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Emirates announces flight resumption in Nigeria

The Emirates Airlines has disclosed that it will resume flight services to Nigeria from October 1, 2024 explaining that the resumption of daily flights will further bolster trade by Nigerian and Emirati businesses.

Penpushing reports that the announcement came after over a year the Emirates Airlines suspended operations in the country due to difficulties encountered in repatriating trapped funds.

The statement published on the airline’s website on Thursday, announced that it would resume daily service between Lagos and Dubai, offering customers more choice and connectivity from Nigeria’s largest city to and through Dubai.

“The service will be operated using a Boeing 777-300ER. EK783 will depart Dubai at 0945hrs, arriving in Lagos at 1520hrs; the return flight EK784 will leave Lagos at 1730hrs and arrive in Dubai at 0510hrs the next day,” the statement said.

Penpushing further reports that the statement explained that, tickets can now be booked on the airline’s website or via travel agents, while record has it that the announcement by the airline came after Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Festus Keyamo, paid a working visit to the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Nigeria in Abuja.

The Minister disclosed in a tweet posted on his X handle Wednesday that during the visit, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Nigeria, His Excellency, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi handed a correspondence from the Emirates Airline indicating a definite date of resumption of flights to Nigeria.

“Yesterday, I paid a working visit to the Ambassador of the UAE to Nigeria, His Excellency, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi at the UAE Embassy in Abuja. That date will be formally announced by Emirates Airlines in a matter of days’, he said.

Penpushing also reports that Deputy President and Chief Commercial Officer of Emirates, Adnan Kazim on Thursday said the airline is excited to resume services to Nigeria, stating that the Lagos-Dubai service has traditionally been popular with customers in Nigeria and that the airline hopes to reconnect leisure and business travellers to Dubai and onwards to its network of over 140 destinations.

“We thank the Nigerian government for their partnership and support in re-establishing this route and we look forward to welcoming passengers back onboard,” the statement quoted him as saying.

Penpushing reports that Emirates in November 2022 suspended flights to Nigeria, stressing that the measure started on October 29, 2022 and blamed it on its inability to repatriate its revenue from the country.

The airline at the time said it had communicated its position to the Nigerian Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that under the circumstances Emirates had no option but to suspend flights to/from Nigeria

“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.

Penpushing further reports that, Emirates Airline at the time lamented that it had 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.

Penpushing also reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in March announced that the government has cleared all valid foreign exchange backlogs, while with the resumption of operations to Nigeria, Emirates said it would operate to 19 gateways in Africa with 157 flights per week from Dubai.

The management said these in addition with further reach to an additional 130 regional points in Africa through its codeshare and interline partnerships with South African Airways, Airlink, Royal Air Maroc, Tunis Air, among others.

“As a major economic hub in Africa, Nigeria and the UAE have built strong bilateral trade relations over the years, headlined by Lagos as the nation’s commercial centre,” the airline said.

Penpushing reports that Emirates stated that with the resumption of daily passenger flights the airline’s cargo arm, Emirates SkyCargo, will further bolster the trade relationship by offering more than 300 tonnes of bellyhold cargo capacity, in and out of Lagos every week.

“Emirates SkyCargo will support Nigerian businesses by exporting their goods via its state-of-the-art hub in Dubai, into key markets such as the UAE, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Bahrain, among others with key anticipated commodities such as Kola Nuts, food and beverages, and urgent courier material,” the statement said.

Penpushing further reports that, the Airline in addition said Emirates SkyCargo will also import vital goods such as pharmaceuticals and electronics as well as general cargo from key markets such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India and Hong Kong.

The management emphasized and explained that the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER serving Lagos will operate with eight First Class suites, 42 Business Class seats, and 304 seats in Economy Class, adding that keeping trade flowing seamlessly, these goods will be transported quickly, efficiently, and reliably via the airline’s multi-vertical specialised product portfolio.

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