The allocation of additional frequency to Emirates Airlines has caused the anger of operators and other stakeholders in the aviation sector.
With this latest approval, Emirates operates four times daily to Nigeria from its base in Dubai, translating to 28 times per week.
Another UAE-based airline, Etihad, also operates daily to Lagos from UAE, which makes it a total of 35 times a week.
But in a swift reaction, Emirates said the additional frequency it started on the Abuja-Dubai route was only for Hajj operation and it would stop after the pilgrimage.
Nigerian airline operators described the approval as disheartening as it came when a Nigerian carrier just started operating three times per week to Sharjah International Airport in UAE.
The operators said it was a deliberate act to kill Nigerian airlines, noting that while other countries are protecting their airlines, Nigeria is killing its own by promoting foreign airlines to take over all Nigerian routes.
The Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, said the action of government was a double standard, recalling how Arik Air was taken out of the Abuja-London route with the alleged influence of British Airways without the Nigerian government doing anything about it.
“We should remember that this country needs jobs. Even though the airlines are owned by private individuals, they create jobs for Nigerians. If government can ban importation of rice to encourage local production and recently banned the importation of milk in order to encourage local production, why can’t government bring the same policy into aviation and protect Nigeria airlines that are operating international destinations?”