The Nigerian government has reinstated Emirates Airlines daily schedule to Nigeria.
This was contained in a letter signed by Musa Nuhu, director-general, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and addressed to the country manager, Emirates Airlines.
Nuhu stated that “following further consultations with various stakeholders and the letter from Dubai CAA with reference number DCAA/ASA/N-3/016 dated December 17, 2021 offering Air Peace Airlines daily slots to Dubai airports; I wish to inform you of the reinstatement of the ministerial approval of Emirates Airlines Winter Schedule.”
He noted that the approval is predicted on compliance with the Dubai Travel Protocol as released by Dubai airports on Friday November 26, 2021 as it affects travellers from Nigeria to UAE.
Meanwhile, Air Peace Airline will resume flight operations to Dubai once UAE sends an official letter to the Federal Government, detailing the new slot allocations given to the Nigerian airline.
In an interview with journalists, Nuhu said “Air Peace can operate in the UAE, but we want it to be made available to us officially. Once this is done, their airline can resume operations as they requested.”
About a week ago, the UAE made some concessions to Nigeria by granting Air Peace, Nigeria’s domestic carrier, six weekly flights to Dubai.
The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority had in a letter dated December 13th, to the chief executive officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema entitled, ‘Operations of Air Services between Dubai and Nigeria’, signed by Mohammed Ahli, the DCAA director-general said “Relations between our two countries go a long way back and we value these relations immensely. We surely wish to facilitate easy and safe travel for the people, between our two brotherly countries”.
The letter further stated: “We write in reference to Air Peace’s possible/intended operations to/from Dubai Airports (DXB). We have received information from Dubai Airports with regard to slot availability at DXB –Terminal 1 and as a gesture of goodwill and in support of UAE and Nigeria relations, in case Air Peace wish to start their flights, slots have been blocked by Dubai Airports as A0540LT D0800LT- All days except day six.
“We would highly appreciate it if Air Peace could kindly reach out to Dubai Airports-ACL and inform them of their intentions to operate by Thursday, December 16th, 2021, and accordingly confirm the blocked slots”.
He explained that GCAA, the UAE aviation regulator, wrote to Air Peace and told the airline that it has seven slots reserved for it at Dubai Airport.
He said Allen Onyema, the CEO of Air Peace, showed the letter to the aviation minister and the NCAA asked the UAE to write to Nigeria officially.
“It is important to have all these officially. So, the Nigerian government is ready to allow the operations to start through the proper diplomatic channel. The federal ministry of foreign affairs has written to the foreign affairs of UAE to confirm officially if the letter was from them. Then, we will see where we go from there. It is important to have fairness, transparency, and equity.
“The government needs to protect Nigerian businesses and Air Peace is one of the designated carriers from Nigeria. If we allow other airlines to come and take all the juicy slots, we are shooting ourselves in the leg,” Nuhu said.
It would be recalled that Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, and Musa Nuhu, the director-general of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), restricted Emirates to just one weekly flight to Abuja after discussions broke down over restricting Nigerian flag carrier Air Peace to just one flight to Sharjah.
In response, Emirates withdrew flight services from Nigeria which led to a diplomatic row between the two countries.