Brussels Airlines resumes direct flights to Nairobi: What this means for Kenyans

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Brussels Airlines resumes direct flights to Nairobi: What this means for Kenyans

Belgium’s Brussels Airlines has resumed direct flights to Nairobi following a nine-year break.

A direct flight between Brussels and Nairobi took off from Zaventem Airport on Monday June 3, 2024 and arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the evening.

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok said the six weekly flights have been boosted by Kenya’s visa-free entry regime and Nairobi’s strategic location as a regional connecting hub.

“Our government has been opening the country through the visa-free regime. Now, you do not need a visa. You just fill in your eTA and in five minutes, you will be coming to Kenya,” said PS Bitok.

He mentioned that in the inaugural flight, 200 passengers received the express travel authorization as the country looks up to enhance its attractiveness as a tourist destination.

“They had their eTA processed in record time and they are now in Kenya. This country is safe and beautiful and all tourists around the world should come to Kenya,” added Bitok.

State Department for Transport PS Mohamed Daghar said the move signifies the strong ties that Kenya has with the European Union after a recent trade agreement was sealed.

“This echoes the cooperation that Kenya has with the European people. It is very key for us to ensure that we foster our relationship between Kenya and the EU. We recently signed the EU trade agreement which is great milestone,” said PS Daghar.

Brussels Airlines is looking to attract both leisure and business travellers with tourists increasingly finding their way to Kenya.

The airline is also hoping to cash on Nairobi’s status as a host to the UN headquarters in Africa for a share of traveling diplomats business.

“We are part of the Lufthansa Group and it is actually linking the continent in a much better way because we have Discover Airlines and Lufthansa to Mombasa which is already 18 weekly flights and we hope to have flights to Nairobi increase over time,” said Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO of Brussels Airlines.

Nairobi is Brussels Airlines’ 18th destination in sub-Saharan Africa which accounts for 40% of its total revenue.

The Kenyan government scrapped visa entry to all visitors to the country and replaced it with the Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) which has made it easy for visitors coming to the country.

Kenya Airports Authority chairman Cabeb Cositany was also present to witness as the landmark flight landed in Nairobi.

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