FG restricts Emirates outbound operations in Nigeria for violating COVID-19 safety protocols

Posted: February 6, 2021 in general

Federal Government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has placed a 72-hour suspension on outbound Emirates Airways operations from Nigeria following violations of guidelines put in place by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

During the 72 hours leeway, Emirates Airlines is only authorized, according to the NCAA, to fly passengers into Nigeria while outbound airlift of passengers is not allowed.

A circular dated February 4 and signed by the Director General, NCAA Captain Musa Nuhu confirmed the government’s decision, as it reads:  “This is a violation of paragraph 5 of the NCAA letter with REF: NCAA/DG/AIR11/16/281 of 02 February 2021 addressed to your good self. The paragraph clearly states: “Based on the foregoing and to enable the Nigerian government to put in place the needed infrastructure and logistics for COVID-19 RDT testing for departing passengers, the PTF has directed that Emirates Airlines should either accept passengers without RDT pending when the infrastructure and 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.

“During the 72-hour leeway, Emirates Airlines is only authorized to bring passengers into Nigeria. Outbound passengers are not authorized.”

The ban is communicated in a letter dated 04 February, 2021 to the country Manager of emirates airlines also copied the Chairman PTF, Minister of Aviation and the Minister of Health.

It would be recalled that, in addition to PCR tests, Emirates recently introduced rapid COVID-19 tests as a requirement for Nigerian passengers flying to Dubai, which will make them cough out almost N40,000. 

At the same time, Dubai Airport Authority banned other airlines from flying passengers from Nigeria to Dubai, making Emirates the sole airline on Nigerian-Dubai routes. These decisions put passengers and African airlines into confusion.

Experts believe the action of the Nigerian government is probably aimed at getting Emirates and Dubai Airport Authority to rescind their decisions.

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