Nigeria suspends Emirates from Lagos, limits Abuja flights to once weekly



Posted by Sade Williams

The Federal government has suspended all Emirates flight frequencies from Lagos and limits the airlines flight into Abuja to once weekly.

This is in reciprocation of the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) and General Civil Aviation Authority in Dubai refusal to grant Nigeria’s Air Peace three weekly frequencies to Sharjah.

The Dubai Authority it was learnt, only granted one frequency ,weekly, a situation which made the Nigeria government reviewed the frequencies being operated into Nigeria by Emirates.

Emirates had before today, operated 21 frequencies weekly to two major airports in Nigeria; Lagos, 14 and Abuja, 7.

However, in a swift reaction to the GCAA in Dubai, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a letter dated  December 9th, 2021, with reference number NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/329, and addressed to the Country Manager, Emirates Airlines, Nigeria, the NCAA affirmed that the withdrawal becomes effective on Sunday 12 December, 2021 at 2300h.

The letter, signed by the NCAA Director General, Captain Musa Nuhu, and issued on Thursday, reads in part: “I wish to inform you of the withdrawal of the approval granted to Emirates Airlines Winter schedule. This approval was conveyed via a letter with reference number: FMA/ATMD/501/C.104/XV/536 dated 1st December 2021. This withdrawal becomes effective on Sunday 12th December, 2021 at 2300z.

“Please kindly note, henceforth, Emirates Airlines is granted approval to operate only one weekly passenger frequency to Abuja on Thursdays.”

Nuhu added that ; ‘Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) between countries are based on the principle of reciprocity for transparency and fairness to both sides, while Nigerian authorities approved the request of Emirates airlines, UAE authorities acted in total disregard of the terms and provisions of the BASA between the two countries by approving one out of the tree weekly passenger flight frequencies requested by Air Peace airline’.

It would be recalled that the highly anticipated return of Emirates to Nigeria  happened on December as Emirates touched down in both Abuja and Lagos on Sunday. The spectacular water canon welcome at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos marked the restart of daily services to Nigeria from Dubai.

Both flights from Dubai, EK 785 to Abuja and EK 783 to Lagos, were welcomed to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and Murtala Muhammed International Airport with water cannon salutes. Upon arrival, a cake cutting ceremony was also held between Emirates officials and the airport authorities to mark the resumption of operations.

This was after the UAE authority reviewed its COVID-19 testing for passengers on the Nigerian route.

The UAE travel protocols had put Nigeria and the country at loggerheads as both refused to agree on the testing guidelines.

For months, direct flights in and out of both countries had been suspended due to the imbroglio before a new twist is now  being introduced to the issue.

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