The UAE and Nigeria are looking to settle their diplomatic dispute over slot allocations in what appears to be a reconciliatory development after the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority agreed to offer Nigeria’s Air Peace twice-daily slots to Dubai International Airport instead of Sharjah Airport.
A letter to the airline dated December 13 and signed by Director-General Mohammed A. Ahli stated, “Relations between our two countries go a long way back and we value these relations immensely. We surely wish to facilitate easy and safe travel for the people between our two brotherly countries”.
“As a gesture of goodwill in support of UAE and Nigeria relations and incase Air Peace wishes to start their flights [to Dubai International]”
Slots have been allocated to arrive at 05:40 seven days a week, with departure at 08:00, and also to arrive at 05:10 every day except Saturday, with the same departure.
The letter further requests the airline to advise by December 16 if it wants to use the slots as these cannot be held open indefinitely. The slots have already been blocked by the airport and ground handling quotations were also being prepared.
This is a massive U-turn from the UAE which had denied entry to Nigerian passengers as reports came in that several Nigerians were being deplaned from an Ethiopian Airlines flight as they were holding tickets to Dubai.
The UAE and Nigeria have been at odds following Nigeria’s decision to withdraw all but one of Emirates’ winter frequencies to Abuja and Lagos, a move seen as retaliation after its Emirati counterpart – the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) had awarded Nigeria’s Air Peace only one of three requested frequencies to Sharjah, citing the unavailability of slots.
The NCAA initially had approved Emirates’ winter schedule of 21 weekly flights to Nigeria, comprising 2x daily flights to Lagos and one daily flight to Abuja.