The aviation industry spat between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) appears reaching resolution point, with the UAE lifting the ban on foreign airlines from bringing Nigerian passengers into the country.
The UAE aviation authorities had given a directive to Egypt Air, Air France, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, Rwanda Air, Etihad and Lufthansa to stop conveying Nigerian passengers into the country. In one instance, Nigerian passengers were removed from a Dubai-bound Ethiopian Airlines.
Industry sources say that the directive has been rescinded.
It all started when the UAE’s Sharjah Airports Authority reportedly denied the request of Nigeria’s Air Peace for three weekly slots at the airport. The Nigerian authorities responded by cutting the operational slots of Emirates airline from 21 weekly slots to just one slot at Abuja.
It was learned that the ban on Nigerian travellers was a retaliatory measure against Nigeria for withdrawing the frequencies given to Emirates airline.
In a new directive, the UAE government reversed its earlier decision and asked foreign airlines to start accepting passengers from Nigeria.
A source within Ethiopian Airline told Daily Sun that: “The excuse from Dubai was that they had gotten 37 positive covid cases, so they had to take measures to restrict movement. But not long after the directive to bar passengers was issued, they reversed themselves and are now accepting passengers from Nigeria.”
This development follows the restriction of Emirates to operate 21 weekly flights to Nigeria by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The government instead gave Emirates one weekly slot in Abuja in a retaliatory move after the Sharjah Airport Authorities reportedly had denied Air Peace the three slots it requested.
Reacting, Emirates Airline suspended its flight operations between Dubai and Nigeria over the Nigerian government’s action to restrict its flight operations.
The airline said it will reinstate its operations once the Nigerian government and the UAE authorities resolve the ongoing impasse.