…Nigerian airports still closed to international flights
As part of plans to fully reopen the Nigerian economy following the lockdown which had been in place to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, the Nigerian government has decided to open some airports for domestic flights to resume.
Below are three things you need to know about the plans based on the circular to airlines released by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, and signed by its Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu.
1. Only 5 Airports Have the Approval to Resume Flights: Of the 31 Nigerian airports, only five can open on June 21. According to the NCAA, “the gradual start of domestic flight operations will commence on 21st June 2020 with Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport Kano, Omagwa International Airport Port Harcourt, and Sam Mbakwe Airport Owerri.”
“Other airports will be gradually added to the network after a review and assessment,” it added.
2. International Flights Are Still Prohibited: Nigeria’s airspace is still closed to international flights except for emergency operations, according to the circular.
Recall that Nigeria, like most countries across the world, closed its airspace in March as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although losses, estimated at over $5 billion have mounted, the authorities have hesitated to open the airspaces to international flights due to the increased risk of importing the virus.
3. Airlines to Develop Protocol to Resume Flight Operations: Although the airlines have the green light to resume flight operations by June 21, the aviation sector is expected to develop a comprehensive guideline to coordinate the operations and minimise the risk of COVID-19 spread.
During its briefing in Abuja on June 1, the Presidential Task Force, PTF on COVID-19 asked the aviation sector to begin to develop protocols that would lead to the resumption of domestic flights any time from June 21.
PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, said: “The aviation industry is requested to start developing protocols to allow for domestic flights to resume anytime from the 21st of June onwards.”
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