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Brussels Airlines returns to Nairobi route on tourism recovery

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PHOTO | Courtesy

Belgium’s flag carrier, Brussels Airlines has re-launched Brussels-Nairobi route with plans to fly six times per week.

The airline which is also Belgium’s largest airline says the decision to return to the route was triggered by expanding options to and from Kenya by travelers due to increased connecting flights between Europe and North America through Brussels.

Brussels Airlines which is part of Lufthansa Group currently flies to 18 destinations in sub-Saharan Africa with the relaunch of Nairobi route signaling planned expansion to the region.

Speaking during the event at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Transport Principal Secretary Mohamed Daghar said the return of the airline signals continued recovery of the sector especially after negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PHOTO | Courtesy

“This important milestone comes on the back of a resurgent air transport business in our country. For instance, the number of passengers traveling through Kenyan airports increased by 9pc from 10.236 million in 2022 to 11.147 million in 2023. It also comes barely three months after the relaunch of Kenya Airways’ direct flights to Mogadishu, Somalia, underscoring the Government’s commitment to promoting connectivity, regional integration, and trade,” said Daghar.

Brussels Airlines Chief Executive Officer Dorothea von Boxberg said since the flights went on sale, 50,000 people already booked their ticket to visit Nairobi or to fly from Nairobi to Brussels.

“We see a very high interest in our home market Belgium to explore Kenya. Our first flights to Nairobi are completely full. Nairobi is a vibrant city and the perfect gateway for an unforgettable trip to Kenya. The other way around we offer connections to Europe and beyond via Brussels to let Kenyans explore the world, study, or grow their businesses,” said Boxberg.

Europe is the second highest source market contributing to 29pc of market share into Kenya, recording 572,352 arrivals last year.

Daghar added that the government will continue to undertake major investments in infrastructure, technology, facilities, equipment, and systems to improve aviation infrastructure, air navigation services, and aviation training capacity in Kenya.

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