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FG lifts ban on Emirates Airlines

• As UAE reverses visa restriction on Nigerians

THE Federal Government has lifted the ban stopping Emirates Airlines from operating in Nigeria.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced this via his Twitter handle on Wednesday.

He tweeted, “UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria.

“Commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation. Many thanks.”
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) September 30, 2020

The minister had on September 18 announced the ban of Emirates flights to Nigeria.

The Federal Government had earlier vowed to enforce the principle of reciprocity in granting permission to airlines to resume operations.

Prior to the resumption of international flights in the country, the government had announced that Air France, KLM, Etihad, RwandAir, Air Namibia, Royal Air Maroc, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola, Cape Verde and South African Airlines were not granted approval to commence flight operations.

The federal government hinged its stance on the fact that international flights had yet to resume in all these countries.However, Middle East Airline, British Airways, Delta, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Peace, Virgin Atlantic, Asky Airlines, Africa World Airways, Air Cote D’ Ivoire, Kenya Airways, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines were all granted approval to resume operations in Nigeria.

EgyptAir, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, Africa World Airways, Kenya Airways, and Middle East Airlines were announced as the airlines permitted to use Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, while British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa World Airways, and Middle East Airlines were granted approval to use Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Sirika said it was necessary for Nigeria to implement the principle of reciprocity to all countries that had banned flights from Nigeria.

The Federal Government had banned Emirates Airlines from Lagos and Abuja airports over alleged refusal to grant fresh visa applications submitted by Nigerians.

This was after banning European carriers, with the exception of British Airways, over travel restrictions.

Earlier, UAE said travel between the UAE and Nigeria was limited due to the closure of the Nigerian airspace.

The country, however, denied restricting the issuance of visa to Nigerian visitors, saying, “At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE took a number of precautionary measures to combat the virus’ spread, including the temporary suspension on issuing UAE visas to all nationalities as of March 17, 2020.

“After entering the recovery phase of the pandemic, the UAE eased some measures on July 7, permitting visitors from various countries to adhere to the necessary precautionary measures, including by showing negative PCR test results within 92 hours of traveling to the UAE. “This includes those visiting from Nigeria.

“However, travel between the UAE and Nigeria has remained limited due to the closure of the Nigerian airspace.”

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