Air Senegal plans to suspend flights on its Central Africa route serving Cotonou in Benin, Douala in Cameroon and Libreville from October 30 due to lack of business, announced on Monday, October 10.

air senegal suspend flight to central africa
(c) Sergey Tinyakov

Senegal’s national carrier relaunched in 2016 with ambitions to become a leader in the West African market. Still, it has struggled to become profitable as it competes with several other regional airlines on crowded regional routes. With the current fuel shortages across Africa and the rest of the world, it was inevitable to have this outcome.

“This decision is justified by the poor financial performance of this triangular line since its launch in March 2021,” the airline said in a statement.

South Africa is another country facing significant issues with cancellations as a result of fuel shortages as well as increased airfares, due to the continuous rise in inflation. Many regional airlines are being heavily impacted. Airfares, as well as currency differentiation, are the reason for people limiting their travel to the region as it isn’t as affordable as it was before the pandemic.

Major carriers such as Air France, KLM, South African Airways and Turkish Airways dominate the more profitable international routes to and from West and Central Africa. With politics contributing to these unprecedented times in the aviation industry, airlines have to rely on loyal frequent flyers and business travellers as the cost of airfares for first and business class has a high impact.

Senegal’s former national carrier, Senegal Airlines, went out of business after running up massive debts in less than five years of operation, and this could soon be the case.

Do you think the African aviation industry will be able to survive the current global economic turmoil? Comment below.

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