Brussels Airlines Extensive Africa Network: Rationale?

Old Nov 13, 21, 9:53 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SFO, JFK/LGA, SEA
Programs: Alaska 75K, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, *A Gold w/ Krisflyer Gold
Posts: 735
Brussels Airlines Extensive Africa Network: Rationale?

As a US-based flyer, I took Brussels Airlines to be a relatively boutique operation with only their JFK (and seasonal IAD) flights. However, I noticed on their route map that despite also having no routes to Asia or South America, they serve at least 10 destinations in Africa (tho surprisingly not the biggest three of Cairo, Addis or Jo'burg), and was wondering why this is. I know Congo/Kinshasa used to be a Belgian colony, but not the rest... is it perhaps a relic of the route maps of Sabena which went out of business shortly after 9/11?
18wheeler_vanrekt is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 12:55 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Programs: LH HON
Posts: 3,269
Thats exactly what it is.
daumueller is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 4:55 am
  #3  
formerly a193991
Hyatt 5+ BadgeHilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Zulu Romeo Hotel
Programs: Hyatt LT Globalist; LX SEN (*A Gold), AA LTG
Posts: 4,421
Originally Posted by 18wheeler_vanrekt
As a US-based flyer, I took Brussels Airlines to be a relatively boutique operation with only their JFK (and seasonal IAD) flights. However, I noticed on their route map that despite also having no routes to Asia or South America, they serve at least 10 destinations in Africa (tho surprisingly not the biggest three of Cairo, Addis or Jo'burg), and was wondering why this is. I know Congo/Kinshasa used to be a Belgian colony, but not the rest... is it perhaps a relic of the route maps of Sabena which went out of business shortly after 9/11?
yes, a relic from the Sabena times for sure. SN has always been strong in Africa, and hardly any other longhaul destinations.

SR had quite an extensive African presence, too, which was then „snatched“ away by LH when the successor company LX became part of the LH group. Africa was quite lucrative, especially destinations such as Malabo.
59Impala is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 6:44 am
  #4  
TPJ
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Programs: TK*G (E+), IHG Plat Ambassador
Posts: 7,843
There is no local competition - the reality is that ET is the only well run airline in Africa (MS and AT might be the other ones that at least try). Otherwise you need to stick to European carriers. It is interesting to observe how strong TK became in Africa, though. I am sure SN must be concerned TK is now eating their lunch.
TPJ is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 7:41 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: LH FTL, FB Gold
Posts: 131
Originally Posted by TPJ
There is no local competition - the reality is that ET is the only well run airline in Africa (MS and AT might be the other ones that at least try). Otherwise you need to stick to European carriers. It is interesting to observe how strong TK became in Africa, though. I am sure SN must be concerned TK is now eating their lunch.
The massive disadvantage of TK - at least for me - is flying 7 hours or often more on a single aisle plane. I quite appreciate SN, service in biz is quite ok, even if their eco cabin is in strong need for a revamp. And have FTL status mainly because of their network in Africa.
Mr.Potato is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 7:43 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denmark
Programs: TK Elite
Posts: 11,031
For sure for some destinations in Africa TK is a strong competitor but not all, and for many European markets flying via IST is a huge detour. e.g. traveling Northern Europe to West Africa via IST doesn't make sense.
SK AAR is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 9:36 am
  #7  
1P
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: LAX and LHR. UA lifetime Gold 1.9MM 1K , DL Gold Medallion, HHonors Gold, Marriott Gold, Avis President's Club
Posts: 3,582
Originally Posted by 18wheeler_vanrekt
As a US-based flyer, I took Brussels Airlines to be a relatively boutique operation with only their JFK (and seasonal IAD) flights.
Their LHR-BRU route is used to ferry pax to/from LHR for the UA BRU-ORD route.
1P is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 10:11 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Geneva
Programs: LX SEN, AFKL Platinum, BA Bronze,
Posts: 5,117
Originally Posted by 1P
Their LHR-BRU route is used to ferry pax to/from LHR for the UA BRU-ORD route.
OT: I once took that flight just to discover on board that I was the only one NOT going to the Tomorrowland music festival. Music on the PA and dimmed lighting for an on-board light show. That LHR-BRU flight albeit on a couple of days a year only does have another purpose than to feed the African network.
hhdl likes this.
MichielR is online now  
Old Nov 14, 21, 11:05 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: EWR and KGL (with occasional home/work trips to NRT/ITM)
Programs: MP MM 1K, Sky Miles, Emirates Gold
Posts: 708
The routes to Africa are the only money makers for SN, right? I heard the whole reason for LH keeping SN brand is their African recognition. I take SN to commute to Africa for the last 10+ years and generally satisfied with their services.
Atuchan is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 12:20 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: Star Alliance Gold, Oneworld Silver
Posts: 634
Originally Posted by Atuchan
..... generally satisfied with their services.
SN as it stood before the pandemic (I have no experience of them since) was always OK... The old Sabena had a terrible reputation- self-important and rude, and more concerned to talk to each other in the galley than provide service.
Dover2Golf likes this.
FlyerLX is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 1:02 pm
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 10,911
It's fascinating that a colonial power continues to enjoy its colonial legacy by milking the African network for every cent. Fares on SN ex-Africa are incredibly high.
I bet those African fares allow SN to offer all those dumpy 69 EUR RT tickets to compete with FR/EZY ex-BRU.
Nothing changes.
hhdl likes this.
hugolover is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 3:01 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: MHT/BOS <--> World
Programs: AA Plat 2.8MM
Posts: 4,629
Originally Posted by FlyerLX
The old Sabena had a terrible reputation- self-important and rude, and more concerned to talk to each other in the galley than provide service.
That may be but I have fond childhood memories flying them from/to Africa ~30 years ago. I remember thinking as a child the Sabena service was better than Air France.

