Air France today announced the suspension of its air links towards Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso After the closure of Nigerien airspace by the ruling junta.
Flights to Niamey (Niger) are suspended until further notice. “Due to the ongoing coup in Niger and the closure of airspace and Niamey-Diori Hamani airport, Air France will no longer serve Niamey-Diori Hamani airport until further notice.“, confirmed to Reuters an Air France spokesperson. While flights to Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) are interrupted until August 11 inclusive
Forced to revise its flight plans, the tricolor airline urgently canceled flights to Paris from Lagos (Nigeria), Yaoundé (Cameroon), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), diverted flights from Johannesburg (South Africa) and Nairobi (Kenya) to Abidjan, and turned the flight from Libreville (Gabon) back to its starting point… She also warned that “longer flight times” from and to several sub-Saharan destinations are to be expected. As a result, these connections will last between 15 minutes and 2 hours longer, for Chad in particular.
Other companies have already diverted certain lines. As of this morning, the Air Belgium flight linking Brussels to Johannesburg, as well as the Turkish Airlines flight linking Lagos to Istanbul diverted to the west of Niger to avoid its airspace. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa and SWISS have also changed the routes of some flights serving Africa, passing through the Red Sea route in the east or the route west of Africa and Morocco.
Niger’s ruling junta yesterday announced the closure of the country’s airspace until further notice, citing the growing threat of military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum to his post.