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SN Goes To New African Destination...  
User currently offlineSlz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (13 years 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2549 times:

As from July 30th SN Brussels Airlines, the successor of Sabena, will add an additional destination to its rapidly expanding Central African network, bringing the total number of destinations to 12.

The new destination will be the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown and will be served twice weekly with A330-300.

More changes to the African network are expected after the summer season.

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (13 years 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2493 times:

Hello Slz396,

Thanks for the info!!

With changes, do you mean that it is possible that they will stop some destinations too?

With that new destination, are they looking for a fourth A330?


User currently offlineKenny From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2461 times:

For those who don't know it:

- On allmost all African routes the frequency increases starting from 26th June (3rd A330 is coming for that)
- 2 new destinations are added then also: Yaounde (on Thursday) and Luanda (On Sunday)


User currently offlineSlz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2440 times:

Just to confirm:

-) As from 26 JUNE:
3 new previously announced destinations: Yaounde, Douala and Luanda
increased frequencies to other destinations.
For this a 3rd A330-300 will arrive in Brussels early next week.

-) As from 30 JULY:
1 additional new destination announced today: Free Town
No new plane is needed, 3rd A330 will be used for 100% as from then...

-) Autumn time table:
Reshape of the SN network according to the performance of the individual routes, meaning: first of all more direct routes, but also a few more frequencies, and most probably also a 2 or 3 new destinations (Bujumbura, Lome, ...) Until now all routes fown are performing better then expected so SN does not foresee to drop any of them. Additional capacity will be needed...

User currently offlineMD-11er From Belgium, joined Nov 2001, 201 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2408 times:

Hello Slz 396,

Where have you heard something about Bujumbura?
Because in the past 00-SFR has been under gun fire.
Since then the Belgian Board of Civil Aviation has closed the line BRU-BJM. That was not the first time because SN already had some problems in the past on that route. ( due for example to the instability of the country).
So I am really curious to know from where you have that information or is it a speculation.


User currently offlineSAS23 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2419 times:

According to my sources in BJM they have not heard anything about SN returning ... but wish that they would do, as they currently have to fly via KGL, EBB or NBO to get to Europe!

User currently offlineCom3205 From Vatican City, joined Jul 2001, 69 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2333 times:

Does anybody know something about the bookings. You can increase your destinations but without pax.......

User currently offlineSlz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2311 times:

As to the destination of Bujumbura...
BJM has always been foreseen in the business plan as an initial SN destination, but the Belgian CAA has refused to give authorisation to serve this African capital as it is considered too dangerous for the time being... However, as soon as things In Burundi clear up politically and diplomatically, SN will restart flying to BJM once a week. (and probably drop one frequency on neighbouring Kigali in return) . When? No idea...

As to the pax numbers...
Currently 115,000 tickets sold in less then 5 months, which is ahead of the B.P. (foresees 200,000 pax the first year).

User currently offlinePRM From Burkina Faso, joined Apr 2002, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2286 times:

When are they going to start flying to Ouagadougou (OUA)? We are waiting......

User currently offlineSabenapilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2000, 2738 posts, RR: 45
Reply 9, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2263 times:

As far as I can remember, Freetown is a completely new destination not served by Sabena in the past (well at least not in the last few years or so)!
Maybe the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone has something to do with it, but still this totally new 'stop' is a big surprise to me... I guess its a strong indication SN has strong ambitions on Africa then!

I don't think SN has any intentions of going back to Ouagadougou nor Bamako, PRM. When we look at the routes they serve, we can see these are exactly the same routes SN was planning for 2002 if the Swiss would have fulfilled their legal commitments. Ouagadougou and Bamako were amongst the few African destinations which were set to be cut in the last plan of Mr. Muller.

User currently offlinePRM From Burkina Faso, joined Apr 2002, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 2222 times:

Sabenapilot - thanks for the info. I'm have to say that the routes to BKO and OUA would surely be more profitable than to starting one to Freetown....just thinking of the concentration of French and Belgian expats residing in French West Africa.?

User currently offlineEurostarVA From Bahrain, joined May 2002, 1296 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 2218 times:


What about Lagos (Nigeria)? I did not read anything anywhere about this West African destination being resumed. I presume that not enough point-to-point traffic exists between BRU and LOS and transit traffic would be difficult to catch considering the stiff competition from British Airways, Air France, Swiss and all the other airlines offering daily flights to Lagos.

