THE impasse between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Nigeria over flight operations has taken another shift as Emirates Airlines has announced a discontinuance of outbound passenger flights to Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria citing government directives.
The new announcement apexes events of the last few weeks that saw the back and forth between both countries over pre-departure Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) which was eventually resolved only for this new development to rear its head.
A recent statement ascribed to Emirates spokesperson made available to Nigerianflightdeck read, “In line with government directives, passenger services from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) to Dubai are temporarily suspended until 28 February 2021.
“Customers from both Abuja and Lagos will not be accepted for travel prior to or including this date. Passengers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not allowed entry into the UAE (whether terminating in or connecting through Dubai.
“Emirates flights from Dubai to Lagos and Abuja will continue to operate as per the normal schedule. We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call centre for rebooking. Emirates remain committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services to Dubai for our customers when conditions allow.”
Recall, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government suspended the pre-departure Rapid Antigen Test (RDT), which was the major issue that led to the ban instituted by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 to direct the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to ban all Emirates Airline airlifting of Lagos and Abuja Passengers for 72 hours.
However, after the UAE stopped the pre RDT tests, the PTF directed the NCAA to lift the suspension placed on Emirates Airlines flights into Nigeria with effective from 5th February 2021.
The statement read, “The Public is hereby notified of the immediate lifting of the suspension placed on Emirates airlines operations in Nigeria.
“Emirates Airlines on 5th February 2021 informed the NCAA in writing that the UAE Government has given the airline approval to suspend the pre-departure RDT requirement for passengers travelling on their flight to Dubai.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, the PTF directed the NCAA to lift the suspension placed on Emirates Airlines flights into Nigeria with effective from 5th February 2021.
“The Public is hereby informed as follows: Emirates Airlines no longer requires passengers to carry out pre-departure RDT.
This information now seems moot as the airline has announced the suspension of inbound airlifting of Nigerian passengers.