Niger has decided to restrict access to its airspace to French aircraft, according to a communiqué transmitted to the African Air Navigation Security Agency (ASECNA) on Saturday, September 23.
The restriction applies to all French aircraft and those chartered by France, including the Air France fleet. However, the airspace remains open to all domestic and international commercial flights.
In addition, all operational military flights and special flights are prohibited unless they have exceptional authorization from the authorities.
This decision symbolizes the will of the Nigerien people, through their government, to regain total control of their airspace and territory. The move comes nearly four weeks after Niger reopened its airspace to international flights.
The National Council for the Protection of Homeland has expressed its support for this decision. The implications of this restriction on Franco-Nigerien relations and regional air travel remain to be seen.