The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has lifted the ban imposed on Nigerian flights in the wake of the emergence of Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Daily Trust reports that the ban was imposed on December 8, 2021, thereby stalling all Umrah preparations by the Hajj and Umrah operators in Nigeria.
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The lifting of restrictions was announced on Saturday, with the Kingdom also removing many COVID-19 restrictions, giving a green light for 2022 Hajj exercise.
According to the announcement sighted on Saudi Gazette Twitter page, the Kingdom also lifted the suspension of direct flights and arrival from 17 other countries.
The countries are South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, United Republic of Congo, among others.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia had confirmed the suspension of flights to Nigeria in a circular to all airlines operating in Saudi Arabia in December 8.
In the circular titled, “Suspension of Flights coming from and to the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, the GACA said, “Suspending all incoming flights and suspending entry to the Kingdom for non-nationals coming directly or indirectly from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except for those who have spent a period of no less than 14 days in another country from which they are allowed to come.”
Following the suspension, Azman Air, the only Nigeria Airline operating to Saudi Arabia, put all preparations for Umrah on hold.