Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, says Emirates Airline will resume its flights to Nigeria soon.
This was made known in a statement issued Sunday by the ministry’s Head, Press and Public Affairs, Odutayo Oluseyi, in Abuja.
The statement said Mr Keyamo made the declaration after meeting with the airline officials at the just-concluded Dubai Airshow in the United Arab Emirates.
According to the statement, the minister visited the pavilions of leading aviation and aerospace industries in the world to inspect modern technologies that could be of use in driving his five-point agenda for the aviation industry in Nigeria.
“Using the opportunity of the Airshow, the Honourable Minister on the sidelines met with officials of Emirates Airline to further discuss the resumption of flights by the Airline to Nigeria which has yielded positive results as the management has given assurance that the resumption of the flight would commence very soon,” the statement said.
It said the airline also affirmed that the United Arab Emirate’s government has granted approval to Nigerian carrier, Air Peace Airline, to fly directly into and out of the prime airport in Dubai.
The Dubai Airshow commenced on 13 November and concluded on 17 November. The event attracted a considerable number of participants from around the world, including leading aviation and aerospace industry specialists.
In November last year, Emirates suspended flights to Nigeria. It said the measure started on 29 October 2022 and blamed it on its inability to repatriate its revenue from the country.
At the time, the airline said it had communicated its position to the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Under these extraordinary circumstances, Emirates had no option but to suspend flights to/from Nigeria from 29 October 2022 to mitigate against further losses moving forward,” the airline management said.
Emirates lamented that it has not repatriated its blocked funds from the country amidst lingering scarcity of forex in the country.
“Without the timely repatriation of the funds and a mechanism in place to ensure that future repatriation of Emirates’ funds do not accumulate in any way, the backlog will continue to grow, and we simply cannot meet our operational costs nor maintain the commercial viability of our operations in Nigeria,” the airline said.
On Sunday, the ministry said Mr Keyamo also discussed the improvement of infrastructure and promotion of innovation and creativity in cutting-edge technologies relating to civil aviation.
The statement noted that the minister had useful discussions with the representatives of the companies who shared their insights and expertise, and showcased the latest technologies that their companies could offer.
Similarly, it said Mr Keyamo met with the management of Airline Executive, led by its CEO, Dana Hatcic, a company that indicated interest in establishing an MRO facility in Nigeria.
The management had fruitful discussions with the Honourable Minister and they have been invited to Nigeria for further follow-up of their business plans.
The minister expressed the possibility of a maiden edition of the Nigeria Air Show sometime in November 2024, thereby becoming the first African country to organise such an event.
According to the statement, some of the exhibitors at the Dubai Airshow have made commitments to be at the maiden edition of Nigeria’s Airshow.