Air Senegal, the government owned flag carrier of Senegal, has announced an interesting new European route, set to launch on December 9th. The route, which will be served by an Airbus A330-900neo, will see the airline touching down in both Marseille and Barcelona, before returning directly to its base at Dakar.
The new triangular link
Air Senegal has indicated that, in December, it will launch a new and interesting triangular route between Africa and Europe. The route, which will originate in Dakar, will hit Marseille and Barcelona before returning to Dakar.
Ibrahima Kane, managing director of the airline, spoke to PressAfrik about the route, saying,
We will connect Paris, Barcelona, Marseille to all the capitals of the West African sub-region: Bamako-Abidjan-Ouagadougou-Nouakchott, Conakry, Bissau, Banjul, Praia, Niamey, Abuja, Accra”
Slated for launch on the 9th December 2019, the flights will operate from Air Senegal’s hub at Dakar-Blaise Diagne. From there, they will head to Marseille-Provence and finally to Barcelona-El Prat. Timing-wise, the stated schedule, as reported by Air Journal, shows flights as follows:
- From Dakar: Flights will depart at 00:20, arriving at 06:30 in Marseille. The service will leave from here at 07:55, arriving in Barcelona at 09:05.
- From Barcelona: Flights will depart at 10:25, arriving in Dakar at 14:05. There will be no Marseilles stop on the return leg.
Flights are slated to operate every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday using the carrier’s Airbus A330-900neo. In terms of competition, Vueling will be the main competitor on the Barcelona-Dakar route. However, there is no competition at all on the Marseille-Dakar connection, as it was only serviced by Aigle Azur who is no longer in business.
This would, apparently, make use of Air Senegal’s second A330-900neo, which will complete its order from Airbus. Signed back in February 2018, following on from an MoU at the 2017 Dubai Air Show, Air Senegal became the first African operator of the super-efficient widebody Airbus when it took delivery in March this year.
So far, the A330neo has only operated between Dakar and Paris, although it did once get replaced by the inimitable Hi Fly A380. This new route indicates Air Senegal will take delivery of its second A330neo in the coming weeks, in order to begin this route on the 9th December.
It’s not clear at this stage whether the Marseille to Barcelona leg will be fifth freedom. It would be absolutely awesome if it was, but with no return stop and no announcement as such, I don’t think that’s going to be the case.
More expansion coming… maybe
Not so long ago, it was announced that the airline planned to launch services to the US, namely to Washington. There’s good reason for this too, because South African Airways just abandoned its service between Dakar and Washington, leaving a convenient gap for Air Senegal to slide on into.
South African Airways used to operate five flights a week between Johannesburg and Washington, three of which would go via Accra and two via Dakar. However, last month the airline dropped Dakar entirely, choosing to route all flights only via Accra.
In the announcement, Senegal’s Minister of Tourism and Air Transport, Aliou Sarr, commented,
“I have the honor and the pleasure, on behalf of the Head of State Macky Sall, to announce to you, Mr. Mayor and to the populations of Goree, that Air Senegal will open the line Dakar-Washington in the six coming months.”
At the time, the airline said it would be using its second A330neo for this service. It would need to; at 4,000ish miles, it’s not a route that anything else in its fleet could handle. But, wait… isn’t the second A330-900neo going to be busy doing that funny route around Europe?
If the scheduling works, the airline could, in theory, run the European triangle four days a week and still have time for two or three rotations to Washington. It’s ambitious, but not completely unfeasible.
But before you rush out and buy your tickets (spoiler alert: they’re not on sale yet so you can’t) perhaps we should take this with a pinch of salt. It wouldn’t be the first time a route announcement has turned out to be a whole lot of hot air.
Do you think Air Senegal will operate to Washington? Will you fly from Europe to Dakar, perhaps? Let us know in the comments.