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Only aircrafts in state of emergency are exempted from Nigeria—Niger flight ban – NAMA

NAMA drives staff capacity for service delivery

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has said that only aircraft in the state of emergency, over-flight aircraft passing through Niger airspace, and special flights, among other specific exemptions, have been excused from the flight suspension between Nigeria and Niger Republic.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday and signed by Abdullahi Musa, the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection of NAMA, the federal agency made it clear that special flights necessitate authorization from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

This update provided by the agency comes after both countries implemented a ‘No-Fly Zone’ on commercial flights following the coup d’état that ousted a democratically elected president in the Republic of Niger on July 26, 2023, and replaced him with a military government.

A development that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) frowns at.

This No-Fly zone was not only approved by the president of Nigeria, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, but was also part of the resolutions agreed upon by the ECOWAS during its extraordinary summit.

The regional economic bloc announced other significant measures, which include the closure of land borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger.

However, responding to these measures, the Niger government reciprocated by suspending flights into Nigeria and overflying planes.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development issued a directive to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) on August 2, 2023, mandating the enforcement of a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) effective August 3, 2023. This NOTAM imposed a no-fly zone on all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria.

Effective from 0600 UTC on August 3, 2023, aircraft departing from or arriving at aerodromes within the Niamey Flight Information Region (FIR-Nigerien Airspace) were barred from entering Kano FIR until further notice.

NAMA noted that as of January 29, 2024, the NOTAM has transitioned into an Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC), reiterating the suspension of all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria, as well as flights overflying Nigeria to Niger.

Musa added that the suspension of flights can only be lifted by the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, with approval from the Presidency and ECOWAS.