On Friday, September 18, 2020, the Federal Government withdrew the approval given to Emirates Airline to fly into Nigeria beginning from Monday September, 21, 2020.
AbelNews learnt that the decision to withdraw the approval is due to the refusal of United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to lift visa ban on Nigerians and as a result the Federal Government reciprocated by withdrawing the approval given to Emirates to operate into the country.
This was made known by the Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika in a tweet.
He explained that the decision to revoke the approval was arrived at after a meeting with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had with European Union Ambassadors, who wanted review their status.
“The PTF sub committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept. 2020”, the tweet reads.
Sirika had on September 3, 2020 approved Emirates and 12 other international airlines to fly into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport(MMA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Some of the airline approved enjoyed dual designation from the Federal Government.
With this latest development and barring any last minute pardon, Emirates Airlines may stop flying into Nigeria airspace from Monday, September 21, 2020.
However, AbelNews learnt that UAE has been making frantic efforts to resolve the matter now that it has been made crystal clear to them that the Federal Government was not ready to shift rescind its decision, except UAE lift the visa ban imposed on Nigerians in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Government, it was also learnt had made efforts to lift the visa ban but the UAE government remained adamant.
The ban it was learnt adversely affecting Nigerians travelling to the UAE to the extent that the Nigerian embassy in the country had complained to the government.