Mali Cancels Air France Flight Permit

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Mali has revoked Air France’s permit to fly between Paris and Bamako after the carrier suspended operations to and from the country over regional instability.

Air France on Monday suspended flights to Mali and Burkina Faso after the airspace in neighbouring Niger was closed by the coup leaders who seized power on July 26.

The measure was due to end on Friday, but the company extended it to August 18, citing the coup in Niger and the “geopolitical situation” in the Sahel region.

The Malian authorities said the suspension breached the terms of its permit to operate the route.

In a letter addressed to Air France and verified by AFP on Friday, the National Civil Aviation Agency said the company had not provided notice and caused “inconvenience to passengers”.

“This failing entails the cancellation of your flight operating permit” for the summer season extending to October and other airlines could use the route, it added.

The agency asked Air France to submit a new flight programme before it could resume the service.

An Air France spokesman confirmed the Malian authorities’ request to AFP.

Relations between Mali and former colonial power France have soured since a junta seized control in the West African country in 2020.

Last year, French troops engaged in a decade-long battle against jihadist rebels left Mali, which has turned towards Russia and backed the new military authorities in Niger.

The two countries suspended issuing visas to each other’s citizens earlier this week.