Stranded citizens in the United States will 4 July 2020 regain their freedom through Ethiopian Airlines which will airlift them out of New Jersey for a longed-for escape flight to their homeland, Nigeria.
It has been a month-long agonizing wait since 10 May when the first batch of evacuees were brought into Lagos through the efforts of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, and his team of diplomats overseas.
A statement released by the Consul General in New York said that a second batch of citizens stranded in the USA will be flown out on the night of 3 July, to arrive Nigeria on the 4th of July which happens to be America’s day of Independence.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET509 will depart Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey with confirmed evacuees for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, from where they will find their way to their final destinations in Nigeria.
Those who wish to take the flight have been asked to quickly log on to the airline’s website and purchase one-way tickets for the trip.
Flight costs have been fixed at $1,250 for economy and $2,800 for business class tickets per intending adult passenger “with the usual percentage reduction for infants under 2years,“ the Consul said.
In addition to specific instructions contained in the statement (see statement here), the official said confirmations for the flights will be strictly on a “first come, first served basis.”
Intending evacuees were specifically reminded of the new rule to present an original Covid-19 negative test result not older than 14 days before departure date.
“Any intending evacuees without the stipulated test result, or a body temperature about 38 degrees centigrade, or any symptoms suggestive of Covid-19, will not be allowed to check in,” the Consul said.
In the wake of worldwide airport shutdowns occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic, Nigerians marooned in the United States and other cities around the world have been pleading and waiting for official flight arrangement which is their only hope to secure a passage to home sweet home.
The evacuation process ran into a hitch in May when the Foreign Affairs found it could not foot the bill for the mandatory 14-day quarantine window for those that land in Nigeria.
Although two government agencies agreed to take up the costs, government however found a way around it when a private sector group led by billionaire Aliko Dangote suggested and funded an alternative model to handle the evacuation without hitches.