DIRECTOR General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu has confirmed that he has been in communication with Emirates Airlines country manager following the lift of ban on Nigeria and 11 others by the United Arab Emirates( UAE) but has said Nigeria is still waiting for official communication from the UAE as the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) signed is between countries and not the airline.
He explained this following questions on how soon it would take air services to recommence between both countries after the shenanigans that led to the imbroglio between both countries suspend operations.
He said,” The Country Manager of Emirates Airlines came to my office yesterday and he submitted a letter showing us a letter of release by Dubai Airport lifting the ban on Nigeria and 11 other African countries. Of course, we still have some protocols that have to be complied with. I think it is acceptable.
“What I told him is that the issue of flight operations between Nigeria and UAE is based on BASA. Nigeria as a government, we don’t deal with an airline, we deal with the authorities of UAE. So, what I told him is that the Civil Aviation Authority of UAE should write to us officially through diplomatic channels. When we have that, it means the Nigerian Government is in official communication with UAE. As soon as that letter comes in, I’m sure it is going to come may be today or tomorrow, we will act on it.
On the restriction of Emirates Airlines to Abuja airport alone he said,”The whole idea was because they didn’t give Air Peace what it requested for. Air Peace requested for three frequencies and they gave it just one and the reason they gave was that Sharjah airport was overstretched.”
“Believe you me, there is nobody that will tell you its airport is operating above capacity at the moment. But, if you look at Lagos Airport now, it is operating at above capacity. Lagos was launched in 1978 or 1979, how many people were travelling then and how many people are travelling now? If there is any airport that is operating above capacity it is Lagos Airport. But now, they said they have given Air Peace the slots it said it wanted and we have given them same back,” he said.
The DG however said the NCAA or Nigerian government cannot choose for Air Peace whether it’s Dubai or Sharjah it wants to fly into as that depends on the airline
“We will support Air Peace and if Air Peace is having some issues there, we will see how we can help with the authorities there too so that they won’t have any problem and the airline can resume flight services to the airport