AIRLINES face the risk of losing their landing slots in Mali unless they confirm whether they will continue to operate in the West African country, according to a statement from Mali’s Transport Minister Madina Sissoko Dembele.
‘After this deadline, their time slots will be handed to other airlines, in order to assure continued services,’ Dembele said, noting that the confirmation must be done within 72 hours as from January 15.
A number of airlines have already suspended flights to Mali, which had sanctions imposed on it by West African bloc ECOWAS after it rejected a proposal by the Sahel nation’s interim government to stay in power for up to five years before staging elections.
Among the airlines which have suspended flights are regional national carriers Air Senegal and Air Cote d’Ivoire.
Earlier this week, French-Dutch carrier Air France KLM also indefinitely suspended all flights to and from the capital Bamako.
Mali reciprocated by recalling its ambassadors and closing its borders with ECOWAS member states with its current leader, Assimi Goita, insisting that Mali had the means to weather the latest sanctions.