The Nigerian government has lifted the previous ban on Emirates Airline’s flights into the country.
In its latest Coronavirus protocol, which was released yesterday, the United Arab Emirates removed the Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) for COVID-19 as a requirement for Nigerians and some other countries to travel to the Middle East country.
Emirates halted flights to Nigeria in February of this year after the federal government ordered Nigerian passengers to take the RDT four hours before their flight, as required by the UAE’s COVID-19 protocols.
Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, described the RDT requirement as “discriminatory profiling” of Nigerian travelers when Emirates first requested the test.
According to a statement, RDT will no longer be required for all flights departing from the following countries: the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Uganda, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and the Republic of Zambia.
Inbound passengers from the aforementioned countries who are eligible to travel to Dubai must meet the following requirements, according to the statement: “The passenger(s) shall present a valid negative COVID-19 test certificate that is issued within the valid time frame, namely, (72) hours from the time of collecting the sample and from the approved health service that uses the QR code system.”
Passengers arriving at Dubai Airports will be subjected to a PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) ”
Airlines must ensure and/or verify compliance with the aforementioned requirement(s) prior to the passenger(s) boarding the aircraft and will not accept any passenger(s) who do not meet the aforementioned condition(s) and/or requirements “according to the declaration
It also stated that if the airline transports any passenger(s) who do not meet the aforementioned requirements, the airline will be held responsible for returning such passenger to the point of embarkation, as well as any other issues that may arise as a result.
It stated that airlines that fail or neglect to comply with the measures outlined in this decision will face the fines and penalties outlined in Clause 37 of Schedule No. (7) of the Executive Council Resolution No. (4) of the 2017 Approving Fees and Fines of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), given that adherence to the provisions of DCAA circular No. (1) of 2021 is strictly required for airlines to continue practicing air transport activity.
These conditions, according to the statement, are in addition to the guidelines, protocols, and conditions that are issued from time to time.
With this new protocol, the UAE has dropped the RDT test, which sparked a diplomatic crisis between Nigeria and the country and forced Emirates Airlines to suspend operations to Nigeria when the federal government insisted that the airline not conduct RDT on Nigerian passengers four hours before their flight, instead insisting on the 72-hour PCR test.
So, Emirates flights from Nigeria have been suspended since February 2021, but with the new protocol, Nigerian passengers can now travel directly to Dubai.
In February, Emirates directed Nigerian passengers at the Lagos and Abuja airports to undergo rapid COVID-19 tests prior to departure, resulting in a ban on Emirates flights in Nigeria. After the airline agreed to stop performing rapid antigen tests, the ban was eventually lifted.
The ban was reinstated by the federal government in March, citing Emirates’ continued use of rapid antigen tests for passengers departing from Nigeria.
The suspension of Emirates Airline has been lifted by FG.
According to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the ban on Emirates was lifted as a result of communications received from the UAE removing travel conditions that the Nigerian government had objected to.
Sirika told journalists late yesterday that the UAE had lifted the restrictions without conditions, and Nigeria had responded by lifting the ban on Emirates.
The Minister assured that the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE was still strong.
Similarly, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyema, stated that the Nigerian government recognized that the UAE “has a responsibility” to protect her citizens’ lives and that “whatever measures they had taken were in the interest of her citizens.”