Emirates denies extending flight suspension from Nigeria


Posted by Sade Williams


The United Arabs Emirates (UAE) said on Friday it has not extended the suspension of flights of Emirates airlines to and from Nigeria.

A statement from the Emirates airline”s spokesperson said the story making the rounds that it extended the suspension to November 30, 2021, is not true.

It added that the first statement unloaded on the website earlier this year, automatically updates itself, adding that, ‘’the UAE government continues to advance its dialogue with the Nigerian authorities, and the latest discussions signal great optimism for a positive way forward.

‘’We regularly update our website to keep our customers informed, and although our operations are still on hold, Emirates is keen to restart services to and from Nigeria, and are working closely with designated laboratories in Nigeria to provide the required tests and hope to be able to get all laboratories ready for implementation very soon.

‘’We are committed to Nigeria, and look forward to providing much needed connectivity for our customers, helping to meet growing air travel demand in and out of our two Nigerian gateways and making air travel more accessible to and through Dubai to over 120 destinations across our global network.” , the airline said.

It would be recalled that the Senate and the House of Representatives ,on Tuesday, resolved to intervene in the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following disagreements between both countries.

The decision to wade into the dispute was reached in the Senate as a sequel to a point of order by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, during plenary.

Abaribe, while relying on Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules, recalled that in December 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Nigeria and the UAE to provide a platform for both countries to engage each other bilaterally.

Giving insight into the circumstances surrounding the disagreement, the lawmaker noted that in February 2021, the federal government stopped the UAE national carrier, Emirates Airline, from subjecting Nigerian travellers to additional rapid antigen test as against its stipulated negative PCR test at the Lagos and Abuja airports before departure.

Abaribe said the Emirates Airline then shut down flights to and from Nigeria owing to the disagreement between it and the aviation authorities on the propriety of subjecting passengers travelling from Nigeria to an emergency COVID-19 protocol.

He, however, said after an interface between the authorities of the aviation ministry and Emirates Airline, flights resumed but the airline continued to conduct tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria, a development that the federal government frowned at and thus suspended the airline from flying in Nigeria.

Abaribe further expressed concern that, “there are allegations that hundreds of Nigerians living in UAE are losing their jobs on account of the refusal of the authorities to renew their work permit which offends the letters of bilateral agreements which both nations are signatory to.

“If the Nigerian government does not urgently engage the authorities of the UAE, thousands of Nigerians living and working will lose their jobs and means of livelihood hence the need for a quick interface with the authorities of the UAE.”, he had said.

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