…Air Peace refused more than one weekly flight to Dubai
… Emirates initially granted 21 weekly flights to Nigeria
By Lawani Mikairu
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ,NCAA, yesterday explained why it withdrew the 21 weekly flights frequency earlier approved for Emirates Airlines by the Ministry of Aviation. Only one weekly flight to Abuja has now be granted to the airline.
This is just as NCAA revealed that the only Nigerian airline, Air Peace, currently going to Dubai, UAE, was refused multiple flight frequency and given only one weekly flight.
Making the clarification, the Director General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu said with the withdrawal of the 21 flight frequency, which takes effect from December 12, 2021, Emirates Airlines can now fly into Abuja (Nigeria) just once weekly on Thursdays, while its Lagos flight is suspended.
Captain Nuhu further explained that NCAA withdrew the earlier approval following the refusal of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of United Arab Emirates, UAE, to grant equal rights to the sole Nigerian carrier, Air Peace flying to Dubai via Sharjah.
He added that Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation had ” graciously granted Emirates Airlines 21 frequencies weekly to two major airports in Nigeria; Lagos, 14 and Abuja, seven.”
The NCAA DG regretted that despite this approval, the UAE GCAA refused to grant Air Peace three weekly frequencies to Sharjah, which the airline requested for, rather “approved just one frequency weekly”.
According to Captain Nuhu, the GCAA had attributed its refusal to grant the three frequencies to the airline to inadequate slots in Sharjah airport, stressing that the government would continue to protect Nigeria’s businesses.
Captain Musa Nuhu said: “The Nigerian Government was gracious to grant Emirates Airlines 21 frequencies it requested for. The airline wants to operate 14 weekly flights to Lagos and another seven weekly to Abuja airports.
“However, Air Peace only requested for three weekly flights to Sharjah, not even Dubai airport, but the CAA refused the airline. The CAA only approved one weekly frequency to the airline. The only excused they gave was that they don’t have enough slots. Where is the justice in this? That is capital flight out of Nigeria. Nigeria should protect its own.”
On Friday night, NCAA 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 signed by Nuhu 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.”
Vanguard News Nigeria