Emirates has joined other airlines in suspending flights to West African countries heavily hit by the Ebola epidemic as the Dubai carrier announced that it was from Saturday suspending flights to Guinea until further notice.
Nigeria’s Arik Air, which flies to a number of international destinations including London, last week, suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone following the arrival and later death in Nigeria of a Liberian national infected with the deadly disease. Pan-African airline Asky was suspended by Nigeria’s civil aviation authorities for bringing the man into the country’s largest city Lagos.
However, although the International airlines association IATA and the World Health Organization advised airlines and international airports to health-screen passengers on flights from West Africa, it said it was not recommending travel restrictions or border closures adding that there would be a low risk to other passengers if an infected person flew.
Regardless of the assurance, Emirates, which does not fly to either Liberia or Sierra Leone, went on with its suspension of flights saying “the safety of our passengers and crew is of the highest priority and will not be compromised”. The company added that further actions in connection with the outbreak would be “guided by the advice and updates from the government and international health authorities.”
The Ebola outbreak, which began in Guinea has spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone killing more than 700 and creating huge health and socio-economic crises in those countries as well as great panic around the world especially Nigeria where a Liberian patient travelled to and died in the country’s largest city and economic hub Lagos. Health workers are still struggling to control the spread of the virus which is the deadliest the world has faced in decades.