By Sade Williams/Travelport
The high stakes drama in the flight operations of Emirates airline in Nigeria continued on Wednesday when itannounced that it was suspending outbound flights from Lagos and Abuja until February 28, 2021 but that its flights from Dubai into Nigeria will continue on its normal schedule.
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It also reiterated that 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)
“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 remains committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services to Dubai for our customers when conditions allow,” the airline said.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), last Friday, announced suspension of Emirates operations from Lagos and Abuja over violation of COVID-19 protocols.
It accused Emirates of airlifting passengers from Nigeria using Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) conducted by laboratories that are neither approved nor authorized by the appropriate regulatory bodies in Nigeria.
The Presidential Task Force had also directed that Emirates airlines should either accept passengers without RDT pending when the infrastructure and the logistics are put in place or suspend its flights to and from Nigeria until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics are fully established and implemented.
But barely 24 hours of announcing the suspension, the United Arabs Emirates asked Emirates to suspend the RDT testing in Nigeria, prompting the NCAA to lift the suspension.