NCAA directs airlines to board passengers unable to show PCR
...as travelers lament over travel portal hiccups
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued a circular to all foreign airlines operating in and out of Nigeria not to deny Nigerians boarding for their inability to show evidence of payment for the day-7 COVID-19 PCR test or generate paid QR code.
The challenge of generating the PCR code after payment of the compulsory fees has left travelers from Nigeria stranded and being denied boarding by airlines.
Many passengers have expressed frustration in accessing the portal, the costs of the test on arrival, and other challenges.
Musa Nuhu, the director-general of the NCAA, in a letter to all airlines operating in and out of the country said the decision was taken in view of the challenges some travelers to Nigeria are experiencing while trying to fill their health and travel history into Nigeria’s International Travel portal (NITP).
A letter dated September 11, 2021, entitled, “Permission for airlines to board passengers traveling to Nigeria who are unable to show evidence of payment for day seven COVID-19 PCR test or generate paid QR code/permit to fly”, signed by the DG noted that the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has been made aware of difficulties some travelers to Nigeria are experiencing while trying to fill their health and travel history into the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP).
By the letter, airlines are mandated to board any traveler to Nigeria who is unable to either pay for the repeat day-7 COVID-19 PCR test or generate the paid QR code/permit to fly.
Nuhu further stated that such passengers would be required to make payment for the repeat day-7 COVID-19 PCR test at their destination airport in Nigeria.
According to him, “holders of diplomatic passports and children aged 10 years and below who are unable to complete the NIPT are to be allowed to board the flight. Their health declaration and travel history will be captured by the Port Health Services (PHS) at the destination airport”.
“Airlines are to bring this information to the knowledge of their passengers and ensure strict compliance with the above-stated condition,” he added.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recently disclosed that it is working with other ministries and agencies through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to address challenges faced by travelers to Nigeria.
The NCDC identified the travelers as those using the Nigerian international travel portal. The measures included – “All travelers arriving in Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 by PCR in the county of departure pre-boarding. The PCR test must be done within 96 hours before departure and preferably within 72 hours.