Abuja, November 28, 2021 (NIGERIA) Six months after the Covid-19 precaution impasse between Nigeria and United Arab Emirates (UAE), the West African nation has lifted the suspension placed on Emirates Airline.
Mr Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s aviation minister, said at the weekend that the decision was reached after negotiations with the UAE, Emirates Airlines’ home country.
He however disclosed that the lifting of the ban was without conditions because UAE had removed all travel restrictions on Nigerians.
Nigeria banned Emirates from flying into Nigeria over discriminatory policies on Nigerians as regards to COVID-19 protocols by the UAE.
“Today we received communication from UAE removing some of the conditions of travel of which we had concerns about. Having done so, we feel we should lift the ban on the suspension of Emirates Airlines.
“All the impediments on Emirates have been lifted and that the airline can now operate in Nigeria,” he said.
Sirika expressed his appreciation for the understanding shown by Nigerians despite the obvious hardships experienced because of the spat between the two countries.
Also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyema, confirmed that the Nigerian Government recognises that UAE has a responsibility to protect the lives of her citizens thus whatever measures that they had taken was for the interest of her citizens.
He said the negotiation that led to the renewed relationship was a balanced one and that it was a win-win for both countries.
The disagreement relating to Covid-19 protocol between the two countries caused the suspension of direct flights in March
Nigeria earlier stopped the UAE national carrier, Emirates Airline, from subjecting Nigerian travellers to additional rapid antigen test as against its stipulated negative PCR test at the Lagos and Abuja airports before departure.
Emirates airline then shut down flights to and from Nigeria owing to the disagreement between the airline and the aviation authorities on the propriety of subjecting passengers travelling from Nigeria to emergency COVID-19 protocols.
After an interface between the authorities of the Aviation Ministry and Emirates airline, flights resumed but Emirates airline continued to conduct tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria, a development the Federal Government frowned on and thus suspended the airline from flying to and from Nigeria.
The action infuriated Nigeria which promptly announced on June 21, 2021 the immediate suspension of Emirates Airlines.
A statement by the airline reads: “Customers traveling to and from Lagos, Abuja will not be accepted for travel. Customers who have been to or connected through Lagos, Abuja in the last 14 days are not permitted to board from any point to the UAE.”
“We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call centre for rebooking. Affected flight bookings have been cancelled,” the airline said.
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