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Brussels Airlines was created following the merger of SN Brussels Airlines (SNBA) and Virgin Express. On 12 April 2005, SN Airholding, the company behind SNBA signed an agreement with Richard Branson, giving it the holding control over Virgin Express. On 31 March 2006 SNBA and Virgin Express announced their fusion into a single company. On 7 November 2006, the new name, Brussels Airlines, was announced at a press conference at Brussels Airport. Brussels Airlines started operations on 25 March 2007.
The airline hopes to achieve at least a 55% market share at Brussels Airport. Brussels Airlines will add long haul destinations, notably to North America, and will attempt to strengthen the position of the airline in Africa. The airline also announced it wanted to expand its long haul fleet, which at the time comprised of three Airbus A330 planes. In January 2007, the company announced it had acquired a fourth Airbus A330-300, coming from the defunct company Air Madrid.
On European flights, the airline offers two types of tickets, b-flex and b-light.