FG bans Emirates over PCR test for air passengers

The Federal Government, on Monday, announced the suspension of inbound and outbound flights by Emirates Airlines from midnight of Wednesday.

This suspension follows the insistence of the Dubai-based airline to have Polymerase Chain Reaction tests for passengers embarking from Nigeria within 72 hours of their flights in addition to Antigen Rapid Test at Nigerian airports and another PCR test on arrival in Dubai.

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, announced the suspension while giving updates at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja.

He said Nigeria considered as unacceptable and devoid of any sense of reasoning the grounds advanced by Emirates, adding that there was no logic to take within 72 hours the PCR and a rapid antigen test 72 hours before flight as the coronavirus itself would incubate at least in or after 72 hours.

He added that the decision to suspend Emirates’ operations in Nigeria had been communicated to the airline since Sunday.

Sirika also said that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines had accepted the conditions spelled out by the Federal Government to bring passengers in and out by having a PCR Test within 72 hours. He added that the airline had agreed to start flying immediately.

“Emirates did not accept that position, so we have asked Emirates to be banned for operations midnight of Wednesday and that has been communicated to them since yesterday (Sunday),” Sirika said.

Anozie Egole
Anozie Egole
Anozie Egole is a Transport correspondent. He reports Maritime, Aviation and Rail/Road Transport for Financial Street.

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