Sky Mali opens direct link to Conakry amid tensions between Bamako and ECOWAS
In a recent communication, Guinea said it did not recognise the decision of ECOWAS to suspend air links with Mali. Through its spokesperson, the country reaffirmed that its borders always remain open to all sister countries in accordance with its pan-Africanist vision. Sky Mali intends to seize this opportunity to get out of the asphyxia it has been imposed.
On Saturday 22 January 2022, Sky Mali will inaugurate a direct line between Bamako and Conakry. From this date, the private Malian company will offer three weekly flights between the capitals of Mali and Guinea. This new service offers a breath of fresh air to Sky Mali, which has seen its international connections (Libreville and Cotonou) suspended due to recent restrictions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) - excluding Guinea.
Indeed, since 9 January, air links between Mali and thirteen West African countries have been suspended. This is the consequence of the closure of land and air borders decided at the end of the 4th extraordinary summit of the conference of heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). "These sanctions were taken to facilitate the return to constitutional order in Mali, necessary for peace, stability and growth. By excluding essential goods and services, the sanctions were designed to avoid an impact on the population," the institution said. The sanctions follow the decision by the military junta in power in Mali since 2020 to extend the duration of the transition from power to civilian rule from six months to five years.
In the wake of this decision, several airlines including Air Burkina, Asky, Air Côte d'Ivoire and Air Senegal announced the suspension of their flights to Bamako. In response, the Malian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure issued an ultimatum inviting "all airlines serving Mali to confirm to the National Civil Aviation Agency the continuity of their services within 72 hours, starting on Saturday 15 January 2022". After this deadline, warns Mrs Dembele Madina Sissoko, "their slots will be allocated to other airlines, in order to ensure continuity of services". The threat has probably not had a favourable response since to date, these companies have maintained the suspension.
Sky Mali, which is backed by Emirati capital, began commercial operations on 29 September 2020. It currently operates two aircraft, a Boeing 737-400 and a 737-500. In addition to the domestic routes currently served (Kayes, Gao and Timbuktu), it is targeting Abidjan, Brazzaville, Ouagadougou, Niamey and Pointe-Noire on a regional level.