The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) says the recent ban on transit flights from Nigeria to Dubai is “far- fetched”.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had banned transit flights with Nigerians on board from its airports with effect from February 1, 2021.
In a statement on Monday, Susan Akporiaye, NANTA president, said the directive which foreclosed transit routes opportunities into Dubai from other carriers has generated a lot of tension in the travel community.
“We at NANTA believe that such arrangements will enhance the credibility of the additional COVID-19 protocols into Dubai and encourage others in the travel business to recover and contribute to building a global coalition against the impact of COVID-19,” NAN quoted Akporiaye to have said.
“Though the industry is polarised by the Dubai initiative, including the banning of transit passengers from other airlines to Dubai.
“The fear of underhand competition targeting other carriers by Emirates is gaining ground and causing palpable apprehension among travel trade operators and Nigerian travel community.
“This additional requirement from Dubai Airport Authority and Emirates is far fetched and we crave for a better arrangement, possibly involving other stakeholders.
“In this pandemic situation, no man is an island.”
She appealed to the Hadi Sirika, aviation minister, to help intervene and interrogate this development on behalf of the association.
Commenting on the additional rapid antigen COVID-19 requirement introduced by Emirates, Akporiaye said the process would be made easier if other carriers and their home governments set up rapid response antigen test at their various airports.
“We are studying the situation and consulting widely as the new travel restrictions may put additional financial pressures on Nigerian passengers, ” she said.
“It could 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.”
Passengers are required to pay a fee at the Lagos and Abuja airport to have the test done before boarding Emirates flights.