Emirates suspends Nigeria flights after new restrictions

ABUJA, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Emirates (EMIRA.UL) airline will suspend all flights to Nigeria from next week after the West African nation imposed new restrictions on its flights, the carrier said on Friday.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority announced earlier on Friday that it was restricting Emirates to just one weekly flight from 21 that had been initially approved.

The authority said this was in retaliation for the United Arab Emirates declining an application by local carrier Air Peace to fly to Sharjah International Airport three times a week. UAE gave the airline one weekly slot, citing the lack of available arrival slots at the airport.

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"With the recently imposed directive limiting Emirates to operate one flight per week to Nigeria via Abuja, Emirates will be suspending its flights between Nigeria and Dubai from 13 December 2021, until the UAE and Nigerian authorities work on a solution to the ongoing issue," Emirates said in a statement.

In March, Nigeria suspended Emirates from flying into or out of its territory after the carrier imposed additional COVID-19 test requirements on passengers from Nigeria but had lifted the restriction last month. read more

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country with a huge diaspora that frequently travels back home and some carriers like British Airways have daily flights to the country.

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Reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja Additional reporting by Ardo Hazzad in Bauchi and Garba Muhammad in Kaduna, Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by Louise Heavens and Matthew Lewis

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