Niger, following a month-long closure of its airspace, has taken the significant step of reopening it to commercial flights. The decision, made by the military regime that assumed power following a coup in July, comes amid regional tensions and the threat of intervention from neighbouring countries.
According to the official Niger News Agency (ANP), the Ministry of Transport confirmed the reopening of the airspace, signalling the resumption of both national and international commercial flights. Ground services have also been reinstated to facilitate smoother operations.
However, it’s important to note that the airspace remains closed to all operational military flights and other special flights. These exceptions will require prior authorization from competent authorities, reflecting ongoing security concerns.
The closure of Niger’s airspace on August 6th was prompted by the perceived threat of intervention from neighbouring nations, particularly as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) considered military intervention to reinstate the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, who was overthrown in a coup on July 26th.
Initially, Niger’s land and air borders were sealed immediately after the military takeover. However, they were reopened on August 2nd with neighbouring countries such as Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, and Chad. Some flights with special authorizations were allowed to continue serving Niamey airport, the country’s capital.
It’s worth noting that Niger continues to grapple with sanctions imposed by ECOWAS in response to the coup, a situation that has had a detrimental impact on the supply of essential food and medical resources to the country. The United Nations has voiced concern over these regional sanctions and border closures, emphasizing their adverse effects on Niger’s population.