The Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) flag carrier, Emirates, has further extended suspension of its flights to Nigeria till September 5, fueling uncertainty on resumption of travels between the two countries.
The extension of flight cessation is coming despite the decision by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to open its borders to welcome fully vaccinated tourists from all countries.
Flights between both countries have been halted since March this year following diplomatic spat fueled by the COVID-19 protocols.
Since then, efforts to reinstate the flights have not yielded results as both countries are yet to arrive at a common ground on the procedure for inbound passengers.
Prior to the suspension of Nigerian flights by Emirates, the airline was suspended by the federal government for introducing rapid antigen test for Nigerian passengers in addition to the negative PCR test requirement stipulated by the then Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
This prompted the UAE to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria in the last five months.
The Dubai News Agency, WAM, reported on Saturday that with effect from Monday August 30 (today), fully vaccinated tourists would be allowed into the country.
It said applicants must have taken the full doses of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“This decision applies to countries from which entry was previously prohibited, given that people take the mandatory rapid PCR test at the airport. Previous requirements remain valid for non-vaccinated groups.
“It is possible to register vaccination certificates for travelers wishing to enjoy the advantages obtained by individuals who received the vaccine in the country, through the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship’s platform and the Al Hosn application,” the state media reported.
But despite this, the coast is not yet clear for the resumption of flights between Nigeria and UAE.
Emirates, in a statement on its website, said flights to and from Nigeria will remain suspended until 05 September 2021.
“Customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days will not be permitted on any Emirates flights bound for Dubai. Affected flight bookings have been cancelled,” the airline said.