February 06, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has reinstated the flight suspension between Nigeria and Niger Republic, following the coup d’état of July 26, 2023, in the West African country.
The government, however, said that over-flight aircraft passing through Niger airspace, aircraft in a state of emergency and special flights, were exempted from the flight ban, but with authorisation.
A statement by Abdullahi Musa, the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), said that the Federal Government had directed NAMA to issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), effective from August 3, 2023, enforcing the no-fly zone on all commercial flights between the two countries.
The statement issued on Tuesday, stated that the flight suspension could only be lifted by Mr Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, as approved by the Presidency and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The statement emphasised that as of 0600 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on August 3, 2023, aircraft departing from or arriving at aerodromes within the Niamey Flight Information Region (FIR-Nigerien Airspace), were prohibited from entering Kano FIR until further notice, maintaining that this is still in force.
The statement hinted further that following standard procedures, the NOTAM transitioned into an Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) on January 29, 2024, and reiterated the suspension of all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria, as well as flights overflying Nigeria to Niger.
The statement added, “However, certain exemptions were outlined, including over-flight aircraft passing through Niger airspace, aircraft in a state of emergency, and special flights.
“It is important to note that special flights require authorisation from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development. It is crucial to highlight that the suspension of flights can only be lifted by the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development as approved by the Presidency and ECOWAS.”
ECOWAS had after the coup in Niger, convened an extraordinary summit to address the situation. Among the resolutions adopted during the summit, was the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger, along with the establishment of a no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger.
In retaliation to these measures, the Niger Government suspended flights into Nigeria and overflying planes.
About the Author
Anthony Awunor, is a business correspondent who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics (UNILAG). He is also an alumnus of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria Kaduna State. He lives in Lagos.