By Chinelo Obogo
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has lifted the ban imposed on the operations of Emirates Airline after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) jettioned the Rapid Antigen Testing for Nigerian travellers bound for Dubai city.
This development is coming few hours after the regulatory body suspended Emirates’ operations in Nigeria 72 hours from Thursday midnight for violating the presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PFT) directives and COVID-19 protocols.
This followed the UAE’s COVID-19 policy restricting Nigerian passengers from transiting through other airports into Dubai city.
The presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) through the NCAA, ordered that during the 72 hours after which the suspension takes effect, the airline is only authorised to fly passengers into Nigeria but are not permitted to fly passengers out of Nigeria.
In a letter dated 4th February 2021 and signed by the Director General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu,
the NCAA stated that additional sanctions will be imposed on Emirates Airline in the coming days.
But shortly after receiving the letter from Nigeria’s regulator, the UAE sent a letter to NCAA, informing it that it has granted approval for Emirates airline to withdraw the requirement for the Rapid Antigen Testing prior to departure of flights from Nigeria with immediate effect until such a time the required infrastructure is made available by the Nigerian government.
The NCAA subsequently responded by announcing the lifting of the suspension.
In a a letter signed by Capt. Nuhu dated February 5 and addressed to the Country manager, Emirates Airline, he said: “We have carefully read your response to our letter of 4th February and arrived at the understanding that the UAE government granted approval to Emirates Airline to withdraw the requirements for Rapid Antigen Testing (RPT) prior to departure of Emirates flights to from Nigeria with immediate effect until such a time that the required infrastructure is made available by the Nigerian government.
“Based on the foregoing, the Presidential Task Force on (PTF) has directed the immediate lifting of the suspension of Emirates Airlines operations in Nigeria.
“It is therefore expected that Emirates Airlines will continue to comply with the directives of the PTF on COVID-19 and other protocols of the federal government of Nigeria.”
Emirates Airline also confirmed that it will continue to operate services to Abuja and Lagos airports.
“We can confirm that we will continue to operate services to Abuja and Lagos. We are strongly committed to Nigeria, and would like to thank the local authorities for their trust and support. We look forward to continuing to safely connect our customers, and meet air travel demand from Nigeria to and through Dubai to Emirates’ global network,” the airline said.