Nigeria has suspended Emirates from flying to or from its territory, after the airline imposed additional coronavirus test requirements on Nigerians.
According to Reuters, the Nigerian aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, made the announcement on Monday with Emirates flights now suspended until further notice.
Emirates told passengers last week that flights to and from Nigeria had been suspended in line with government directives but did not elaborate on the circumstances around the suspension.
Sirika told a news conference that Emirates had demanded passengers from Nigeria undertake three COVID-19 tests within 24 hours, according to Reuters, which led the government to suspend the carrier’s operations, with the exemption of cargo and humanitarian flights.
“To make us go through three tests within 24 hours does not make sense,” Sirika told the press, via Reuters. “Since they insist, their operations remain suspended.”
In a statement Emirates said: “In line with government directives, passenger flights to and from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) are suspended with effect from 18 March 2021 until further notice.
“Customers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted for travel. Customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE.
“We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call centre for rebooking. Emirates remains committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow.”
It comes after Nigeria in February lifted a suspension of Emirates passenger flights imposed after the carrier sought additional COVID-19 tests for passengers from Nigeria.
In addition to requiring a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before flying from Nigeria, the airline added an extra requirement of having a rapid test four hours before departure, Reuters reported.