By Lawani Mikairu
The federal government and United Arab Emirates, UAE, have agreed to restore flights between both countries. Flights were suspended in March following disagreement over covid-19 protocol.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who disclosed the latest development on Friday night in Abuja said that the ban was lifted after Emirates airlines removed its stringent conditions slammed on Nigerian travellers.
Also the United Arab Emirates, in its latest Coronavirus protocol released yesterday, dropped the Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) for COVID-19 as prerequisite for travelling to the Middle East country for Nigerians and some other countries.
A statement dated November 26, 2021, issued by the Aviation Business Management Team-Dubai Airports, indicated that ” RDT would no longer be required for all flights effective from Saturday November 27, 2021 at 00.0 hours, for passengers travelling to Dubai from the following countries: the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Uganda, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of Zambia.”
According to the statement inbound passengers, who are eligible to travel to Dubai…should comply with the following conditions: “The passenger(s) shall present a valid negative COVID-19 test certificate that is issued within the valid time frame, namely, (72) hours from the time of collecting the sample and from the approved health service that uses QR code system.
“Passenger(s) shall undergo a PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) upon arrival at Dubai Airports.
“No approval is required from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) or from General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) for the passengers from the aforesaid countries, to enter Dubai. No rapid PCR test report is required.
“The airlines shall ensure and/or verify the compliance of the above requirement(s) prior to passenger(s) boarding the aircraft and shall not accept any passenger(s) who does not fulfill the aforesaid condition(s) and/or requirements,” the statement said.
It further stated that ” air carriers that fail and or neglect to comply with the measures set out in this decision would be subjected to the fines and measures stipulated in Clause 37 of Schedule No (7) the Executive Council Resolution No. (4) of the 2017 Approving Fees and Fines of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), considering that adherence to the provision of DCAA circular No. (1) of 2021, is strictly required for airlines to continue practicing air transport activity arriving to or transiting through Dubai.”
With the new protocol, UAE has dropped the RDT test, which caused a disagreement between Nigeria and the Arab country thus forcing Emirates to stop operating to Nigeria when the federal government insisted that it must not conduct RDT on Nigerian passengers four hours before their flight as well as insisting that the 72 hours PCR test must be accepted by the airline.