Passengers disembarking from an Ibom Air flight at the Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo/ Photo: Ibom Air

Nigeria reopens all airports for domestic flights

All airports in Nigeria are now open for domestic flight operations, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced on Monday.

He made the announcement in Abuja at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, adding that approvals for flights within the country would not be needed from the ministry again, as all airports had been cleared for domestic operations.

He said, “All airports in Nigeria are now open for domestic flights, including those that are for private charter operations.

“They (operators) will no longer need approvals from us to operate domestically within government-owned airports. However, for the private airports, operators should check their safety status with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“Such airports are Jalingo, Uyo, Asaba, Gombe, Nasarawa, Damaturu, Osubi, etc. So you don’t need any approval from the minister, but you should check the status of these airports with the NCAA.”

On international chartered flights, Sirika said approvals would still be needed.

Domestic flights recommenced at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja on 8 July. On 25 July, 12 additional airports were cleared for domestic operations.

International commercial flights also resumed at the Lagos and Abuja airports on 5 September 2020. Sirika said other airports would be reopened as soon as they met the required safety protocols for operation.

The minister further explained that the government’s approval to certain international carriers to start operating into Nigeria was based on the carrying capacity of the country’s airports at present, adding that the non-approval of some other airlines was not to cause any diplomatic hiccup between Nigeria and other countries.

Air France, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Air Rwanda, Air Namibia are among airlines banned from coming into the country.

The minister had once stated that the principle of reciprocity would be applied to countries who banned flights from Nigeria.

Some of the countries which have banned flights from Nigeria are in the European Union as they had included Nigeria in the list of banned countries on 1 July 2020 when they reopened their airspace.

Kola Tella

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