in Air Transport / Features

Sky Mali launches into stormy skies

Posted 11 December 2020 · Add Comment

West African start-up, Sky Mali, was planning to launch domestic scheduled flights as African Aerospace was going to press.

Ready for take-off: Sky Mali took delivery of its first Boeing 737-500 in March.

Sky Mali chalked up a major milestone on July 22 – receipt of its air operator’s licence. The start-up had already taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-500 aircraft in March, configured for 102 people in economy class and 12 in business class. Tom Pleasant reports.

Based out of Modibo Keita International Airport near Bamako, the airline was planning to start scheduled domestic flights in September, flying to Gao, Kayes, Mopti, and Timbuktu. Internationally, it is aiming to serve Malian communities in west and central Africa, in countries such as Cameroon, DRC, Gabon, Ghana, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal.

For capacity on these routes, it intends to introduce a Boeing 737-800, two Embraer ERJ 145s, and two MA60s over the next two years.

More ambitiously, it is hoping for flights to Paris by 2022.

Sky Mali has financial backing from the Emirati investment company, Al Sayegh Group (ASG), based in Abu Dhabi.

The head of ASG, Abdul Jabar Al Sayegh, said he decided to invest in the company due to the strong bilateral ties between the two countries. Abu Dhabi has been providing extensive loans for social and economic development to Mali since 1976. Most recently, the emirate backed the large Taoussa hydroelectric dam, which includes extensive road, agriculture and aquaculture subsidiary projects.

Guiding the airline through its start-up phase is SMFI-Consulting (Stratégie Marketing & Finances Internationales), based in Cotonou, Benin. The company has additional offices in Abidjan and Mali. Its director, Lucien d’Almeida, will be Sky Mali’s chairman. He has 42 years of experience in the airline industry, including 25 at Air Afrique.

The carrier’s general manager, and the man who first floated the idea of the airline, will be El Hadj Baba Haïdara, who directed Air Mali from 2000 to 2002. That airline ceased operations in 2012 due to the northern Mali conflict.

That conflict continues to this day, just one of several external challenges the airline faces – not least the current coronavirus pandemic.

In 2012 the country effectively lost control of almost all of northern Mali, including the large cities of Gao, Kidal, and Timbuktu, to Tuareg rebels, who renamed the region Azawad.

Mali, itself, suffered a popular coup d’etat in August this year, when President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was overthrown following allegations of mismanagement and corruption. The army was angry over pay and the ongoing fighting in the north.


 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

IATA warns governments on high cost of testing

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to take action to address the high cost of COVID-19 tests in many jurisdictions and urged flexibility in permitting the use of cost-effective antigen tests as an

Gulfstream exceeds 500 in-flight connectivity service installations

Gulfstream Aerospace has surpassed 500 installations of the Inmarsat Jet ConneX in-flight connectivity platform on large- cabin aircraft. The Wi-Fi solution is available on new aircraft and can be retrofitted on qualifying existing

Embraer delivered 34 jets in Q2 of 2021

Embraer delivered a total of 34 jets in the second quarter of 2021, of which 14 were commercial aircraft and 20 were executive jets (12 light and eight large).

ICAO SG highlights African aviation's growth potential

Addressing Africa’s aviation leaders last week, most notably through her opening of the 2021 AFI Aviation Week, ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu highlighted the tremendous potential future for aviation in Africa that could be

Single-engine Denali aircraft joins Beechcraft turboprop family

Textron Aviation is realigning its turboprop aircraft lineup as the single-engine Beechcraft Denali (previously branded the Cessna Denali) to join the legendary twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 260 and King Air 360/360ER as part of

Rostec starts developing hydrogen-powered aircraft engines

United Engine Corporation of Rostec has started a programme to develop hydrogen-powered engines for both aviation and ground applications.

Aviation Africa 2021 SKOC
See us at
WDS BT1202090322Aviation Africa 2021 BTOCDAS21_BTAviation MENA 2022