Singapore Airlines has announced that it will launch non-stop service to Brussels from 5 April 2024, restarting its on-again, off-again relationship with the Belgium capital.
The airline had previously served the route from 1979 (via Dubai and Athens) all the way till April 2003, when the SARS outbreak saw the service cancelled along with other secondary European destinations like Berlin and Vienna. There were then plans to relaunch the route in October 2020, only for COVID to put them on hold once again.
SIA will fly to Brussels four times per week, offering an additional gateway to Europe alongside its 12 existing European destinations. Tickets will be made available for sale progressively from 13 September 2023.
“Brussels is an important European economic and political centre, and the launch of this service adds another historical and charming city to SIA’s list of destinations. It also gives our customers who are travelling from Europe an additional point to connect to Singapore, as well as the wider Asia-Pacific region via our hub at Changi Airport. SIA will continue to review its network and find opportunities to offer more options for our customers.”
-Dai Hao Yu, acting SVP Marketing Planning, SIA
Singapore Airlines to return to Brussels
Singapore Airlines service to Brussels will commence on 5 April 2024, with the following schedule:
Singapore to Brussels (from 5 Apr 24)
|SQ304||2355||0720 (+1)||Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun|
|Flight time: 13h 25m|
SQ304 departs from Changi just before midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Following a 13h 25m flight, it arrives in Brussels in the early morning, allowing for morning connections to elsewhere in Europe (or a full day ahead, if Brussels is your final destination).
Brussels to Singapore (from 6 Apr 24)
|SQ303||1210||0655 (+1)||Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat|
|Flight time: 12h 45m|
SQ303 departs from Brussels at lunchtime on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Following a 12h 45m flight, it lands in Singapore in the early morning, again well-suited for connections within Southeast Asia, or a full working day.
This schedule, incidentally, is very similar to the proposed one that Singapore Airlines had for Brussels when it originally planned to reinstate the service on 25 October 2020:
- SQ304 | SIN 2355 | BRU 0650 (+1) | Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun
- SQ303 | BRU 1120 | SIN 0655 (+1) | Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat
The Brussels route will be operated by a three-cabin Airbus A350-900, with 253 seats split into:
- 42 Business Class
- 24 Premium Economy Class
- 187 Economy Class
I’ve reviewed the Business Class product on this aircraft numerous times, so take your pick from the posts below:
- Review: Singapore to Munich, A350-900
- Review: Munich to Singapore, A350-900
- Review: Singapore to Newark, A350-900ULR
What’s the lounge situation in Brussels?
Star Alliance customers will have Gold Track privileges in Brussels airport, with special security lines for First and Business Class passengers, as well as Star Gold passengers in Premium Economy and Economy Class.
Singapore Airlines flights will depart from Terminal B, which means passengers will use the the Diamond Lounge. It looks rather underwhelming (and used to be a Priority Pass lounge), and not something you’d come to the airport early for.
That’s all the more so when you compare it to the much superior The Loft lounge in Terminal A. The Loft was renovated in partnership with Lexus, and the photos look pretty impressive. There’s a special area for HON Circle members with a spa, private nap rooms and a live kitchen as well.
You can read a review of The Loft here.
Brussels is the home of the European Union, the secretariat of the Benelux and headquarters of NATO. It’s the most densely populated city in Belgium, and its location makes it an ideal hub for rail, road and air traffic- hence the moniker “The Crossroads of Europe.” It’s also where French fries were invented, which I personally hold to be much more important than the EU, Benelux and NATO combined.
Brussels offers connections to SIA’s Star Alliance partner Brussels Airlines (who, coincidentally, operate some of SIA’s old Airbus A330s). Code-sharing agreements already exist for Barcelona, London and Milan, and presumably more will be added with the launch of the Brussels route.
The rest of the analysis I’ll leave to the ever-insightful Brendan Sobie, from consulting firm Sobie Aviation:
“Of course this isn’t a new route or a new announcement. SQ served Brussels 20 years ago and initially announced in December 2019 plans to launch Brussels in October 2020. The pre-pandemic reasons for selecting Brussels are still valid so it’s not a surprise to see these plans restored. This includes Brussels-Singapore being a relatively strong unserved point to point market (including premium demand), the strength of the Benelux market (which SIA has traditionally been able to serve by just using just Amsterdam but increasing there is a case for a second Benelux destination to better serve this region) and the opportunity to use Brussels as a connection point given SIA’s JV with Lufthansa Group.
If anything Brussels is even more attractive post-pandemic given what is happening in Amsterdam. AMS has been one of the more challenging airports since the reopening of borders – we all know about the long queues there and how the Dutch government wants to restrict AMS flights which will make it difficult if not impossible for SQ to grow there. So BRU becomes even more attractive.
I think restoring this launch is another indication we are passed the pandemic and we can soon start to talk about growth again. With these four new Brussels flights, the number of weekly flights SIA has to Europe will be within a hair of what it had in 2019. In fact excluding Dusseldorf and Moscow (which are unlikely to come back anytime soon), SIA will have slightly more flights to Europe next summer. In other words the number of flights it will have to 13 destinations in Europe next summer will be more than it had to the same destinations (12 as BRU is new) in 2019.”
-Brendan Sobie, Sobie Aviation
How much do KrisFlyer awards cost?
Brussels will fall into Zone 11 of the KrisFlyer award chart, which means you can expect to pay the following for award redemptions.
|Singapore to Brussels redemptions|
(Flight on Singapore Air)
Award seats should go live today, together with commercial bookings.
SIA’s Europe network up to 13 destinations
Prior to COVID, Singapore Airlines operated flights to 15 European destinations, with plans to increase that to 16 with Brussels.
As things stand, 13 of those destinations have now been restored or will be restored, with Dusseldorf, Moscow and Stockholm still missing.
|Brussels||Active from 5 April 2024|
Here’s Brendan Sobie again, on Singapore Airlines’ European resurgence:
13 European destinations with more flights to some (Paris has seen the biggest increase) brings SQ pretty close to where it was pre-COVID, and it will be interesting to see where things go from here.
Asia-Europe is a strong market these days with high yields and high load factors. The issue is capacity/fleet constraints making it hard for SQ to resume growth in the near term. Moreover, the average gauge on Europe flights is down (primarily due to fewer A380s in the fleet), so even if they have the same number of flights seat capacity and ASKs will still be down a bit.”
-Brendan Sobie, Sobie Aviation
Singapore Airlines will finally launch its COVID-delayed Brussels service, with four flights a week starting April 2024.
Even if you have no intention of visiting Brussels, an additional European gateway means more redemption possibilities, with easy connections to Amsterdam, Milan, Munich, Paris and smaller European destinations.
We should know later today how many award seats SIA is making available on this route, and as with every new route, the best time to snap up seats would be at launch.