Nigeria bars airlines from eight countries as international flights resume

A security official screening a man during an evacuation of EU (European Union) citizens members includes Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Greece, Ireland, among others, as the Federal Government had restricted flights from some of these countries identified as high-risk C9OVID-19 places before finally shutting all international airports in the country, in Lagos, Nigeria April 9, 2020. Following the Nigerian government approval the states lockdown was imposed, to contain the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, by Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari to cushion the effect of a two-week lockdown.
FILE PHOTO: A Nigerian security official screening a man during an evacuation of EU (European Union) citizens members. (Getty Images)

The Nigerian government barred eight airlines from entering the West African nation as it resumed international flights operations.

The airlines are: Air France, KLM Royal Dutch, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, RwandAir, Air Namibia, Royal Air Maroc and TAAG Angola.

Some of the airlines were denied permission to enter because Nigerians with tourist visas have been banned from entering those countries. The ones that fell under this category were: Air France, KLM Royal Dutch, Lufthansa and Etihad Airways.

Minister for Aviation Hadi Sirika had said that Nigeria will bar entry to nationals and airlines of countries that do not allow Nigerians to enter their territories amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The other airlines, with the exception of RwandAir, were barred because their nations had not yet resumed international flights.

Meanwhile, 14 airlines were given the green light to operate in the country. They are: Middle-East Airlines, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, EgyptAir, Air Peace, Virgin Atlantic, Asky, Africa World Airways, Air Cote-d’Ivoire, Kenya Airways, Emirate, and Turkish airlines.

On Saturday, Sirika announced the reopening of Abuja and Lagos airports for the resumption of international flights.

However, the government set out strict measures for passengers and airlines wishing to enter the country. These include passengers presenting a negative COVID-19 test result done more than four days before departure in addition to being tested again on arrival.

Airlines are also required not to allow passengers with COVID-19 symptoms to board their planes.

Furthermore, airlines which transport a passenger without a COVID-19 negative test result face a $3,500 fine and will be compelled to return the passenger to the country of departure.

The resumption of international flights, initially set for August 29, had been postponed by a week to make adequate preparation in line with the COVID-19 protocols.

Nigeria had suspended domestic and international flights in March in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.