Lagos — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) national carrier, Emirates Airlines, has reacted to a statement credited to the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), accusing it of enjoying government subsidies.
In a statement, the airline said, yesterday, that the insinuation was 'patently false.'
It also dismissed media reports that its airline has been granted approval by the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase its frequencies to four daily flights in and out of Lagos and Abuja.
AON, representing domestic airlines in Nigeria, has accused the Federal Government of granting another approval to the Middle East mega carrier to increase its flights to Nigeria, insisting that would not be in the interest of the country.
But Emirates clarified that it has "not increased scheduled flight services to Abuja or Lagos", adding, "We had only operated extra flights to Abuja and Lagos for a very limited period, for the sole purpose of serving Nigerian pilgrims traveling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Hajj."
The airline also accused "some detractors" of claiming that Emirates receives government subsidies and therefore represents unfair competition.
It said, the allegation was patently false, and "we have repeatedly debunked these myths over the years. Our audited financial reports for the past 20 years are published on our website for anyone to inspect.
"Emirates has always been run on a commercial basis. In fact our success is driven by the very fact that we must stand on our own feet - which means we must keep winning over customers with the best possible services, while closely watching our costs so that we can return a profit to our shareholder," the airline explained.
Emirates said it has remained committed to Nigeria since 2004 when it started flying to the country and helped facilitate trade between Nigeria and other international markets, and provided travellers coming into, or travelling from Nigeria the option of enjoying the award-winning Emirates experience.
It added: "International carriers operating in Nigeria offer a greater choice for consumers, and are also crucial to supporting Nigerian tourism and trade.
"We look forward to continue serving our customers in Nigeria, and to working with stakeholders to support the progressive development of tourism and trade."