NCAA bans, unbans Emirates Airlines over breach of Covid-19 protocols

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Chinazor Megbolu.   |.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority  (NCAA), barely 24 hours after suspending Emirates Airlines, has lifted the ban.

The Federal Government agency had on Thursday issued a 72 -hour suspension to all outbound flights by the airliner to Nigeria.
In a statement signed and issued by the Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, obtained on Friday, the agency notified  the public of the immediate lifting of the suspension placed on Emirates airlines operations in Nigeria for suspected breach of Covid-19 protocols.
According to the statement; “the Presidential Task Force (PTF) of Covid-19 was made aware of the requirement by Emirates airlines and KLM for passengers travelling from Nigeria on their flights to Dubai and Amsterdam to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) Four (4) hours from the time of flights departure.
“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 (2) airlines was commenced without the prior notification or approval of the PTF and other regulatory bodies in Nigeria.
“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”.
The statement, however, maintained that Emirates Airlines continued their operations requiring passengers to carry out the RDT test Six (6) hours from the time-of-flight departure from Nigeria.
“The PTF therefore directed for the immediate suspension of Emirates Airlines operations to Nigeria effective 4th February 2021 until when the needed infrastructure and logistics are put in place for the RDT test by the Nigerian Government.
“Emirates Airlines on 5th February 2021 informed the NCAA in writing that the UAE Government has given the airline approval to suspend the pre-departure RDT requirement for passengers travelling 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 5th February 2021.
“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 and that the PTF will inform all Nigerians of any change(s) to the above,” the statement said.

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