June 2, 2023

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FLIGHT RESUMPTION: Good to go. Stimulus; airborne, to land early next month- PTF COVID-19

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The time is now ripe for air travel to recommence as the Presidential Task Force, PTF on Covid-19, has given a clean bill of health for the restart without any delay, although the exact date will be announced any moment

This was the verdict passed today by the PTF on Covid-19 after the inspection conducted on both the Lagos and Abuja airports, for a first hand assessment of the readiness, especially by the airports in coping with the new normal occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

After a thorough and satisfactory inspection of the Abuja airport, the Presidential Task Force Team on Covid-19, headed for Lagos airport through an Aero airline flight which safely touchdown about noon, at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 1, popularly called, General Aviation Terminal, GAT.

The Minister of Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika, When addressing the aviation and airports journalists after the inspection said, “I’m not 100 per cent satisfied but I am 90 per cent satisfied and why did I say so? I said so because our airports both Lagos and Abuja, we have marked them clearly, we have trained our staff to ensure the physical distancing, we have provided COVID-19 compliant toilets. We have provided for hand sanitizers, we guided people efficiently. We reduced the amount of people the Co-Bus will take”.

He reaffirmed government’s commitment to provide succor to organizations in the aviation industry that were brought to their very knees by the ravaging coronavirus.

Sirika further explained that the stimulus is being worked out at the inter- ministerial level by the Ministries of Aviation, Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

He said when the entire framework and tables to be used are properly fine- tuned, government will announce the amount to be made available and modality for disbursement will also be placed in the public domain.

His explanations, “Government is coming with the palliative very soon in conjunction with the CBN and the Ministry of Finance. By next week, we will come out with the amount and palliative will be announced within the week. Within the economic sustainability plan. It will go round the entire civil aviation sector of the national economy”.

Speaking in the same vein, the coordinator of the PTF on Covid-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, also said he was satisfied with the level of preparation by the operators, stakeholders and the regulators of the Aviation sector especially on the preparedness for the air travel restart.

Sani enthused, “the stakeholders have done tremendously well. And I can assure the would be passengers, that the Aviation industry is safe for them to fly and they would be well protected against contracting the dreaded virus”.

He however implored the passengers to do their own part of the bargain any time the airports are open for flight, by voluntarily complying with all these safety protocols the aerodrome managers had provided.

Included in the entourage was the Minister of State for Health, Senator Adeleke Mamoora, a medical doctor, who reiterated that compliance was very critical and government might be compelled to enforce compliance.

Other PTF on Covi-19 members on the inspection tour included Alhaji Lai Muhammed, Minister of Information and Culture, