Ahead of the June 21 date for the resumption of domestic flights in the country, the Federal Government has said only five airports would be operational while the others remained closed for further assessment.
This was contained in a circular to airlines signed by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt Musa Nuhu.
In the circular dated June 1, the regulator stressed that the country’s airspace is still closed to international flights while domestic flights could start from June 21, as announced on Monday by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Nuhu said, “The closure of Nigerian airports to domestic flights has been extended to 2300Z on 20th June 2020.
“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 was learnt that the country’s airports and airspace were shut in March by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as part of efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commercial flight operations, both local and international, had stopped forthwith but the President’s directive allowed the operation of essential flights including those for medical and evacuation purposes, amongst others.
However, during its briefing in Abuja on June 1, the PTF asked the aviation sector to begin to develop protocols that will lead to the resumption of domestic flights any time from June 21.
“The aviation industry is requested to start developing protocols to allow for domestic flights to resume anytime from the 21st of June onwards.
“Airlines must ensure physical distancing by reducing passenger capacity and ensure the provision of sanitisers and personal protective equipment as well as carrying out temperature checks at the point of entry and departure and ensuring that airports are not congested by either travellers or airports staff,” said PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu.