Antwerp, Brussels (Belgium) – 31st May, 2017 • SHS Aviation B.V. has reached an agreement to acquire all shares of Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium N.V. (TCAB). Through the acquisition, SHS Aviation will take over certain contractual obligations as well as 40 ground staff employees of TCAB. SHS Aviation also expects to be using TCAB’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and Operating Licence. SHS Aviation B.V. is the Dutch holding company which will develop activities through its Belgian subsidiary SHS Antwerp Aviation N.V. under the brand name ‘VLM Airlines’.

Thomas Cook announced in March this year the initiation of a consultation process for 40 remaining ground staff employees of TCAB as part of an intended partnership between the tour operator Thomas Cook Belgium and Brussels Airlines where all crew and two aircraft are to be transferred to Brussels Airlines. The successful resolution to mitigate any ground staff redundancies is confirmed today in the acquisition of TCAB by SHS Aviation. Today, TCAB informed its employee representation of its intention to stop the collective consultation process.

Jean-Christophe Degen, Managing Director of Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, said: “Today’s announcement is great news for our colleagues at TCAB. I’m very pleased that thanks to the agreement with SHS Aviation, we are able to safeguard the roles of all our ground staff employees.”

Harm Prins, CEO of SHS Aviation: “We are delighted to be able to acquire TCAB and to start working with its experienced staff members. Together we will write a new, exciting chapter in Belgian aviation. Although the acquisition of TCAB is bringing us closer to the implementation of our business plan, the application procedure with the Belgian Ministry of Mobility for a Belgian Fokker 50 AOC remains ongoing.”

SHS Antwerp Aviation and VLM Airlines d.d. will commence joint scheduled flights later this year under the common trading name ‘VLM Airlines’. Details regarding the number of aircraft to be used, planned routes and timetables will be announced at a later stage.

The acquisition deal will be closed upon completion of the extended partnership agreement between tour operator Thomas Cook Belgium and Brussels Airlines, which is planned end of October, 2017.