The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has notified the public of the immediate lifting of the suspension placed on Emirates Airlines operations in Nigeria. Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of NCAA made this known in a statement issued in Lagos on Friday.
Earlier, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had directed for the immediate suspension of Emirates Airlines operations effective Feb. 4 until when the needed infrastructure and logistics were put in place for the Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) test by the Nigerian Government.
Nuhu recalled that the PTF was made aware of the requirements by Emirates airlines and KLM for passengers traveling from Nigeria on their flights to Dubai and Amsterdam. The director-general said that they were to undergo an RDT four hours from the time of flight departure.
She said: “This requirement is in addition to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test done 72 hours from the date of departure by passengers.
“The implementation of the additional requirement by the two airlines was commenced without the prior notification or approval of the PTF and other regulatory bodies in the country.
“This led to the provision of RDT testing by organisations and laboratories that have not been approved by the PTF and other regulatory agencies for RDT at or around our international airports in Lagos and Abuja.
“The PTF upon review of the situation directed the NCAA to inform the airlines to either suspend the requirement for pre-departure RDT or their flights to the country.
“Until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics have been put in place for RDT by the government.
However, Emirates Airlines continued their operations requiring passengers to carry out the RDT test six hours from the time-of-flight departure from the country.
Nuhu said Emirates Airlines on Feb. 5 informed the NCAA in writing that the UAE government had given the airline approval to suspend the pre-departure RDT requirement for passengers traveling on their flight to Dubai.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, the PTF directed the NCAA to lift the suspension placed on Emirates Airlines flights into Nigeria with effective from Feb. 5.
“The public is hereby informed as follows: Emirates Airlines no longer requires passengers to carry out pre-departure RDT. No laboratory has been approved by the PTF and other regulatory agencies to carry out RDT for incoming or departing passengers,” he said.
Nuhu said that the PTF would inform all Nigerians of any changes to the above.