West Africa cancellations

Old Aug 10, 2023, 4:12 pm
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West Africa cancellations

I dont see any threads about Air France cancelling flights to Bamako etc lately. It’s causing chaos with colleagues’ reservations and they don’t seem very willing to book on alternate carriers. By contrast I hear Corsair is continuing flights but having flight crew occupy business section so they don’t overnight in Bamako (passengers booked in business are being downgraded). Strange times…
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Old Aug 11, 2023, 2:28 am
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Probably what the unions demanded.
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Old Aug 11, 2023, 2:49 am
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I did not fully understood the point of the AF520 cancellation either. It was until today but now it's cancelled until tomorrow.

Corsair flights to BKO are not operated by Corsair crews or aircraft and are operated on an old EK A343 bought by Hi-Fly years ago, with that golden camel in the sand cabin. Ha, commercial aviation sometimes !

I can't think of a business in the world that is more sensitive to political changes than aviation. A route is like a handshake between two nations.

Cancellations, openings and re-openings of certains routes happen since we can fly and if these things make it strange, I guess aviation was always strange. So many AF routes came and went in the blink of an eye. Ukraine, some Moroccan routes, Iran, Cambodia, West Africa, etc.

It's annoying, but the only and real chaos for the airline was probably in the scheduling department and / or at ticket offices in airports in Africa. AF will cancel, reroute, reimburse or rebook according to ticket conditions and availability, just as always.
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Last edited by on.the.bowery; Aug 11, 2023 at 3:22 am
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Old Aug 11, 2023, 7:06 am
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The political situation in the Sahel is very unstable at the moment, with potential military involvement of the CEDEAO countries. I'm not surprised at the cancellations, as no airline wants to knowingly fly into a warzone and few people are flying there now anyways; France evacuated its citizens from Niger last week.
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Old Aug 11, 2023, 12:56 pm
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And don't forget that an AF crew escaped a terrorist attack targeting them specifically in the hotel they were staying in in Bamako a few years ago. It was a very scary experience for them and BKO is clearly a sensitive station.
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Old Aug 11, 2023, 5:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Goldorak
BKO is clearly a sensitive station.
After looking into it a bit more, I now see and understand better how risky and stressful this situation at this destination might be.

I believe crews are not sleeping in Mali and are staying in CKY on that particular rotation. But I’m not entirely sure.

Nonetheless, I 100% support crew « right of withdrawal » supported by the unions and agree that their safety is of the highest importance. I am also very thankful these people work and carry us to all these places around the world, sometimes at their own risk.

Reminds me of when CCS turned into a mess and US airlines (and IB) left in a hurry or would make their crew sleep on nearby Caribbean islands. And UX was like : « We’ll still do that. » And crews were caught in a shootout and robbed at the hotel, decided to go back to the airport and leave straight away. Later UX added PUJ on that route for crews to stay there.

Respect to all crews working such routes.

Last edited by on.the.bowery; Aug 11, 2023 at 5:58 pm
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Old Aug 12, 2023, 1:40 am
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Interesting insights. I note that I actually live in Bamako and frankly it’s not particularly scary. On a day to day level it’s much safer than, say, Kinshasa where crews do overnight. I walk around at night in a lot of areas with no worries which I would not do in Kin. The terrorist attacks at hotels were some years ago…
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Old Aug 12, 2023, 2:59 am
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Originally Posted by neflyer13
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Interesting insights. I note that I actually live in Bamako and frankly it’s not particularly scary. On a day to day level it’s much safer than, say, Kinshasa where crews do overnight. I walk around at night in a lot of areas with no worries which I would not do in Kin. The terrorist attacks at hotels were some years ago…
it’s good to hear that you are safe and it’s good to hear that BKO isn’t a lawless hole where people get robbed at every street corner.

I am not familiar with Bamako, but what I think is not Bamako-specific: the reason why AF is careful in these places is because AF is a symbol of France, and there currently is an anti-France mood in those countries. In Niger they tried to out the French embassy on fire. There are anti-France protestations in many of these countries.

So whilst it might be safe for an individual to walk around in those places, it becomes a different story when that person is associated with something more “institutional French”: embassy, the army, a French company, and in particular one that carries the word “France”‘in its name and the flag on a 50 meter long piece of equipment worth millions of Euros.

You walk around safely in Bamako, good. But would you feel equally safe marching around as a group of 12 easy to attack people wearing an “Équipe de France” track suit? On a totally different scale, but the same pattern: Munich wasn’t a gang zone in 1972, and yet the Israeli Olympic team got attacked.

