The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has announced it will ban Emirate Airlines from inbound and outbound flight.
The ban is expected to take effect from midnight on Wednesday. KLM would also have been affected but it changed its policy against outbound flights, aviation minister Hadi Sirika said.
“We gave the two airlines options of either have a PCR test 72 hours before departure or within 72 hours before departure and repeat the PCR test on arrival or have a rapid test before departure and have PCR on arrival but not the combination of the three because it doesn’t make scientific sense,” he said.
“It makes the facilitation of passengers very cumbersome and it makes our work difficult and passengers are going through unnecessary hardship, which is not acceptable.
“Both airlines decided to carry only inbound passengers and not take outbound passengers but their reasons are adverse which doesn’t make sense.
“So, we gave them the option to do what we believe is safe and correct and KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out on the conditions that we agreed upon which is to have a PCR test within 72 hours.
“Emirates didn’t accept the position and so, we have asked that Emirates be banned from operations midnight Wednesday and that has been communicated with them since Sunday but like the PTF chairman has said, if they come back to us to resume as KLM has done, they will be allowed, otherwise, the status quo remains and they would be banned from inbound and outbound flight.
“KLM has agreed to start immediately and they would be allowed to do so.”