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Nigeria: UAE Bars Dubai-Bound Travellers From Transiting Other Airports

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned Nigerian passengers from transiting other airports before going to Dubai.

Effective from today, only those travelling directly from Nigeria would be allowed in Dubai while those transiting through other airports outside Nigeria would not be allowed into the world’s busiest airport.

Also, in addition to COVID-19 PCR test that would last 72 hours, passengers are expected to undergo rapid Coronavirus test at the airport four hours before the departure of their flight.

The regulations were contained in a statement at the weekend by Dubai Airport’s Operations Control Centre, dated January 29, 2021 and titled, “Dubai Travel Protocol Update-Travel from Nigeria.”

The statement said: “Kindly be advised that effective from 01 February 2021, the following conditions must be met for travel from Nigeria: All passengers are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 certificate. The PCR should be conducted within 72 hours of the date of departure.

“All passengers are required to conduct a rapid COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result within four hours of their departure time. Passengers must travel directly from Nigeria to Dubai. No passenger may enter Dubai from any other country/station if they have visited or transited from Nigeria in the last 14 days.”

Reacting to this new development, industry stakeholders accused Emirates of trying to create monopoly by eliminating competition because it would be only Emirates and Air Peace that would now be qualified to airlift passengers from Nigeria to Dubai.

Former CEO of Aero Contractors and Managing Director designate for NG Eagle Airline, Captain Ado Sanusi, told THISDAY that countries would use the pandemic to stifle competition in air transport by creating stringent laws that would exclude competitors.

He, therefore, urged the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to agree on a standard to be adopted by member countries.

Travel expert and the organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko, told THISDAY that Emirates wants to use the Nigerian route to recoup its losses from other destinations it was banned from.

Uko said the UK aviation authorities banned Emirates when investigations revealed that most of the passengers that returned from the United Arab Emirates were down with different strains of coronavirus and this is a huge loss to the Middle East carrier, which operates 78 flights a week to the UK.