Emirates Plans Long Awaited Return To Nigeria On Sunday

Emirates has revealed that it will return to Nigeria with flights to Lagos and Abuja starting back up from Sunday, December 5th. The news comes as the country lifted its ban on operations by the Dubai-based carrier that had been in place since mid-March.

Emirates, Boeing 777, Nigeria
Emirates is to resume flights to Nigeria on two routes at the weekend. Photo: Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many travel restrictions around the globe. However, most of these have been targeted at stopping the spread of the virus. Earlier this year, Nigeria banned flights by Emirates, but not because of virus fears. Instead, it was because the country called the UAE’s COVID-19 restrictions “discriminatory.”

Emirates returns to two Nigerian cities

As of Sunday, Emirates will be resuming flights to two Nigerian destinations using its Boeing 777 aircraft. Flights will operate daily from the airline’s Dubai hub to both Lagos and Abuja as follows,

  • EK 785 – Dubai International Airport (DXB) 11:00 – Abuja (ABV) 15:40 – 07h40m
  • EK 786 – Abuja (ABV) 19:00 – Dubai International Airport (DXB) 04:35+1 – 06h35m
  • EK 783 – Dubai International Airport (DXB) 10:30 – Lagos (LOS) 15:40 – 08h10m
  • EK 784 – Lagos (LOS) 18:10 – Dubai International Airport (DXB) 04:15+1 – 07h05m

Passengers traveling to and from Nigeria can connect to Emirates’ global network by changing planes at the airline’s Dubai home.

Emirates, Boeing 777, Nigeria
Emirates had been banned from flying to Nigeria since March. Photo: Getty Images

A row resolved?

Emirates had been requiring a stricter testing standard for passengers departing from Nigeria. Under a week ago, this meant travelers needed a negative PCR test taken with 48 hours of departure, alongside a negative rapid PCR test undertaken within six hours of departure.

Before this, three tests within the space of 24 hours were required. This included a pre-departure PCR test, a pre-departure rapid test, and a PCR test on arrival. This was what triggered the initial flight ban from Nigeria. The African nation had criticized the requirements as “discriminatory against our country, and it is not acceptable.”

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According to the latest regulations on the Emirates website, the Dubai-based airline had removed any special rules for Nigeria, putting its travelers in the same category as many other countries. This means that passengers purely need a PCR test that was taken within the 72 hours before travel. The test must be taken at one of the approved test sites, with a list of such facilities available from Emirates.

Emirates, Boeing 777, Nigeria
Passengers must take a test before departure and one on arrival at DXB. Photo: Getty Images

Alongside this, passengers will require a second PCR test once they have arrived at Dubai International Airport. These tests are offered for free before a passenger passes through immigration, with a separate facility for business and first class passengers. Arriving passengers are then required to quarantine until a negative result from the arrival test is confirmed.

Nigeria is understandably happy that special requirements for its travelers have been removed, and this is why the flight ban levied against Emirates has been retracted. Last Friday, the country’s aviation minister commented,

“Today we received communications from Emirates removing some of the conditions for travelling for which we had concerns…Having done that it is necessary to lift the ban on Emirates. This subsequent lifting of ban is a product of lengthy negotiations between us and them.”

Are you excited at the prospect of traveling with Emirates from Nigeria? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!