For two days now, Emirates Airlines has cancelled flights from Lagos and Abuja to Dubai leaving Nigerian travellers stranded. This amid concerns that the agreement earlier reached by Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the latter’s suspension of Rapid Antigen Testing (RDT) prior to departure of Emirates flights from Nigeria with immediate effect until the required infrastructure is made available by the Nigerian government may not have been accepted by the foreign carrier.
The Dubai authorities had accused Nigeria of lacking COVID-19 test and the procurement of fake COVID-19 certificate which had led to a spike in coronavirus cases in the UAE; the reason given by the UAE for the introduction of Rapid Antigen Testing (RDT) on intending travellers from Nigeria to Dubai
The carrier had been suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for taking an action which did not sit well with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and consequently suspended the carrier last week Friday.
Few hours after the suspension, the airline got a reprieve when the suspension was lifted after Emirates backed down.
The airline immediately issued a statement pledging its commitment to the lucrative Dubai-Nigeria route and rallied passengers booked on the flights for February 6 and February 7, 2021. Travellers heaved a sigh of relief that they would eventually be airlifted.
However, 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 that 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.”
The carrier said again, “We wish to inform you that LOS-DXB (EK784) and ABV-DXB (EK786) flights scheduled for Sunday 7 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”.
But many of the travellers got a shock when the carrier at the last minute on Saturday emailed their passengers and trade partners to announce the cancellation of their Lagos and Abuja flights leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.
Many of the intending passengers were left frustrated, particularly those on medical trips and other emergency reasons.
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