FG approves resumption of flights by UAE into Nigeria

Abiola Seun

The Federal Government has given approval for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to resume flight operations to Nigeria.

Recall that Nigeria and UAE have been engulfed in a diplomatic row for several months overflight services and adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

The Nigerian government had initially approved the winter schedule of 21 weekly frequencies for Emirates Airlines, but later withdrew it and restricted the airline to only Abuja and one weekly flight.

The withdrawal was sequel to the refusal of the GCAA to grant equal rights to the sole Nigerian carrier, Air Peace flying to Dubai via Sharjah.

But, in a letter addressed to the Director General, General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), His Excellency, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaid by the NCAA DG, he said  the approval was sequel to the review and acceptance of the ‘Safety Decision 2021-02 Issue 24’ as released by the authority.

The letter stated that the Minister of Aviation has also approved the reinstatement of Emirates Airlines Winter Schedule with immediate effect.

The letter, dated February 1, 2022, with the reference: NCAA/DG/CCAA/20/16/119 and made available to journalists, was signed by Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The letter also informed the GCAA that Nigerian carrier, Air Peace has submitted its request to UAE authorities for resumption of scheduled passenger flights between the two countries effective March 1, 2022.

According to the letter, Air peace and Emirates Airlines are at liberty to resume scheduled passenger flights between Nigeria and UAE under the terms and conditions of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between the two countries.

The letter reads in part: “Your letter of 28 January 2022 with Ref GCAA/ATD/19-22 on the above subject matter refers. I wish to inform you that the safety decision issue has been accepted by Nigerian authorities after reviewing by relevant parties.

“Consequently, Emirates Airlines can resume scheduled passenger flight operations to Nigeria at its convenience.

“I wish to bring to the notice of HE that the Nigerian operator, Air Peace Airlines has submitted its request to UAE Authorities for resumption of scheduled passenger flights between the two countries effective 01 March 2022.”

Nuhu also said in the letter that all parties must ensure strict compliance with the COVID-19 travel protocols of both countries and re-assured the traveling public that the Federal Government would continue to ensure the provision of air services while protecting national’s interests at all times.

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