The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reversed the ban earlier placed on foreign airlines from accepting passengers from Nigeria due to the diplomatic row between each country’s flag carriers, Air Peace Airline, and Emirates Airline.
There has been a diplomatic row between Nigeria and UAE after the federal government stopped Emirates’ 21 frequencies a week and left the airline with only one flight to Abuja in response to UAE allocating only one flight a week to Air Peace.
It was gathered that Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Air, and other international airlines going to Dubai from their bases refused to board Nigerians whose final destination is the UAE, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded at the Nigerian Airport on Monday.
Although this was attributed to the diplomatic impasse between Nigeria and UAE, the Arab nation had said it took the decision because more Nigerians were testing positive to COVID-19.
UAE Rescind Decisions Against Nigeria
A circular issued to foreign airlines indicated that the UEA government must have hidden under the increased number of COVID-19 cases to disallow Nigerians from entering its country.
The circular with the head: ‘Dubai Travel Restriction Update,’ dated December 13, 2021, with the reference number: PSA 12/068/2021, directed carriers not to airlift Nigerians and citizens of the Congo Democratic Republic only from Africa.
The circular said: “Due to an increasing number of COVID Positive passengers at destination, it is decided to suspend accepting passengers to U.A.E from Nigeria and Congo DRC (FIH) only. This is effective today, 13th December, 2021. Please ensure 100% compliance.”
But there are strong indications that the UAE government may have rescinded its decision against Nigerian travellers as some of the international carriers earlier stopped from boarding Nigerians would continue airlifting of Nigerian passengers from today (Tuesday).
According to The Nation, the UAE has also conceded seven slots to Air Peace, and granted the Nigerian carrier the permit to fly directly to Dubai instead of Sharjah Airport, a source said.
But, the government said it was unaware of the alleged stoppage of Nigerians by the UAE from entering any part of the Emirates through other carriers.
A source said: “As at 7pm, the General Civil Aviation Authority of the UAE has written to Air Peace to come and take its slots. Unlike before, the UAE conceded seven slots to the Nigerian carrier.
“In the letter, the UAE said Air Peace can fly directly to Dubai and not Sharjah Airport. This is the latest on the development.
“Even though they did not follow the right diplomatic channel by writing the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs which will in turn inform the Aviation Minister, this is still a positive development.”
Asked if the UAE has stopped other carriers from conveying Nigerians to Dubai, the source said: “This is in the realm of rumours. I don’t think it is true. No official communication banning Nigerians from entering Dubai through other carriers. If anybody has such a directive, let him or her produce it. It will be in gross violation of international civil aviation regulations.
“The Federal Government got no such information at the diplomatic or official level. I think with the latest concessions, the UAE was trying to avoid a diplomatic row with Nigeria. We also do not want any row with the UAE.”
By rescinding its earlier directive, there are indications that Nigeria and UAE might be on the way to resolving their issues relating to air travel between the two countries.
KanyiDaily recalls that Saudi Arabia has also banned flights coming from Nigeria into the country due to the outbreak of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.
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