The Federal Government (FG) has lifted the flights suspension it imposed on the Emirates Airlines, over the airlines’ insistence on carrying out four hours pre-departure COVID-19 test (RDT) for Nigerian passengers.
FG said it rescinded the suspension order after the airline wrote to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) informing the agency that the Dubai government has suspended the directive for Nigerian passengers on the airline to undergo the RDT test prior to departure.
In a letter dated February 5, titled ‘Re: Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Testing (RDT) for Emirates Passengers’ to the Nigeria Country Manager of the airline, the NCAA, acting on behalf of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, lifted the suspension order: “We have carefully read your response to our letter NCAA/DD/AIR11/16/285 of 4th February, 2021 and arrived at the understanding that the UAE Government has granted approval to Emirates Airlines to withdraw the requirement for Rapid Antigen Testing (RDT) prior to departure of Emirates flights from Nigeria with immediate effect until such a time that the required infrastructure is made available by the Nigerian Government.
“Based on the foregoing, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) has directed the immediate lifting of the suspension of Emirates Airlines operations in Nigeria.”
Authorities of the Dubai airport had issued a directive on January 29 targeting Nigerian passenger for additional COVID-19 test four hours before departure. The memo said: “kindly be advised, effective from 01 February, the following condition must be met for travel from Nigeria: departing from Nigeria to Dubai, all passengers are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 certificate. The PCR should be conducted within 72 hours of date of departure. All passengers are required to do a rapid COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result within four hours of their departure time. “