As part of its enhanced partnership with UK-based global travel firm Thomas Cook Group, Brussels Airlines has announced it will absorb Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium (TCAB) to become the leading carrier for Thomas Cook Belgium.

The Lufthansa Group unit said in a statement that under the proposed deal, it would assume all of TCAB's 160 pilots and cabin crew, all its flight slots, and two of its five A320-200s. TCAB’s remaining three aircraft will be redeployed across Thomas Cook Group's other carriers - Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia, and Condor. A collective consultation process has also been initiated with TCAB’s workers’ council concerning plans to lay off forty groundhandling staff.

"The proposal builds upon a successful 15-year working relationship between Thomas Cook Belgium and Brussels Airlines, opening up further growth opportunities and enabling both companies to manage aircraft and personnel more efficiently and effectively," the statement said.

In addition to the tie-up, Thomas Cook Group and Brussels Airlines will work together to assess new long-haul flights to sun and beach destinations in North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia over the next three years.

The parties anticipate that if all regulatory approvals are secured, Thomas Cook Belgium may cease using TCAB flights from November 2017.