LAGOS – There is palpable fear that airfares on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) routes may skyrocket following the suspension of flight services to the Middle East country by the only Nigerian airline flying the route, Air Peace.
Emirates, the flag carrier of UAE, had on October 29, 2022, suspended flight services from its base in Dubai to its routes in Nigeria, citing its inability to repatriate its trapped funds out of the country.
On Monday, Air Peace in a statement by Stanley Olisa, its spokesman, said the airline is suspending flights to Dubai following the decision of the UAE government not to issue Nigerians entry visas to its country.
Olisa on Monday afternoon said the airline suspended its direct flights to UAE till further notice due to the non-issuance of entry visas to Nigerians.
The airline said that the suspension of its three weekly flights to UAE would take effect from Tuesday, November 22, 2022.The statement said: “This is consequent upon the persisting non-issuance of visas to Nigerian travellers by the government of the United Arab Emirates and the accompanying inconveniences.
“Air Peace has been operating into UAE even with the country’s recent travel restrictions, but given the heightening hurdles Nigerian travellers are facing in accessing the country, it has become imperative that we halt our operations to that destination.”
Olisa said that its management would provide further updates as the situation progresses.
The airline said that passengers whose flights are affected by this development could email its Call Center Team to attend to their concerns.With this, there is no longer direct flight between Nigeria and UAE.
Etihad, the national carrier of UAE, operates flight services to Abu Dhabi, but its service to Nigeria has been inconsistent in recent times.
The suspension of the Dubai routes by Air Peace and Emirates would offer airlines like Qatar Airways, Turkish, Ethiopian Airlines and others to hike their airfares for Nigerian travellersAlready, a return ticket in the economy class of Emirates Airlines to Dubai was oscillating between N800,000 and N1.2 million before the airline suspended flights to Nigeria, while Air Peace was between N400,000 and N700, 000, depending on the time the flight was booked.
Mr. Chris Amokwu, aviation analyst, said the suspension of flights by Air Peace would further compound the woes of the flying public.
Amokwu stated that the loss of the two airlines would be the gain of other Middle East carriers, stressing that the two airlines, Emirates and Air Peace, controlled over 90 percent of flights to Dubai.
According to him, other airlines flying the routes would increase fares for travellers.
Before the suspension, Emirates was flying 21 frequencies to Lagos and Abuja weekly, while Air Peace flies three weekly flights to the route.[carousel_slide id='8496']