There are indications that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), might suspend Middle East mega carrier, Emirates if does not rescind its decision to carry out Rapid Response COVID-19 antigen test on Nigerian passengers prior to departure at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos.
The is just as National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), have kicked against the new COVID-19 protocol put in place the Middle East carrier.
President of NANTA, Mrs Susan Akporiaye who expressed shock at the development says, the latest covid 19 protocols from the Dubai airport Authority, requesting that Nigerian passengers undergo a rapid response covid 19 antigen test before departure to Dubai is disturbing.
According to newsbulletinng.com, the rapid response antigen test can only be done in Lagos and Abuja with Dubai bound passengers from the two Nigerian cities, paying 36, 800 naira and 25, 800 naira respectively, in addition to the PCR test from approved laboratories by Nigerian Center for Disease Control ( NCDC) and the Presidential Task force.
She also expressed shock at the insistence that Nigerians bound to Dubai must fly only Emirates airlines, foreclosing and boxing out transit routes opportunities into Dubai from other carriers.
“We are studying the situation and consulting widely as the new travel restrictions may put additional financial pressures on Nigerian passengers and also create a monopolistic hold on the route. Indeed, we don’t know what is going on in the minds of other countries and their airlines, a situation that may trigger off retaliatory actions”.
Effective February first, the Dubai airport Authority will close its facilities to others airlines, flying passengers from Nigeria except they fly Emirates airlines.
Mrs. Akporiaye in a statement, states that the Dubai airport Authority should have shown its open hands in the effort to check the covid pandemic by requesting other carriers and their home governments to set up rapid response antigen test at their various airports to enable passengers on transit to undergo tests before flying into Dubai.
” We at NANTA believe that such gestures and arrangements will enhance the credibility of the additional covid 19 protocols into Dubai and also encourage others in travel business to recover and contribute to building a global coalition against the impact of covid.”
Though the industry is polarised by the Dubai initiative, including the banning of transit passengers from other airlines to Dubai, the fear of under hand competition targeting other carriers by Emirates is gaining ground and causing apprehension among travel trade operators and Nigerian travel community.
“We are worried and call on the minister of Aviation to help intervene and interrogate this development. We appreciate the efforts of governments and airlines to help secure the lives of passengers and also protect their citizens which NANTA Supports in all ramifications but this additional requirement from Dubai airport Authority and Emirates is far flung and we crave for a better arrangements, possibly involving other stakeholders. In this pandemic situation, no man is an island”.