UAE extends ban on Nigerian flights till March 10
As the Covid-19 controversy between Nigeria and the UAE deepens, Emirates Airline has informed its partners that the February 28 date of reopening flights would not be feasible.
According to the message to its travel partners titled “Temporary Suspension of PAX uplift from Nigeria to Dubai – update”, the airline said, “As instructed by the UAE authorities, the uplift of passengers on Emirates from Nigeria (LOS & ABV) to Dubai is temporarily suspended up to and including the 10th of March, 2021.
“Affected services are EK784 LOS-DXB and EK786 ABV-DXB.
“Note also that passengers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not allowed to enter the UAE (whether terminating or connecting onwards).”
Emirates said flights from Dubai to Nigeria (EK783 DXB-LOS & EK785 DXB-ABV) are not affected by the suspension and these flights would continue to operate as per the published schedule.
It said the operational status of EK services from Nigeria after March 10, 2021 is under review and further updates would be published in due course.
“For passengers affected, kindly apply re-booking options provided in our COVID-19 waiver policy previously communicated.
“We hope to revert to you as soon as possible, regarding the status of our future flights,” it said.
Since the ban of Emirates from UK and other countries over new strain of Covid-19 virus imported from Dubai, the UAE authorities have hardened their protocols for visitors to Dubai.
Subsequently, they applied new rules to Nigerian travellers to Dubai. The new rules by Dubai Airports banned flights from any other point to Dubai from Nigeria.
They insisted only on direct flights from Nigeria and this favours only Emirates, effectively banning other airlines from the very busy route.
This was resisted by the Nigerian government by insisting that the carrier suspend its Rapid Antigen Test, which the airline said was a prerequisite for granting other airlines access into Dubai.
The Nigerian government had frowned at the targeting of only Nigerians for this test and subsequently suspended the carrier from flying into Nigeria.
The suspension was later lifted following instructions from the UAE government that the airline suspend the Rapid Antigen Test pending when the Nigerian government would have put infrastructure in place to meet the airlines request.