(Geert Lemmen, second left, seen here with his key team members at the recent Oktoberfest 2022 in Kampala)
(Posted 07th November 2022)
The arguably longest serving Brussels Airlines, plus SN Brussels plus Sabena country manager in Uganda, Geert Lemmen, has announced that he will transfer from Kampala to Accra, Ghana in two weeks time, leaving the Pearl of Africa once again.
Geert’s career with Brussels Airlines, and the predecessor airlines such as SN Brussels and Sabena, spans over nearly 4 decades, during which he served in Uganda from 1995 t0 2002, then again from later in 2002 until 2005, again in the early part of 2014 and finally from January 2017 until end November 2022.
Geert spoke to www.ATCNews on his experience while in Uganda – several times in the past – and highlighted the following key issues and experiences:
Q) You are for all intent and purpose the longest serving country manager for Brussels Airlines and predecessors like Sabena and SN Brussels in Uganda.
Now you are transferring out of Uganda once again and our readers, amongst them many of your clients, travel agents and corporates in Uganda, would like to know where you are heading to.
A) My new posting starting 01 DEC will be in Accra Ghana.
Q) In the same breath, what other assignments did you have through your career with Brussels Airlines and the predecessor airlines?
A) That is a long story as I have been Country Manger in many West-African countries e.g. in alphabetical order: Algeria – Angola – Benin – Burkina Faso – Ghana – Guinea (Conakry) – Liberia – Mali – Nigeria – Northern England (Manchester / UK) – Sierra Leone and Uganda (3 times). I spend also 7 years in HQ /Brussels as Regional Manager for West-Africa.
Q) Do you already know who of your colleagues will come to take over from you?
A) The actual Country Manager for Ghana will replace me in Uganda e.g. Mrs. Rita MACEDO. We are swapping stations.
Q) Having been in Uganda for so long, what special memories will you take with you?
A) A beautiful country with very friendly welcoming people.
Q) Which places in the country do you like best, restaurants, locations, national parks, and what will you miss the most?
A) The list is so long that I will need several pages for filling in all the best likes in Uganda.: there are a big variety of very good restaurants and many beautiful National parks that it is very difficult to choose the most beautiful as all have their very unique character. The climate and nature will be missed the most. All this is making it very easy to promote Uganda as the real pearl of Africa. After spending many years in Uganda, in total it will be 16 years, one is making a lot of friends and it becomes very difficult to make a choice of what is the best.
Q) What about Ugandan food, art, culture – you had much time to really get to know it all and surely have some tips to share with readers and perhaps also your successor here in Kampala?
A) There are so many good websites with so many tips about food, art and culture from Uganda as Uganda is having it all. I generally give a whole page of web sites to any one being interested to come and visit Uganda as that is always better than trying to explain all the does and don’ts. On a side note when it comes to Ugandan food I always recommend to people visiting UG an when looking for tasting a very typical Ugandan dish – no it is not matoke – but the LUWOMBO.
Q) Have you considered any future visits to Uganda, be it for work or for leisure as a tourist?
A) I have been leaving Uganda already 2 times and in between I have been visiting Uganda for leisure. But never say no for coming back for work as you never know what will happen in the future certainly knowing I came back to Uganda already 2 times for work. I will certainly come back for leisure reasons as there are still places which I did not visit yet and which are still on my to-do-list.
I can of course spend hours for telling more about Uganda but it will be too time consuming.
Guests traveling on Brussels Airlines will recall him being regularly at the door when passengers disembarked in Entebbe but also seeing him at check in and in the arrival hall, where he kept – unlike many of his country manager colleagues – a watchful eye on his flights, now again operating on a daily basis after the COVID19 pandemic had of course caused havoc with airline schedules.
Many travel agents and tour operators will also remember him and be grateful for the continued support Brussels Airlines has given the tourism industry with reduced fare tickets to attend international trade shows and trade conventions in Europe.
Brussels Airlines, during his stewardship, also engaged in numerous local social community projects and regularly offered training to the travel industry, whenever technological changes took place.
Brussels Airlines is a multiple winner of the Airline of the Year in Uganda, recognized by the Uganda Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism.
ATCNews had a very close working relationship with Geert, and of course also the managers who were based in Kampala when Geert served the airline elsewhere and therefore wishes him and his wife the very very best in his next posting in Ghana while looking forward to him visiting again, in either a professional or a personal capacity.
Kwaheri Ya Kuonana Geert – travel well and keep the Brussels Airlines flag flying high!