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FG Approves Resumption Of Emirates Flight Operations

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The Federal Government yesterday approved Dubai-based Emirates Airlines to resume flight operations to Nigeria.

The Government also asked the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to approve the request by Air Peace for the resumption of passenger flights effective March 1, 2022.

This was contained in a letter written by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and addressed to His Excellency, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaid, Director General, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority.

The letter, dated February 1, 2022, with reference: NCAA/DG/CCAA/20/16/119. was signed by Musa Nuhu, DG of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The letter, titled: ‘Re: Operations of Flights-UAE/Nigeria VV-COVID-19 Safety Decision Issue 24’, stated that safety issue 24 had been accepted by the Nigerian authorities after a review by relevant parties.

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It reads, “Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority extends its compliments to the General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates.

“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 review 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.”

The UAE had restricted passengers travelling to the Middle East nation from Nigeria and 11 other African countries, following the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 late last year. Thus was only lifted on January 29, 2022.

Earlier, Nigeria and UAE had settled impasse occasioned by disagreement over the conduct of COVID-19 tests, and later disagreement over flight slots.

Air Peace had requested a slot of three weekly flights from Nigeria to Sharjah Airport in UAE, but only one was granted.

The UAE’s GCAA blamed the airline for pulling out of Sharjah Airport and “should not expect to retain its flight frequency there”. This, Air Peace had denied.

In retaliation to the UAE’s treatment of Air Peace, the federal government cut Emirate’s slots from 21 to just one, causing Emirates to pull out of the Nigerian route indefinitely.

However, following the concession of six slots to Air Peace, both at the Dubai and Sharjah airports, the Federal Government had, in December, reinstated Emirates’ 21 weekly flights to Nigeria.

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