One Star Alliance member must make way for another on the Nairobi route.


(Posted 23rd June 2015)

Friends of the famous ‘Savoir Vivre’ in the air, which Brussels Airlines inherited from predecessor SABENA, will no doubt be disappointed about the news that the airline will cease operations to Nairobi effective 24th of October this year. An announcement by partner airline Lufthansa had some time ago excited Kenyans, when the German national airline said they would return to the Nairobi route after a long absence, thinking that the flights from Frankfurt would be over and above those of partners Swiss and Brussels Airlines.

Think again comes to mind as the return of Lufthansa clearly comes at the expense of Brussels Airlines which has obviously been told to make way for the senior partner, while Swiss reportedly will continue to fly between Zurich and Nairobi without cutbacks on their flights.

That puts the initial excitement about a capacity increase into Nairobi into a different light and no doubt will not just the Belgian community in Kenya but also the faithful following SN had generated over the past 58 years since SABENA started flights to the Embakasi Airport be disappointed that company politics have taken its toll and the victim is Brussels Airlines.

Thankfully are there no indications at present that Lufthansa has similar schemes in place for Brussels Airlines’ other East African destinations Entebbe, Kigali and Bujumbura where the Belgian national airline is equally enjoying a large following.

Passengers from Belgium and beyond, who in the past traveled with Brussels Airlines to Nairobi, will now have to fly via Zurich on Swiss or via Frankfurt on Lufthansa, come the last week of October.

Pierre Declerk and his team in Nairobi sent out personal letters to each of their Kenyan clients on their database to transfer their business to Star Alliance partners Swiss and Lufthansa while thanking them for their faithful patronage since Brussels Airlines emerged from the ashes of SABENA.

The almost inevitable farewell party in four months’ time will probably be a tearful affair, even though it is understood that some of the Brussels Airlines staff will be absorbed by Lufthansa when they open their airport and city offices in Nairobi.

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