Tuesday , 4 October 2022
Emirates touched down in both Abuja and Lagos, December 6, 2021

UAE reacts over Nigeria’s reciprocity gesture against Emirates Airline

  • Says NCAA acting against the spirit of BASA calls for Winter Schedule reinstatement
  • ASRTI commends move says it will address negative trade balance

UNITED Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday told the Minister of Aviation that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is acting against the spirit of the agreed air services arrangement between the two nations asking the Nigerian Authorities to rescind its decision to limit Emirates’ flight to once a week.

In a letter with Ref:GCAA/C/29-21 addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika on December 10, 2021 titled Air Transport Relations, the GCAA stressed that the attribution of banning the Duabi-based airlines Emirates was not fair as the current impasse was operational and between Air Peace and Sharjah Airport

The letter signed by Minister of Economy, Chairman of GCAA Board, Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, read in part, “GCAA has the honour to highlight that such a decision by the NCAA is totally unjustified especially as it has come to our attention that that their action is being taken against the background of Air Peace not securing 3 slots at Sharjah Airport which they desire.READ MORE: NCAA limits Emirates Airlines’ Abuja passenger schedule to once weekly

“Air Peace initially operated at Sharjah Airport, shifted to Dubai Airport and then returned to Sharjah Airport. It would be unreasonable for an airline to expect any airport to maintain their slots when they ceased operating at that airport.

“In this regard we wish to kindly advise you that Sharjah Airport is currently operating at 140% slot capacity but with goodwill and tremendous effort on their side, this airport was able to accommodate Air Peace with one(1) out of the three(3)slots that this airline requested.

Recall the NCAA yesterday explained the reason behind its limiting Emirates Airline’s flights from United Arab Emirates (UAE) to just one into Abuja from December 12, 2021, as the country currently has 21 weekly flight frequencies into Nigeria while Air Peace which operates to Sharjah was granted only one frequency when it requested just three (3)

The regulatory agency came up with this clarification following another perceived misunderstanding into an already fractured relationship between Nigeria and the UAE stating the the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between both nations were based on the principle of reciprocity for transparency and fairness between both sides.

The GCAA official in his letter however held the same view stressing that,”…that the action of NCAA is obviously not in line with the spirit of the agreed air services arrangement between our two nations.” READ MORE: NCAA: We limited Emirates’ frequencies to maintain reciprocity

It said,” This is a purely operational matter between Air Peace and Sharjah Airport and in any case it should not have any implication on Emirates.

“We suggest that APL should consider flying their other two flights to any UAE airport at which there are available slots. As expected the GCAA will support APL in this activity where required”

Meanwhile, The Aviation safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) has also reacted to the move stressing that Nigeria is on the right course and the long time agitation on schedule reciprocity to Nigeria is finally being addressed.

In a statement issued, President, Dr. Gabriel Olowo said,”Action of the DG here is highly commendable and confirms his professionalism and love for Nigeria to emancipate and address the Negative Balance of Trade between reciprocating countries Participating in Nigeria’s BASA.

“ART hopes and persuaded that correction of these anomalies will not be treated in isolation but applied to all the foreign operations into Nigeria. Reciprocity on number of frequencies and choice of entry points. This remains the necessary and sufficient condition to avail markets for our carriers, address anti competition practise prevalent in Nigeria market till date due to corruption, reduce the heavy demand on foreign exchange for airline home remittance, build strong Nigerian Flag Carriers and consequently build a strong economy.

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