International flights from Joburg, Cape Town diverted as Niger airspace closes

Rewrite The Following Title So That It Is Not Detected As Ai Content By Ai Content Detector International Flights From Joburg, Cape Town Diverted As Niger Airspace Closes

Airlines were forced to divert some flights after Niger restricted its airspace on Sunday night, making it more difficult for planes to fly across parts of Africa.

British Airways was one of the carriers affected by Niger’s partial closure of airspace, with at least five flights to and from its London hubs diverting — including services from NairobiCape Town and flights to and from Johannesburg. Air FranceKLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG also saw services diverted or delayed.

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BA confirmed in social media posts that some flights, including one from London Heathrow to Johannesburg, had been diverted because of the airspace closure over Niger.

“We’ve apologised to those customers affected for the disruption to their journeys,” BA said in a statement. “Our teams are working hard to get them on their way again as quickly as possible.”

An Air France spokesman said via email that the airline has suspended all services to Niger until further notice, and to Mali and Burkina Faso until August 11. The carrier also said longer flight times of between 15 minutes and 2 hours were to be expected to and from several sub-Saharan destinations.

The sudden airspace closure in Niger makes it harder for airlines flying between Europe and southern Africa, adding an hour or more on to certain routes, according to tracking service FlightRadar24.

There are also airspace restrictions over Sudan and Libya, meaning commercial aircraft cannot fly over. This means airlines need to extend flight times and cater for more fuel.

Some flights were already en-route when the airspace closed, causing them to make a diversion or reroute, per FlightRadar24.

Niger’s junta restricted access to the country’s airspace Sunday, citing warnings of an attack from foreign powers as a deadline issued by West African neighbors — warning they could intervene to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum — expired.

The junta that took power in a July 26 coup has rejected all calls to restore democracy and warned against any foreign interference. Hundreds of protesters gathered in the capital, Niamey on Sunday, in support of the coup leaders.

Niger’s airspace restrictions will remain in place until further notice, according to a statement from the junta on state television on Sunday.

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