A committee made up of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Airport Security Committee, Ground Handlers Association, Department of State Services (DSS), Freight Forwarders Association, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Committee and the Quarantine Service will, today, hold a meeting to discuss modalities for reopening airspace for international flight services.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure yesterday at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja, assuring that international flight services will commence soon.
The minister lamented that aviation was one of the worst hit by COVID-19 pandemic, noting that quick lifting of ban of international travel without adhering to the laid down protocols would amount to wasted effort.
He lamented that the harrowing experience and downturn in the economy of Nigeria and by extension, aviation has made it extremely difficult to pay salaries. His words: “The committee will meet tomorrow (today) to further discuss the protocols as to the reopening of the airports.
Certainly, aviation is worst hit with this. There must be passenger movement for us to be able to survive. We have said here on this platform that salaries are becoming difficult for us to pay. “So, we want to open more than you want us to open. We have been living with the question of when we are going to open.
This is subject to so many factors and all of these sacrifices that we are making are in the interest of the public and the interest of all of us to fly safe.” The minister debunked insinuations that airspaces in Europe and other places had re-opened, saying it was not true.
“Like I said, if it is on us, we would open yesterday. If we open, we will make more money to enable us carry out all our activities. The purpose for us is to be able to judge what is safe for the citizens of our country.
Please, bear with the situation. We feel your pain. We understand it as much as you do. We know that some people are cut away from their families, businesses, but this is an act of God.”