The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has lifted the 72-hour suspension placed on Emirates flights from Nigeria. Emirates was suspended for violating the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 guidelines.
Emirates started airlifting passengers with Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) (A four (4) hours test from the time of flights departure) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test done 72 hours from the date of departure by passengers. The Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) according to the federal government is conducted by laboratories not approved by regulatory authorities.
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority lifted the suspension on Emirates flights following the airline suspension of the Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) requirements for passengers.
A statement from NCAA and signed by the Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu notified the public about the suspension. The statement reads:
The Public is hereby notified of the immediate lifting of the suspension placed on Emirates airlines operations in Nigeria.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) of COVID-19 was made aware of the requirement by Emirates airlines and KLM for passengers travelling from Nigeria on their flights to Dubai and Amsterdam to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) Four (4) hours from the time of flights departure. This requirement is in addition to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test done 72 hours from the date of departure by passengers.
The implementation of the additional requirement by the Two (2) airlines was commenced without the prior notification or approval of the PTF and other regulatory bodies in Nigeria. This led to the provision of RDT testing by organizations and Laboratories that have not been approved by the PTF and other Regulatory agencies for RDTat or around our international airports in Lagos and Abuja.
The PTF upon review of the situation directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to inform the airlines to either suspend the requirement for pre-departure RDT or their flights to the country until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics have been put in place for RDT by the Government.
Emirates Airlines however continued their operations requiring passengers to carry out the RDT test Six (6) hours from the time-of-flight departure from Nigeria.
The PTF therefore directed for the immediate suspension of Emirates Airlines operations to Nigeria effective 4th February 2021 until when the needed infrastructure and logistics are put in place for the RDT test by the Nigerian Government.
Emirates Airlines on 5th February 2021 informed the NCAA in writing that the UAE Government has given the airline approval to suspend the pre-departure RDT requirement for passengers travelling on their flight to Dubai.
Consequent upon the foregoing, the PTF directed the NCAA to lift the suspension placed on Emirates Airlines flights into Nigeria with effective from 5th February 2021.
The Public is hereby informed as follows:
1. Emirates Airlines no longer requires passengers to carry out pre-departure RDT.
2. No laboratory has been approved by the PTF and other regulatory agencies to carry out RDT for incoming or departing passengers.
3. The PTF will inform all Nigerians of any change(s) to the above.
In a mail sent by Emirates airline, passengers are required to obtain COVID-19 PCR test certificate for transit through Dubai and final destination only. The test must be done not more than 72 hours prior to arrival (for transit) and as mandated by their country of final destination. Test validity commences from the time the sample is taken.