Emirates Airlines has announced suspension of flights to and from Nigeria.
The development was contained in a statement issued on Friday evening by Emirates Airlines.
“With the recently imposed directive limiting Emirates to operate one flight per week to Nigeria via Abuja, Emirates will be completely suspending its flights between Nigeria and Dubai, until the civil aviation authorities find a solution to the current ongoing issue.
“We regret the inconvenience this caused, and customers can contact their travel agent or booking office to make alternative arrangements.
“Emirates is committed to its operations inNigeria, and we stand ready to reinstate services once restrictions are lifted by the Nigerian authorities, ensuring travelers have more choice and access to trade and tourism opportunities in Dubai, and beyond to our network of over 120 destinations,” the statement read.
Emirates’ action was sequel to the decision by the Nigerian Government to restrict the Dubai flagship carrier’s flights into Nigeria effective December 12, 2021.
Emirates, by the decision of the Niverian government, can only fly into Abuja just once weekly on Thursdays, while its Lagos flights are suspended.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a statement on Friday by its Director General, Captain Musa Nuhu, explained that the Federal Government decided to respond to how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) treated Nigerian airline, Air Peace, adding that it was the responsibility of government to protect Nigerian businesses.
UAE had reduced Air Peace’s request for three times weekly flight to one, claiming it did not have enough slots for the airline.
Nuhu said the NCAA withdrew the approval to Emirates following the refusal of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of UAE to grant equal rights to the sole Nigerian carrier, Air Peace flying to Dubai via Sharjah.
According to Nuhu, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had graciously granted Emirates Airlines 21 frequencies weekly to two major airports in Nigeria: Lagos (14) and Abuja (7).
He regretted that despite this approval, the GCAA refused to grant Air Peace three weekly frequencies to Sharjah, approving just one frequency weekly.
Read, hereunder, the press release by Emirates suspending flights to Nigeria.
▪︎Press Release From Emirates
“With the recently imposed directive limiting Emirates to operate one flight per week to Nigeria via Abuja, Emirates will be suspending its flights between Nigeria and Dubai from 13 December 2021, until the UAE and Nigerian authorities work on a solution to the ongoing issue.
“The last flights to operate on 12 December 2021are EK 783/784 to/from Lagos and and EK 785/786 to/from Abuja
“Customers holding tickets with the final destinations Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted at the point of origin.
“Affected customers do not need to call us immediately for rebooking. Customers can simply hold on to their Emirates ticket and when flights resume, get in touch with their travel agent or booking office to make new travel plans.
“Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused. Emirates is committed to its operations in Nigeria, and we stand ready to reinstate services once restrictions are lifted by the Nigerian authorities, ensuring travellers have more choice and access to trade and tourism opportunities in Dubai, and beyond to our network of over 120 destinations.”