•Lagos, Abuja airports to resume July 8,15
Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika has announced that Abuja and Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on July 8, 2020.
The Minister made the disclosure yesterday on his verified Twitter @hadisirika, just as he disclosed that the Mallam Aminu International Airport, Kano, Port-Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri will resume on July 11, 2020, while other airports across the country on July 15, 2020.
He, however, stated that date for international flights would be announced in due course, urging Nigerians to bear with the Federal Government for inconveniences caused by the delayed resumption of flight services.
Local airlines had last week urged the Federal Government and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to reopen airspace for airlines as airports with satisfied safety protocol to begin operations.
The carriers, under the aegis of Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON), said more days were bound to be wasted and revenues lost should the system wait for every stakeholder to be ready.
The appeal was made on the heels of the disclosure that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which was concluding its findings would submit recommendations to the PTF today.
AON Chairman, Capt. Nogie Meggison, at a webinar forum for aviation stakeholders, said a restart date would spur more stakeholders to intensify preparations and save newer investments recently made by the airlines.
NCAA’s Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, however, informed the stakeholders, especially the airlines, that the restart plan would be submitted to the PTF today, “all things being equal”.
He said: “We are yet to get there but we are pretty close. The plan is that by Wednesday, we will submit our report to PTF, I reiterate, we are pretty close.
“Our revenue is down by 90 to 95 per cent. We are almost ready. Like I said earlier, not all the airlines and airports have to be necessarily ready before the restart. If anything goes wrong, the NCAA will be held responsible.
“Sometimes this week, the proposed restart date will be made known. If the airports get it right, the airlines’ job will be made easier. The airlines that have disinfected their aircraft should show proof to the NCAA.
“On the middle seats, we need to listen to the health authority, even though I do not support the middle seat regime. We are liaising with the health authority to get the best for the airlines. It is our interest that airlines start flying yesterday.”
Also, Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, pleaded with the stakeholders to exercise patience, as the grey areas bother mostly on airport safety and security.
“Please, bear with us. It is primarily on safety and security issues. We need to improve on what we have. That is why we started training our personnel. On procurement, there are things you do not get on time. We have been going at a drastic pace since June 21, 2020, to achieve the common goals.” Yadudu said.