Reps demands return of Emirate passenger flight to Kano

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

Members of the Nigerian House of Representatives have called on the country’s aviation ministry to immediately lift passenger flight suspension imposed on the Emirates airlines on its Kano route.

The Lawmakers, in a motion wondered why the same airline was allowed to fly cargo to Malam Aminu Kano International Airport,  but its passenger flights were suspended.

Leading debate on the issue, sponsor of the motion Alhaji Aliyu Madaki told the House that the suspension of flights remains in effect up till now.

He said the decision, “which was purely political” had cost the airline an unquantifiable loses, after already selling out tickets to passengers and opening of its office in the airport.

“When Emirates Airlines was about to commence full business operations in August 2014, after tickets were sold to passengers, the federal ministry of aviation suspended the landing rights earlier granted to the airlines on Kano wing with the assurance that the suspension would be only for a short time. 

The House is concerned that the delay in lifting the suspension on passenger operations is causing untold hardships to passengers from Kano and other neighbouring states that fly Emirates Airlines to other parts of the world,” he said.

Contributing, House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila said it was “annoying” that the country has lost potential revenue of three years owing to the suspension, which, he said, shouldn’t be allowed to linger at this time of economic challenges.

Gbajabiamila explained that the operation of the airline to Kano goes beyond regional consideration, as it will add to the country’s revenue earnings after “short changing ourselves” for three years.

A number of lawmakers, who spoke on the motion, underscored the importance of a direct flight from Kano to Dubai, in view of the economic similarities between the two cities.

Bilateral Air Service Agreement, BASA, between the Nigerian government and the airline has been signed since before the suspension in 2014.