United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extended the suspension of flights from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) from February 28 to March 10.
The UAE aviation authorities made this known in the updated travel protocol posted on the website of the Emirates Airline, the flag carrier of the UAE, on Sunday afternoon.
The update read, “In line with government directives, passenger services from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) to Dubai are temporarily suspended until 10 March 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.”
Daily Trust reports that Emirates suspended its flights a few days after the Federal Government sanctioned the airline over the introduction of rapid antigen test as a requirement for Dubai travellers, which is against the Nigerian negative PCR requirements.
The Federal Government through the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had penultimate week banned Emirates Airlines’ operations in Nigeria for violating COVID-19 protocols.
Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, had announced the ban on February 4, 2021.
The NCAA said the ban was necessitated by the continued airlift of passengers from Nigeria using the Rapid Antigen Tests (RDT) conducted by laboratories that are “neither approved nor authorized by the appropriate regulatory.”
This, according to the apex aviation regulatory authority is in flagrant violation of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 directive.
Though the ban was lifted after Emirates announced the withdrawal of the antigen test the following day, the airline suspended all Nigerian flights and only allowed flights from Dubai to Nigeria.