Some reports have suggested the reason why Emirates Airlines has not gotten approval to resume flight operations to Abuja and Lagos.
According to a report from Thisday, the alleged insistence by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that only Emirates Airlines would be allowed to operate to Dubai from Nigeria has prompted the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to deny the Middle East airline the approval to resume flights to Abuja and Lagos.
The report says that Sirika may not allow Emirates to resume flight operations to Nigeria until the UAE carrier drops the condition that it should be the only carrier operating from Nigeria. Emirates condition would mean that Air Peace and other carriers such as Ethiopia Airlines, Egypt Air and RwandAir would stop airlifting passengers to Dubai from Nigeria.
According to the report, the Regional Terminal Manager, South West, in charge of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Mrs Victoria Shin-Aba, confirmed that Emirates was yet to resume flights in Nigeria.
She said that until the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 provides the infrastructure that would be needed for the rapid test, Emirates Airlines would not resume operations in Nigeria.
She also disclosed that other international airlines have started flight operations and things have normalized, although the passenger traffic has not increased.
Travel agency operators have expressed their full support of the decision of the Federal Government not to allow only Emirates Airline to operate from Nigeria to Dubai as the travel agents would not make money and the airfares would be outrageously high if the airline was allowed to enjoy such monopoly.
This would also shut the door against Nigeria’s indigenous carrier, Air Peace that operates to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
It can be recalled that the Federal Government had directed the immediate suspension of outbound flights of Emirates Airlines for 72 hours with effect from February 4, until when the needed infrastructure and logistics were put in place for the Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) test by the Nigerian Government.
This follows accusations against the airline, that it was airlifting passengers from Nigeria using RDT done in laboratories that were not approved by regulatory authorities.
Emirates had insisted that it must conduct Rapid Antigens Test (RDT) for Nigerian passengers travelling to Dubai four hours before they board their flights and in addition to the accepted PCR test made compulsory by the federal government.