My reading of those situations is that there isn’t a crime problem for everyone like in Kinshasa or Caracas. But a political problem, putting especially French people and particularly those that “represent” France at risk.
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Old Aug 12, 2023, 3:50 am
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https://www.leparisien.fr/internatio...A9%20politique.
Air France suspended flights to Mali and Burkina Faso until 18 August. Now Mali (friendly with new Niger regime) suspends Air France.

Air France is the French flag carrier. Given the anti-French sentiment, the plane itself is at risk of being held or shot at in Mali.
I understand AF management and unions. I doubt that flights will resume soon.
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Old Aug 12, 2023, 7:22 am
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo
it’s good to hear that you are safe and it’s good to hear that BKO isn’t a lawless hole where people get robbed at every street corner.

I am not familiar with Bamako, but what I think is not Bamako-specific: the reason why AF is careful in these places is because AF is a symbol of France, and there currently is an anti-France mood in those countries. In Niger they tried to out the French embassy on fire. There are anti-France protestations in many of these countries.

So whilst it might be safe for an individual to walk around in those places, it becomes a different story when that person is associated with something more “institutional French”: embassy, the army, a French company, and in particular one that carries the word “France”‘in its name and the flag on a 50 meter long piece of equipment worth millions of Euros.

You walk around safely in Bamako, good. But would you feel equally safe marching around as a group of 12 easy to attack people wearing an “Équipe de France” track suit? On a totally different scale, but the same pattern: Munich wasn’t a gang zone in 1972, and yet the Israeli Olympic team got attacked.

My reading of those situations is that there isn’t a crime problem for everyone like in Kinshasa or Caracas. But a political problem, putting especially French people and particularly those that “represent” France at risk.
Originally Posted by brunos
https://www.leparisien.fr/internatio...A9%20politique.
Air France suspended flights to Mali and Burkina Faso until 18 August. Now Mali (friendly with new Niger regime) suspends Air France.

Air France is the French flag carrier. Given the anti-French sentiment, the plane itself is at risk of being held or shot at in Mali.
I understand AF management and unions. I doubt that flights will resume soon.
Totally agree.
And everyone remember certainly the ALG AF highjacking at Christmas 1994. The situation was turning very bad in Algeria and only volunteer crews were continuing to fly to ALG. We know the rest of the story and it took something like 15-20 years for AF and other western airlines to resume flights to Algeria. I don't think the suspension will be that long for Mali & Niger, until the 150th coup and until they realize they're going nowhere with their new best friends, but...who knows.
Better be safe than sorry.
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Old Aug 12, 2023, 3:37 pm
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo
it’s good to hear that you are safe and it’s good to hear that BKO isn’t a lawless hole where people get robbed at every street corner.

I am not familiar with Bamako, but what I think is not Bamako-specific: the reason why AF is careful in these places is because AF is a symbol of France, and there currently is an anti-France mood in those countries. In Niger they tried to out the French embassy on fire. There are anti-France protestations in many of these countries.

So whilst it might be safe for an individual to walk around in those places, it becomes a different story when that person is associated with something more “institutional French”: embassy, the army, a French company, and in particular one that carries the word “France”‘in its name and the flag on a 50 meter long piece of equipment worth millions of Euros.

You walk around safely in Bamako, good. But would you feel equally safe marching around as a group of 12 easy to attack people wearing an “Équipe de France” track suit? On a totally different scale, but the same pattern: Munich wasn’t a gang zone in 1972, and yet the Israeli Olympic team got attacked.

My reading of those situations is that there isn’t a crime problem for everyone like in Kinshasa or Caracas. But a political problem, putting especially French people and particularly those that “represent” France at risk.
Given context I think your analysis is spot on for why decision was made (and I note crews were overnighting in Guinea anyway probably for same reason even before suspension). In my experience Malians are so polite and welcoming that I doubt even 12 ppl in French uniform would have problems in Bamako but Air France management/unions will not have wanted to test my hypothesis.
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Old Aug 12, 2023, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by neflyer13
Given context I think your analysis is spot on for why decision was made (and I note crews were overnighting in Guinea anyway probably for same reason even before suspension). In my experience Malians are so polite and welcoming that I doubt even 12 ppl in French uniform would have problems in Bamako but Air France management/unions will not have wanted to test my hypothesis.
well…I have no doubt that most people in Mali have no problem towards AF crews, but they were clearly the target of terrorists in BKO. I know that was in 2015, but I don’t think the situation has improved now.
https://www.tf1info.fr/international...e-1536686.html
https://www.lesechos.fr/2015/11/comm...-bamako-281606
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