The dispute between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the allotment of flight frequencies to each country's flag carriers, Air Peace and Emirates, may not be resolved anytime soon.
UAE banned foreign airlines from bringing Nigerians in. Ethiopian Airlines refused Nigerians boarding at Lagos' Muritala Muhammed International airport.
Sources verified that Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and other foreign airlines bound for Dubai had been instructed not to board any Nigerian passenger.
Recall that Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika terminated Emirates' 21 frequencies and limited it to one weekly aircraft to Abuja on Friday. Nigeria reacted angrily after the UAE denied Air Peace a three-weekly frequency to Sharjah.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Nuhu, said on Friday night that the airline had withdrawn the first approval granted by the Minister of Aviation.
"I write to advise you of the revocation of the approval given to Emirates Airlines' winter schedule," the letter stated. This permission came in the form of a letter dated December 1, 2021, with the reference number FMA/ATMO/501/C.104/XV/356. The withdrawal will take effect at 23002 on Sunday, December 12, 2021."
"Please take note that Emirates Airlines has been permitted to operate only one weekly passenger frequency to Abuja on Thursdays going forward."
Emirates retaliated on Friday by unilaterally suspending flights to Nigeria. "Due to the recently issued directive limiting Emirates to operating one flight per week to Nigeria through Abuja, Emirates will cease its flights between Nigeria and Dubai from December 13, 2021, until the UAE and Nigerian authorities figure out a solution to the continuing situation," the airline stated.
Nigeria banned Emirates from flying into or out of the country in March after the airline imposed additional COVID-19 testing requirements on travellers from the country. The suspension was revoked two weeks ago after the difficulties were handled peacefully.