Nigeria, UAE end spat as NCAA re-installs Emirates flights

  • Air Peace gets daily flight to Dubai

 

Emirates Airlines is expected to resume flight services to Nigeria as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has cancelled one weekly flight granted the carrier and re-instated its 21 weekly winter frequencies to Lagos and Abuja.

This is contained in a letter to the Emirates country Manager, Nigeria signed by the Director General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu dated 21st, December, 2021.

The letter read; “Following further consultation with various stakeholders and the letter from the Dubai CAA with reference number DCAA/ASA/N-3/016 dated 17th December, 2021 offering Air peace airlines daily slots at Dubai airports, I wish to inform you the re-instatement of the Ministerial approval of Emirates Airlines winter schedule”.

This came following the decision by the Emirati authorities to grant Nigeria flag carrier airline, Air Peace seven weekly frequencies.

Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika

Aviation Metric had  exclusively reported that the Nigerian and the UAE authorities were holding talks on how to end a face-off that almost broke diplomatic ties between both nations.

The letter further states that, “This approval is predicated on compliance with Dubai travel protocols as released by the Dubai airports on Friday 26th November as it affects passengers”.

The  Nigerian Foreign Affairs Ministry had written to the UAE’s Foreign Ministry with a view to knowing where to go from there. Nigeria and UAE are embroiled in a bitter diplomatic feud.

The feud escalated when UAE surreptitiously denied Nigeria’s flag carrier airline, Air Peace three requested frequencies into Dubai. The UAE subjected the carrier to just one flight which forced the NCAA to cut Emirates flights from 21 frequencies to just one to Abuja.

Piqued by the situation, Emirates immediately withdrew its services on the lucrative Dubai-Lagos- Abuja route as the carrier’s one restricted flight was rejected outright.

For now, both Emirates and Nigeria are said to have lost several millions of dollars as a result of the imbroglio. Just last week, Dubai’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) made a concession of six weekly flights to Air Peace under some strict conditions.

Just last week, 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 the DCAA Director-General, Mohammed A. Ahli says, “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.

Ahli maintained that contrary to Air Peace’s insistence, slots cannot be blocked indefinitely, adding, “We would highly appreciate 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 further explained that the Dubai Airports have also confirmed that dnata-the ground handling agents at Dubai had sent the ground handling quotations to Mrs. Reham Mustafa-Country Manager.

 

 

Emirates Flight Catering, he also said was working on the quotation and should. He said they look forward to Air Peace operating with utmost confidence to/from Dubai at the soonest.

 The Ministry of Aviation declined to comment on the offer as sources said that was not the demand of the NCAA and the Sirika for Air Peace. Air Peace also did not respond to the letter.

 

Wole Shadare