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UK, Canada Travel Ban Hits Foreign Airlines Hard

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The ban on flights from Nigeria to the United Kingdom and Canada has led to cancellation of existing reservations due to low patronage.

International airlines operating in the Nigeria have been affected by travel bans imposed by Canada and the United Kingdom on the country as a result of the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Most foreign airlines said the ban had caused massive cancellation of flight reservations by intending passengers.

Virgin and British Airways are the biggest airlines carrying passengers on the Nigeria-London route. They carry on daily basis between 250 and 300 passengers daily.

A return ticket on any of the airlines costs about N1 million, especially at this period of the year when not a few Nigerians had planned to reunite with their loved ones during the yuletide.

The flight suspension will lead to huge economic losses to the airlines should the restriction is sustained.

One of the workers at the KLM identified as Mark said Canada and the United Kingdom are popular destinations for Nigeria travelers.

“These are key markets for us as international airlines operating in Nigeria. A lot of Nigerian passengers fly in and out of these two countries on a daily basis. So, the ban by the two countries is affecting our numbers significantly,” he said.

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An official of Air France disclosed that many of the carriers might reduce their frequencies from daily flights to twice or three times a week.

“Imagine, we used to have about 80 passengers going to London on our Lagos-Paris flight. On Monday when the ban commenced, passengers transiting through Charles de Gaulle to London were just 10 in number. This is bad for business. We will definitely cut flights,” he said.

Also, British Airways has informed travel agencies in Nigeria about a change in its flight schedules on the Nigerian route.

A notice by the British Agency titled, “Restrictions for travel from Nigeria to the UK,”  sent to local travel agencies stated that British Airways planes which usually arrive at the Lagos airport around 6pm and depart 11pm on daily basis will now arrive early in the morning to depart a few hours later.

The development is to allow the passengers arriving in the UK to have access to quarantine facilities.

Parts of the notice by British Airways to travel agencies reads: “As a result of the UK government placing Nigeria on to the red list, we continue to closely monitor the situation and adjust our schedule accordingly.

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“All flights from Lagos to London Heathrow have been re-timed. This is due to restrictions at London Heathrow to support arrivals from a red-list country.

“All customers travelling from Nigeria must follow the UK government’s rules on arrivals from a red-list country and have a negative PCR test result within the 48 hours prior to their departure from Nigeria.

“Only British or Irish nationals or customers who have residence rights in the UK will be allowed to enter the UK, where they will be required to quarantine in a government facility.”

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