Air France has recently announced the launch of direct flights from Paris to Dar es Salaam, marking its return to the sub-Saharan Africa region after an absence of 28 years. This new route to Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the largest city in Tanzania, adds to the airline’s existing operations in Zanzibar, where it has been operating since October 2021. With this expansion, Air France now serves a total of 31 destinations in sub-Saharan Africa.
On June 12th, SkyTeam will begin three weekly flights to Dar es Salaam. It will employ 787-9s with 279 seats, its second-smallest widebody after the A330-200. And, unlike Air France’s leading aircraft to Sub-Saharan Africa, the 787-9 features more economy seats and fewer premium seats.
Dar es Salaam will be part of a triangle operation with Zanzibar, with the distance between the two cities being just 45 miles (73 kilometers). The following are the routing and timetables, with all times in local time:
- AF876, Paris CDG-Zanzibar, 10:20-20:15
- AF876, Zanzibar-Dar es Salaam, 21:45-22:20
- AF876, Dar es Salaam-Paris CDG, 23:50-07:55+1
Zanzibar was introduced by Air France in October 2021. It flew weekly from Paris CDG to Zanzibar, Nairobi, and back to Paris CDG.
With the addition of Dar, Air France’s Nairobi service, which began in March 2018, will be de-tagged and entirely nonstop in both ways. There are now four nonstop flights to Nairobi, with three more through Zanzibar.
London, by far Dar’s largest European market, continues without nonstop service, despite British Airways serving it with 767-300ERs until 2013. With approximately 50,000 roundtrip P2P travelers in 2019, it had a local market that was five times greater than Paris and four times larger than Amsterdam. It continues to rely on one-stop flights over Amsterdam, Istanbul, Addis Abeba, Nairobi, Middle Eastern cities, and, shortly, Paris.
So many one-stop options don’t assist the argument for a continuous London service. Similarly, the average one-way cost in 2019 was $325 (without taxes and any fuel surcharge), which was affordable when compared to other options for its widebodies. Dar-Heathrow’s fare per mile was $0.070, a third less than Nairobi-Heathrow’s long-served fare.
It outperforms British Airways.
Not surprisingly, booking data reveals that the Paris-Dar roundtrip point-to-point market was only 8,500 between January and September 2022. It was just 11,500 for the entire year of 2019. Because of a lack of colonial history with Tanzania, Air France will prioritize transit passengers above CDG customers. It will be the same as KLM’s daily Dar flight over Amsterdam and Turkish Airlines’ daily flight over Istanbul.
A Convenient Connection to Tanzania
Dar es Salaam becomes the second destination in Tanzania to be served by Air France. The airline already operates two weekly flights to Zanzibar, which have been well-received by travelers. With the addition of direct flights to Dar es Salaam, passengers now have even more convenient options to explore this vibrant East African nation.
Enhanced Flight Schedule and Aircraft
Air France will operate three weekly flights to Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania using its 279-seat 787-9 aircraft. The 787-9 is the airline’s second-smallest wide-body aircraft, following the A330-200. This modern and fuel-efficient plane offers passengers a comfortable travel experience while reducing the airline’s environmental footprint. Air France will not utilize the other popular airport located between Arusha and Moshi, Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Overcoming Challenges for Continued Operations
Earlier this year, Air France faced challenges regarding its operations in Dar es Salaam. The Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) had mandated that airlines intending to use Terminal 3 sign with Dnata, the authority’s preferred ground handler. This decision put Air France’s Dar es Salaam route at risk, as the airline was reluctant to comply. However, through diplomatic negotiations, Air France, along with its partner KLM, managed to reach an agreement that allowed them to continue operating at the newly built Terminal 3, ensuring a seamless travel experience for their passengers.
Streamlined Connectivity to Nairobi
With the introduction of direct flights to Dar es Salaam, Air France has decided to de-tag its Nairobi route, which it initially launched in March 2018. This means that flights to Nairobi will now be nonstop in both directions. Previously, four flights were nonstop, while three included a stopover in Zanzibar. This change will enhance the connectivity between Paris and Nairobi, providing travelers with a faster and more convenient travel experience.
