Brussels is one of the most important political cities in Europe, home to the principal institutions of the European Union, other EU-related organizations and the headquarters of NATO. Brussels is also a major economic and financial center, hosting the headquarters of many multinational corporations and branches on many Japanese companies. Those factors make direct service an important strategic step for the airline.
“We hope to play a role in strengthening the bond between Japan and Belgium and forging new business opportunities in the future.” Osamu Shinobe, ANA’s president and CEO, said in a statement announcing the new flights.
The airline reports that a total of 90,000 passengers annually board transit flights from Japan to Brussels, for business reasons as well as to take in a wealth of tourist attractions including excellent dining, rich culture and many architectural treasures. In addition, the city is visited by tourists from all over the world.
“Brussels, one of Europe’s major hubs … lacked a direct flight from Japan,” Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company, said. “The new route will provide improved convenience for both European and Japanese travellers.”
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Once begun, the new service will bring to six the number of European cities the airline will provide with direct service. In addition to Brussels, ANA operates flights from either Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND) to Frankfurt (FRA), München (MUC), Düsseldorf (DUS), London (LHR) and Paris (CDG).
ANA also provides access from a number of other Japanese airports to a wide range of destinations across Europe through a joint venture with its Star Alliance partner Lufthansa Group which enables passengers to transit easily through Frankfurt and München.
Currently, Brussels Airlines, a member of the Lufthansa Group as well as a member of Star Alliance, is building a network of flights to destinations inside and outside Europe centered on its hub at Brussels Airport. The option for ANA passengers to change flights in Brussels will provide greater convenience for those wishing to transit to flights reaching a wider range of European destinations, the airline said.
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