Competition deepens on Lagos-Dubai route as Air Peace, Emirates resume operations
Barring another disruption by the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the rivalry is set to resume on the high-traffic Lagos-Dubai-Lagos route, as Air Peace and Emirates Airlines restart flight services.
The two carriers are making a return after disagreements on COVID-19 travel protocols caused a diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), causing a suspension of direct flight in the last nine months.
Stakeholders, yesterday, reacted that Nigerian travellers would be the main beneficiaries of attendant price competition and choices on the popular transit corridor.
While Nigerian flag carrier, Air Peace, resumed Lagos-Dubai (via Sharjah) operations on December 1, Emirates is revving up for December 5 date with flights in and out of Lagos and Abuja daily.
The United Arab Emirates, in its latest Coronavirus protocol, removed the controversial Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) for COVID-19 as a prerequisite for travelling to the Middle East country for Nigerians and some other countries.
A statement dated November 26 by the Aviation Business Management Team-Dubai Airports, indicated that RDT would no longer be required for all flights for passengers travelling to Dubai from Nigeria, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.
The Nigerian government also responded swiftly by lifting the ban it previously placed on UAE’s Emirates Airline’s flights in March.
Aviation stakeholders welcomed the reconciliation with relief. Travel consultant, Sunday Olumegbon, said it was a wise business decision across the board.
“It was one diplomatic row that should not have happened in the first place. Dubai knows how much it has lost from withdrawing from Nigeria. Nigerian travellers have also felt the pinch for not being able to travel through Dubai, which has become one of the easiest transit airports in the world.
“But all’s well that ends well. We are happy that both countries are represented by airlines and can offer travellers good and affordable rates. Going into the festive rush, days ahead will be very interesting for the two carriers,” Olumegbon said.
To ensure the safety of travellers, visitors, and the community, Dubai requires COVID-19 PCR tests for all inbound passengers arriving in Dubai, including UAE citizens, residents and tourists, irrespective of the country they are coming from.
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.
Travellers coming from Nigeria will also need to take another COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International Airport. Passengers flying to Nigeria have to meet the requirements of their destination.