West Africa carrier, Air Senegal has announced that will commence flight operations between Dakar and French city Lyon from 28 March with point-to-point demand alone totalling 40,000 in 2019, booking data reveals.
Perhaps surprisingly, Lyon will operate triangularly: Dakar – Marseille – Lyon – Dakar. It’ll fly 255 kilometres north from Marseille before continuing to the Senegalese capital.
When Marseille was launched in December 2019, it operated triangularly with Barcelona using A330-900s.
The pair then operated on a standalone basis, which will inevitably and sensibly happen with Lyon too when additional aircraft arrive and demand picks up.
Air Senegal to begin Milan too
Air Senegal’s Lyon announcement comes a few weeks after a three-weekly Milan Malpensa service was revealed. This will start on 17 February and also use A321s.
Milan will fill a significant void left by Air Italy, with Dakar – Milan P2P demand totalling 117,000 in 2019.
Air Senegal’s African network has – presumably temporarily – reduced in size. The likes of Abuja, Accra, Bissau, Lagos, Niamey, and Ouagadougou are not currently served.
This necessarily means connectivity to/from Europe has reduced and so the potential connecting demand.
Where could be next in Europe for Air Senegal?
Air Senegal will now have four European routes: Barcelona, Lyon, Marseille, and Paris CDG.
Based on the above figure, the network carrier now serves – or has previously served/announced and which are likely to materialise – seven of the top-10 markets, including Paris CDG.
Most have strong P2P demand, which is good given it is typically higher-yielding than supplementary connecting traffic.
London Stansted and Geneva were both announced but postponed. It is likely that they’ll start in the next year or so, although Geneva and Lyon are both quite close together.
However, the launch of London is probably only really likely if Abuja, Accra, and Lagos return and perhaps if Freetown is launched. All are Anglophile and key for demand, albeit pushing connecting traffic to a much greater degree from an already high level.
Of the remaining top-10 destinations, Brussels, Madrid, and Rome are likely in the future, subject to yield analysis.
Like Paris CDG and Barcelona, Brussels and Madrid would both have direct competition. Brussels Airlines operates six-weekly to Dakar (daily from S21), while Iberia serves the Senegalese capital four-weekly from Madrid (daily from S21).
Toulouse and Bordeaux are strong contenders in France. And like Rome, they have no non-stop service to Dakar or beyond.