Emirates Airline would on Sunday, December 5, 2021, resume its flight operations to Nigeria.
Unmaskng.com understands that direct flights between Dubai and Nigeria were restricted in March over issues relating to COVID-19 test requirements.
A month before the restriction, Emirates had directed Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure. This didn’t sit well with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, as it banned the airline flights in Nigeria.
The ban was later lifted after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests.
However, in a sudden twist, the federal government reintroduced the ban, explaining that Emirates had continued to conduct rapid antigen tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria in spite of the agreement they had.
While the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the moves by Emirates Airline violated the country’s COVID-19 protocols, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika described it as “discriminatory profiling” of Nigerian travellers.
But on Thursday, December 2, Emirates, in a statement, said flights would resume in a matter of days, mandating COVID–19 PCR tests for all inbound passengers.
Going by this development, passengers from Nigeria will take the COVID-19 PCR test within three days before departure and another test on arrival at the UAE.
“The world’s largest international airline will operate to and from its Nigerian gateways with daily flights, providing travellers from Nigeria convenient access to Dubai, which remains a highly popular holiday and business destination,” the statement from Emirates, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) read.
The airline said travellers coming from Nigeria must hold a negative COVID-19 PCR certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
It added that passengers departing Nigeria must obtain their certificates from designated centres provided by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Emirates Airline flights schedule
Emirates would fly to Abuja with EK 785 and 786, leaving Dubai at 1100hrs, arriving in Abuja at 1540hrs. The return flight, EK 786 will take off from Abuja at 1900, arriving in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day.