The Federal Government has included Emirates, the foremost Middle East carrier, on a list of airlines banned from operating to Nigeria with effect from Monday 21st September, 2020.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika disclosed this in a tweet on his Twitter page @hadisirika.
Daily Trust 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.
Also approved then were Emirates, Egypt Air, British Airways, Ethiopia, AWA, among others which have since resumed flights.
But last night the Minister announced that Emirates has now been included in the list of banned airlines.
He said the decision followed the meeting of sub-committee of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) with European Union Ambassadors.
Our correspondent learnt that the EU Ambassadors were led to the meeting with the Federal Government officials by Ambassador Ketil Karlsen. The meeting was ostensibly to get the Federal Government to review the ban on the European carriers.
But giving a hint on the meeting, Sirika stated that the meeting “progressed well” but added that Emirates has now been included in the list of banned airlines.
“The PTF sub committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well.
“Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept. 2020.”
The decision, it was learnt was informed by the non-issuance of entry visas by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government as Nigeria has vowed to implement the principle of reciprocity by allowing only airlines from countries which allowed Nigerians entry to their countries.
But a source with the airline told our correspondent that Emirates has taken step with the UAE government to ensure the existing visa ban on Nigeria was lifted.
“Nigeria as you know is one of the biggest Emirates markets. We are working to straighten what the issues are to probably escape this ban which begins on Monday,” he said.