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Nigerian govt rules out June 21 date for resumption of flight operations

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said on Thursday the June 21 date for the resumption of domestic flight operations in the country was not feasible.

Sirika, who disclosed this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) would not approve the resumption of flight operations until it was sufficiently convinced that it was safe to resume flight operations at the nation’s airports.

The minister was represented at the briefing by the NCAA Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu.

The Coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu, had on June 1 asked aviation industry stakeholders to develop protocols for the resumption of domestic flights anytime from June 21.

READ ALSO: June 21 re-opening of airports for flight operations unrealistic —Senate

He said: “June 21 is not a feasible date to resume domestic operations. The civil aviation authority, despite pressures coming from all quarters, 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 the timing to ensure that we are ready, positively, and absolutely ready to start work.”

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