Flight suspension: Only over-flight, emergency aircraft can flight between Niger and Nigeria – NAMA

Alhaji Umar Farouk, Managing Director of NAMA

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has clarified that flight suspension between Niger and Nigeria could only be lifted by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development but subject to the approval of the Presidency and ECOWAS.

NAMA however said the suspension exempts over-flight aircraft passing through Niger airspace, aircraft in a state of emergency, and special flights, noting that special flights require authorization from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

Abdullahi Musa, Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NAMA, made this known in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday February 6, 2024.

The statement reads thus: In response to the recent political events surrounding the coup d’état in the Republic of Niger on July 26, 2023, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened an extraordinary summit to address the situation. Among the resolutions adopted during the summit, ECOWAS announced 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. Furthermore, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development issued a directive to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) on August 2, 2023. This directive instructed NAMA to issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) effective from August 3, 2023, enforcing the no-fly zone on all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria.

As of 0600 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.

Following standard procedures, the NOTAM transitioned into an Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) on January 29, 2024. The AIC reiterated the suspension of all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria, as well as flights overflying Nigeria to Niger. 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 authorization 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 Aero Space Development as approved by the Presidency and ECOWAS.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of airspace users, in compliance with international regulations and directives.

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