Posted by Sade Williams
Emirates airline said on Saturday it will be suspending all flights into Lagos and Abuja from its base in Dubai, from March 23, 2020, due to the impact of the Coronavirus known as COVID-19.
A statement sent from the airline to some travel agencies and sourced by The Travel Port, shows that it will also be canceling three already booked flights as it apologizes to passengers for inconveniences caused over this action.
The airline said: ‘Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and it’s impact on the aviation industry, Emirates will be suspending operations into Lagos and Abuja.
“EK785/786; EK781/782 and EK783/784 , the above listed flights are canceled from March 23, 2020, we regret any inconveniences that this may cause. As the situation is being reviewd, we will keep you posted. Passengers may visit our website for the latest travel update information” the airline said.
Afzal Parambil, Emirates country manager, Nigeria, confirmed the development in a Whatsapp chat saying, “Yes, we will suspend our operations from March 23” .
Recalled that Nigeria, due to the impact of the pandemic too, restricted flights to Lagos and Abuja last week, while reports say Government may shut both airports completely to flights in coming days.
Dubai’s Emirates had some weeks ago, joined other airlines around world in asking pilots to take unpaid leave.
“You are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity to volunteer for additional paid and unpaid leave,” the airline said in an internal email to pilots.
Emirates Group, which employed over 100,000 people, including about 4,000 pilots as of March 2019, asked staff to take unpaid leave earlier this month, although pilots were not included in the request then.
Emirates has told staff the coronavirus epidemic could be the biggest challenge it has faced in many years. The airline has frozen recruitment and continues to cut flights as the situation worsens globally.