Nigeria blacklists airlines in diplomatic tit-for-tat - CH-AVIATION
SEPTEMBER 11, 2020
In a tit-for-tat move, Nigeria is denying entry to carriers from countries that have imposed travel restrictions on its citizens.
This is according to a list the West African countryâ€™s Federal Ministry of Aviation published ahead of the reopening of its international airspace on September 5, 2020.
Lufthansa, Air France, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines have been blacklisted because of restrictions imposed on Nigerian tourist visa holders by the European Union. The EU recently moved to make it more difficult for Nigerian nationals to obtain Schengen visas, accusing Nigeria of failing to play its part in the return and readmission of its nationals staying in Europe.
Middle East carrier Etihad Airways has also not been approved. The reason cited being travel restrictions imposed on Nigerians by Abu Dhabi, however the UAE Embassy in Abuja recently denied this, pointing to â€œgrowing bilateral relations between the countriesâ€. Meanwhile, Emirates has been given the nod of approval, according to the list.
Initially not approved, RwandAir told ch-aviation the carrier would resume its Nigerian operations soon. "Our request had not been processed at the time, but we have received approval to operate to both Lagos and Abuja. Weâ€™ll be resuming flights on September 14," said Chief Executive Officer, Yvonne Makolo. She pointed out that Nigerians are allowed entry to Rwanda under COVID-19 protocols. "Rwanda has the same requirements for all countries," she said. Rwandan government regulations require arrivals to be tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure and receive a second test upon entry into the country.
According to the list, other African airlines not approved include Royal Air Maroc, Air Namibia, and TAAG Angola Airlines, but, at the time of listing, they had not yet resumed international flights. Morocco in the meantime announced plans to reopen the country's borders to authorised business visitors beginning September 10, 2020.
Airlines approved to fly to Nigeria include British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Qatar Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines. Flights are also permitted from Virgin Atlantic, ASKY Airlines, Africa World Airlines, Air CÃ´te d'Ivoire, Kenya Airways, and Turkish Airlines, according to the list.
Nigeriaâ€™s international airports had been closed to international flights since March due to the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus.