Emirates Airlines cancels flights out of Lagos, Abuja

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Less than 24 hours after the Federal Government lifted the ban on suspension of Emirates Airlines flight operation in Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates carrier canceled outbound flights out of Lagos and Abuja on Saturday February 6, 2021.

Citing operational reasons, the airline said it will not operate flight out of Lagos and Abuja airports.

The airline, in a notice to its trade partners, said, “We wish to inform you that LOS-DXB (EK784) and ABV-DXB (EK786) flights scheduled for Saturday 06 February 2021 have been cancelled due to operational reasons. DXB-LOS (EK783) and DXB-ABV (EK785) will however operate to bring incoming passengers”.

“For passengers affected, kindly apply re-booking options provided in our COVID-19 waiver policy previously communicated. We hope to revert to you as soon as possible, regarding the status of our future flights.

“As always, we thank you for your continued support. If you require any further assistance, please contact us”.

A source hinted that the flight cancellation was sequel to issues raised in a recent spat with the UAE carrier on the method it adopted for testing of passengers before embarking on outbound flights.

Read also: Court orders Emirates Airline to pay Nigerian $1.36m, N50m

The United Arab Emirates, a few days ago withdrew the requirements for Rapid Antigen Testing (RDT) prior to departure of Emirates flights from Nigeria with immediate effect until such a time that the required infrastructure is made available by the Nigerian government.

This came a few hours after the Federal Government in a show of strength barred Emirates from operating in Nigeria.

For what it described as violations of its directives on testing of departing passengers, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)  had suspended Emirates from operating flights to Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) effective 72 hours from Thursday midnight for violating COVID-19 directives and protocol issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF).

But, weekend’s canceled outbound flight from Lagos and Abuja airports contradicted the message sent by the airline that it will continue to operate into Nigeria.

Spokesman of the airline in Nigeria had in a statement said: “Emirates can confirm that we will continue to operate services to Abuja and Lagos. We are strongly committed to Nigeria, and would like to thank the local authorities for their trust and support. We look forward to continuing to safely connect our customers, and meet air travel demand from Nigeria to and through Dubai to Emirates’ global network.”