“We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India in accordance with these protocols from 23rd June.”
With the words above, Emirate Airlines announced its resumption of direct flights between Dubai to Nigeria five months after placing a ban on outbound flights from Abuja and Lagos following the rejection of the rapid antigen test which the United Arab Emirate, UAE, insisted passengers from Nigeria must take four hours before boarding Emirate flights.
The reumption statement which was posted on Instagram by the Dubai media office, insists however, that Emirates passengers travelling from Nigeria should present a negative PCR test certificate with a QR Code from government-approved labs. According to the statement, all passengers except UAE nationals, must undergo a PCR test on arrival in Dubai, adding, “Transit passengers should comply with entry protocol of final destination.”
“Passengers must present a negative test result for a PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure. UAE citizens are exempted. All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai airport. Transit passengers should comply with entry protocols of final destination,” the statement said.
Put differently, though the insistence on the rapid antigen test has been stepped down in line with the Nigerian policy that its outbound passengers should conduct only Polymerase Chain Reaction, PCR, test 72 hours before boarding their flights, Emirates’ resumption order is premised on the condition that intended outbound Nigerian passengers to Dubai must have received a negative PCR test result 48 hours prior to departure.
Explaining the new entry protocols further, Emirates Airlines noted that the new regulation is part of measures by the Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crises and Disaster Management, to ease restriction on inbound travels. It said however, that passengers from both India and South Africa must must have received two doses of a vaccine approved by relevant UAE authorities, including receiving a negative PCR test result 48 hours prior to departure.
Though the new regulations are largely discriminatory as they exempt UAE nationals, they are largely in compliance with the requirements by Nigeria particularly as it affects PCR tests. It has also gone a long way in reducing the burden placed on outbound Nigerian passengers including students who were due to fly back to Dubai for their studies. At least, besides reducing ensuing burdens, it goes on to prove that Nigeria will not tolerate attempt by any country to rubbish Nigeria.
“Some of the prices include the fact that many Nigerian students studying overseas that were due to travel back found it very difficult doing so without Emirates flights from Nigeria. We give kudos to the federal government. We will now wait for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to lift the ban on Emirates.” an aviation insider noted.
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