The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), has said the Federal Government is yet to be officially informed about the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lifting travel ban placed on Nigeria.
Speaking to newsmen, the NCAA Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the Emirates Airline cannot operate in the country until it officially communicates to Nigeria.
Nuhu said Nigeria is yet to be informed of the UAE’s decision because it had to be government-to-government communication saying until they are informed through diplomatic channel lifting ban on Nigeria still remain unofficial.
According to him, “The country manager of Emirates Airlines came to my office yesterday (Thursday), 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.
“But, what I told him is that the issue of flight operations between Nigeria and UAE is based on Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA).
He said, “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 maybe today or tomorrow, we will act on it”, he stressed.
Nuhu, however, said Emirates Airlines cannot resume service to Nigeria until the country receives a letter to that effect from their Civil Aviation Authority.
He also disclosed that Air Peace is to decide whether it wanted to fly into Dubai or Sharjah Airport but, the authority will support the airlines.
“When we receive their letter, then, the federal government will have to decide on that (when to begin flight into Nigeria). We have the Ministry of Aviation, which deals with matters of policies, and also, we have the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on Covid-19. However, we don’t think it will take time to decide once we receive the letter officially.”
“We cannot choose for Air Peace whether it’s Dubai or Sharjah it wants to fly into. It depends on the airline to choose the airport it wants to fly into and the approval given by the UAE government based on our BASA arrangement with them. 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.
“Air Peace is a Nigerian carrier and it is our responsibility to ensure that they get any support we can give them like any other Nigerian carrier,” he pointed out.
The NCAA boss, however, revealed that Nigeria restricted Emirate airlines to Abuja airport because of their unfair treatment meted out to Air Peace in their country.