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Omicron: Again, UAE Suspends Flights From Nigeria

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday suspended entry of passengers from Nigeria and three other African countries. 

The other countries are Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

But the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and travel agencies said they were unaware of the current ban.

The UAE had, on December 13, banned foreign airlines from airlifting Nigerian passengers into the country.

The latest ban, taking effect tomorrow, was announced yesterday by the UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). 

A memo posted on social media confirmed the latest suspension coming at a time the Federal Government and the UAE had just settled a dispute leading to the lifting of the restriction on Emirates. 

The government had withdrawn Emirates winter schedule in retaliation over the denial of Air Peace three frequencies requested at Sharjah Airport.

The Federal Government, through the NCAA, had reinstated Emirates’ frequencies after the UAE authorities granted seven slots to Nigeria’s Air Peace in the country.

While both Emirates and Air Peace have not resumed flights, the UAE authorities issued a new travel restriction which it blamed on the rising cases of Omicron variant of the COVID-19.

The statement by the GCAA and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority confirmed the “suspension of entry of travelers from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Nigeria on all flights of national and foreign carriers, as well as transit passengers coming from them, as of Saturday, December 27 at 7:30 pm.

“The suspension includes those who were present during the 14 days before coming to the UAE,” the statement added. 

When contacted yesterday, the Director-General of NCAA, Musa Nuhu, said the development was yet to be communicated to the authority. 

“As DG of NCAA, I have not received any official communication from UAE on this. I am also reading it on social media,” he said.

Daily Trust reports that sources in the travel agencies claimed the UAE had imposed further stringent COVID-19 protocols requiring Nigerian passengers to carry out two PCR tests before departing Nigeria.

According to the protocol, the first test is to be done 48 hours to arrival in Dubai; and the second test, six hours to departure with another antigen test done at transit airport. This new protocol is to take effect immediately.

It was learnt that a Qatar Airline flight with Nigerians on board was turned back yesterday following the new protocol.


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