The presidency had earlier announced that Emirates Airline would resume flight operations to and from Nigeria with immediate effect.
The Federal Government has walked back its earlier pronouncement regarding the resumption of flight operations of United Arab Emirates (UAE)-owned Emirates and Etihad Airlines in Nigeria.
According to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, there is no timeframe for the two airlines to resume flight operations in Nigeria.
This declaration contradicted an earlier announcement made by the presidency after a meeting between President Bola Tinubu and his UAE counterpart, Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi on Monday, September 11, 2023.
Presidential Spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said both leaders reached a historic agreement, which resulted in the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers and the immediate resumption of flight operations by Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines.
The Middle Eastern country confirmed in a statement that there were ongoing efforts to reinforce the ties between the countries and explore opportunities for further collaboration.
But Keyamo, who spoke during the Aviation Africa Summit in Abuja on Thursday, September 14, 2023, revealed that terms of agreements were being finalised.
“So, we are beginning to work out all the tiny details. I have met with Emirate before I left UAE, and we are working out the details. We cannot say the time frame. Kicking off an airline operation again on a route, does not mean you will go and grab one empty plane sitting in a place,” the Minister said.
Speaking further, he said, “There is no idle plane sitting anywhere, they have to reschedule their flights and restart their routes again. All kinds of permission will be taken from local authorities and of course, I made the point in speaking with them and I made it clear that they will have to give our airlines reciprocal rights under our Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs).
“That is the point I insisted on, and they did say that any spot we need, they will give us as much as we give them those spots within Nigeria.”