Emirates Airlines has suspended all its flights to Nigeria as a retaliatory action taken against the Federal Government.
The Nigerian government had earlier reduced the frequencies approved for the Middle East airline to just one over an ongoing diplomatic row.
In a statement issued by the airline Friday evening, it said, “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.
“The last flights to operate on 12 December 2021are EK 783/784 to/from Lagos and EK 785/786 to/from Abuja
“Customers holding tickets with the final destinations Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted at the point of origin.
“Affected customers do not need to call us immediately for rebooking. Customers can simply hold on to their Emirates ticket and when flights resume, get in touch with their travel agent or booking office to make new travel plans.
“Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused. Emirates is committed to its operations in Nigeria, and we stand ready to reinstate services once restrictions are lifted by the Nigerian authorities, ensuring travellers have more choice and access to trade and tourism opportunities in Dubai, and beyond to our network of over 120 destinations.”
The Federal Government had on Thursday withdrawn its approval for Emirates Airlines winter schedule, cutting down the carrier’s daily flights to Abuja to just once a week.
It disclosed this in a letter dated December 9, 2021, issued to the Country Manager, Emirates Airlines Nigeria, Victoria Island, Lagos, and signed by the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu.
The letter with reference NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/329 and titled ‘Withdrawal of Ministerial Approval of Emirates Airlines Winter Schedule’, advised the airline to abide by the new directive.
It read in part, “I wish to inform you of the withdrawal of the approval granted to Emirates Airlines Winter Schedule. This approval was conveyed via a letter with reference number FMA/ATMD/501/C.104/XV/536 dated December 1, 2021.
“This withdrawal becomes effective on Sunday, December 12, 2021, at 2300h. Please kindly note, henceforth, Emirates Airlines is granted approval to operate only one weekly passenger frequency to Abuja on Thursdays.
“Please be guided accordingly. Do accept the assurances of my highest regards.”
The Federal Government about a week lifted the ban on Emirates Airlines flights to Nigeria after suspending the carrier from operating into Nigeria several months earlier, due to concerns over the United Arab Emirates carrier’s requirements in the management of COVID-19.