Air Travellers groan as Nigeria, UAE flights yet to resume




Nigeria's Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika


By Harry Awurumibe, Editor,  Abuja Bureau 


Two Weeks after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lifted the suspension on flights originating from Nigeria, air travellers especially those who are resident or doing businesses  in the Emirates are still groaning under the flight ban.


This is even as the UAE-owned Emirates Airlines have twice failed to resume operations from Nigeria to UAE due to their inability to get permission from the Nigerian aviation authorities to resume normal flights operation.

UAE authorities had on August 3, 2021 through the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NECMA) confirmed that the ban on flights from Nigeria which came into effect seven months ago has been lifted and that it would take  effect on Thursday, August 5.


But that cheering news which no doubt, came as a great relief to  Nigerian air travellers especially those who travel with the world renowned Emirate Airlines which operated three flights out of Nigeria per day before the ban has turned  out to be a  mirage.


Prompt News can confirm that Emirates Airline has again postponed its resumption of international flights in and out of Nigeria earlier billed for August 15 to August 20 if only the Nigerian authorities will grant the airline the permission to resume flights operation from Abuja and Lagos. 


Sources at Emirates Airline offices in Lagos revealed that letters have been written to Nigerian Aviation authorities seeking authorization to resume normal flights operation but the company has not received any reply.


“Our esteemed customers have been calling our offices and some coming in person to ask when Emirates Airline will resume Nigeria-UAE flights. We have written letters seeking permission to resume flights operation in Nigeria but we have not got reply from the Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Federal  Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)”, said our source who pleaded anonymity. 


Meanwhile, Prompt News gathered from sources at NCAA and FAAN that the delay in Emirates Airline management getting the reply on their letter may not be unconnected with the involvement of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 in the matter between flights suspension between Nigeria and UAE.


According to the source, the Ministry of Aviation in conjunction with the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 are the two bodies that will give Emirates Airline the permission to resume flights operation in Nigeria. 


The UAE government which earlier imposed the ban on flight from Nigeria on February 4, 2021 following diplomatic row over COVID-19 protocols has since  lifted the ban on Nigeria and 10 other countries that were affected by the restriction.


The government announced that  UAE-bound passengers would be able to transit through the airports of the affected countries as long as they present negative PCR tests taken 72 hours before departure.


The statement obtained by Prompt News read: “Travel for transit passengers from all countries from which transit passengers have been suspended will be resumed in advance provided that the passenger’s last destination is accepted with a laboratory check-up within 72 hours of departure and state airports will allocate special lounges for transit passengers.


“Emergencies, Crises and Civil Aviation announce the exclusion of new categories of passengers from some of the banned countries, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda, as of August 5″.

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