to fly or not to fly?

You probably read today about the Afriqiyah flight crashing in Libya.

Over 100 casualties. One known surviver. (Photo lifted from the Christian Science Monitor.)

Really sad stuff.

Afriqiyah also happens to operate about 25% of the flights coming in and out of Cotonou.

Airlines at COO, according to theAirDB.

It seems like these smaller, regional airlines suffer a disproportionate number of crashes. Particularly in Africa.

There was this crash in the Congo.

And this Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed off of Lebanon.

And this plane that came down in Nigeria.

You get the idea. And in case somehow you didn’t get the idea, let me be more specific. According to the International Air Transport Association, Africa’s air accident rate is six times worse than the rest of the world.

Hmm. So what does this mean for me and Andy?

At a dinner last night with some future colleagues, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that there are quite a few direct flights from Cotonou, and to cool places too, like:

  • Casablanca, Morocco
  • Bamako, Mali
  • Niamey, Niger
  • Dakar, Senegal
  • Tripoli, Libya
  • Libreville, Gabon
  • Nairobi, Kenya

However, while Delta and Air France fly to major destinations like Paris, smaller airlines like Aero Benin, Air Ivoire and ASKY Airlines provide most regional coverage. (I’m not sure why these aren’t represented in that graph, but apparently they’re there, along with a handful of others…)

Those of you who’ve traveled around Africa: are some small airlines safer than others, or should we just avoid them all?

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3 Responses to to fly or not to fly?

  1. Acacia says:

    i say start a rail network… good FS project…. and you’ll have the media at your fingertips to get them on board!

    no but seriously… be careful!

  2. Bridget says:

    i wish more people responded to this. Personally I don’t trust the small airlines but I don’t know how based in reality it is, and I also think after you’ve been somewhere a while, you see that everyone does it (for better or worse) and perhaps you will too. I think I flew Air Afrique (does that still exist?) as well as Air France when in Niger but I would have tried to avoid smaller ones.

  3. Amanda says:

    I’m not sure about Benin, but when I worked as a contractor in DR Congo official Americans were strictly prohibited from taking most Congolese and regional airlines by the RSO. I think we were limited to Brussels Airlines, Air France, and the regional Kenya Airways.

    Benin may be different, but it wouldn’t surprise me if your were forbidden from taking a lot of those local flights at all. In Congo, all intra-country travel was on charter planes and people spent days flying around major African hubs to link up with approved carriers.

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