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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

Again, Emirates Suspends Flight Operations to Nigeria

Barely five days after Emirates resumed scheduled flights to both Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, the UAE airline has announced the suspension of flights to Nigeria until further notice.

In a letter sent to its trade partners in Nigeria on 10 December, the airline said that the suspension will take effect from 13 December, 2021.

According to the airline, however, Flights EK 783/EK 784 (Dubai-Lagos-Dubai) and Flights EK 785/EK 786 (Dubai-Abuja-Dubai) will operate as scheduled on 11 and 12 December respectively.

The decision to suspend flight operations to Nigeria is not unconnected with the diplomatic tension between the Federal government of Nigeria and that of the United Arab Emirates since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter released by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and dated 9 December, 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria decided to reduce Emirates winter schedule to both Nigeria from 21 weekly flights to I weekly flight each to Lagos and Abuja.

According to the NCAA, the decision to reduce Emirates frequency was a reciprocity response to the UAE government’s refusal to grant Nigeria’s Air Peace the approval to operate three weekly flights between Lagos and Dubai via Sharjah. Instead the UAE approved only one weekly flight for Air Peace on Thursdays, citing slot constraint at Sharjah Airport.

It will be recalled that after 7 months of diplomatic tension, the Federal Government of Nigeria had, on 26 November, 2021, lifted the ban on Emirates after the airline relaxed its stringent COVID-19 measures against Nigerians, which included the requirement of Rapid Antigen Test (RDT).

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