United Arab Emirates-based Emirates Airline is set to begin flights to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, in November this year, the country’s aviation minister confirmed on Wednesday.
Hadi Sirika announced via his twitter handle that the Dubai-based flier had agreed to restart flights after a meeting with top officials.
Emirates suspended flights to Abuja in October 2016. They cited among other reasons the economic downturn in the country, foreign exchange scarcity, and the shrinking passenger traffic on international routes.
The Minister added that talks were underway to get Emirates to commence flights to the commercial capital, Lagos, via the northern city of Kano.
Concluded with Emirates return to Abuja November 1st. Looking at second leg to Lagos via Kano later on. Please bear with us 🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/dV6q8adrCX— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) September 13, 2017
Emirates, one of the biggest airlines at the time was joined by Kenya airlines in boycotting the Abuja route over similar concerns.
The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja was closed down in March this year to allow works to be undertaken on a runway. The six-week period saw traffic rerouted to the northern city of Kaduna from where passengers were given free train ride to Abuja.
The Abuja airport – Nigeria’s main international airport – handles thousands of domestic flights, it is the country’s second busiest airport aside Lagos. The repair works which cost some $18m was executed by construction firm, Julius Berger.