Burkina Faso Flights Suspended After Military Arrests President

An attempted coup in the West African nation of Burkina Faso has led to the cancelation of flights while the country looks to regain stability. The last flight logged as having departed was on January 24th at 17:25. This saw an Airbus A320 leave for Abidjan with Air Cote d’Ivoire. The flight cancelations appear to be continuing throughout today and possibly tomorrow. Let’s take a closer look at this situation.

Burkina Faso Flights Suspended After Military Arrests President
Air France service to Paris has been canceled. Photo: Air France

The attempted coup in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is in a state of uncertainty as the whereabouts of President Roch Kaboré remain unclear. Indeed, the BBC is reporting that there are conflicting accounts as to whether or not he has been detained by rogue members of the military. Chaos seems to have erupted some time on Sunday, January 23rd. The BBC also notes that gunfire was heard overnight, between Sunday and Monday, at the presidential palace and barracks in the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou. President Kaboré has not been seen in public since early Sunday.

The chaos has led to most, if not all, airlines canceling flights to the country. A number of international carriers serve Burkina Faso’s capital and largest city, Ouagadougou.

Turkish Airlines service to and from Istanbul has also been canceled. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons 

Numerous flight cancelations from major airlines

Taking a position of caution, airlines serving the country have moved to cancel their services to Burkina Faso. The airport at Ouagadougou during regular times doesn’t see too many flights. However, during this period of uncertainty, the few flights serving the airport have been suspended. Indeed, on January 24th, Aviation24.be reports that Turkish Airlines made the decision to divert an Ouagadougou-bound flight from Freetown in Sierra Leone to Niamey, in Niger.

Services that have been temporarily put on hold include the following:

  • Turkish Airlines’ TK534 to Istanbul (operated by a Boeing 737-900 or Airbus A330-300)
  • Royal Air Maroc Cargo’s AT326 to Casablanca (operated by a Boeing 767-300F)
  • and Air France’s AF584 to Paris (operated by an Airbus A330-300)

Variants of these flights that may be triangle routes or multi-stop services have also been canceled.

It appears that earlier on Monday, January 24th, amid the chaos, short-haul and regional flights managed to depart the country. These include services operated by Asky Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and Air Cote d’Ivoire. At the time of this article’s publication, it is unknown if these flights will be operating today, January 25th.

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At this time it is uncertain when flights will resume. Photo: RadarBox.com

With flight coverage poor and information scarce, it is difficult at this time to know when air services will resume to the country. Turkish Airlines operates an Istanbul-Ouagadougou-Conakry-Ouagadougou-Istanbul service in the form of flight TK537/538 while Air France operates a Paris-Accra-Ouagadougou-Paris service in the form of flight AF584.

In addition to the ongoing global health crisis, political instability has also been an ongoing factor affecting air travel. On January 15th, Simple Flying reported that authorities in Mali have given airlines operating in the country just 72 hours to decide if they want to keep their slots. The demand comes following the increase in political tensions in West Africa over the last week.

Have your travels ever been impacted by political instability? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.

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