Originally Posted by hugolover
It's fascinating that a colonial power continues to enjoy its colonial legacy by milking the African network for every cent. Fares on SN ex-Africa are incredibly high.
This doesn't bother me as much as it used to largely because I now understand the disparity is not as large as it might appear. When looking for the lowest priced deep discount advance purchase tickets, Africa-Europe seems very expensive compared to similar distance Europe-USA fares. The thing about a typical Africa-Europe flight is that most seats on the plane are sold for no more than double the cheapest deep discount advance purchase fare. Not so for Europe-USA. Many tickets are routinely sold closer in on those flights for 5x and 10x the deep discount advance purchase levels. Businesses often pay 2x or 3x the connecting price for non-stops and 4x the price for no Saturday night stay. Relativity few comparable tickets are sold ex Africa. From Africa, the cheapest fares aren't that much lower than what most people are paying on a flight and last minute fares are often available for not that much more. Europe-USA flights for non peak dates typically sell a bunch of seats at around 1/3 the actual average cost to the airline (you can look up an airlines average cost per seat mile) because the airline wants to operate more flights than there are willing profitable passengers. They fill the expected empty seats with unprofitable tickets and then sell the rest of the plane at 3x/5x/10x those prices, resulting in more overall revenue than expense.

Also worth noting that SN does not fly any of Africa's most profitable routes: https://www.theafricareport.com/1655...itable-routes/
hugolover likes this.

Last edited by wanaflyforless; Nov 14, 21 at 3:27 pm
wanaflyforless is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 3:55 pm
  #13  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: PVG, FRA, SEA, HEL
Programs: UA Premier Gold
Posts: 4,783
There is no local competition - the reality is that ET is the only well run airline in Africa (MS and AT might be the other ones that at least try)
At the moment I would avoid flying via ADD on ET (or any other airline). The civil war in Ethiopia is a serious issue.

I heard the whole reason for LH keeping SN brand is their African recognition.
No, LH keeps it as it is because it doesn't want to risk loosing the air rights to these African destinations.
warakorn is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 4:20 pm
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 10,911
Originally Posted by warakorn
At the moment I would avoid flying via ADD on ET (or any other airline). The civil war in Ethiopia is a serious issue.
Oh jeez, is my ShebaMiles Gold status in peril?

Originally Posted by warakorn
No, LH keeps it as it is because it doesn't want to risk loosing the air rights to these African destinations.
Yes, I heard that too, that makes sense now. The bilateral are between BE and xx. I guess Captain Carsten doesn't want to have to find some bribe money.
Dover2Golf likes this.
hugolover is offline  
Old Nov 14, 21, 10:06 pm
  #15  
Moderator: Lufthansa Miles & More, India based airlines, India, External Miles & Points Resources
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: MUC
Programs: LH SEN**
Posts: 47,117
SN in the pandemic shuffle/reorg is now part of the LH/OS/LX 'premium carriers' club and is merging their functions with the teams in VIE/ZRH/FRA. As part of that SN in BRU will take over the marketing/sales of the African region for the others. They seem to have a good feel for the market. Onboard product didn't seem to be an obstacle. The operated the oldest A332 with claptrap interiors prior and during the last refurbishing campaign to the destinations and it didn't dent their marketshare.
oliver2002 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.