlines into budget platform Eurowings, although the Belgian carrier also serves business routes to Africa.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

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