Nigeria bars eight airlines from its airspace from Sept. 5
The Nigerian government said it will not grant permission to eight international airlines to operate within the country airspace from September 5, when the country will reopen for international flights.
According to Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika who named the airlines as Air France, KLM, Etihad, Rwandair, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines, Air Namibia, and Royal Air Maroc.
The action of the government may have been in the reciprocity of the actions of their home countries, which had announced the exclusion of passengers from Nigeria into their countries.
Nigeria also declined approval for some other airlines, such as Cape Verde and South African airlines because international flights were yet to resume in their countries
“We used the foreign carrier operator permit, which is the requirement by our laws, guidelines by COVID-19 Presidential Task Force and other guidelines including restrictions that came from other countries which will affect our own operations here at home.
“Airfrance and Lufthansa were not approved. The reason is that Swiss visas owners are not allowed entry and the same reason for KLM.
“In making decisions as to who comes, in the wisdom of the PTF and the ministry of Aviation, we understood that the government has done very well with a low rate of fatality. If you look at other countries, for example, they recorded lots of fatalities.
“We are over 200 million people and we are still talking about 1000 deaths. I think we have done very well to fight this disease, so I think we don’t have any reason whatsoever to disallow Nigerians to travel.
“What we have done is to review the issues from other countries and what they have done to us. In the case of Britain, they said when we come, they will quarantine us and so, when they come to us too, we will quarantine them.
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“For Ethiopian airlines, most of the passengers are not from Addis-Ababa, so we said when they come in too, we will subject them to the protocol of COVID-19. So, they are bringing in only people who are negative.”
The airlines that will be granted permission to flying into the country are Middle-East, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Egyptair, Air Peace, Virgin Atlantic, Asky, Africa World Airways (AWA), Air Cote-d’Ivoire, Kenya Airways, Emirate and Turkish airlines.
The minister said the airlines that have been approved are expected to operate within COVID-19 protocols.
The Minister also hinted that passengers who fail to present a valid COVID-19 test or refuse to go for a repeat test may be placed on a travel watch list for six months.
On what is expected of the passengers, he said: “All intending passengers must have tested negative for COVID-19 in the country of departure before boarding.
“The test must be within four days and we prefer 72 hours pre-boarding. Tests done more than four days before boarding are not valid and passengers will not be allowed to board.
“All intending passengers are required to register via a national payment portal online; Nigeria international travel portal and the website is http://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng and they are expected to pay for a second test to be done upon arrival in Nigeria.
“Once payment is received, passengers will receive an email from the laboratory of their choice for a repeat test seven days after arrival. Passengers will be allowed to choose the sample collection centre and appointment time and date for sample collection centres.”
“Airlines that board passengers without a negative COVID-19 test or test result more than four days will be sanctioned as follows:
“Non-Nigerians may be refused a return to a point of embarkation at the cost of the airline.