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Air Senegal’s Airbus A330 in Toulouse. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Air Senegal to Fly Direct Flights to Washington DC via New York

Air Senegal has announced it will begin U.S. services connecting Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport with a stopover at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and will be operated twice weekly as of Sept. 22.

The airline applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation for exemption authority and a foreign air carrier permit so it can begin scheduled flights.

The Senegalese national carrier will utilize its Airbus A330-900neo to complete the 3,830-mile flight between Dakar and New York and the further 228 miles between New York and Washington. The return flight to Senegal from Washington will also involve a layover in New York.

The airline’s A330-900neo that will be servicing this route has a seating capacity of 290 seats and will be configured with 32 in business class with 21 premium economy seats and 237 economy seats.

This will make Air Senegal the only African airline to fly regular direct flights between the U.S. and Senegal after South African Airways cut its fifth freedom route between the destinations back in 2019. However, Air Senegal will be going head-to-head with America’s Delta Airlines when flying to New York as Delta flies up to daily flights between Dakar and New York, hence having an advantage in terms of capacity.

Return of Passenger Services

Air Senegal has been among the most ambitious airlines in Africa especially when it comes to intercontinental services, even as airlines are considering the best possible options while slowly returning to service.

This can be seen in the airline’s decision to quickly increase its European destinations while it reduced its African network at the beginning of this year when it launched thrice-weekly flights to Lyon, France and Marseille, France, which were originally launched in December 2019 before the pandemic slowdown.

The West African airline also went on to fill the void left by the defunct Air Italy when it announced thrice-weekly services to Milan’s Malpensa Airport in February.

With the carrier’s main concerns being security, reliability and quality of experience, Air Senegal said it is aiming to offer a unique welcoming experience — the Spirit of Teranga — with Senegalese hospitality and cuisine onboard accompanied with attractive fares in both economy and business classes, one step the airline will almost certainly have to take to gain market share.

Air Senegal has a fleet of six aircraft, including the recently delivered Airbus A321 that joined Air Senegal’s existing narrowbody fleet of two A319s and two ATR72-600s. The carrier also operates one A330-900, and although it owns the aircraft, it wet leases a further A330-900 from Hi-Fly Malta.

The flights to the U.S. will operate with the following schedule, on Wednesdays and Saturdays: Flight HC407 from Dakar to New York, departing 1:30 a.m. arriving 6 a.m. and flight HC407 from New York to Washington departing 8:30 a.m. arriving 10:00 a.m.

The return flights will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays with the following schedule: Flight HC408 from Washington to New York departing 8:25 p.m. arriving 9:55 p.m. and flight HC408 from New York to Dakar departing 11:55 p.m. arriving 12:25 p.m. (+1 day).

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