Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels Airlines have merged forces to provide a seamless travel, otherwise known as a ‘free-from-disturbance’, product towards Africa. With 200 flights per week, the trio will, henceforth, have a joint total of 31 destinations to 25 countries.
The three companies now form a united front to service the African air space. Brussels Airlines, the Belgian national airline, its German counterpart, Lufthansa and the Swiss carrier, Swiss, all part of the German group Lufthansa, have come together to offer a full range of seamless travel services, from basic comfort in economy class to a personalised greeting in Business and first class.
“From now on, the Lufthansa Group will combine the extensive African network of its three partners. We will provide a full offer to our clients,” says Dr. Kartsen Benz, European Vice President for Sales and Services at Lufthansa.
Brussels Airlines, flies to 15 Sub-Saharan destinations (14 countries) and code shares with Lufthansa, Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) and Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca), whilst Lufthansa and Swiss fly to 17 destination in 14 countries and 16 destinations in 7 countries, respectively.
This new strategy recognises Paris, France as a key point towards Africa. “France is one of the most interesting markets in the world. It is a strategic investment for us,” continues the Lufthansa official. The three companies transport a combined total of “200 000 passengers per year”, that is, 10 per cent of a grand total of 2 million passengers transported towards Africa from all over the world.
The France-Africa service route “is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10 per cent,” says Dr. Karsten Benz.
The fact that each member of the Lufthansa “African Alliance” group retains “it’s specificity”, as indicated by Herman Carpentier, Vice President Sales Africa / USA at Brussels Airlines, is to promote an improved product internationally. “Our clients will experience a marked difference. We already have a joint loyalty programme in place”. Points accumulated from Lufthansa’s “Miles & More” as well as Swiss and Brussels Airlines’ “Privilege” loyalty programmes can be used on any of the three airlines.
This development is particularly interesting considering that flights towards Africa will be improved significantly. According to Bernd Bauer, director of sales and marketing for Swiss Europe, “we already offer code sharing flights”. “In certain countries like Cameroon (with two capitals; Yaoundé and Douala), we do not have traffic rights to offer daily flights”. Indeed, Swiss flies thrice a week to the Central African country. But “with Brussel’s 4 times per week flights” a much better and constant product is possible through this new joint programme.
This service is much appreciated as it would create a healthy competition to counter the near monopoly of Air France which offers, for example, six direct flights to Douala and two direct flights to Yaoundé as well as a once a week Paris-Douala-Yaoundé flight.