Few hours after suspension of Emirates Airlines, NCAA reverses self, lifts suspension

Few hours after the Federal government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced the suspension of Emirates Airlines operations into Nigeria in response to a hostile policy earlier slammed on the Nigerian Dubai bound travellers, the Nigerian government has again reversed the airline suspension announcing the immediate lifting of the earlier suspension.

In a statement just issued and signed by the director-general of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, the NCAA few hours after announcing the suspension of Emirates Airlines, has notified the public of the reversal of the earlier suspension.

The reversal of the suspension may not be unconnected to Emirates Airlines decision to inform the NCAA in writing that the UAE Government has given the airline approval to suspend the pre-departure RDT requirement for passengers travelling on their flight to Dubai.

Consequent upon the foregoing, the PTF directed the NCAA to lift the suspension placed on Emirates Airlines flights into Nigeria with effective from 5th February 2021.

According to the reversal announcement, NCAA declared: ” The Presidential Task Force (PTF) of COVID19 was made aware of the requirement by Emirates airlines and KLM for passengers travelling from Nigeria on their flights to Dubai and Amsterdam to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) Four (4) hours from the time of flights departure.

This requirement is in addition to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test done 72 hours from the date of departure by passengers.

“The implementation of the additional requirement by the Two (2) airlines was commenced without the prior notification or approval of the PTF and other regulatory bodies in Nigeria. This led to the provision of RDT testing by organizations and Laboratories that have not been approved by the PTF and other Regulatory agencies for RDTat or around our international airports in Lagos and Abuja.

“The PTF upon review of the situation directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to inform the airlines to either suspend the requirement for pre-departure RDT or their flights to the country until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics have been put in place for RDT by the Government.

“Emirates Airlines, however, continued their operations requiring passengers to carry out the RDT test Six (6) hours from the time-of-flight departure from Nigeria.

The PTF, therefore, directed for the immediate suspension of Emirates Airlines operations to Nigeria effective 4th February 2021 until when the needed infrastructure and logistics are put in place for the RDT test by the Nigerian Government.

Emirates Airlines on 5th February 2021 informed the NCAA in writing that the UAE Government has given the airline approval to suspend the pre-departure RDT requirement for passengers travelling on their flight to Dubai.

Following the agreement by the Dubai authorities to suspend the pre-departure RDT requirement for Nigerian passengers travelling on their flight to Dubai, the NCAA has therefore informed as follows that: “Emirates Airlines no longer requires passengers to carry out pre-departure RDT.

No laboratory has been approved by the PTF and other regulatory agencies to carry out RDT for incoming or departing passengers. The PTF will inform all Nigerians of any change(s) to the above.

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