Two days after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities announced a lift on embargo earlier slammed on air travels between the country and Nigeria, India, and South Africa, the Middle East country has suddenly rescinded its decision by announcing a fresh suspension of flights to Lagos and Abuja with effect from June 21, 2021.
The controversial U-turn made by the country to slam a fresh suspension of flights to and from Nigeria has created serious debate among key players across the sector who had earlier expressed relief following the lift of suspension earlier imposed on Nigerian passengers and airlines.
The UAE had in February this year suspended flights to Nigeria when the Nigerian government retaliated the ban of Nigerian passengers into Dubai following a communication breakdown between UAE and Nigeria over modalities for conducting tests on travelers to and from Dubai to Nigeria.
The latest U-turn made by the UAE came as a shock as no clear reason was given for the fresh suspension of flights between the two countries.
The airline in a statement declared that customers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted for travel, while those who have been to, or connected through Nigeria in the last fourteen days will not be permitted to board from any other point to the UAE.
The statement partly read: “We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call center for re-booking. Emirates remains committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow.”
Equally, the airline stated that flights from South Africa remained suspended until July 6, in line with government directives that restrict the entry of travellers originating from South Africa, into the UAE.
According to the UAE carrier: “Daily passenger flights to Johannesburg will operate as EK763, but outbound passenger services on EK 764 remain suspended. Customers who have been to or connected through South Africa in the last 14 days will not be permitted on any Emirates flights bound for Dubai.”
The airline had on Saturday announced that it would be resuming flight operations in Nigeria from June 23, 2021.
The UAE which had hitherto refused to fly passengers without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test (RTD’s), on Saturday announced a new travel protocol now accepting to carry Nigerian passengers who present negative PCR test results taken within 48 hours before departure.
Emirates had in the latest travel protocol explained that as part of easing inbound travel restrictions, that Dubai’s Supreme Court Committee of crisis and disaster management had introduced new entry protocols for passengers effective from June 23, 2021.