Aviation Africa: Nigeria and UAE to resume air links

Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates have resumed diplomatic relations and opened the door to a return of air routes between the two nations.

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu and UAE President,Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi on Mondays (Emirates news agency).

An effective visa ban was ended following a meeting between Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu and UAE President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement saw top level aviation administration from the GCAA heading to Abuja from the UAE to ensure the immediate resumption of flight schedules of both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines into and out of Nigeria without any further delay.

Africa’s aviation industry is gathering in Abuja this week for the annual Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition.

Government ministers and directors-general of civil aviation from across the continent are gathering with leadership teams from IATA and AFCAC. GCAA’s director general HE SaIf Mohammed Al Suweidi and the UAE’s permanent representative to  ICAO Saeed Alsuwaidi are believed to have travelled to the city and meet Capt. Musa Nuhu, Director General & CEO of Nigeria CAA and the new Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo.

The diplomatic row which caused the airlines to suspend their operations in the country was due to withholding of millions of dollars of funds earned from their operations said to be due to foreign exchange problems in the country.

There were also said to be also some security issues.

In a statement issued by President Tinubu earlier this week, it was said the agreement  did not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government.

The issue of the withholding of funds is likely to be highlighted at the summit as some 13 African countries are believed to be guilty of withholding funds. Qatar Airways Group CEO is expected to call on the African governments to stop hindering the development of connectivity between countries.

The UAE is also expected to announce significant investment in Nigeria in the coming weeks a joint, new foreign exchange liquidity programme between the two governments.