MUSCAT: More than 100 Nigerians bound for Lagos flocked the Muscat International Airport early on Friday morning as SalamAir’s first repatriation flight took-off with hundreds of nationals who were stranded in Oman due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking exclusively to The Arabian Stories, Edmond Iluyemi, Chairman of Nigerian Community in Oman said 105 stranded passengers left for Lagos. “This is indeed a historic day for us. We were planning this repatriation for almost a month now with several airlines but thanks to SalamAir for the support and helping us fly home,” Iluyemi said.
According to Iluyemi, there were initially 179 passengers who had confirmed their travel but due to PCR test restrictions many lost the opportunity to catch the flight. “We received the confirmation only three days ago and many couldn’t get the PCR test on time,” Ilyuemi noted.
The nine-hour SalamAir flight will stop in Khartoum in Sudan for refueling before taking-off to Lagos. “When we checked with every other airlines, the ticket was expensive but we got the best service from SalamAir. From the start till the end they provided the best possible help,” Ilyuemi said.
The Nigerian community is planning to arrange more flights soon. “We dont have the exact number of Nigerians in Oman but what we do understand is that there are so many people who want to go home and we are looking to arrange more flights,” he said.
Ilyuemi thanked the Nigerian embassy in Riyadh for the help. “We would like to thank the embassy particularly Aminu Nasidi who helped us throughout during this trip,” he added.