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Monday, April 15, 2024

BREAKING : Niger Republic Bans Commercial, International Flights To And From Nigeria

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The government of the Republic of Niger has placed a ban on all commercial and international flights coming from or going to Nigeria.

In a similar move, the Republic of Niger announced the opening of its airspace to all national and international commercial flights, effective immediately.

The new directive specifies that commercial flights passing over Nigerian airspace without landing will not be affected by these restrictions. Nevertheless, it is mandatory for all flights operating within Niger’s airspace to have their ADS-B and/or radar transponders operational throughout the duration of the flight.

In the press statement shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, the government of Niger said that,

“The airspace of the Republic of Niger is open to all national and international commercial flights from ground to unlimited, except for Nigerian flights to or from Nigeria.

 

“These restrictions do not affect commercial flights that fly over Nigerian airspace without landing there.

“However, it is recalled that ads-b and/or radar transporders must remain on for any flight taking place in the Niger Republic.”

It added that the country’s airspace continues to remain closed for all military, operational, and special flights. These types of flights will only be permitted with prior authorization from the competent authorities.

It said that the circular specifically concerns Niger and Nigeria and does not revoke any existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) in force.

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The circular concluded, “This circular, which only concerns Niger and Nigeria, does not repeal no NOTAM in force.”

This instruction is a countermeasure against a similar reinforced ban placed on all commercial and international flights from Niger to Nigeria.

Since the circular was circulated on X, previously known as Twitter, Nigerians have been sharing their sentiments regarding this development. Some express optimism for a swift resolution, while others highlight the profound impact, particularly since the military assumed control in Niger last July.

@OjiUgo_nwa, an environment service provider with over 16k followers, tweeted, “Just in: Niger has announced that they are restricting flights from Nigeria from using its airspace; both national and international are suspended. Tinubu on the beat.”

In response to her tweet, @_nonconformist1 made a sarcastic comment, urging the former president to intervene and address the escalating diplomatic issue now attracting global attention.

He tweeted, “Buhari, come out and talk yo your cousins o. You carried all our money to build rail line to Maradi, the Maradi that Amaech kept shouting everyday on tv…”

Yet investigative journalist @DavidHundeyin, who previously disclosed a plan for the Nigerian military to invade Niger during the initial days of the diplomatic tensions between Nigeria and Niger Republic, tweeted: “I quite literally set myself on fire last year to stop Nigeria from going to war with Niger, so my conscience is very clear in all of this.

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“Congratulations to everyone who accused me of “treason” and tried to end my life back then. Your new flight ticket prices are saying.”

In response to a query from one of his followers regarding the ban’s implications, Hundeyin explained that if other countries, especially those allied with the Niger Republic, were to support its decision, it could have significant cost and non-cost ramifications for Nigeria.

He tweeted, “The other AES states could still follow Niger’s lead, so even this convoluted flight path might not be the end of it. If Burkina Faso and Mali also close their airspace to Nigerian traffic, we will either have to fly an extra 3,000km west to Senegal or start relying on Chad.”

Presently, a budget flight from Lagos to London is priced at approximately N947,989 on Royal Air Maroc. Given the daily depreciation of the naira against the US dollar, the immobilised funds of foreign airlines, and the rising cost of aviation fuel, there is apprehension that this latest development will exacerbate the mounting challenges faced by both passengers and operators in the aviation sector.

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