Emirates Airlines on Monday announced the suspension of all flights to and from Nigeria, barely 48 hours after announcing that flights will resume on Wednesday, June 23.
According to a statement on the airline’s website, “In line with government directives, passenger flights to and from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) are suspended with effect from 21 June 2021 until further notice.”
The ban on Nigerian flights also includes passengers who have been to Nigeria in the previous two weeks.
“Customers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted for travel. Customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE,” the directive continued.
On Saturday Emirates had announced a planned resumption of flights, five months after it banned outbound flights from Abuja and Lagos. This followed the withdrawal of the Rapid Antigen Test the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had insisted passengers from Nigeria travelling to Dubai must take four hours before boarding their flights.
The UAE antigen test requirement was against Nigeria’s policy that passengers travelling out of the country should conduct Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test 72 hours before their flight.
But on Saturday, the UAE issued a statement conceding that Nigerian passengers that wished to travel to Dubai “must have received a negative test result for PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure.”
The statement posted on Instagram by the Dubai media office had also said passengers travelling from Nigeria should present a negative PCR test certificate with a QR Code from labs approved by the Nigerian government. It stated that all passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival in Dubai, adding, “Transit passengers should comply with entry protocol of final destination.”
The media office said the new regulation was part of measures aimed at easing inbound travel restrictions by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management. The committee introduced new entry protocols for passengers effective June 23.
However, Emirates gave no reason for the new suspension imposed but only apologised to customers and advised on next steps to be taken.
“We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call centre for rebooking. Emirates remains committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow.”