By Sade Williams/Business a.m.
The highly anticipated return of Emirates to Nigeria has happened as Emirates touched down in both Abuja and Lagos on Sunday. The spectacular water cannon welcome at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos marked the restart of daily services to Nigeria from Dubai.
Both flights from Dubai, EK 785 to Abuja and EK 783 to Lagos, were welcomed to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and Murtala Muhammed International Airport with water cannon salutes. Upon arrival, a cake cutting ceremony was also held between Emirates officials and the airport authorities to mark the resumption of operations.
Paulos Legesse, country manager, Nigeria, said: “We are delighted to resume operations to and from Nigeria, and are pleased to see strong interest from our customers, reflected in robust forward bookings from the time of our announcement, as well as today’s full flights from Dubai to Abuja and Lagos. The services will also give our customers the opportunity once again to safely experience Emirates’ superior product and service, offering them convenient travel options to Dubai, an already popular destination for Nigerian travellers, as well as seamless connectivity to other key cities across our network.”
The aircraft being deployed to both Nigerian cities is the three class Boeing 777-300ER which offers 8 luxurious first class suites, 42 generous business class seats, and over 300 seats in economy class.
Customers across all classes were able to enjoy the airline’s regional delicacies onboard, as well as its renowned in-flight entertainment system, ice, featuring over 4,500 channels of on-demand entertainment, including Nollywood films and content.
Emirates operates to Abuja with EK 785 and 786. EK 785 departs Dubai at 1100hrs, arriving in Abuja at 1540hrs. The return flight, EK 786 takes off from Abuja at 1900, arriving in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day. Emirates flight EK 783 to Lagos departs Dubai at 1030hrs, arriving in Lagos at 1540hrs. The return flight EK 784 departs Lagos at 1810hrs, arriving in Dubai at 0415hrs the next day.
In a travel advisory, the airline said in ensuring the safety of travellers, visitors, and the community, Covid-19 PCR tests are mandatory for all inbound passengers arriving into Dubai, including UAE citizens, residents and tourists, irrespective of the country they are coming from. It specifically noted that travellers coming from Nigeria must hold a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
Additionally, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has specified designated laboratories for passengers departing Nigeria and travellers must obtain their certificate from one of the labs listed to be accepted on the flight. Travellers coming from Nigeria will also need to take another Covid-19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International Airport.
Since it safely resumed tourism activity in July 2020, Dubai remains one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, especially during the winter season. The city is open for international business and leisure visitors. From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world class hospitality and leisure facilities, Dubai offers a variety of world-class experiences. It was one of the world’s first cities to obtain a Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubai’s comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety.
Dubai is currently hosting the world for Expo 2020, happening between October 2021 and March 2022. Through the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, Expo 2020 Dubai aims to inspire people by showcasing the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world.
Its programme is packed with experiences to suit all ages and interests, including a rich line-up of themed weeks, entertainment, and edutainment. Art and culture fans as well as food and technology enthusiasts can explore exhibits, workshops, performances, live shows and more.