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Air France leaves Africa: Opportunities for African airlines


The suspension of Air France flights to several West African countries, namely Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, now leaves the field open to African airlines.

The airline Air France, with its political support, has constantly imposed the most expensive fares on these African countries while extracting the best profits from them.

The French company's unilateral decision to suspend its flights to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger sparked strong reactions from the authorities of these countries.

Abdoulaye Diop, the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, slammed the decision stating that Air France had suspended its flights to Mali, despite its contractual obligations and that the French company's decision was taken due to tensions between Paris and Bamako , especially concerning support for Niger.

«If it is to sanction Mali because Mali supported Niger, we will do it and we will do it“, he insisted during a previous speech.

Africa represents around 15% of the world population, however it only holds 4% of the air transfer market, for a total of 60 million passengers. This while Air France's turnover was $5,3 billion in 2020, up 66% compared to the previous year. This results from Air France's presence in Africa, where the company has increased ticket prices by 70% on certain destinations, without improving the quality of its services.

In this regard, the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs mentions part of these revenues: Air France earns around a million dollars per day thanks to its flights to Mali, he specifies while castigating the lack of respect of the French in speaking of the sudden suspension of flights but also the disruption of travelers.

«If someone steps on your foot, don't give them the opportunity to step on you again.», added Diop.

Regarding the resumption of Air France flights to Mali, Abdoulaye Diop declared: “If Air France is ready to come back, we will have to line up and we may give way to other companies».

For Africa, whose population growth is expected to be the strongest in the world over the coming decades, the departure of Air France could offer better growth opportunities to quality African companies, such as Ethiopian Airlines, Senegal Air , Royal Air Maroc or even Air Rwanda which offer much better services than those of Air France on an international scale.

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