The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and other members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Saturday to witness the Dry Run Test in preparation for domestic flight resumption in June/Photo: FAAN

Nigeria get set to resume international flights

The Federal Government of Nigeria has begun the process of restarting international flights.

In a briefing on Thursday by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, said approvals have been given for aviation authorities to commence the process for the resumption of international flights.

Aliyu said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and other aviation agencies, as well as airlines, are to come up with a safe process through which international airlines can commence operations.

The PTF Coordinator said when international flight operations resume, passengers would arrive three hours before flights, to ensure that there is no crowding of the airports.

“For international travel, we have made recommendations to the aviation industry to commence the process for reopening international airports provided all existing international and local COVID-19 protocols are in place.

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“We have modified the protocol for passenger arrivals at the airports. Domestic passengers arriving at the airports are advised to arrive one hour before their flights and three hours before international flights when this restarts,” Mr Aliyu stated.

Aliyu’s statement comes shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for another four weeks.

The PTF had met with the president on Wednesday and briefed him on the progress made so far in containing the spread of COVID-19, as well as making recommendations on how to retain the current phase of the response, with minor changes to address economic, socio-political, and health concerns.

The major changes being proposed are aimed at achieving the gradual re-opening of international air flights within established parameters among others

Under the revised guidelines of the eased lockdown which will be maintained in the next four weeks, the current nationwide curfew from 10pm- 6am still stands.

Also, meetings for government officials and parastatals will continue to hold virtually.

While the ban on entertainment centres will be maintained, restrictions on recreational parks have been lifted for non-contact physical activities.

“It will be in weeks rather than in months,” Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika also commented on the resumption of international flights.

He explained that passengers arriving for domestic flights can now arrive at least an hour and a half before flight, and three hours before the flight for international travellers.

Domestic flights were also suspended but have since resumed in June as the country tries to roll back coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

Nigeria has 44,890 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 900 deaths, according to figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Kola Tella

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