Musa Nuhu, the director-general of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) has said Air Peace will operate to UAE once UAE sends an official letter to the federal government stating the new slot allocations given to Air Peace.
In an interview with journalists, Nuhu said “Air Peace can operate in the UAE, but we want it to be made available to us officially. Once this is done, their airline can resume operations as they requested.”
About a week ago, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) made some concessions to Nigeria by granting Air Peace, Nigeria’s domestic carrier, six weekly flights to Dubai.
The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority had in a letter dated December 13th, to Allen Onyema, chief executive officer of Air Peace, entitled, ‘Operations of Air Services between Dubai and Nigeria’, signed by Mohammed Ahli, the DCAA director-general, says, “Relations between our two countries go a long way back and we value these relations immensely. We surely wish to facilitate easy and safe travel for the people, between our two brotherly countries”.
The letter further stated, “We write in reference to Air Peace’s possible/intended operations to/from Dubai Airports (DXB). We have received information from Dubai Airports with regard to slot availability at DXB –Terminal 1 and as a gesture of goodwill and in support of UAE and Nigeria relations, in case Air Peace wish to start their flights, slots have been blocked by Dubai Airports as A0540LT D0800LT- All days except day six.
“We would highly appreciate it if Air Peace could kindly reach out to Dubai Airports-ACL and inform them of their intentions to operate by Thursday, December 16th, 2021, and accordingly confirm the blocked slots”.
He explained that GCAA, the UAE aviation regulator, wrote to Air Peace and told the airline that it has seven slots reserved for it at Dubai Airport.
He said Allen Onyema, the CEO of Air Peace, showed the letter to the aviation Minister and the NCAA asked the UAE to write to Nigeria officially.
“It is important to have all these officially. So, the Nigerian Government is ready to allow the operations to start through the proper diplomatic channel. The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs has written to the Foreign Affairs of UAE to confirm officially if the letter was from them. Then, we will see where we go from there. It is important to have fairness, transparency and equity.
“The government needs to protect Nigerian businesses and Air Peace is one of the designated carriers from Nigeria. If we allow other airlines to come and take all the juicy slots, we are shooting ourselves in the leg,” Nuhu said.
Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, and Musa Nuhu, the director-general of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), restricted Emirates to just one weekly flight to Abuja after discussions broke down over restricting Nigerian flag carrier Air Peace to just one flight to Sharjah.
In response, Emirates withdrew flight services from Nigeria in what led to a diplomatic row between the two countries.