Air Senegal seeks support and revival

Senegal’s national airline – Air Senegal – began 2020 with a well-defined strategy and now, despite the ravages of Covid-19, it’s looking to revive its fortunes.

Arrival of the first Air Sénégal A330neo

Early this year Air Senegal had begun a new phase of ‘extremely rapid and accelerated’ development in line with the country’s ‘Emerging Senegal’ plan.

It was the first airline in Africa to take delivery of an Airbus A330neo… and then a second joined the fleet, connecting a dozen regional destinations and also serving Paris, Marseille and Barcelona.

London, Geneva and the USA were due to be added this summer – the European market being vital for Air Senegal because much of its diaspora and technical/financial partners are located there.

But then came the pandemic.

After more than three months of confinement, Air Senegal cautiously resumed flights on June 20 with the reactivation of the domestic route between Dakar and Ziguinchor. On July 17, Abidjan became the first international destination.

Senegalese president, Macky Sall, chairing a meeting on the future of the company on August 21 said: “In this crisis, the 2020-2023 revival of the airline sector requires an adaptation of the economic situation of the company, its fleet, destinations and its business plan.”

Senegal has released CFAF 77 billion ($149 million) for tourism and air transport. A VAT freeze has also been decided. This support has saved more than 100,000 jobs, including 300 at Air Senegal.