Brussels Airline offers boost to fresh produce exporters

BY: Samuel Doe Ablordeppey
Mr Philippe Saeys-Desmedt being welcomed by aviation officials after disembarking the inaugural flight to re-launch operations to Accra.

Fresh vegetable and fruit exports from Ghana and West Africa have received a shot in the arm following Brussels Airline’s resumption of flight operations into Ghana and some West African routes.

Brussels has robust cargo operations with specialised services, including facilities to transport perishables such as fresh and cut fruits, flowers and vegetables.

“Brussels Airline Cargo’s strength include a unique African offering, with high flight frequencies, reliability and unique products, including the Fresh-to-shelf formula for perishable goods from Africa,” the Vice President in charge of Sales Africa and Cargo, Mr Philippe Saeys-Desmedt, said.

 

He was interacting with the media on the return of Brussels Airline resumption of flight operations to Accra, Ghana, including the cargo operations. The airline ferried 41,000 tonnes of cargo in 2014 alone, a number that has since grown.

The airline has been flying into Africa since 1923, currently transporting about 800,000 passengers out of Africa a year. But the airline is now seeking to expand its footprints. West Africa remains the airline’s most well developed routes to Africa as it flies to almost every country in the west coast.

Mr Saeys-Desmedt indicated that Fresh-to-shelf solution ensured that fresh produce from Africa ended up on European shelves within 24 hours to satisfy growing demands for such produce from the continent.

He gave the assurance that the airline’s connection to Accra would be for the long haul, as part of a strategic group decision to judiciously deploy the services of Brussels and Lufthansa, which owns 45 per cent of the airline.

Feeder airlines

Brussels Airline vice president recognised challenges involved in intra-African flight connections which affected long haul operators, saying the ideal situation would have been for more regional airlines to connect the continent better.

He said the airline would be holding talks with Africa governments to ensure proper connectivity, while exploring the opportunity to partner with some domestic and regional carriers.

Current services

The relaunch of Brussels in Ghana comes with four-times a week scheduled flights on the Brussels-Accra route, operated with the wide body Airbus 330 capable of carrying more than 280 passengers. Flight schedules are expected to increase to daily by next year.

The flights come with modern inflight entertainment, ergonomic seats with spacious leg room for economy class. For business-class passengers, they can enjoy new configured interior with full flat-bed seats, generous luggage allowance and more privacy. — GB