Lagos - Nigeria's Arik Air said it will resume daily flights
to Johannesburg Saturday, 24 hours after suspending them in protest over
South Africa's refusal to let in 125 Nigerians on health grounds.
"Arik Air is reinstating flight operations between
Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa effective immediately with
tonight's (Saturday, March 3) scheduled service departing from Lagos," a
Arik earlier said it suspended flights between Lagos
and Johannesburg, Africa's two financial hubs, due to a dispute with
health authorities over yellow fever vaccination cards presented at OR
Tambo International Airport by passengers.
The airline said that flights will now re-commence with
operations over the weekend "to protect its passengers in the interim
period until the matter is resolved."
A meeting between the two governments over the dispute is scheduled for Monday, it said.
Passengers who have new yellow fever vaccination cards
issued in Nigeria or are travelling to South Africa for the first time
will not be allowed to board on Saturday's and Sunday's flights to
Johannesburg, it added.
Arik, the only Nigerian-owned commercial airline on the
lucrative Lagos-Johannesburg route, said 50 passengers were refused
entry on Friday while ThisDay newspaper said that 75 other Nigerian
passengers on South Africa Airways were also turned back.
"Many passengers have been detained and refused entry in recent months," the airline said in an earlier statement.
It said health authorities gave the reason as incorrect
or unrecognised batch numbers on the documentation which is mandatory
proof before entry.
Arik, which began once-daily flights to South Africa in
June 2009, currently operated a combined number of more than 120 daily
flights to some west African countries, Heathrow (London), New York JFK
(US) and Johannesburg.