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NCAA suspends Emirates from operating in Nigeria for violating COVID-19 protocol

Emirates denies extending suspension of flights from Nigeria

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended Emirates from operating flights to Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) effective 72 hours from Thursday midnight for violating COVID-19 directives and protocol as issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF).

The PTF has also ordered that during the 72-hour leeway Emirates Airline is only authorised to bring in passengers into Nigeria as outbound passengers are not authorised.

The NCAA stated that additional sanctions will be imposed on Emirates Airline for violating PFT directives and COVID-19 protocol.

“It has been brought to the attention of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) that Emirates has continued to airlift passengers from Nigeria using Rapid Antigen Tests (RDT) conducted by laboratories that are neither approved nor authorized,” NCAA said in a letter signed by Shuaibu Nuhu, its director general, and dated February 4, 2021.

“It is in violation of paragraph five of the NCAA letter Of February 2, 2021 addressed to your good self. The paragraph clearly states:

“Based on the foregoing and to enable Nigerian passengers put in place needed infrastructures and logistics for COVID-19 RDT testing for departing passengers, the PTF has directed that Emirates Airline 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.

“Emirates airlines has not been in compliance with the two options given by the PTF as records obtained by the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) indicate that Emirates airlines operated flights from Lagos and Abuja airports,” the letter said.

On February 1, Dubai sent a circular to air passengers requesting that Emirates Airline would have to conduct a compulsory rapid test onboard four hours before the flight departs from Nigeria.