The Nigerian government has lifted its flight ban on Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL, Amsterdam Schiphol), and Air France (AF, Paris CDG), clearing the way for the airlines to resume operations to West Africa’s most populous country.

The Federal Ministry of Aviation in a statement said it had confirmed the flight plans and schedules of the respective airlines. Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) had also been granted approval to start operations at Abuja, confirmed James Odaudu, Director of Public Affairs at the Ministry of Aviation.

In a diplomatic impasse, Nigeria had blacklisted Lufthansa, Air France, and KLM over travel restrictions imposed on Nigerian tourist visa holders by the European Union (EU). In a similar tit-for-tat, Nigeria had banned Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) for travel restrictions imposed by the United Arab Emirates, but reversed its decision on September 30 after the UAE backed-down.

A meeting between the Federal Aviation Ministry and EU ministers in September was reported to have progressed well and resulted in a thawing of relations.

The EU earlier this month said "thousands of visas" had been issued to Nigerians to travel to Europe, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement issued in Abuja on November 3, the EU Delegation in Nigeria said EU member states continued to issue certain categories of visas, with particular priority given to students looking to study in Europe. This included a record number of 93 selected Nigerian ERASMUS scholars, under the EU-funded European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students exchange programme. "This underlines the essential relations between the EU and Nigeria. Creating new opportunities for the youth and making sure that Nigerian students can study in Europe is a vital part of our partnership," said EU Ambassador in Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, KLM is the first of the three carriers to resume flights between Amsterdam Schiphol and Nigeria, with 3x weekly services to Lagos resuming on November 24, increasing to 5x weekly on December 10.

Lufthansa resumes 3x weekly rotations between Frankfurt Int'l and Lagos on December 7, increasing to 5x weekly by December 17. Lufthansa will also reinstate 3x weekly services from Frankfurt to Abuja with LH594 on December 8, increasing to 4x weekly on December 20.

Air France resumes its weekly flight AF104 to Lagos from Paris CDG on December 7, increasing to 4x weekly on December 9. The French airline also returns to Abuja with 4x weekly services by December 9, of which flight AF878 routes via N'Djamena in Chad.

Meanwhile, the Aviation Ministry also suggested that all of Nigeria’s international airports may be re-opened before year-end pending the completion of health and safety protocol requirements. International airports yet to be cleared include Port Harcourt Omagwa, Kano, and Enugu.