Emirates suspended over a disagreement with COVID-19 testing methods
As a means to deal with the extension of the flight ban to Nigerians by Emirates airlines, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has announced it would ban all inbound and outbound Emirates flights from midnight on Wednesday.
According to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while speaking during the weekly briefing by the PTF, described the actions of the airline as discriminatory and devoid of scientific reasons.
He however noted that KLM has rescinded its decision on the guidelines for intending international passengers.
Sirika said: “We gave the two airlines options of either have a PCR test 72 hours before departure or within 72 hours before departure and repeat the PCR test on arrival or have a rapid test before departure and have PCR on arrival but not the combination of the three because it doesn’t make scientific sense.
“It makes the facilitation of passengers very cumbersome and it makes our work difficult and passengers are going through unnecessary hardship, which is not acceptable.
“Both airlines decided to carry only inbound passengers and not take outbound passengers but their reasons are adverse which doesn’t make sense.
“So, we gave them the option to do what we believe is safe and correct and KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out on the conditions that we agreed upon which is to have a PCR test within 72 hours.
“Emirate didn’t accept the position and so, we have asked that Emirate be banned from operations midnight Wednesday and that has been communicated with them since Sunday but like the PTF chairman has said, if they come back to us to resume as KLM has done, they will be allowed, otherwise, the status quo remains and they would be banned from inbound and outbound flight.
“KLM has agreed to start immediately and they would be allowed to do so.”
Recall that, the UAE had recently suspended passenger services from Nigeria until March 21 2021.
“Customers from both Abuja and Lagos will not be accepted for travel prior to or including this date. Passengers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not allowed entry into the UAE (whether terminating in or connecting through Dubai).”
While noting that Emirates flights from Dubai to Lagos and Abuja will continue as scheduled, the statement, however, restated the commitment of UAE to resume passenger services to Dubai when conditions allow.