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Nigerian govt bars Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, five others from flying into Nigeria



The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said on Thursday only approved airlines would be allowed into the Nigerian airspace when international flight operations resumed in the country on September 5.

Sirika, who disclosed this during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 media briefing held at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, said only the Abuja airport and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, would reopen for international flights.

The minister listed EgyptAir, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, African World Airways (AWA), Kenya Airways and Middle East Airlines as airlines that had been given the approval to operate into the Lagos airport.

The British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, AWA, and Middle East Airlines will operate into the Abuja airport.

However, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, TAAG Angola Airlines, Air Namibia, RwandAir and Royal Air Maroc were not given approval to operate flights into the country.

The minister said airlines and passengers would be sanctioned for non-compliance with the guidelines on the operations at the airports.

He said passengers who fail to comply with the COVID-19 protocols put in place to curb the spread of the virus to the country would be suspended from travelling for six months while airlines that fail to comply with the guidelines would pay a fine of $3,500 per passenger.

Sirika said: “Now, at this point, it is important that we announce the airlines that are allowed for operations into the country. The ones not approved are Air France. Middle East Airlines is approved for only Lagos (airport). British Airways (is) approved – allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.

READ ALSO: Only airlines from countries that allow Nigerian flights would be allowed into Nigeria —Sirika

“The reason for Air France is that tourists’ business holders are not allowed entry. KLM not approved for the same reason as Air France. Delta Airlines, no restrictions – USA, we have an Open Skies with them and they also allow us in.

“Qatar Airways is allowed and approved under COVID-19 protocol. Etihad, not approved. Ethiopian Airlines allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. EgyptAir approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.

“RwandAir, not approved. Air Peace, not applicable, they are our own carrier in Nigeria, we thank them. Virgin Atlantic, approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. Air Namibia, not approved. Asky, approved. Royal Air Maroc, not approved. African World Airways, Ghana, approved.

“Air Cote d’Ivoire, approved. Lufthansa, not approved. Kenya Airways approved. Emirates Airlines, approved. Turkish Airlines, approved. Cabo Verde not applicable as international flights are yet to resume. TAAG Angola Airlines, not approved. South African Airways not applicable as international flights are yet to resume.”

The federal government shut the country’s airspace and airports to flight operations in March in a bid to check the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

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