The Nigerian government has temporarily banned Emirates airline from operating in the country over its continuous refusal to fly passengers without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test (RTD’s).
The chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), Boss Mustapha, while speaking at its weekly briefing on Monday said the ban will take effect from midnight on Wednesday, March 17.
“KLM will resume outbound flights from Lagos on March 15, 2021, without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight Wednesday, March 17, 2021,” he said.
Mr Mustapha, however, said discussions are ongoing to resolve the matter amicably.
Emirate and KLM had in the past few weeks flown passengers into Nigeria but refused to fly passengers out owing to new guidelines introduced as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Regarding KLM and Emirate airlines, at the time that we resumed flight, these two airlines made demands that there would be PCR test for passengers within 72 hours of their flight and there will also be antigens rapid test at the airport and also a PCR test on arrival in their countries,” the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said at the briefing.
Mr Sirika said the actions of the airline were discriminatory and devoid of scientific reasons.
“It is devoid of any scientific reasons because the virus itself will incubate at least within or after 72 hours,” he said.
“So, it sounds not correct for you to take a PCR test within 72 hours and take a rapid test before flight and seven hours later, you take another test, you are likely to show negative and the reasons at the time was that the PCR results are being faked.”
Mr Sirika said KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out on the conditions agreed upon which is to have a PCR test within 72 hours.
“Emirate didn’t accept the position and so, we have asked that Emirate be banned from operations from midnight Wednesday,” he said.