October 15, 2019: Brussels Airlines have started to operate seven flights per week to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) once again from October 1. At the same time, the Belgian airline gradually introduces its brand new premium economy class on its African routes.

Relations between Brussels and Kinshasa had deteriorated in early 2018 when the Belgian government decided to review its cooperation with the Congolese authorities until the organisation of credible elections in the DRC. Later, the Congolese government had retaliated by ordering Belgium to close its general consulate in Lubumbashi, capital of the south-eastern province of Haut-Katanga, cease the activities of its new development agency, ENABEL, and close down the Schengen House in Kinshasa. Thus, Brussels Airlines' weekly flights had also been reduced from seven to four.

As the Congolese civil aviation authorities announced in February this year that the Belgian airline could reinstate its daily service between Belgium and the DRC, Brussels Airlines has gradually increased its frequencies to Kinshasa this year, now coming back to a daily service to one of its key markets on the African continent.

With 84 weekly flights to 17 destinations in 16 countries, Africa is a crucial part of Brussels Airlines' long haul network. The airline has offered more than 1.2 million seats on its African flights this year. The success of its flights to and from Africa lies partly in the connections to the rest of the Brussels Airlines network via its base at Brussels Airport, as more than 70 percent of travellers connect to or from other destinations in Europe and the US.

Although most of Brussels Airlines' destinations in Africa have a primary focus on corporate travellers and passengers who visit their friends and relatives abroad (VFR), more and more holidaymakers find their way to the beautiful coasts and nature of Africa. Brussels Airlines sees an increasing holiday trend to beach destinations like Dakar (Senegal) and Banjul (The Gambia). Entebbe (Uganda) and Kigali (Rwanda).

As more retrofitted aircraft enter the fleet, the new class will gradually be rolled out to more African destinations. Premium economy will begin on these routes: Kigali (Rwanda), Entebbe (Uganda), Bujumbura (Burundi), Freetown (Sierra Leone), and Monrovia (Liberia) from November 1; Dakar (Senegal), Banjul (Gambia), and Conakry (Guine) from January 13; Douala and Yaounde (Cameroon) from February 1; Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Cotonou (Benin), Accra (Ghana) and Lome (Togo) from mid-May.

Recently, Accra-based airline Africa World Airlines (AWA) and Brussels Airlines have announced an interline agreement to better connect passengers travelling through their respective hubs in Accra and Brussels.

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