Emirates extends suspension of direct flight from Nigeria
Emirates Airline has extended the suspension of its flights from Nigeria to the United Arab Emirates to November.
The latest extension came after the airline said it would resume flights from Africa’s biggest economy on November 11.
“Customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days will not be permitted on any Emirates flights bound for Dubai,” Emirates said in a statement on Wednesday.
Nigerians travelling to Dubai have resorted to using other West African airports, a move which puts pressure on their finances as they have to stay in those countries for at least 14 days before flying to UAE.
Emirates suspended the direct flights owing to a disagreement with Nigerian authorities on modalities for COVID-19 testing.
Nigeria stopped Emirates from subjecting Nigerian travellers to additional rapid antigen tests, against its stipulated negative PCR tests at the Lagos and Abuja airports before departure.
Emirates then halted flights to and from Nigeria. But flights resumed after talks between authorities of the aviation ministry and Emirates Airlines. Emirates, however, continued to conduct tests on passengers before departure from Nigeria.
The decision irked Nigerian authorities and consequently suspended the airline from flying to and from Nigeria.
Emirates initially said it was going to resume flight on June 23. But it said in a statement that month that it was suspending its to and fro Nigeria from June 21 without setting a resumption. Several resumption dates have been announced and later cancelled.
An end to the suspension may be near, however. The chairman of Nigeria’s presidential steering committee on COVID-19 Mukhtar Muhammad said Emirates and Nigeria have agreed on some guidelines and are waiting to finalise agreements.
“They have met some of our requirements, and we are just waiting for one confirmation,” Muhammad said at a media briefing on Monday, according to News Agency of Nigeria.