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Nigeria Suspends Resumption of Domestic Flights

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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Federal Government (FG) has suspended resumption of domestic flights formerly scheduled for Sunday, June 21.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, announced the suspension at a Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja Thursday.

The Minister who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Musa Nuhu, at the briefing, said, “June 21st is not a feasible date to resume domestic operations.

“The civil aviation authority will not approve the start any day until we are sure and we confirm that we are ready to start in a safe, secure, organised and efficient manner. To do otherwise is disastrous for all of us.

“If we open the industry when we are not ready and we are guilty of spreading coronavirus; God forbid we have any incident, I believe the government will come hard on us and it is going to be counterproductive and disastrous for the industry.

“We are not too far, we are close but there is a need for timing to ensure that we are ready, positively, absolutely ready to start work’’ the Minister stressed.

The NCAA boss said the Authority has been holding talks with airlines, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other stakeholders. He confirmed that feedbacks have been received and concerns are being addressed.

Capt Nuhu restated that inputs were also being received from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the United Nations agency in charge of civil aviation as well as standard and recommended practices for the sector.

In addition, the NCAA head revealed that recommendations were also being received from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Air Transport Association, the Airport Council International and the African Civil Aviation Commission.

Nuhu added: “We have to adopt all these; it’s not easy; it’s a very complex process. What I can assure is that, the civil aviation authority will only give a go-ahead when we are ready, nothing further.

“We are looking towards the end of this month. Hopefully, by the end of next week, we will submit a report through the Ministry of Aviation to the Presidential Task Force for review. We know the industry is anxious but to do otherwise will be a great disservice and neglect of our statutory mandate from the government of Nigeria’’.

It would be recalled that the PTF National coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, had on Monday June 1, 2020 requested the aviation industry to develop protocols for the resumption of domestic flights for resumption on June 21, 2020.


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