The United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Tuesday, extended the suspension of Nigeria-Dubai flights till March 20.
The suspension was to last till February 27 before it was extended till March 10. This is the third time the country will do this in a span of a month.
- Many passengers stranded as robbers kill driver on Benin-Ore expressway
- Abdul-Jabbar controversy: Ganduje, JNI and the big surprises
This is just as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) may impose a “reciprocal sanction” on the UAE.
There has been a diplomatic row between the Federal Government and the UAE government over the COVID-19 protocols.
While Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 stipulates a negative PCR test for inbound and outbound travellers, the UAE Government imposed an additional rapid antigen test which the federal government frowned at and on the basis of that suspended Emirates, the UAE mega carrier on February 4, 2021.
The suspension which affected all airlines including Emirates, Nigeria’s Air Peace, Egypt Air, among others, was lifted before UAE came up with its suspension.
However, UAE Tuesday further extended the suspension to March 20, according to an update posted on the Emirates website.
“In line with government directives, passenger services from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) to Dubai are temporarily suspended until 20 March 2021,” the update said.
It added that Emirates flights from Dubai to Lagos and Abuja will continue to operate as per the normal schedule.
Meanwhile, the PTF has asked the Ministry of Aviation and its relevant agencies to take the necessary reciprocal measures permissible under the laws against UAE based Emirates Airline and the Netherlands over pre-departure tests.
Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said, “For over a month, Nigeria has been engaging with the authorities of the UAE and The Netherlands over pre-departure testing requirements passengers should meet before travelling from Nigeria.”
He said the PTF has mandated the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to “take necessary reciprocal measures as may be permissible under the laws and other international obligations which we are expected to discharge.”