According to a statement posted on Delta’s website, the airline says it will suspend the route “due to continued uncertainty surrounding the re-opening of Brussels airport and weakening demand.”
Delta is the first major U.S. airline to suspend a flight to the Belgium city following a recent terrorist attack there.
The Brussels airport isn’t operating at full capacity, and normal flights from major U.S. airlines are not up and running again. Once that happens, Delta will only offer direct service to Brussels from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“One bad route can cost an airlines millions of dollars and wipe out the profits from a lot of other, better routes,” said Seth Kaplan, editor of industry magazine Airline Weekly.
He calls Delta’s plan to end direct flights from Atlanta to Brussel’s “the best indicator yet” that demand to Brussels is down since the attack, which he says came at a bad time for airlines: right when Americans are planning their summer travel.
“You can only imagine that people are thinking twice, clearly, at least about going to Brussels, and what you would hope but you don’t yet know is that people wouldn’t be thinking twice about just going to Europe or even abroad at all right now,” Kaplan said.
Brussels, says Kaplan, is another example of decreasing demand for flights to Europe following terrorist attacks in Paris.
“Demand to Paris especially, and to elsewhere in Europe more generally in a smaller way did indeed suffer and they made adjustments,” Kaplan said.