Emirates airline on Saturday said it is working closely with the governments of Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the ban on its flights to Nigeria and will give updates on the progress of talks between the two countries to its customers as soon as they are ripe.
BusinessDay’s checks show that Dubai stopped issuing visas to Nigerians and some other countries, so the federal government decided to reciprocate by banning the airline from operating in Nigeria.
The airline says it is still committed to serving its teeming customers on the two Nigerian routes, Lagos and Abuja, in a bid to meet the growing demand for air travel in and out of the country.
According to the airline’s statement: “Emirates remains committed to serving its two Nigerian points, Abuja and Lagos, to connect our customers to and through Dubai to Emirates’ global network, and meet the growing demand for air travel in and out of the country. Emirates is working closely with the UAE and Nigerian authorities and will communicate any updates to our customers. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers in Nigeria.”
On Friday, September 18, 2020, the Federal Government withdrew the approval given to Emirates Airlines to fly into Nigeria beginning from Monday, September 21, 2020.
It was learnt that the decision to withdraw the approval is due to the refusal of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to lift the visa ban on Nigerians and as a result, the Federal Government reciprocated by withdrawing the approval given to Emirates to operate into the country.
This was made known by the Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika in a tweet.
He explained that the decision to revoke the approval was arrived at after a meeting with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had with European Union Ambassadors, who wanted to review their status.
“The PTF subcommittee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept. 2020”, the tweet reads.
Sirika had on September 3, 2020, approved Emirates and 12 other international airlines to fly into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport(MMA), Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Some of the airlines approved enjoyed dual designation from the Federal Government.
With this latest development, Emirates Airlines may stop flying into Nigeria airspace from Monday, September 21, 2020.