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Days after ban lift, Emirates yet to get ‘clearance’ to resume flights

Despite the decision of the Federal Government to lift the ban imposed on Emirates, the Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based carrier is yet to get…

Despite the decision of the Federal Government to lift the ban imposed on Emirates, the Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based carrier is yet to get approval to resume operations, findings by Daily Trust on Sunday have revealed.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had on September 21, included Emirates in the list of airlines banned from flying to Nigeria following a meeting of sub-committee of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) with European Union Ambassadors.

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had announced the decision in a tweet on his Twitter page @hadisirika.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the Federal Government had before reopening the airports for international flights on September 5, banned about 10 airlines including Lufthansa, Air France, Etihad, KLM, among others.

But Emirates which earlier on September 7 and 9 resumed flights to Lagos and Abuja was added to the list of banned airlines following the refusal of the UAE authorities to issue visa to Nigerian travellers to Dubai in line with the reciprocity policy to allow only airlines from countries which have opened their borders to Nigerian Visa holders.

Our correspondent reports that following the ban, the UAE authorities and the airline’s management initiated talks with the government to lift the ban as Nigeria is one of the major markets of Emirates.

On Wednesday September 30, the Federal Government lifted the ban based on the undertaking by the authorities of the United Arabs Emirates (UAE).

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the commencement of the airline’s operations would however depend on the commencement of visa issuance by the UAE.

But five days after the ban was lifted, the airline is yet to get the approval to resume, it was learnt.

The airline had earlier informed its travel partners to resume operations today (Sunday) with its Dubai-Lagos, Lagos-Dubai and Dubai-Abuja and Abuja-Dubai flights but the flights were cancelled abruptly.

One of the travel agents who spoke with our correspondent in confidence expressed hope that the airline would resolve its issues with the federal government because the options are really limited.

“Yes, they don’t have clearance yet because they have been cancelling flights,” the travel agent said.

When asked if the “condition precedent” had not been met, spokesman of the Ministry of Aviation, Mr. James Odaudu, simply replied “maybe” without making further comments.

But sources told our correspondent that the Federal Government is still monitoring compliance by the UAE authorities with the agreement to issue Visa to Nigerians before granting the carrier the go-ahead to resume operations.


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