Targeting Transit Passengers
Due to Tanzania’s lack of colonial history with France, the Paris-Dar es Salaam route primarily caters to transit passengers. Air France recognizes that its main focus will be on offering seamless connections to other destinations via Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). Similar to KLM’s operations in Amsterdam and Turkish Airlines’ services through Istanbul, Air France aims to position itself as a preferred choice for travelers seeking to connect to various global destinations from Dar es Salaam.
Expanding Passenger Network in Sub-Saharan Africa
Air France’s decision to add Dar es Salaam to its network signifies its commitment to serving the sub-Saharan African market. With the inclusion of this new destination, Air France’s passenger network in the region will encompass 31 airports by the next summer season. Among European airlines, Air France’s sub-Saharan network is surpassed only by Turkish Airlines, which operates flights to 39 airports in the region. Turkish Airlines’ strategic use of narrow-body aircraft and its geographical advantage contribute to its extensive coverage of Central and Eastern Africa.
Air France – Julius Nyerere International Airport:
Air France has resumed operations in the sub-Saharan Africa region with the launch of direct flights from Paris to Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This new route complements the airline’s existing services to Zanzibar and expands its passenger network in the region to 31 airports. Air France aims to cater to transit passengers and provide seamless connections via its hub at Charles de Gaulle Airport. With its modern fleet and commitment to service excellence, Air France is well-positioned to meet the travel needs of passengers traveling to and from Dar es Salaam.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s 31st airport
With the addition of Dar, Air France’s Sub-Saharan passenger network will grow to 31 airports by next summer. Only Turkish Airlines has more European flights than it, thanks to its extensive use of narrowbody aircraft, geographic location, particularly to Central and Eastern Africa, and several one-stop flights. The chart below shows how distant most other major European carriers are from Air France:
|Airline||Airports served in sub-Saharan Africa: summer 2023||Destination list for passenger flights|
|Turkish Airlines||39||Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Addis Ababa, Antananarivo, Asmara, Bamako, Banjul, Cape Town, Conakry, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Douala, Durban, Entebbe, Freetown, Johannesburg, Juba, Khartoum, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Maputo, Mauritius, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Nairobi, N’Djamena, Niamey, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou, Pointe Noire, Seychelles, Yaoundé, Zanzibar|
|Air France||31||Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Antananarivo, Bamako, Bangui, Banjul, Brazzaville, Conakry, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Douala, Freetown, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lomé, Malabo, Mauritius, Nairobi, N’Djamena, Niamey, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou, Pointe Noire, Saint-Denis, Yaoundé, Zanzibar|
|Brussels Airlines||17||Abidjan, Accra, Banjul, Bujumbura, Conakry, Cotonou, Dakar, Douala, Entebbe, Freetown, Kigali, Kinshasa, Lomé, Luanda, Monrovia, Ouagadougou, Zanzibar|
|TAP Portugal||12||Accra, Banjul, Bissau, Boa Vista, Conakry, Dakar, Luanda, Maputo, Praia, Sal, São Tomé, São Vicente|
|KLM||10||Accra, Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Johannesburg, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Lagos, Nairobi, Zanzibar|
|Lufthansa||8||Abuja, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, Luanda, Malabo, Nairobi, Port Harcourt|
|British Airways||7||Abuja, Accra, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, Mauritius, Nairobi|
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How many flights will Air France operate to Dar es Salaam?
Air France will operate three weekly flights to Dar es Salaam.
2. What aircraft will Air France use for flights to Dar es Salaam?
Air France will use the 279-seat 787-9 aircraft for its flights to Dar es Salaam.
3. What challenges did Air France face regarding its operations in Dar es Salaam?
Air France faced challenges when the Zanzibar Airports Authority mandated that airlines sign with Dnata, the authority’s preferred ground handler. However, through diplomatic negotiations, Air France was able to continue its operations.
4. What is the significance of Air France de-tagging its Nairobi route?
By de-tagging its Nairobi route, Air France will offer nonstop flights in both directions, providing passengers with a more streamlined travel experience.
5. How does Air France’s sub-Saharan network compare to other European airlines?
Among European airlines, Air France’s sub-Saharan network is second only to Turkish Airlines, which serves 39 airports in the region.