News are emerging that both Brussels Airlines (SN) and Lufthansa (LH), which acquired a major stake in SN a while ago, are about to make a major announcement about a code-share deal, involving the Belgian airline’s Africa network but, in particular, the route to Entebbe.
Brussels Airlines is one of Europe’s leading airlines for connections to Africa and serves both Western and Eastern Africa extensively. In East Africa, there are now regular SN flights to Nairobi, connecting directly and via Bujumbura, Kigali and, of course, Entebbe – with additional flights to Tanzania also subject to intense speculation.
SN, which emerged from the ashes of the former SABENA, is a ”bonus” acquisition for the Lufthansa Group owing to SN’s intense Africa connections, where Lufthansa had most notably dropped their passenger services to Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in the late ‘90s, leaving Germany with no scheduled flight connections to any of the East African Community member states.
LH, however, did continue to fly to the wider region, mainly Addis Ababa, Asmara and Khartoum, where reportedly the fare structures are better compared with competitive Nairobi. In fact, Lufthansa also code shares with Ethiopian Airlines from Frankfurt to Addis Ababa as reported by this correspondent a while ago.
An SN/LH code-share arrangement for Entebbe, and likely their other African destinations, should it be formally confirmed later in the week, would be good news for SN as it would provide an added global traffic pool to feed passengers and cargo to Africa on their flights. Passengers of Brussels Airlines already have advantages with code-shared LH flights to selected European destinations from Brussels and, important for frequent travelers, can use Lufthansa lounges at their connecting airports.
It is understood that the Ugandan Civil Aviation Administration will need to sanction the LH code sharing of the SN flight but is expected to welcome the news and swiftly grant approval to the applicants.
Brussels Airlines is already applicant member for Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline cooperation and full membership is expected later in the year. The approvals from EU regulators for the complete takeover of SN by Lufthansa is also expected now sooner rather than later.