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Air France introduces nonstop flights to Dar es Salaam

Air France is set to operate three weekly flights to Dar es Salaam, utilizing their 279-seat 787-9 aircraft, which is the airline's second-smallest wide-body plane after the A330-200.

Air France

After a 28-year absence, Air France has commenced direct flights from Paris to Dar es Salaam, marking its 31st route in Sub-Saharan Africa. This new addition makes Dar es Salaam the airline’s second destination in Tanzania, following Zanzibar, where they have been offering two weekly flights since October 2021 to the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.

Air France will provide three weekly flights to Dar es Salaam utilizing 279-seat 787-9s, which is their second-smallest wide-body aircraft after the A330-200.

Back in January, the airline had considered discontinuing the Dar es Salaam route and exiting the market due to a directive from Zanzibar’s Airports Authority (ZAA). The directive required airlines intending to utilize Terminal 3 building to sign contracts with Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata), the preferred ground handler appointed by the authority.

The diplomatic intervention was necessary to enable Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) and Air France to maintain their operations at the recently constructed Terminal 3.

With the addition of Dar es Salaam, Air France will convert its Nairobi route, which was initially launched in March 2018, into a fully nonstop service in both directions.

Presently, four flights to Nairobi are nonstop, while three flights involve a stopover in Zanzibar.

Unsurprisingly, booking data reveals that the Paris-Dar roundtrip point-to-point market for the period between January and September 2022 was relatively modest at 8,500 passengers.

The total number of passengers for the entire year of 2019 was a mere 11,500. This can be attributed to the absence of a significant colonial history between Tanzania and Air France. As a result, Air France will primarily focus on transit passengers through Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG). This strategy aligns with KLM’s approach in Amsterdam for its daily Dar service, as well as Turkish Airlines’ operations in Istanbul on a daily basis.

In contrast, London, which represents the largest European market for Dar es Salaam, still lacks nonstop service. However, British Airways previously provided service until 2013 using 767-300ER aircraft.

In 2019, the local market for roundtrip point-to-point (P2P) passengers exceeded 50,000, making it five times larger than Paris and four times larger than Amsterdam.

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