… Ethiopian airline denies Nigerians boarding
By Lawani Mikairu
Nigeria and United Arab Emirates, UAE face-off over allocation of flight frequencies to each country’s Flag Carriers, Air Peace airline and Emirates airline may not end soon.
UAE Monday directed foreign airlines not to bring Nigerians to UAE. Nigerian passengers were denied boarding on Ethiopian airline at the Muritala Muhammed International airport, Lagos.
Sources also confirmed that Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Air, and other international airlines going to Dubai from their bases have also been directed not to board any passenger with Nigerian passport whose final destination is Dubai, UAE.
Recall on Friday, Nigeria Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika canceled the 21 frequencies earlier given to Emirates airline and restricted it to one flight to Abuja every week. This was Nigeria’s reaction to UAE denying Air Peace the three weekly frequency to Sharjah, UAE the airline requested for.
While announcing the withdrawal of earlier granted approval on Friday night, the Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA , Captain Musa Nuhu had in a letter with the reference number: NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/329, dated December 9, 2021 with the head: ‘Withdrawal of Ministerial Approval of Emirates Airlines Winter Schedule,’ and addressed to the Country Manager, Emirates Airlines withdrew the initial approval granted the airline.
The letter read: “I write 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/ATMO/501/C.104/XV/356 dated 1st December 2021. The withdrawal becomes effective on Sunday 12th December 2021 at 23002.”
“Please kindly note, henceforth Emirates Airlines is granted approval to operate only one weekly passenger frequency to Abuja on Thursdays.”
Emirates also on Friday reacted by unilaterally deciding to suspend flights to Nigeria. The airline had said ,“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.”
In March, Nigeria suspended Emirates from flying into or out of its territory after the carrier-imposed additional COVID-19 test requirements on passengers from Nigeria . The suspension was lifted after the issues were amicably resolved two weeks ago.