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Report: UAE backtracks, cedes seven flight slots to Air Peace

Airline to now land in Dubai airport

In what appears as a move to avert a diplomatic row, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday conceded seven slots to Air Peace.

According to a report by The Nation, the UAE has also granted the Nigerian carrier the permit to fly directly to Dubai instead of Sharjah Airport, a source said.

Air Peace had requested for a slot of three weekly flights from Nigeria to Sharjah Airport in UAE, but only one was granted by the country’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The UAE’s GCAA blamed the airline for pulling out of Sharjah Airport and “so should not expect to retain its flight frequency there” — a claim Air Peace has denied. In retaliation to the UAE’s treatment of Air Peace, the federal government dropped Emirate’s slots from 21 to one.

On Monday, reports emerged that the UAE had issued a travel restriction on passengers from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But, the government said it was unaware of alleged stoppage of Nigerians by the UAE from entering any part of the Emirates through other carriers.

According to sources, the General Civil Aviation Authority sent a December 13th, 2021 letter to Air Peace.

Although the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not copied in breach of protocol, the Federal Government was said to have received the letter.

A source said: “As at 7pm, the General Civil Aviation Authority of the UAE has written to Air Peace to come and take its slots. Unlike before, the UAE conceded seven slots to the Nigerian carrier.

“In the letter, the UAE said Air Peace can fly directly to Dubai and not Sharjah Airport. This is the latest on the development.

“Even though they did not follow the right diplomatic channel by writing the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs which will in turn inform the Aviation Minister, this is still a positive development.”

Asked if the UAE has stopped other carriers from conveying Nigerians to Dubai, the source said: “This is in the realm of rumours. I don’t think it is true. No official communication banning Nigerians from entering Dubai through other carriers. If anybody has such a directive, let him or her produce it. It will be in gross violation of international civil aviation regulations.

“The Federal Government got no such information at the diplomatic or official level. I think with the latest concessions, the UAE was trying to avoid a diplomatic row with Nigeria. We also do not want any row with the UAE.”

[The Nation]
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