FOLLOWING the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government suspension the pre-departure Rapid Antigen Test (RDT), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has lifted the ban placed on Emirates Airline with immediate effect allowing them to recommence normal operations in Nigeria. Read also: FG places 72 hour ban on Emirates from Nigeria over flouting COVID-19 Protocols
This is coming barely hours after the 72 hour ban on Dubai=based Airline was made public, and consequent to the decision to suspend the RDT, Emirates Airlines no longer requires passengers to carry out pre-departure RDT.
In a statement signed by the Director General of the NCAA, Captain Nuhu Musa, Emirates Airlines on 5th February 2021 informed the NCAA in writing that the UAE Government has approved the suspension the pre-departure Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) requirement for passengers travelling on their flight to Dubai which caused the initial ban.
As a result of 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 statement read, “The Public is hereby notified of the immediate lifting of the suspension placed on Emirates airlines operations in Nigeria.
“The Presidential Task Force (PTF) of COVID19 was made aware of the requirement by Emirates airlines and KLM for passengers travelling from Nigeria on their flights to Dubai and Amsterdam to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) Four (4) hours from the time of flights departure. This requirement is in addition to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test done 72 hours from the date of departure by passengers. UAE writes Nigeria over visa issuance as FG sets to reinstate Emirates approval
“The implementation of the additional requirement by the two (2) airlines was commenced without the prior notification or approval of the PTF and other regulatory bodies in Nigeria.
“This led to the provision of RDT testing by organizations and Laboratories that have not been approved by the PTF and other Regulatory agencies for RDTat or around our international airports in Lagos and Abuja.
“The PTF upon review of the situation directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to inform the airlines to either suspend the requirement for pre-departure RDT or their flights to the country until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics have been put in place for RDT by the Government.
“Emirates Airlines however continued their operations requiring passengers to carry out the RDT test Six (6) hours from the time-of-flight departure from Nigeria.
“The PTF therefore directed for the immediate suspension of Emirates Airlines operations to Nigeria effective 4th February 2021 until when the needed infrastructure and logistics are put in place for the RDT test by the Nigerian Government.
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.
No laboratory has been approved by the PTF and other regulatory agencies to carry out RDT for incoming or departing passengers.
The PTF will inform all Nigerians of any change(s) to the above.