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Nigerian suspends Emirates flights over ‘senseless’ test demands

The Nigerian government has suspended the services of Emirate Airline following the imposition of additional covid-19 test result requirements on passengers.

The decision was made public by the country’s Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika. The minister stated that the Airline demanded Nigerian Passengers to undertake three covid-19 tests within a space of 24 hours; a demand the Minister considers “senseless”.

“To make us go through three tests within 24 hours does not make sense. Since they insist, their operations remain suspended,” he said, adding that, Dutch airline KLM will take over its services.

Emirates Flights has so far announced to its passengers that, flights to and from Nigeria has been suspended until further notice.

Earlier this month Ghana set an example for other African countries to emulate in a bid to protect the interest of citizens and also help in dealing with unfavorable unilateral decisions. Threats of “reciprocal action” by the Ghanaian government has forced British Airways to withdraw its earlier decision to transfer London-Accra flight service from Heathrow to Gatwick Airport. 

The second-largest London-based flight service provider announced earlier that, effective March 28th, 2021, London-Accra-London will operate from Gatwick Airport instead of Heathrow. However, a statement from Ghana’s Ministry of Aviation communicates the government’s dissatisfaction with the planned changes. In response, the Government which considered this decision by British Airways as an unfair treatment towards Ghanaian passengers threatened to reciprocate the action if it is not withdrawn.

However, in a recent development which could probably be informed by the mass trolling of British Airways for succumbing to pressure, the flight service provider has adopted its initial plan to switch London to Accra flight service from Heathrow to Gatwick Airport. 

This unilateral decision has triggered a strong position from a Ghanaian lawmaker cum spokesperson for Transport who is urging the government to sanction the British Airways for taking Ghanaians for granted. “Something must be done to let British Airways know that they cannot take us for granted,” the lawmaker said.

“We’re a sovereign country, when you have this kind of situation, you use diplomatic channels to address it. You don’t unilaterally take decisions which are detrimental to Ghanaian customers and others.” He added.

He further suggested that, British Airways should be restricted from using the usual Kotoka International Airport located in the nation’s capital, Accra; rather, it should be ordered to originate its flight from Tamale in the North or Ho in the Volta region.

The government is yet to officially react to this new decision by the British airways which the lawmaker, Mr. Kwame Agbodza who is also a spokesperson on Transport considered an act of “bad faith” and lack of respect. Do you think the government should respond in equal measures as earlier threatened?

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