Amid rising tension in the region, several airlines have suspended their flights to Mali after the country closed its borders on January 10 in protest against sanctions imposed against its military rulers by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

The sanctions followed the Malian military junta's decision to push back elections until 2025 after having toppled the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020 and having staged a de-facto coup in May 2021 against an interim civilian administration.

Following the border closures, Mauritania Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and Air France on January 10 diverted several flights destined for Bamako, according to Flightradar24 ADS-B data. Mauritania Airlines diverted at least three flights from Dakar Blaise Diagne Int'l, Abidjan, and Cotonou, respectively. The airline, in a statement, announced it had suspended its direct flights between Bamako and other capitals of ECOWAS countries.

Air France diverted a flight from Banjul to Dakar and cancelled flights from Monrovia Roberts and Paris CDG to Bamako. "Air France is doing its utmost to ensure the continuity of its flight schedule to and from Bamako in Mali by complying with the local operational restrictions in force. The company operated flight AF4140 to Bamako on January 11, 2022, and plans to operate another flight on January 12, 2022. Air France is monitoring the situation in real-time and will inform its customers of any adaptations in the coming days to its flight schedule to and from Bamako," a spokesperson told ch-aviation.

Ethiopian Airlines diverted its Bamako-bound flights from Dakar to Addis Ababa on January 10 and 11, but the airline said its flights to the Mali capital had not been suspended, but operated with a different flight number.

Air Sénégal (HC, Dakar Blaise Diagne Int'l) in a statement announced it had suspended its flights to Bamako for an indefinite period following the border closure.

Air Côte d'Ivoire (HF, Abidjan) and Air Burkina (2J, Ouagadougou) both published short notices that they had suspended flights to/from Bamako until further notice. Togo's ASKY Airlines (KP, Lomé) made no immediate announcement regarding its schedules between Conakry and Bamako.

News from Bamako said the airport remains open for flights to/from non-ECOWAS countries.

ECOWAS brings together Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.