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Emirates airline resumes flights to Nigeria

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By Usman Oladimeji

Successful return of the flights results from diplomatic interventions.

After several months of hiatus, Emirates, an Airline headquartered in the UAE, has announced its decision to resume its flights to Nigeria starting on October 1, 2024. The airline will offer a daily flights between Dubai and Lagos. This decision comes after the airline had halted its flight services to Nigeria in October 2022 due to challenges in repatriating its funds worth $85 million held in the country. The interruption in financial dealings, coupled with various diplomatic challenges between Nigeria and the UAE, resulted in the suspension of operations, putting a strain on the airline’s relationship with Nigerian officials.

Prior to this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had announced that it had resolved the issue of funds belonging to the airline and other parties stuck in the country due to challenges in obtaining foreign exchange. The successful return of Emirates flights was a direct result of extensive diplomatic interventions. Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, has also revealed in April that the Nigerian government was collaborating closely with Emirates Airline to assist in the reinstatement of their services.

Services to Nigeria will be done with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The Nigeria Minister of Aviation, had also mentioned a few days ago that Emirates Airlines will be restarting their flights to Nigeria in the near future. Subsequently on May 16, the airline officially stated on their website that they will begin operating flights to Nigeria again starting from October 1, 2024. The services to Nigeria will be conducted with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The flight from Dubai to Lagos will leave at 09:45hrs and land at 15:20hrs. The return flight, EK784, will depart Lagos at 17:30hrs and reach Dubai at 05:10hrs (local time) the following day.

Passengers aboard the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER flying to Lagos will enjoy a luxurious experience with 8 First Class suites, 42 Business Class seats, and 304 seats in Economy Class. A team of acclaimed chefs has crafted regionally inspired multi-course menus for passengers to savour, accompanied by an extensive array of premium beverages, ensuring an unforgettable dining experience in the air. Emirates offers a wide variety of entertainment options for customers, with over 6,500 channels available. This includes a selection of 23 Nigerian movies, as well as a series and other content, all accessible through Ice, an award-winning inflight entertainment system.

SkyCargo’s hub in Dubai will benefit Nigerian businesses.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Deputy President and Chief Commercial Officer, expressed enthusiasm about restarting flights to Nigeria. The route from Lagos to Dubai has always been well-loved by Nigerian passengers, and Emirates is eager to reignite travel connections for both leisure and business travellers heading to Dubai and beyond, with access to their extensive network of over 140 destinations. He expressed gratitude to the Nigerian government for their collaboration in reopening this route and eagerly anticipates the return of passengers. Nigeria and the UAE have forged robust Trade ties over the years, with Lagos serving as the country’s main commercial hub.

With this latest resumption of operation, Emirates SkyCargo, the airline’s cargo division, plans to enhance trade relations by providing over 300 tons of belly hold cargo capacity on a weekly basis to and from Lagos with the return of daily passenger flights. Nigerian businesses are set to benefit from the SkyCargo’s advanced hub in Dubai, which will facilitate the Export of their products to important markets including the UAE, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Bahrain. Key items such as Kola Nuts, food and beverages, and time-sensitive courier materials are expected to be transported.

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Additionally, Emirates SkyCargo will ensures the swift and reliable transport of essential items like pharmaceuticals, electronics, and general cargo from major markets like the UAE, India, and Hong Kong. By utilizing their diverse range of specialized products, the airline maintains a smooth flow of trade, guaranteeing efficient delivery of these goods. The airline is ready to provide passengers from Nigerian cities with improved travel options and connectivity through Dubai, thanks to its strong network expansion plan and key partnerships. The aviation industry stakeholders have also acknowledged the significance of the partnership between Nigeria and the UAE.


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