August 17, 2017: Brussels Airlines is celebrating its 15th anniversary on the African continent. During the said period more than 8 million passengers travelled on Brussels Airlines’ flights between Brussels Airport and Africa. With 17 sub-Saharan destinations and 79 flights every week, Brussels Airlines is one of the leading European operators in Africa, both in passenger traffic as in freight activity.
The first Brussels Airlines flight was to Kinshasa. Soon after the creation of the airline, Brussels Airlines had started its African operations and continuing the long presence of Belgian aviation on the continent.
In 2002, the African network consisted of 13 destinations which were opened during the spring and summer: Kinshasa, Dakar, Banjul, Conakry, Monrovia, Douala, Yaounde, Kigali, Entebbe, Nairobi, Abidjan, Luanda and Freetown. These destinations were served with 3 long haul aircraft, operating 38 flights per week.
Fifteen years later, Brussels Airlines’ African offer consists of 82 flights per week to 17 destinations. Now operated with 7 aircraft, the African flight program was extended to Bujumbura, Cotonou, Accra and Ouagadougou. On top of the new destinations, the number of flights to existing destinations was increased.
In the last 15 years, Brussels Airlines welcomed more than 8.2 million passengers on board of its flights from and to African destinations and transported over 300,000 tons of cargo.
Belgium remains the number one destination for several connections (Kinshasa, Kigali, Dakar). There are many passengers who fly with Brussels Airlines or Star Alliances partners to other countries via Brussels Airport (in Europe mainly to France, Great-Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Scandinavia, intercontinental mostly the States and Canada). Brussels Airlines has developed an African hub at Brussels Airport with several thousands of Africa passengers arriving, departing or connecting to other countries.
The bellies of the planes flying from or to Africa are mainly loaded with fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, spare parts, mail and medical shipments. Brussels Airlines is not only known as an African specialist in the passenger market but also in the freight market. Brussels Airlines Cargo developed, for example, a successful ‘Fresh to shelve’ service that allows African farmers and breeders of agricultural products to send their fruits and vegetables to Europe only a few hours after the harvest. This way, the products are already available in the supermarkets within 24hours after harvesting. Also for pharmaceutical shipments, which are very sensitive to temperature changes, Brussels Airlines Cargo invested in solutions that can guarantee optimal temperature control during transport.