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50,000 flights booked after resumption of direct Nairobi-Brussels flights

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With 18 routes served in sub-Saharan Africa, Brussels Airlines distinguishes itself as the specialist for Africa within the Lufthansa Group.

At least 50,000 people have booked flights from Brussels to Nairobi following the resumption of direct air travel between the cities on Monday.

Belgium's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hadja Lahbib, announced this on Tuesday, affirming the route's success even before the flight. A Brussels Airlines flight took off from Zaventem on Monday morning.

"This is a win-win for both countries. It forms a bridge between our cultures and economies," Hadja said.

The airline initially established the link with Nairobi between 2002 and 2015, but flights were discontinued after it was bought by the Lufthansa Group. Lufthansa purchased a 45 per cent stake in the carrier in 2009 and acquired the remainder in 2017.

As relations between the two developed, network expansion was coordinated across the group.

Brussels Airlines suspended operations in Nairobi because the group felt customers would prefer a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt, which is better connected to the US and Europe.

With the resumption of operations, there will now be six flights a week between Brussels and Nairobi, lasting approximately eight hours.

With 18 routes served in sub-Saharan Africa, Brussels Airlines distinguishes itself as the specialist for Africa within the Lufthansa Group.

Last year, Europe contributed 29 per cent of visitor numbers to Kenya, recording 572,352 arrivals. In 2023, arrivals from Belgium to Kenya hit 13,000, up from 10,000 reported in 2022.

Brussels Airlines Chief Executive Officer Dorothea von Boxberg revealed that sub-Saharan destinations account for around 20 per cent of Brussels Airlines' passengers, but bring in 40 per cent of the revenue.

"Aside from Washington and New York, all our long-haul destinations are in Africa. We want to continue investing in the African continent, primarily by increasing direct flights to existing destinations," she said.

With this new connection, the CEO noted that Brussels Airlines is focusing equally on tourist and business travel.

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