FG Suspends Emirates Flights From Nigeria

In this file photo taken on June 26, 2015 an Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft sits on the tarmac at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP
File photo of an Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft. PHOTO: Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP

 

The Federal Government has placed a 72-hour suspension on outbound Emirates flights from Nigeria.

This is contained in a circular issued on February 4 by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The circular states that the suspension followed a violation of guidelines placed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

According to the circular signed by NCAA director-general, Musa Nuhu, the airline has been airlifting passengers from Nigeria using rapid antigen tests conducted by laboratories not approved by regulatory authorities.

READ ALSO: EU Regulator Clears Boeing 737 MAX For Flights

“Based on the foregoing and to enable the Nigerian government to put in place the needed infrastructure and logistics for COVID-19 RDT testing for departing passengers, the PTF has directed that Emirates Airlines should either accept passengers without RDT pending when the infrastructure and logistics are put in place or suspend its flights to and from Nigeria until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics are fully established and implemented.

“Emirates Airlines has not been in compliance with the two options given by the PTF as records obtained from Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) indicates that Emirates Airlines operated the flights from both Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja” the circular read in part.

The NCAA said additional sanctions would be imposed on Emirates Airlines for the violations of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and COVID-19 protocols.

It also noted that the airline will be informed as to when to resume operations.

Emirates Airlines Records First Loss In Three Decades

In this file photo taken on June 26, 2015 an Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft sits on the tarmac at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP
In this file photo taken on June 26, 2015, an Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft sits on the tarmac at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP

 

Dubai-based Emirates airline on Thursday posted its first loss in more than three decades, saying it had been badly hit by the coronavirus lockdown that brought air transport to “a literal standstill”. 

The Middle East’s largest carrier said it suffered a $3.4 billion loss in the six months to September, forcing it to slash its workforce.

“In this unprecedented situation for the aviation and travel industry, the Emirates Group recorded a half-year loss for the first time in over 30 years,” the airline’s chairman and chief executive, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement.

“No one can predict the future, but we expect a steep recovery in travel demand once a Covid-19 vaccine is available, and we are readying ourselves to serve that rebound.”

The airline, which had to temporarily suspend operations earlier this year before building back its vast network, saw revenue fall 75 percent to $3.2 billion.

Over the half-year to September, it carried just 1.5 million passengers, down 95 percent from the same period last year.

The carrier said that its bottom line found some support with a “strong cargo business” as it repurposed its fleet to accommodate the need for supplies around the globe, including medical equipment.

“As passenger traffic disappeared, Emirates and (air services arm) dnata have been able to rapidly pivot to serve cargo demand and other pockets of opportunity,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

“This has helped us recover our revenues from zero to 26 percent of our position same time last year.”

The airline has announced several rounds of layoffs, without disclosing numbers.

In Thursday’s statement, it said that the Emirates Group’s employee base — which includes ground-handling firm Dnata — “is substantially reduced by 24 percent to an overall count of 81,334 as at 30 September 2020.

“This is in line with the company’s expected capacity and business activities in the foreseeable future and general industry outlook,” it said.

Before the virus hit, Emirates airline alone employed some 60,000 staff, including 4,300 pilots and nearly 22,000 cabin crew, according to its annual report.

Tourism has long been an economic mainstay of Dubai, which welcomed more than 16 million visitors last year. Before the pandemic, the aim was to reach 20 million this year.

Previously, Emirates served a global network spanning over 158 destinations in 84 countries. Currently, it flies to 99 destinations.

 

AFP

FG Grants Approval For Emirates Airlines To Operate In Nigeria

Muritala Muhammed International airport

 

The Federal Government has agreed to lift the ban placed on Emirates Airlines, which prevented it from operating in and out of the country.

According to a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu on Wednesday, the development was based on an undertaking by the authorities of the United Arabs Emirates (UAE).

The statement quoted the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to have said that the commencement of the airline’s operations would depend on the commencement of visa issuance by the UAE.

“UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently, decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria.

Commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation.”

Read Also: [PHOTOS] Police Parade Suspected Kidnappers, Robbers In Abuja

Speaking further, the Minister appreciated the understanding of everyone who has been negatively affected by the recent policy decisions which forbade some airlines from operating into the country when Nigeria reopened its air space to international flights.

The decisions, according to him, were taken to protect the interests of the nation and its citizens who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, same Nigeria treats other nationals.

Emirates Airlines was initially given approval to operate into the country, an approval which was withdrawn following the inability of Nigerians to obtain/use valid tourist visas to enter the UAE.