The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has imposed new travel protocols on Nigerian travellers in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19.
With the new protocols which are currently unsettling stakeholders especially travel agents, only direct flights originating from Nigeria are now permitted to fly directly into UAE.
This means that transit flights with Nigerians on board are not permitted to fly into the UAE.
This new protocols have barred other airlines from carrying Nigerians to Dubai.
In the Travel Protocol Update issued by Dubai Airports, the UAE Government said: “Passengers must travel directly from Nigeria to Dubai. No passengers must enter Nigeria to Dubai from any other country/station if they have visited or transited via Nigeria in the last 14 days.”
This is in addition to other COVID-19 protocols like negative test certificate and that passengers are also required to conduct a rapid COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result within four hours of their departure time.
The latest development, it was learnt, has caused unease to travel agents and passengers who have booked other airlines for the lucrative Dubai route.
With effect from Monday, other airlines like Egypt Air, Qatar, Ethiopian, among others who operate transit flights to Dubai from their destination countries may not be able to carry Nigerian passengers, leaving the market only to Emirates Airlines.
Other airlines have already issued an advisory to their trade partners on the latest development from Dubai.
“Sequel to the memo we received from Dubai Airport Authority asking all Nigeria travellers coming to Dubai to fly directly effective February 1, 2021”.
“In view of this we, therefore request you to kindly notify our esteemed passengers that Egypt Air will not lift passengers from Nigeria to Dubai from January 31, 2021 until further notice. You are hereby advised to check & cancel all your bookings & inform your passengers this new development”
“We are in view of the above expressly authorising full refund for those who want to make refund and seek for alternative or tickets will be opened for future flights for passengers needing to keep their tickets. We thank you for all the trust you reposed on our carrier & promised to update you if any further development on this in the nearest future,” Egypt Air wrote in a memo to its trade partners.
President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA), Mrs. Suzan Akporaiye said the development could trigger a significant increase in air fares.