Emirates has decided to suspend their flights to Lagos, Nigeria entirely after a spar with the aviation regulator over slots that only gave Emirates permission to fly the route once a week.
This was in response to a similar limitation imposed upon Nigerian carrier Air Peace which applied to fly to Sharjah International Airport and was only granted one slot citing capacity reasons.
This has now led to a substantial loss of business for Emirates as they’re forced to suspend their Lagos route entirely until a solution is found on the diplomatic level.
It isn’t the first time that a dispute arises and the Nigerian regulator retaliates against foreign carriers. In fact, Emirates just recently received its traffic privileges back that were imposed in spring over Covid testing requirements for travelers from Nigeria.
In March, Nigeria suspended Emirates from flying into or out of its territory after the carrier-imposed additional COVID-19 test requirements on passengers from Nigeria. This was lifted on November 26th and now just two weeks later a new problem pops up.
As Reuters reports, this new argument regarding slots has now forced Emirates to withdraw yet again.
Emirates airline will suspend all flights to Nigeria from next week after the West African nation imposed new restrictions on its flights, the carrier said on Friday.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority announced earlier on Friday that it was restricting Emirates to just one weekly flight from 21 that had been initially approved.
The authority said this was in retaliation for the United Arab Emirates declining an application by local carrier Air Peace to fly to Sharjah International Airport three times a week. UAE gave the airline one weekly slot, citing the lack of available arrival slots at the airport.
“With the recently imposed directive limiting Emirates to operate one flight per week to Nigeria via Abuja, Emirates will be suspending its flights between Nigeria and Dubai from 13 December 2021, until the UAE and Nigerian authorities work on a solution to the ongoing issue,” Emirates said in a statement. …
This is a ballsy move by Nigeria, flexing its muscle after being discriminated against by the UAE. I have to say that I’ve grown skeptical of these restrictions against certain African nations as far as Covid is concerned. We saw the same recently with the discovery of Omicron in South Africa and just because they reported it first the country then faced a wave of restrictions.
It has since popped up at many places around the globe after tests were specifically looking for this variant and it has probably been around for a while. Maybe South Africa should take a look at Nigeria how they handle things like this and retaliate.
There is usually a small range of African countries around that are always excluded from traveling here or there, citing Covid outbreaks while this has already developed into a global problem. Without applying the victim label here, this is highly arbitrary and not founded in much proof. Governments want to be seen as “doing something” so this same group of countries in Africa is immediately banned while other high-risk hot spots are almost never sanctioned.
Coming back to the slot issue, when Air Peace applied for their slots at Sharjah and was given a single slot in a whole week that’s not normal. It’s unlikely that the airport is that busy so it can’t accommodate more flights, more likely did the UAE government try to limit the flow of arrivals and probably curb competition.
After a dispute about slot allocation Nigeria has once again imposed tough restrictions on Emirates, allowing them to fly to Lagos only once a week just like the UAE did with Air Peace at Sharjah. This wasn’t economically viable for Emirates and they decided to suspend the route entirely.
Hard to say when it will come back considering the recent flight suspensions were in place for 8 months before things started up again. Well, it was good while it lasted I guess. A whole two weeks.