24, September 2023
Niger’s military rulers have banned “French aircraft” from flying over the country’s airspace, according to the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) website.
Niger’s airspace is “open to all national and international commercial flights except for French aircraft or aircraft chartered by France including those of the airline Air France,” it said in the statement dated late Saturday.
The air space would remain closed for “all military, operational and other special flights”, unless receiving prior authorisation, the message said.
Air France told AFP simply that it was “not flying over Niger airspace”.
Niger had reopened its airspace on September 4 for commercial flights after having been closed for nearly a month.
The West African nation then announced on August 6 it was closing its airspace due to the “threat of intervention from neighbouring countries”, as the Economic Community of West African States threatened military action to restore the elected President Mohamed Bazoum who had been overthrown in a coup on July 26.
France has repeatedly supported the West African bloc, and relations between Paris and Niamey have been at an all-time low since the coup.