IT is becoming interesting. It is just good to wait until all these matters are resolved; until a common ground is reached by the feuding parties.
The ongoing controversy trailing the communication breakdown between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates over the suspension of the Emirates Airlines and the sudden suspension of the airline has continued to confirm the level at which countries can reach to play aero politics for the sake of protecting their airlines.
Many of the foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, prior to now, had been enjoying bazar while the federal government looked the other way.
This brings to the fore, again, the unending crisis raging over the decision of the Emirates Airlines to single out Nigerian passengers over what they termed new COVID-19 measures.
The decision to target Nigerian passengers has since sparked debate with the Nigerian government retaliating by also suspending the Emirates Airlines.
To many, the decision of government to pay the Emirates in their own coins was the best decision taken. The good development was however short-lived as the government chickened out by lifting the suspension.
The sudden lift of the suspension order on Emirates created controversy as many argued that the the government’s sudden lift of the embargo was a bad way of playing aero politics.
Emirates Airlines known for its smartness capitalized on the lacuna created by the federal government by firing back at the Nigeria Air Peace on the Sharjah route.
It was expected that Emirates would always pay back in the bad aero politics.
According to the President of the National Tour Operators (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye, the decision of the Emirates isn’t only an interesting aero politics, but as pay back for the Nigerian government for suspending their own carrier.
“I see it as pay back for Nigeria government for suspending their airline in the first place, that’s why, for me, our government should not have lifted the suspension until both governments had come to an agreement. Our government lifted the suspension and they shut us out. Now they are having the last laugh.”
The decision of the Emirates to retaliate shows they have nothing to lose. We are the one suffering it because that is our second home. Emiratis don’t even come here. They felt insulted that we slapped them with suspension. It has become an ego thing. I am sure lawmakers, Nigerian business men, fun seekers etc are beginning to mount pressure on Nigerian government for a quick resolution. But the FG did the right thing just that we are not on equal footing. I am sure both governments are working it out so that nobody loses face in this diplomatic war that has ensued. They have nosed down on Air Peace. I think we can match them, all their money is from here.
By now the federal government may have realized that engaging in international aero politics has become one of the yardsticks used to measure the success of air travels.
Prior to now, key players had called on the federal government to engage in international aero politics as a way of protecting its airlines and citizens.
Despite the calls, the federal government did not give adequate attention to this even when the foreign airlines and their home governments continued to capitalize on the opportunities available to reap the country off.
The action taken by Emirates has gone to show the level it can go to protect its airlines and it seems it’s not certain that the Emirates is not in a hurry to shift ground.
As Emirates believes that it has upper hand, Nigeria should also learn how to play better aero politics next time. At least let the Emirates realize the fact that Nigeria is a sovereign country.
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