As the economic turbulence continues and more companies close shop in Nigeria, the Federal Government has pleaded with Emirate Airline not to pack up and leave, telling the airline that the challenges confronting the aviation sector would soon be resolved.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, begged the West African Regional manager for Emirates Airline, Manoj Gopi Nair, who visited the minister in Abuja.
According to Sirika, the airline leaving would have adverse effect on its customers.
In a statement released by the Deputy Director of Press of the Ministry, James Odaudu, the minister said the government was already handling the issue of infrastructural deficiencies which include the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, runway, noting that the long-term solution was to concession the major airports.
“The minister has appealed to the Management of Emirates and other airlines to reconsider their decisions to either suspend their operations or scale them down, considering the adverse effects on their long-standing costumers and the benefits they had reaped in the past,” the statement read.
“Government is not unaware of the issues that have created operational difficulties for both domestic and foreign airlines, such as Foreign Exchange, Aviation fuel and infrastructural deficiencies and the government has been up and doing to ensure the creation of an environment that is both enabling and profitable for all airlines to operate.
“On the issue of aviation fuel which had earlier threatened to cripple the industry in the recent past, the situation is almost normalized as a result of government intervention that has made it easier for importers to bring in the product.”
Speaking earlier, Nair told the minister that he was in his office to brief him on the decision of the Emirates Management to scale down its operations in Nigeria, with the suspension of operations from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
He attributed the decision to its inability to make ends meet in view of the difficulties in accessing Foreign Exchange for its operations, high cost of aviation fuel and the state of the Abuja Airport runway.