UAE visa ban leads to 3.3 billion spent on weekly flights

Following the United Arab Emirates (UAE) immigration decision last week to stop issuing visas to Nigerians, stakeholders and travel experts said the UAE would lose more than Nigeria if the decision is not was not cancelled.

According to BusinessDay calculations, Nigerians spent around 3.3 billion naira a week on flights to the UAE before airfares increased.

Seyi Adewale, Managing Director of Mainstream Cargo Limited, said while the UAE visa ban does not affect cargo entering the country from the UAE, it will affect the trade volume of Nigerians. who travel to Dubai for business and shopping.

He said: “The UAE is a big commercial beneficiary of Nigeria. Nigerians spend a lot of money in Dubai. Emirates operates several flights from Nigeria, but Nigerian carriers are unable to repatriate a quarter of the number of flights that Emirates operates from Nigeria.

“Dubai is also a transit point for thousands of travelers from Nigeria every week, but there are alternatives for Nigerians as they can transit from Addis Ababa, Egypt, Kenya and other African destinations. to Europe and the United States.

He said the Nigerians who would be affected by the visa ban are the wealthy who still like to shop in Dubai and the political juggernauts who hold frequent meetings there.

He said that in terms of trade, the UAE would be the losers.

He said he suspected the visa ban was aimed at forcing the federal government to repatriate trapped funds belonging to Emirates and containing recent public unrest by some Africans, some of whom are believed to be Nigerians in Dubai.

In August, a video emerged in which young Africans, believed to be Nigerians, were seen fighting in a community in Dubai and destroying public property.

The Nigerian community in Dubai, under the umbrella of the Organization of Nigerians in Diaspora, the United Arab Emirates chapter, was quick to condemn the development while in particular hailing the swift intervention of the Dubai Police which brought arrest some of the thugs.

After arresting them, police said a criminal case had been filed against the suspects and they would be referred to the prosecution for further action.

Dubai is one of the top destinations visited by Nigerians for summer, vacation, medical and recreational tourism among others.

Nigeria continued to rank as Dubai’s largest source market for visitors to Africa, with double-digit growth from 2017 to 2019.

According to the latest inbound tourism data for Dubai, 144,000 Nigerians visited the emirate between January and August 2019, marking a 33% year-on-year increase. The result went on to make Nigeria Dubai the fastest growing visitor source market in 2019.

Travel experts say those numbers must have doubled as more airlines increased flights and frequencies to the UAE after 2019.

Travel experts and stakeholders say the UAE visa ban would affect the country more than it would affect Nigeria as Nigerians spend a lot in Dubai through trade and investment, medical expenses and tourism, thereby boosting foreign direct investment from the UAE.

“The UAE will lose more by not allowing Nigerians to enter their country and Nigeria would gain. Nigerians are big spenders and the UAE is their main market,” said Susan Akporiaye, President of the National Association of Travel Agents of Nigeria.

Akporiaye said the UAE will lose revenue from issuing visas and businesses in the UAE will suffer.

Airlines Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air, Etihad Rwanda and Air Peace fly directly or connect passengers to Dubai.

BusinessDay findings show that Emirates, which operates a daily return flight from Dubai to Lagos and Abuja, handles an average of 600 arriving passengers and 600 departing passengers on the Lagos and Abuja routes. This means the airline handles 1,200 arriving and returning passengers daily on the Dubai-Abuja and Dubai-Lagos routes. BusinessDay also found that 50% of Emirates passengers travel to Dubai. This means that of the 1,200 passengers, 600 are daily passengers from Dubai and 4,200 passengers per week.

Ethiopian Airlines, which also connects flights to Dubai, operates two daily flights to Lagos and Abuja, averaging 3oo per flight and carries 1,200 passengers for return flights on the two routes. The results show that 30% of Ethiopian airline passengers connect to Dubai. This means that the airline carries 360 passengers to Dubai daily. In one week, the airline carries 2,520 passengers to Dubai.

Also Read: UAE visa ban: NIPSS boss urges Nigerians to avoid Dubai holidays

Egypt Air, which also carries connecting passengers to Dubai, operates two daily flights to Lagos and Abuja. With an average of 250 passengers per flight, the airline carries 1,000 passengers for return flights on both routes.

BusinessDay findings show that 20% of Egypt Air passengers connect to Dubai. This means that the airline flies 200 passengers per day to Dubai and 1,400 passengers per week.

Etihad, which only operates daily flights from Lagos to Abu Dhabi, with an average of 300 passengers, airlifts 600 passengers on the return flight and airlifts about 10% of passengers traveling by road to Dubai. This implies that the airline carries 60 passengers daily to Dubai and 420 passengers per week.

Rwanda operates daily flights from Lagos with an average of 300 passengers per flight. The airline accounts for 20% of Dubai’s passenger traffic. Therefore, in one day, the airline carries 60 passengers to Dubai daily and 420 passengers per week.

Air Peace, which operates three weekly flights to Sharjah and connects to other destinations, flies an average of 200 passengers one way and 200 passengers round trip. This implies that in a week the airline flies 1,200 passengers to Sharjah, but has about 30% connecting passengers to Dubai. This means that Air Peace flies 360 passengers a week to Dubai.

This means that the six international airlines operating and connecting flights to Dubai carry 9,320 passengers per week to Dubai with Emirates Airlifting (4,200 passengers), Ethiopian Airlines (2,520), Egypt Air (1,400), Etihad (420 passengers ), Rwanda (420 passengers) and Air Peace (360 passengers).

Before the spike in ticket prices, a one-way ticket from Lagos or Abuja to Dubai and vice versa cost an average of N350,000. If a total of 9,320 passengers traveling to Dubai pay N350,000 per flight, this implies that 9,320 passengers would pay N3.3 billion for a week for flights to the UAE.

Comments are closed.