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Coup: Air France hangs flights operations to Mali, Burkina Faso

Niger Coup
Niger Coup

Flights to and from Bamako in Mali and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso have been suspended by Air France, the French national carrier.

The flight suspension which is expected to last till August 11, was announced on Monday, August 6, hours after Niger Republic’s military junta announced the closure of the country’s airspace due to the “threat of intervention”.

The airline explained that they expect longer flight times from sub-Saharan hub airports while flights between Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and Accra in Ghana are set to operate non-stop.

Brussels Airlines also told Reuters that flight times could be between an hour and a half to three and a half hours longer for rerouted flights and could include a fuel stop.

The suspension adds to a range of African airspace confronting geopolitical interruptions including Libya and Sudan, with some flights facing up to 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) in detours.

Speculations on increase in air tickets heightens

Following the closure of Niger’s airspace by military leaders in Niger, airlines are now grapple with longer flight distances and increased operating costs.

The development it was learnt, has led to a rerouting of flights and raised concerns over its impact on travel times and ticket prices for Nigerian travelers.

According to the NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) issued by Niger, all flights in the country’s airspace have been restricted, creating a complex challenge for airlines operating between Europe and southern Africa.

The airspace closure, scheduled to end on August 7 at 23:59 UTC, has raised eyebrows among industry experts, who foresee a high likelihood of its extension.

One of the immediate effects of airspace closure is the extended flight distances that airlines are compelled to navigate.

According to Flight Radar, a website that tracks airline routes, carriers operating between Europe and southern Africa are now forced to take lengthy detours, adding approximately 1000 or more extra kilometers to their flights.

As a result, the increased flight distances could lead to a surge in fuel consumption, placing a substantial financial strain on airlines.

The expected rise in operating costs poses a potential threat of increased ticket prices for Nigerian travelers. The extra fuel consumption and longer flight times may prompt airlines to adjust their ticket fares to offset the additional expenses incurred.

Consequently, Nigerian passengers flying between Europe and southern Africa may find themselves facing higher ticket prices, impacting both leisure and business travelers and potentially dampening air travel demand in the region.

For Nigerian travelers, the likely extension of the closure of Niger’s airspace means longer flight times and potential disruptions to travel plans.

Flights passing through the affected region may encounter delays, affecting onward connections and overall travel experiences.

With limited air travel options available, airlines are struggling to find alternative routes, leading to potential flight cancellations or reduced frequency of services.

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