There are indications that many airlines may suspend flights to Dubai in the next few days if the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities did not rescind its decision to suspend visa issuance to prospective visitors to the country, findings by Daily Trust have shown.
Daily Trust reports that the UAE had slammed a fresh visa ban on Nigerians seeking to visit Dubai.
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The ban was conveyed in a notice issued to the country’s trade partners in Nigeria by the Destination Management Companies (DMCs) licensed to issue electronic visas to UAE.
This was coming weeks after the country tightened the visa requirements for prospective visitors to the country requiring them to provide a six-month statement of account.
The requirement was further reviewed by the UAE and restricted Nigerians under 40, except couples from visiting the country.
But in the latest decision, the UAE authorities imposed a total ban with many applications rejected.
The development is now said to be hurting the travel plans of many Nigerians, which might affect a lot of ticket bookings to the UAE.
Many airlines including the UAE carrier Emirates; Nigeria’s Air Peace, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines, among others would be affected in the next few days.
As at yesterday, most of the airlines were still flying to Dubai but sources say there is a possibility of airlines halting sales of tickets to Nigerian passengers over the visa hiccups.
Our correspondent reports that there are about 1000 Dubai-bound passengers daily with some of them going beyond the UAE.
The passengers are shared among all the airlines operating to Dubai.
With the visa hiccups, the airlines’ load factor would reduce drastically leaving them with no option than to stop selling tickets to Dubai-bound Nigerians.
But the Director of Research, Zenith Travels, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo said the UAE placed national security beyond economic consideration, saying many Nigerians misused the opportunity of free access earlier provided by the UAE authorities.
He, however, said airlines would learn to adjust to the new rules, saying Emirates, which should feel the pinch of it through reduced passengers, is not bothered.
Capt. Alex Nwuba also said the possibility of airlines stopping the sale of Dubai tickets for Nigerian passengers is high.