In a move signalling reciprocity of action, Nigeria’s government, yesterday reduced Emirates flight to the country, both Lagos and Abuja, from daily to once weekly which would be only on Thursdays.
The action followed the decision of the government of the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) to cut Nigeria’s Air Peace flight operations to Sharjah to once a week.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced the decision of the government in a letter titled: “Withdrawal of Ministerial Approval of Emirates Airlines Winter Schedule, dated December 9, 2021 and addressed to the Country Manager, Emirates Airlines Nigeria.”
The letter signed by the Director General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu 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 at 2300Z.
“Please, kindly note, henceforth Emirates Airlines is granted approval to operate only one weekly passenger frequency to Abuja on Thursdays. Please be guided accordingly.”
Emirates, last Sunday, operated flights to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to kick off its return to daily flights to the two Nigerian cities.
On the other hand, a letter that was addressed to Air Peace on the matter stated: “Greetings from Sharjah Airport. This has reference to your earlier request that we have received from your side to resume scheduled operations into Sharjah Airport for the winter season W21/22.
“Kindly note that the proposed timings were coordinated with the various stakeholders at Sharjah Airport, despite the terminal congestion and various challenges that will be faced, and with the best intentions we kept in mind our long business relationship we enjoy with Air Peace.
“As such we are pleased to propose the following timings: Once weekly flight every Thursday (day 4) with arrival time at Sharjah to be STA 01:00 UTC, and departure time from Sharjah will be STD 05:00 UTC.
“We will be looking closely in the near future for any potential opportunities for Air Peace for the upcoming summer season S22.”
Before its flights were suspended in February this year by the federal government, Emirates was operating two flights to Lagos daily and one flight a day to Abuja, which made it 21 weekly flights to Nigeria.
In order to enable Emirates Airlines have monopoly of direct flight from Nigeria to Dubai, UAE has refused to allow the Nigerian carrier operate to the Middle East country.