From the look of things this may not be the best of times for Nigeria and its citizens around the world as the latest information reaching Tribune Online has indicated that the Dubai authorities have tactically banned airlines from carrying Nigerian passengers into the United Arab Emirates effective from Monday, 1st February, 2020.
According to a circular which emanated from the Dubai Airport Operations Control Center, titled ‘Dubai Travel Protocol Update -Travel From Nigeria’ and dated, Friday, January 29, 2021, the Dubai authorities had declared: ”Kindly be advised that effective from 01 February 2021, the following conditions must be met for travel from Nigeria.
“Departing from Nigeria to Dubai, all passengers are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 certificate. The PCR should be conducted within 72 hours of the date of departure.
“All passengers are required to conduct a rapid COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result within four hours of their departure time.
While insisting that passengers must travel directly from Nigeria to Dubai, the Dubai authorities equally declared that “No passengers may enter Dubai from any other country /station if they have visited or transited via Nigeria in the last 14 days.”
Other airlines have started notifying their Nigerian passengers that they have henceforth suspended their airlift to Dubai because of the ban.
According to a memo addressed and sent out by Egypt Air to its travel partners, the airline declared: “Sequence to the memo we received from Dubai Airport Authority asking all Nigerian Travelers coming to Dubai to fly direct effective 1st February, 2021, in view of this, we therefore request you to kindly notify our esteemed passengers that Egyptair will not lift passengers from Nigeria to Dubai from 31st January, 2021 until further notice.
“You are hereby advised to check and cancel all your bookings and inform your passengers about this new development. We are in view of the above expressly authorize full refund for those who want to make refund and seek for alternative or tickets will be opened for future flights for passengers need to keep their tickets . Tour code for refund process: FT*DXB COVID-19 . We thank you for all the trust you reposed on our carrier & promised to update you if any further development on this in the nearest future.”
The latest travel ban may not be unconnected with the recent death of a Nigerian passenger who died of COVID-19 complications few hours after flying into Canada from Nigeria.
The Nigerian who was said to have arrived in Toronto on a Delta Airlines flight from Detroit and got on a connecting Toronto-bound flight after flying from Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta died of the pandemic.
According to the report, the man apparently took a COVID-19 test in Nigeria, but hadn’t received the results before departing Nigeria. He was pronounced dead on arrival in the North American country and the Canadian Border Services Agency was notified, the report further said.
Many stakeholders while commenting on the circumstances surrounding the death of the Nigerian passenger had predicted the subsequent consequences the death of the Nigerian would have on Nigerian travelers around other countries.
The latest action of the Dubai authorities according to the feelers across the country’s aviation sector is that of uncertainty as many believed that other countries may take similar measures against Nigerian travelers.
As the ban on Nigerian travelers takes effect from today, key players have been asking questions about the what becomes of the fate of the only Nigerian airline operating into the Dubai/Sharjah as according to the conditions given by the Dubai authorities declared that an Airport Rapid Test has to be done by the Airline.
Amongst questions being asked by key players include if the new rules apply to the Nigerian carrier, Air Peace Flight to Sharjah and if the airline can afford to do Rapid test for all its passengers.