Nigeria: Despite Govt’s Lifting of Ban, Emirates Cancels Flights From Nigeria

Emirates Airlines has cancelled its Lagos-Dubai and Abuja-Dubai flights despite reaching agreement with the federal government that it would waive the introduction of Rapid Antigen Test (RDT), which the airline earlier insisted that Nigerian passengers must undergo four hours before their flight.

The Nigerian government had on Thursday suspended the airline’s outbound flights from Lagos and Abuja until it was able to provide the needed infrastructure for the conduct of RDT test.

But on Friday, Emirates indicated that it would waive the test, prompting the federal government to lift the ban.

However, Emirates had cancelled its Saturday and Sunday outbound flights from Nigeria and did not indicate when it would resume the flights.

The airline’s media contact in Nigeria said the airline would issue a statement today to explain what actually happened.

However, there were strong indications that the United Arab Emirates government may not have approved the waiver for Nigerian passengers to come to Dubai with the RDT test.

UAE has maintained that in addition to the 72 hours PCR test approved by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Nigerians travelling out of the country, Emirates passengers must undergo rapid test before they would be allowed in Dubai.

This was due to the allegation that Nigerians travelling out of the country procure fake test results.

On Saturday, the airline announced the cancellation of the two flights (Lagos-Dubai, EK784 and Abuja-Dubai, Ek786) through a memo to its trade partners, citing operational reasons.