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Nigeria, EU in closed door meeting over air space restrictions

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Vincent IKUOMOLA, Abuja

EUROPEAN Union (EU) has urged Nigerian government to rethink over restrictions placed on KLM, Lufthansa and Air France.

The request was made on Friday during a meeting between the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and the European Union ambassadors.

Nigeria had announced restrictions on some foreign airlines ahead of 5th September 2020 resumption of international flights into the country.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said that Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Angolan TAG, Air Namibia and Royal Air Maroc were not approved to operate flights into Nigeria.

He said only approved airlines would be permitted into Nigeria’s airspace.

He listed British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian, AWA, and Middle East Airlines as airlines permitted into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs led the Nigeria delegation to the meeting which included Minister of Health, Dr. Osage Ehanire, Minister of State, Health, Dr. Olorunmibe Mamora, Minister of Aviation, Hadis Sirika and National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu.

The EU delegations which include three Ambassadors were led by EU Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Ketil Karlsen.

Read Also: International flights resume soon – Sirika

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Karlsen said,  “The availability of flights from Europe to Nigeria and vice versa is very essential. And that is why we have had this discussion today and we have appealed to our partners on Nigeria side to reconsider the possibility of having again some of the larger carriers from Europe flying with Nigeria. Nigeria was never picked out; there was never a ban against flight coming from Nigeria to Europe.

On his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said the meeting was in respect of the issue of assess of European carriers to Nigeria and also on the issue of assess of passengers from Nigeria to European airspace.

He also described the meeting as very fruitful and productive on the question.

“So it is to give us that information so that every Nigerian will be in the position to know whether they can assess European space irrespective of the fact whether they have a visa or no visa. There are lots of Nigerians who have a long time visa and clearly not all of them are able or have the right now as things stand, to enter Europe. So we want to have that information. So we want to have that information. “So our positions are not cast in stone, they are reviewable and we have taken on board some useful information and statistics today, and we would also be reviewing on the assess that we will give to European carriers and other carriers for that matter coming into Nigeria air space.”

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