Lagos — The launch of Emirates operations in Kano, which was earlier slated for August 1, has been deferred until further notice, the airline said in a statement yesterday.
The statement by Mr. Israel Bolaji of Emirates' publicist JSP Communications said with the postponement, "all passengers from Kano have been sorted with no kobo surcharge at Emirates expense.
"Emirates has refunded those who requested for funds and arranged with Arik to transport those who want to been flown to Abuja to join the Dubai flight from there and also same from Abuja back to Kano upon return from Dubai."
Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso had alleged that the Federal Government stopped Emirates from operating the Kano route.
But the company did not confirm or deny this, saying only that the Federal Government has been supportive.
"I have confirmed that as a matter of fact, the ministry and government has been very supportive of the new Emirates destination launches for Kano and Abuja," Bolaji said yesterday.
Emirates has already began daily flights to Abuja from August 1, he said.
The airline said it remains committed to the Nigerian market, as the country has been part of its route network since January 2004.
"We have continuously expanded our frequency and capacity out of Lagos to ensure the best connectivity and on-board product for our passengers. The Dubai-Lagos service is operated twice a day by a Boeing 777 aircraft in a three-class configuration," the airline said.
Emirates launched services to Nigeria on January 2, 2004, with four flights per week from Dubai to Lagos linked with Accra in Ghana.
The Ministry of Aviation is yet to respond to statements by Kwankwaso on the alleged stoppage by government of Emirates plans to go to Kano.