The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF), Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will Monday meet in Abuja to deliberate on how to resolve the lingering disagreement between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates authorities over the suspension of flights between the two countries.
For over one month now, Nigeria has been engaged with the UAE authorities over pre-departure testing requirements Nigerian passengers should meet before travelling to the Arab country from Nigeria.
On March 14, 2021, the UAE government through its General Civil Aviation Authority had confirmed flights resumption but issued a new and tougher travellers protocols from Nigeria airports including a valid PCR negative test certificate meeting the public health protocol prior to departure, a negative rapid test result of COVID-19 at the Nigeria airports prior to departure and a retest on arrival in UAE airports.
Equally, on March 15, 2021, the minister of aviation had said at the briefing by the PTF that the actions of the UAE airline, Emirates were discriminatory and devoid of scientific reasons because the coronavirus itself will incubate at least within or after 72 hours.
“So it sounds not correct to take a PCR test within 72hours and take a rapid test before the flight and seven hours later, another test on arrival,” the minister stated.
While KLM which issued similar protocols has since resumed outbound flights from Lagos on March 15, 2021, without RDTs, a letter was therefore written to Emirates airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight, Wednesday, March 17, 2021 over its continuous refusal to fly passengers without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test (RTDs) leading to the Emirates airlines indefinite suspension of flights to and from Nigeria.
The SGF has however said discussions were ongoing to resolve the matter amicably promising that updates on flights resumption will be made available as soon as possible.