FG Suspends Emirates Flights Into Nigeria in Response to Airline’s Covid-19 Test Update

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Posted by JUSTOURS

The Federal Government has ordered Emirates Airline to suspend its flight operations into Nigeria following the violations of its directives on testing of departing passengers. The Presidential Task Force PTF on Covid-19 directed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to place a ban on Emirates airlines operations into the country.

The advice was issued  in a letter dated 04 February, 2021 to the Country Manager of Emirates Airlines on Victoria Island, Lagos and signed by the Director General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu and  also copied to the chairman PTF, Minister of Aviation and the Minister of Health.  Representatives of other  relevant authorities that got the  letter include  the  National Coordinator PTF, Director General, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria( FAAN).

The letter pointed out that the ban is based on the continuous airlift of passengers from Nigeria using the Rapid Antigen Tests, RDT conducted by laboratories that are neither approved or authorized by the appropriate regulatory body which is in fragrant violation of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 directive.

According to Captain Nuhu: “This is a violation of paragraph 5 of the NCAA letter with REF: NCAA/DG/AIR11/16/281 of 02 February 2021 addressed to your good self. The paragraph clearly states, “Based on the forgoing and to enable the Nigerian government to put in place the needed infrastructure and logistics for COVID-19 RDT testing for departing passengers, the PTF has directed that Emirates Airlines should either accept passengers without RDT pending when the infrastructure and logistics are put in place or suspend its flights to and from Nigeria until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics are fully established and implemented”.

The NCAA boss explained in the letter that the airline has not been in compliance with the two options given by the PTF as records of operated flights by Emirates airlines from Lagos and Abuja obtained from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency NAMA has shown.

He stated further that “This is in addition to an advert by Emirates airlines for RDT by the Travel clinic and medical Mobile Laboratory in Lagos and Abuja, two organisation that are not approved by the regulatory bodies and PTF to conduct RDT for departing passengers.

The PTF takes these violations of its instructions seriously and as therefore directed that “Emirates should suspend its operations to Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) effective 72 hours from midnight (2300z) on Thursday 04 February, 2021.”

“During the 72- hour leeway, Emirates airlines is only authorized to bring in passengers into Nigeria while outbound passengers are not allowed.The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority will impose additional sanctions on Emirates airlines for the violations of the PTF directive and COVID-19 Protocols. Emirates Airlines will be informed in due time as when to resume operations to Nigeria,” the letter also read.

The Emirates flights and date of operations as obtained from NAMA to include:
Date: 03 February 2021
Flight: UAE784
Aircraft type: B777-300
Registration Mark: A6EQA
Route: Lagos-Dubai
Passengers on board:195

Date: 03 February 2021
Flight: UAE786
Aircraft type: B777W
Registration Mark: A6EQD
Route: Abuja-Dubai
Passengers on board:154

Date: 04 February 2021
Flight: UAE784
Aircraft type: B777-300
Registration Mark: A6EQC
Route: Lagos-Dubai
Passengers on board:199

Date: 04 February 2021
Flight: UAE786
Aircraft type: B777W
Registration Mark: A6ECV
Route: Abuja-Dubai
Passengers on board:175

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