Fresh Crisis Looms as FG Bars Emirates Airlines’ From Lagos Airport, Slashes Abuja Flights

Fresh Crisis Looms as FG Bars Emirates Airlines’ From Lagos Airport, Slashes Abuja Flights

  • The federal government has taken a decision regarding Emirates Airline flights operations in the country
  • Recent is the suspension handed over to the top airline by FG and would be effected from Sunday, December 12
  • Meanwhile, Emirates Airline, this week, made a return to Abuja and Lagos routes after a nine-month break

Abuja- The federal government has again suspended Emirates flights from flying to the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, while approving only one weekly flight to Abuja for the airline.

In the emerging aero politics, the government is attributing its decision to the refusal of the airline to grant the three slots requested by Air Peace, the sole Nigerian carrier operating to Dubai via Sharjar.

In retaliation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had via a letter withdrawn the Ministerial approval of Emirates Airlines’ winter schedule, Daily Trust reports.

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Trouble as FG bars Emirates Airlines’ from Lagos Airport, slashes Abuja flights
As ground crews watch, an Emirates Airline flight from Dubai taxis towards a gate on August 1, 2008. Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP
Source: Getty Images

In the letter dated Thursday, December 9, 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 will take effect on Sunday.

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Part of the letter, signed by the NCAA Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, and issued on Thursday, read:

“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.”

Flight operations

Following this development, the UAE carrier can only fly to Abuja once in a week with Emirates’ frequencies reduced from 21 weekly to one.

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The decision by the NCAA followed the refusal of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to approve the three slots to Sharjar which Air Peace requested for, The Punch reported.

Air Peace has been operating to Dubai via Sharjar amidst grumbling from stakeholders who queried while Air Peace should be limited to Sharjar when Emirates operates to both Lagos and Abuja.

The latest move by FG comes a few days after Emirates resumed flights to Nigeria after over 9-month suspension due to COVID-19 protocol.

The withdrawal of the Emirates schedule

Nuhu, who clarified the withdrawal of Emirates schedule, said the decision by GCAA in Dubai to grant equal rights to the sole Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, flying to Dubai via Sharjah, was discriminatory and unfair.

Nuhu explained that the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had graciously granted Emirates Airlines 21 frequencies weekly to two major airports in Nigeria; Lagos, 14 and Abuja, seven.

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Christmas: More Dubai trips as Emirates reveals when it'll resume flights in Nigeria

Meanwhile, had earlier reported that Emirates, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier on Thursday, December 2, announced that it will resume its passenger operations between Dubai and Nigeria from Sunday, December 5.

According to the top airline, there will be operations to and from its Nigerian gateways with regular flights, providing travellers from Nigeria with free access to Dubai.

This is coming on the heels of the carrier's resolution row with Nigeria on suspension of international flights.

Global Passport Index 2021: List of 26 countries Nigerians can travel to without visa

In another report, the 2021 Global Passport Index has revealed that Nigeria passport holders can travel to 26 countries without visa and 19 countries with visa on arrival, making 45 countries.

With this, the index ranks Nigeria 103 out of 116 countries that have the most powerful international passports in the world.

The index is published by the Henley Passport Index which describes itself as the original, authoritative ranking of all the world passports according to the number of destinations the holder can travel to visa-free.


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