When Nigerian airports resume international operations on 29 August, flights from EU countries would not be allowed.
The decision was announced on Thursday in Abuja by the country’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
According to him, Nigeria is enforcing the principle of reciprocity in granting permission to airlines to resume operations in the country. This means that countries that ban flights from Nigeria will also not be allowed to operate flights into the country.
Speaking at Thursday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the minister specifically stated that airlines from the European Union would not be allowed into Nigeria as the EU had recently banned flights and visitors from Nigeria.
The minister, who was represented by the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu, argued that the decision was taken in the interest of Nigerians.
“On the list of countries (that are banned), we are working on the comprehensive list, but the main one that came up is when the EU opened their borders effective 1st July, Nigeria was among the list of 54 countries that were not allowed to enter the EU,” the minister said.
“To my understanding, as the situation changes, they are going to look at the list and change it. But so far, we don’t have any contrary information to that first one that Nigeria is banned from going to the EU.
The minister hinted that as soon as flights from Nigeria are allowed into the EU countries, Nigeria will also allow their flights to come in.
Nigerian aviation authorities have already announced that only a few flights per day would be permitted through Lagos and Abuja airports once international flights resume on 29 August. The flights are expected to act as test runs of the COVID-19 safety protocols put in place.
The protocols, according to the minister, would be made public in due course.