• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Nigerian travel agencies raise concerns over Dubai airport Covid protocol

Insecurity, elections drive air travel rebound

President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye, has said the association is disturbed by the latest guidelines from the Dubai airport authority requesting that Nigerian passengers undergo a rapid response Covid-19 antigen test before departure to Dubai.

Akporiaye also expressed shock at the insistence that Nigerians bound to Dubai must fly only Emirates Airlines, foreclosing and boxing out transit routes opportunities into Dubai from other carriers.

Dubai had announced that effective February first, the Dubai airport Authority will close its facilities to other airlines, flying passengers from Nigeria except they fly Emirates airlines.

The rapid response antigen test can only be done in Lagos and Abuja with Dubai bound passengers from the two Nigerian cities, paying 36, 800 naira and 25, 800 naira respectively, in addition to the PCR test from approved laboratories by Nigerian Center for Disease Control ( NCDC) and the Presidential Task force.

” We are studying the situation and consulting widely as the new travel restrictions may put additional financial pressures on Nigerian passengers and also create a monopolistic hold on the route. Indeed, we don’t know what is going on in the minds of other countries and their airlines, a situation that may trigger off retaliatory actions.” Nanta president explained.

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She further stated that the Dubai airport Authority should have shown its open hands in the effort to check the covid pandemic by requesting other carriers and their home governments to set up rapid response antigen test at their various airports to enable passengers on transit to undergo tests before flying into Dubai.

” We at NANTA believe that such gestures and arrangements will enhance the credibility of the additional covid 19 protocols into Dubai and also encourage others in travel business to recover and contribute to building a global coalition against the impact of covid.” Nanta added.

Though the industry is polarised by the Dubai initiative, including the banning of transit passengers from other airlines to Dubai, the fear of underhand competition targeting other carriers by Emirates is gaining ground and causing pallable apprehension among travel trade operators and Nigerian travel community.

” We are worried and call on the minister of Aviation to help intervene and interrogate this development. We appreciate the efforts of governments and airlines to help secure the lives of passengers and also protect their citizens which NANTA supports in all ramifications but this additional requirement from Dubai airport Authority and Emirates is far flung and we crave for better arrangements, possibly involving other stakeholders. In this pandemic situation, no man is an island”, Akporiaye further stated.