Thanks for your feedback,


If there is a will, there is a way
User currently offlinePRM From Burkina Faso, joined Apr 2002, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 2204 times:

:- and as an aside to EurostarVA's LOS comments - SN's OUA competition would be restricted to 4x weekly Air France to CDG (the Friday flight of which is regularly cancelled) and two charters: a twice weekly flight via Bamako to ORY by Nasair (Mali) opb Euralair 734, and a weekly Point Afrique flight opb Corsair A330/737. Me thinks that is not real competition  Big grin

User currently offlineSlz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2166 times:

PRM, Isn't the fact that AF has to cancel one of their flight almost every week a strong sign that there is already more then enough capacity on OUA?

Besides, don't forget that SN's African flights can only be profitable thanks to transfer pax (except for the Kinshasa flights maybe). Tansfer pax are traditionally low yield pax because first of all you have to offer them the connecting flight to wherever they want to go in Europe for free! Besides, transfer pax generally have a lot of alternatives to get from home to their destination without having to pass through Brussels in the first place, so you really have to convince them to book on SN, best way is through a low ticket price on the trunk route too!

SN is trying to avoid having those low priced tickets (and thus low yield) by:

-) offering destinations popular with Belgians (Kinshasa, Kigali, Nairobi, Dakar, Banjul,...) which are willing to pay more in return for a direct flight. That way SN needs to attract less transfer pax and can ask higher ticket prices to those connecting passengers too.

-) serving destinations which are quite rare: Monrovia and Freetown for instance are served by NO other reputated airline in the world, so EVERYBODY going there MUST fly SN and pay whatever they ask for a ticket.

Ouagadougou nor Bamako are neither of these 2, so SN will indeed not return there soon as Sabena Pilot has said. Neither are Lagos or Accra for instance.
There are still a lot of places in Africa without serious competition (Porto Novo,... ) or with few competition from Air France only (Brazzaville, Lome, Libreville,... ) so I expect SN to re-open such routes first....

Before someone comes back to ask me: the names of the towns above are examples only... they are NOT necessarily all future SN routes....

User currently offlinePressclub From Belgium, joined Nov 2001, 775 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2158 times:

SLZ, thank you for your interesting info. Always interesting and correct. SN Brussels has just sent out a pressrelease

Sabenapilot, Sabena has flown to Freetown Sierra Leone !!! It did until 4 years ago, i think. Than due to the civil war in this country the flights were suspended. Something terrible happened to Sabena personel in this country by the way. Some female employees of SN, Belgian nationals, were raped. I do remember another incident. Due to a birdstrike 5 years ago or so a Sabena aircraft has blocked the only runway in Freetown for 2 or 3 days... An new engine arrived by helicopter.



PS SLZ, one question. Your analyzis about transfert pax (low yield) is correct. But I ask why SN Brussels is offering at this moment flights from Italy to several European destinations for less than 200 euro. They can't make profit with doing this. So why they do???

User currently offlinePRM From Burkina Faso, joined Apr 2002, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2144 times:


Slz396 - I would say 70-80% loads are typical for AF. Possibly it's correct that AF cancels flights often because of loads; but I rather suspect it's partly because there's no serious competition, and when a plane goes tech for example, they can afford to wait a day or two for the repairs rather than substitute with another, and then the occasional 742 or A340 would come.

As for ticket price - this must be amongst the most profitable that AF flies I would have thought. Low season economy not less than US$600 and expect double that in peak (summer and Xmas) season - there just is no serious competition! I would argue the same for BKO, although to a lesser degree.

SN used to do well on this route (3x a week A333), and a fair bit of the traffic were French who transitted through BRU because the fair was so much more reasonable (but still a good profit for the airline) - not just tourist traffic but business too.

Anyway, thanks for the info - hope to see your post when SN returns to OUA  Big grin


User currently offlineSlz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2138 times:

Thank you for the positive feedback, pressclub!

My aim is always to bring interesting and factually correct stories about SN, but I must admit this time I was a little bit too quick with the news about Freetown, because I was under the impression that the press release was sent out together with the message to me...

Anyway, back to your question!
SN is currently offering promotional fares, not only from Italy but on its full European network because:

-) Passenger numbers in Europe are traditionally lower during the months of June, July and August at all business oriented airlines, which mean possible extra pax also mean some unexpected revenue, even if at a very low yield.

-) It is considered the most effective and cheapest way to make publicity for SN across Europe.

-) Sabena had a summer campaign every year too.

User currently offlineKL713 From Netherlands, joined Aug 2001, 772 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2123 times:

what's up with the former non-african destinations? Such as Tokyo, Chennai, Montreal and some US destinations?

any possibility one of these destinations (or maybe some new ones) will be resumed in the near future???

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User currently offlinePressclub From Belgium, joined Nov 2001, 775 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2114 times:

I don't think SN Brussels will fly to Tokyo, Chennai,Montreal, ... They concentrate on Africa and interesting yields. Only possibility are codeshares...

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