Brussels Airlines CEO aims to expand Brussels Airport as key hub for African flights

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Brussels Airlines A330 OO-SFX sporting new livery © Jeremy De Winter

In an interview with Luchtvaartnieuws.nl, Brussels Airlines’ CEO, Dorothea von Boxberg, is pushing to elevate Brussels Airport as the primary hub for flights to and from Africa, extending its reach to North American travellers as well.

Under Von Boxberg’s leadership, the airline is poised to return to profitability in 2023 after a five-year financial struggle. The positive outlook will be utilised to invest in fleet expansion, service enhancements, punctuality improvements, and network growth. Despite the recovering demand for air travel post-pandemic, Brussels Airlines faces a 15% seat capacity shortfall, primarily attributed to a personnel shortage. The airline aims to hire nearly 400 new staff in 2024, including pilots, cabin crew, maintenance technicians, and IT professionals.

Brussels Airlines, part of the Lufthansa Group, intends to solidify its role as an Africa specialist within the group, focusing on destinations south of the Sahara. The airline’s Africa network presently encompasses 18 destinations, with plans to return to Nairobi next summer.

Von Boxberg is optimistic about attracting passengers not only from Europe but also from North America, leveraging the Star Alliance partnerships with United Airlines and Air Canada. Currently, over half of the intercontinental travellers use Brussels Airport for transfers, emphasising its strategic position. Africa serves as a crucial hub in the airline’s network, with 70% of passengers to and from African destinations utilising Brussels as a transfer point.

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