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Nigerian govt reveals plan for resumption of international, local flights

Hadi Sirika asks Senate to approve new $461.8m loan for airports

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said on Monday the date for the resumption of international flights in the country would be announced in due course.

Sirika, who was reacting to questions on the likely date for resumption of international flights during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said the Federal Government is expecting suggestions from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on the matter.

He said: “The date for international flights will follow today. Before the end of the day, we will be receiving directives or suggestions, practices, and standards from the International Civil Aviation Organisation. We will factor that in.

“Currently, I am the Chairman of the Logistics and Transport Committee of the West African Ministers to advise Mr. President who is Champion of the COVID-19 within West Africa. Today, we held a meeting on how the industry will start up all over again.

“Some countries will run faster than others but I can tell you those huge countries with a huge population and huge aviation activities such as Nigeria will definitely need caution which has to reflect on safety and efficiency of the industry.”

The National Coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu, who also attended the briefing, revealed that the ban on domestic flights may be lifted by June 21.

READ ALSO: FAAN distances self from document in circulation, says no guidelines for resumption of flights yet

He charged players in the aviation industry to begin to develop protocols that would lead to the resumption of domestic flights any time from that date.

Aliyu said: “The aviation industry is requested to start developing protocols to allow for domestic flights to resume anytime from June 21 onwards.

“When we say from June 21, we mean that we are preparing the aviation sector towards that date. That date may not necessarily be June 21, it could be June 26, 28 or even July 1.

“It depends on whether or not they are prepared. So we are giving them a time frame of three weeks to start preparing for domestic flights.

“We are giving an opportunity for the aviation sector that is heavily regulated to make sure that they start getting their acts together so that airports open up in a safe way.”

The federal government closed Nigeria international airports in March following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

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