While the journey between Lomé, Togo and Cotonou, Benin was only 79 miles, I chose to fly instead of drive. With roads and land borders unpredictable, I figured flying would be the safer option, especially because my return flight departed from Cotonou (COO). Air Bukina, operating a Fifth Freedom route from Lomé (LFW) to COO enroute to Ouagadougou, was the logical choice and only half the price (144EUR) of flying local carrier Asky (a subsidiary of Ethiopian Airlines) on the same route.
Air Bukina Embraer 195 Review
The journey from my hotel, Hotel 2 Fevrier, took approximately 15 minutes and cost the equivalent of 10USD.
A security checkpoint greeted us at the airport. My passport was examined, the trunk was searched, and the undercarriage of the taxi was checked for explosive devices.
Inside, the airport terminal was modern and included floor-to-ceiling windows with plenty of natural light. After checking in, I proceeded through security and passport control. I was not asked to show my visa to Benin, though I had secured an e-visa online.
Post security, there was a pair of lounges used by VIP passengers, through neither accepted Priority Pass.
I noticed a nice espresso machine and stopped for a cappuccino. Sadly, the machine was not used and I got this instead:
Sweet powdered coffee? No thank you.
Boarding was delayed for our flight, though no one explained why. Everyone lined up to board then sat down again. Our gate was used by multiple flights, which created some confusion.
About 45 minutes after scheduled boarding time, a gate agent announced (in French only) that there would be a gate change and directed us about three gates over. Boarding commenced immediately thereafter.
We were herded onto a bus then taken out to our aircraft, an Embraer ERJ-195 aircraft. Along the way, we passed several Asky aircraft.
Air Bukina (2J) 558
Lomé (LFW) – Cotonou (COO)
Distance: 79 miles
Seat: 17A (Economy Class)
Onboard, it was immediately apparent this was an ex-Royal Jordanian aircraft: the color scheme was unmistakable. Legroom was tight.
We were welcomed onboard. Announcements were in French and English.
The aircraft was not clean and also showing its age with all sorts of scratches and dents. Ashtrays had not been removed and were still functional, but this was a non-smoking flight.
Soon, we took off for the short flight to Cotonou.
While I smelled meals heating up after takeoff, those were apparently for the Cotonou – Ouagadougou sector or crew. There was no service onboard during the flight, though my request for a glass of water was obliged.
Flight attendants, wearing blue uniforms, congregated in the rear of the aircraft.
Before landing, I used the lavatory, which was also a bit dirty.
As we landed in Cotonou, we flew over L’étoile Rouge, a memorial constructed by the Soviet Union that I would visit later that afternoon.
Cotonou does not have jet bridges. We alighted via air stairs then walked into the terminal. The midday heat was excruciating.
We don’t see many reports on Air Burkina so I wanted to provide one, but it is hardly a surprise there was not much service onboard a 79 mile flight.
Despite the delay, I was happy to save the money by flying Air Burkina over Asky.
Have you flown Air Burkina? How would you review Air Burkina?
This story is part of my An African Adventure As The World Shut Down trip report.
Nice! I like the smaller airline reviews. Fun reading. Can you update the links on your introductory page to the trip?
Hi Mick, I will do so. Thanks for the reminder.
Air Burkina has recently been sold to/partnered with a hitherto unknown American group based out of Pensacola. They claim to have plans to re-fleet the airline with A220s and develop Ouagadougou as a regional hub, but nobody seems to know anything about them,
A new opportunity for you? Sounds interesting.
Haha, no thanks! I know the team at Air Burkina quite well and don’t envy being in their situation – saddled with conflicting priorities from their shareholder (Government), a heavy debt load and a relatively small natural market with low tourism growth potential due to security concerns. I actually signed a partnership agreement with them in February 2020, but unfortunately nothing has come of it yet due to the pandemic shutdowns that followed immediately thereafter.
Very nice airport, and fun to read these types of reviews. Although you would have to pay me to fly on an airline like this lol. Fair or not…
Very good but what about Nigeria to Cotonou, Lome..?