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Emirates Suspends Flights To Nigeria Amid Slot Dispute
Last Friday, Emirates announced the suspension of flight operations between Nigeria and Dubai amid an intensifying slot allocation row between the Nigerian Ministry of Aviation and the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), just a week after the country’s largest airline announced its flight resumption to Abuja, Nigeria and Lagos, Nigeria.
The Dubai, UAE-based airline is once again suspending flights in and out of Nigeria until both countries resolved “the ongoing issue,” with the suspension taking effect beginning Monday.
Air Peace Airlines — the only Nigerian airline that operates passenger flights to Sharjah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates — requested three weekly passenger flight frequencies and was granted only one weekly flight.
The chair of the GCAA attributed this action due to the non-availability of arrival slots at Sharjah International Airport.
On the other hand, Emirates Airline applied to Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Aviation for approval of its winter flight schedule, with the requested schedule consisting of 21 weekly passenger flight frequencies to Nigeria, comprising of two daily flights to Lagos, Nigeria’s Murtala Mohammed Airport and one daily flight to Abuja, Nigeria’s Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.
Captain Musa Nuhu — the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) — explained that the reason why the government withdrew 20 flights from Emirates, leaving the Middle East carrier with one flight to Abuja, was because that was the same way the UAE treated Air Peace.
Air Peace had requested three flights a week but UAE authorities approved only one flight a week for the airline. The Director-General — in line with the principle of reciprocity — mentioned that the Nigerian government had to do the same for Emirates.
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