Air France, KLM, Etihad, Rwandair, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines, Air Namibia, and Royal Air Maroc are among international airlines that have been denied approval to operate in Nigeria as international flights resume on Saturday.
According to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi SIrika, while countries like Cape Verde and South Africa were denied approval because international flights were yet to resume in their countries, the airlines given licence to operate include: 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.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the briefing by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sirika also issued further guidelines for arriving and departing international passengers.
On other criteria used for approving and denying the airlines, the Minister said: “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.
“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.
“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 Minister also hinted 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.
“Nigerians will be allowed entry but subjected to a mandatory quarantine of 8-14days depending on the result of the COVID-19 test is done upon arrival. So, passengers will be forced into quarantine at a facility approved by the government at the cost of the passenger.
“On arriving Nigeria, passengers will be allowed to go through the port health screening and proceed on seven days self-isolation and observe strict physical and social distancing.”