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Air Cargo and Air Travel Hit by Civil War and Coups

At the African Free Trade Expo in Pretoria, at which I spoke on the role of ecommerce, the Kenyan Airways speaker pointed out the issues of increasing civil disruption in Africa for air travel and cargo. The Somalia, Sudan and Libya civil wars have caused airspace restrictions, meaning commercial aircraft cannot fly over, and have closed direct flight patterns for Kenya Air. Recently the Gabon and Niger coups have also caused lengthy diversions. British Airways was one of the carriers affected by Niger’s partial closure of airspace, with at least 5 flights to and from its London hubs diverting — including flights to and from Nairobi, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Air France, KLM and Lufthansa also saw services diverted or delayed. The sudden airspace closure in Niger makes it harder for airlines flying between Europe and Southern Africa, adding an hour or more on to certain routes, according to tracking service FlightRadar24.. This means airlines need to extend flight times and use more fuel, which increases cargo costs.

Alastair Tempest

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