PASSENGER journeys between Nigeria and Dubai will remain on hold for now after the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) decided to reverse its earlier decision to lift the travel ban between the two countries.
In February, Nigerian government officials suspended all Emirates Airlines’ outbound flights for 72 hours following a flagrant breach of the guidelines laid down by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 regarding travel. Nigerian law does not approve the use of rapid antigen tests done at laboratories but Emirates Airlines has been using them as a basis to airlift passengers.
As a result of what it described as a flagrant breach, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) issued a circular on February 4, suspending all Emirates Airlines operations for not adhering to its guidelines. However, the dispute later escalated into a full blown trade war with the airline imposing a blanket ban on all flights to Lagos and Abuja on March 17.
Over recent weeks, the UAE authorities has indicated they were willing to lift the ban but yesterday they decided to keep it in place. According to the UAE government, the new extension takes official effect from today, Monday, 21st June 2021 until further notice.
A UAE government spokesman said: “In line with government directives, passengers flights to and from Nigeria are suspended with immediate effect from 21 June, 2021 until further notice. Customers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted to travel and customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE.
“We regret the inconveniences caused and affected customers should contact their booking agents or Emirates call centres for rebooking. Emirates remains committed to Nigeria and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow.”
On June 19, the UAE authorities lifted the ban on travel between Dubai and Nigeria after a protracted disagreement between the two countries on Covid-19 protocols. However, with the latest decision, this ban has been reinstated.