United Airlines And The Lufthansa Group Want To Make Brussels A US-Africa Hub

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Summary

  • Exciting partnership between United Airlines and Brussels Airlines aims to enhance travel between Africa and the United States.
  • Lufthansa Group’s ambitious plans could make Brussels a global hub for passengers flying to and from Africa.
  • Growth in Africa-US travel expected post-pandemic, with increased routes and competition benefiting passengers.

Brussels, a long-standing hub for travel between Europe and Africa, is now set to become a convenient gateway for travelers venturing to a new continent- North America. In a promising development, Lufthansa Group subsidiary Brussels Airlines is in talks with United Airlines to enhance travel between Africa and the United States, with Brussels as the strategic hub.

This exciting prospect could open up new travel opportunities, making the journey between the two continents more convenient and enjoyable for passengers.

The connection

Lufthansa, its subsidiary Brussels Airlines, and United Airlines are part of the Star Alliance, allowing the three entities to share flights. Currently, teams in Chicago and Frankfurt are working together to secure codesharing agreements and route plans to facilitate intercontinental travel.

Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

According to the German news outlet Aero.De, Lufthansa Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr said, “This is a major project with United that we expect a lot from.” He also told investors that it is an excellent opportunity for the Group.

Brussels Airlines doesn’t want to comment on the project at these early stages. However, a Lufthansa spokesperson said this to Aero.De about the project:

“It is no secret that we are pursuing ambitious growth plans for our long-haul network. [The project has the potential] to make Brussels a truly global hub for passengers traveling to and from Africa.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lufthansa Group reduced the capacity of Brussels Airlines. Spohr says the company went too far with the cuts and wants to increase traffic by reinstating profitable feeder routes from Africa.

The airlines involved

United Airlines and Brussels Airlines will do the brunt of the work. However, there are plans to involve Air Canada (another Star Alliance member) in bringing Brussels Zaventem Airport (BRU) passengers to the United States and possibly Canada.

A United Airlines Boeing 787-10 in Newark.

Photo: Joe Kunzler I Simple Flying

Brussels Airlines flies to 18 destinations on the African continent and has been an active player in the African aviation industry. The airline has a single daily flight from BRU to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). On the other hand, United Airlines operated daily flights BRU from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Travel from Africa to America

Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, and United aims to set up a foothold in the region ahead of time. Statista shows that between 2011 and 2022, travel from Africa to the US grew consistently until the pandemic hit.

A Brussels Airlines Airbus A320neo Parked At A Remote Stand at an airport.

Photo: Brussels Airlines

In the three years between 2011 and 2014, traffic from Africa nearly doubled. After the pandemic in 2022, there was a strong resurgence in traffic in the region, with 366,585 passengers. It is sure to follow and exceed the trend set in the past.

The codeshare agreement between United Airlines and Brussels Airlines will be profitable. The increase in routes will also benefit customers, as more competition will reduce ticket prices and result in additional destinations.

The level of traffic between the routes is roughly the same. In 2022, nearly 500,000 passengers traveled to Africa from the US. However, it is the least chosen destination for outbound travel destinations among US travelers.


  • N14106 United Airlines (Her Art Here-California Livery) Boeing 757-224 (1)
    United Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    UA/UAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1931

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    CEO:
    Scott Kirby

    Country:
    United States

  • Brussels Airlines Tile
    Brussels Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    SN/BEL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Brussels Airport

    Year Founded:
    2006

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    Airline Group:
    Lufthansa Group

    CEO:
    Dorothea von Boxberg

    Country:
    Belgium

    Region:
    Europe

    Loyalty Program:
    Miles & More



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