Emirates’ 21 Frequencies To Nigeria Stays – NCAA

The Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Musa Nuhu, at the weekend, admitted that all the 21 frequencies to Emirates Airlines have been granted following the decision to grant Air Peace seven slots to Dubai Airport.

He was reacting to the letter submitted to his office, which indicated a form of release by Dubai Airport, lifting the ban on Nigeria and 11 other African countries.

The DG said NCAA had demanded a formal letter from the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), stating the terms and conditions in respect of the reversal of the ban economy pronounced on Nigeria and the designated airline, Air Peace.

According to the Director-General, NCAA, all air transport dealings with the United Arab Emirates were guided by the principles itemised in the Bilateral Air Services Agreement, (BASA), which both countries mutually agreed to comply with.

He said it was in the spirit of BASA that Nigeria reacted in the readjustment of the slots earlier granted Emirates to commensurate with the slots granted Air Peace as the principle of reciprocity was embedded in the BASA document.

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The DG noted that the news of the lifting of the ban by the UAE on 12 African nations, including Nigeria, was not sufficient to warrant flight resumption to Nigeria until a formal letter is submitted.

He, however, acknowledged a letter was submitted to his office in that regard but expressed the opinion that it was procedurally faulty as the airport company of a country cannot exercise such sweeping powers of top diplomatic relations between two sovereign states.



NCAA DG, Capt. Musa Nuhu

He explained that the appropriate procedure is that the UAE CAA should reach out to the Federal Government of Nigeria on behalf of the UAE, then the Nigerian government will give adequate attention to such correspondence. He assured that concerned government agencies and the existing ad-hoc committee will not withhold reaction to such proper initiative.

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The NCAA helmsman, speaking on the destination granted Air Peace outside Dubai, Sharjah, said the regulatory authority could not speak nor intervene for the airline as it had its business plan and operational strategies to achieve its set goals.

Nuhu, however, affirmed that on the slots request and the approval granted the Nigeria flag carrier, Air Peace, NCAA had an obligation to invoke the principle of reciprocity in dealing with the Emirate request, although earlier granted provisionally, but was adjusted to commensurate with the way and manner Air Peace request was treated.

He, however, said he took exception to the nauseating cock-and-bull-story adduced for granting Air Peace one slot out of the three requested. The excuse given was that the Sharjah airport was operating above its capacity.

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The DG argued that there cannot be an airport claiming to be more overstretched than the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA), which still employs its airport management savvy to align the international airlines without any glitch.

“Believe me, there is nobody that will tell you its airport is operating above capacity at the moment. But, if you look at Lagos Airport now, it is operating at above capacity. Lagos was launched in 1978 or 1979, how many people were travelling then and how many people are travelling now? If there is an airport that is operating above capacity it is Lagos Airport,” he stated

Wole Shadare