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Nigeria-UAE Diplomatic Row: Airlines May Suspend Dubai-bound Flights

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SaharaReporters earlier reported that the UAE, through a notice issued to the country’s trade partners in Nigeria by the Destination Management Companies (DMCs) licensed to issue electronic visas to UAE, slammed a fresh visa ban on Nigerians visiting Dubai.

Following the fresh visa ban on Nigerians visiting Dubai by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities, there are signs that many airlines may suspend their flights to Dubai in the next few days if the UAE fails to lift the ban.

it was reported that the UAE, through a notice issued to the country’s trade partners in Nigeria by the Destination Management Companies (DMCs) licensed to issue electronic visas to UAE, slammed a fresh visa ban on Nigerians visiting Dubai.

The fresh visa ban came weeks after the UAE made the visa requirements for prospective visitors to the country more stringent, requiring UAE visa seekers to provide a six-month statement of account.

It was gathered that the requirement was further reviewed by the UAE and restricted Nigerians under 40, except couples from visiting the country.

Amid the restriction of Nigerians under 40 years, the UAE in the fresh visa ban imposed a total ban on Nigerians with many applications rejected without refund of the application fees paid.

Daily Trust reports that the development is said to be negatively affecting the travel plans of many Nigerians, which might in turn affect a lot of ticket bookings to the UAE.

With such development, many airlines including the UAE carrier Emirates; Nigeria’s Air Peace, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines, among others would be affected in the next few days.

Although it was observed that as of Tuesday, most of the airlines were still flying to Dubai, sources told Daily Trust that there is a possibility that airlines may put sales of their tickets to Nigerians passengers on hold over the visa issues.

It was reported that there are about 1,000 Dubai-bound passengers daily with some of them going beyond the UAE, and the passengers are shared among all the airlines operating to Dubai.

But with the fresh visa ban by the UAE authorities, the airlines’ load factor would reduce drastically leaving them with no option but to stop selling tickets to Dubai-bound Nigerians.

However, the Director of Research, Zenith Travels, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, was quoted as saying that the UAE placed national security beyond economic consideration, adding that many Nigerians misused the opportunity of free access earlier provided by the UAE authorities.

But he noted that airlines would learn to adjust to the new rules and that Emirates, which should feel the hurt of the fresh visa ban through reduced passengers, is not bothered.

Also, Capt. Alex Nwuba was quoted as saying that the possibility of airlines stopping the sale of Dubai tickets for Nigerian passengers is high as a result of the fresh visa ban on Nigerians by the UAE authorities.

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