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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has placed a 72-hour suspension on outbound Emirates flights from Nigeria.
In a February 4 circular, the NCAA said Emirates Airlines violated guidelines put in place by the presidential taskforce on COVID-19.
According to the circular, the airline has been airlifting passengers from Nigeria using rapid antigen tests conducted by laboratories not approved by regulatory authorities.
NewsWireNGR recalls that the Nigerian government had a few days ago said it may suspend flights from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and The Netherlands due to the new COVID-19 protocols introduced by both countries for incoming travellers.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, while speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Monday said both countries recently requested that passengers from Nigeria must carry out a PCR test four hours before departing the country.
“In additionon to the requirements are a requirement for PCR test before passengers depart from Nigeria to their countries. They are adding an extra requirement of having a rapid test done four hours before departure or before you board,” he said.
“For us, passengers do the test 72 hours before departure and then the PCR test and the PTF recognizes the rights of all countries to put in measures to protect their citizens just like Nigeria has done,” Mr Nuhu said.
“If they insist on having these additional tests being done, then PTF has decided that their operations will be suspended into Nigeria.”
This is not the first time the airlines comes under sanctions by the Nigerian Government, in September 2020, Emirates Airline had been added to the list of airlines which have been banned from operating in Nigeria. The ban took effect from the 21st of September as announced by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika in a social media statement – the ban was subsequently lifted shortly after the UAE starting issuing Nigerians visa to the country.