In a document released by the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (Asecna) dated February 7th and published online, the closure of Niger’s airspace to flights originating from or destined for Nigeria has been officially confirmed.
According to the statement from Asecna, dated February 7th, it states, “The airspace of the Republic of Niger is open to all commercial, international, and domestic flights, except for commercial flights originating from or destined for Nigeria. These restrictions do not affect commercial flights traversing Nigerian airspace without landing,” as the Asecna document outlines.
This week, it appears that the German Development Minister fell victim to these restrictions. On Wednesday, February 7th, her aircraft was denied entry into Niger’s airspace and had to return to Abuja, its departure point. Ultimately, the minister had to find an alternate route to return to Europe.
This communication from the regional agency seems to respond to a circular from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (Nama), issued as early as January 29th. The circular states that “all commercial flights” from Niger or to Niger from Nigeria, as well as commercial flights “originating from Niger and traversing Nigerian airspace,” are “suspended,” “by the resolutions of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).”
Special flights, emergency flights, and flights transiting through Niger’s airspace are not affected by these measures.