Brussels Airlines’ new route to boost tourism
Posted Thursday, July 12 2012 at 20:48
Brussels Airlines is one of the European carriers with the largest footprints in East Africa and direct flights to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Before year-end, the airline plans to launch a new route that will take European tourists directly to the coastal town of Mombasa.
The Business Daily spoke to the airline’s country manager for Kenya Pierre Declerck, who is also a member of Kenya Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) over new industry developments, including the potential benefits of a single visa for East Africa.
We understand you will soon be introducing a direct flight between Brussels and Mombasa. What has informed this decision?
Yes, indeed. We intend to run a weekly flight to Mombasa on a Friday, leaving Brussels and flying directly to the coastal city, then continuing to Nairobi and back to Brussels.
This will be in addition to the existing direct flight to and from Nairobi on a Friday.
The intended start date is November. At Brussels Airlines, we take this as yet another proof of our commitment to fully support all socio-economic developments in Kenya, especially in the tourism industry. We are sure it will be a very popular flight.
Apart from route expansion and increased frequencies, what else can Brussels Airlines passengers look forward to in the near future?
There are no other major developments in terms of new routes or extra flights, but we are in the middle of a major investment programme in terms of new in-flight equipment and seating comfort.
We have embarked on a multi-million dollar refit of our Airbus fleet. The cabins of all the aircraft are being revamped and our passengers will enjoy state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment, as well as latest technology-based seating in business and economy class. In addition there will be the famous Belgian gastronomy which brings haute cuisine to our flights to and from Africa.
Into which airport does Brussels Airlines fly in Europe and how does that compare with other hubs in terms of connectivity and congestion?
Our hub is, of course, Brussels. All our flights from Africa land there between 6 am and 7 am, and connect to most of Europe’s main cities, as well to cities in the USA, Canada, Asia and Middle East. Brussels is the European Union’s official capital and this obviously means we are at the heart of the EU.
This means that any traveller with the single (Schengen) visa can travel freely – either by air with one of Brussels Airlines’ European flights – or by train.
We have partnerships with the high speed train and also offer solutions for door-to-door taxi services linked to flight arrivals, for travellers with closer destinations, for example any city in Holland and cities in Germany’s western region, like Aachen, Bonn, Düsseldorf or Cologne.
Where else in Africa does Brussels Airlines fly and what is the outlook for the airline in the continent?
We fly to 17 other countries in Africa. Morocco, The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DRC, Angola and – closer to home – Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. We can add many more countries and airports, if we count the African routes operated by our sister companies Swiss Airlines, which flies to Tanzania, and Lufthansa, which flies to Nigeria, Ghana and Gabon among others.
East Africa is very well covered indeed, with flights to all five countries making us as a truly East African player that is not only important for the business traveller or for the tourism sector, but also for the very dynamic African exporters.