The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it has withdrawn the approval granted to Emirates Airlines by the Ministry of Aviation due to the refusal of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to grant equal rights to Air Peace Airlines to fly to Dubai via Sharjah.
The withdrawal of approval which commences effect from December 12, 2021, means that Emirates Airlines can only fly into Abuja (Nigeria) just once weekly on Thursdays, while its Lagos flight is suspended.
According to Daily Sun, the NCAA Director General, Capt Musa Nuhu, disclosed this in an interview on Friday.
Nuhu explained that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika had granted Emirates Airlines the approval for 21 flights weekly, 14 to Lagos and seven to Abuja.
He said that despite the minister’s approval, the GCAA of the United Arab Emirates declined to approve Nigeria’s Air Peace three weekly frequencies to Sharjah, which the airline demanded. Rather, it granted only one frequency weekly.
He said the GCAA had attributed its refusal to grant three frequencies to the Air Peace to inadequate slots in Sharjah airport, insisting that the Nigerian government would continue to protect Nigerian businesses.
He said, “The Nigerian Government was gracious to grant Emirates Airlines 21 frequencies it requested for. The airline wants to operate 14 weekly flights to Lagos and another seven weekly to Abuja airports.
“However, Air Peace only requested for three weekly flights to Sharjah, not even Dubai airport, but the CAA refused the airline. The CAA only approved one weekly frequency to the airline.
"The only excuse they gave was that they don’t have enough slots. Where is the justice in this? That is capital flight out of Nigeria. Nigeria should protect its own.”
In a letter with the reference number: NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/329, dated December 9, 2021, with the subject ‘Withdrawal of Ministerial Approval of Emirates Airlines Winter Schedule,’ and signed by Nuhu to the Country Manager, Emirates Airlines, the regulator indicated that it has withdrawn the initial approval granted the airline.
The letter stated, “I write to inform you of the withdrawal of the approval granted to Emirates Airlines winter schedule. This approval was conveyed via a letter with reference number FMA/ATMO/501/C.104/XV/356 dated 1st December 2021. The withdrawal becomes effective on Sunday 12th December 2021 at 23002.
"Please kindly note, henceforth Emirates Airlines is granted approval to operate only one weekly passenger frequency to Abuja on Thursdays.”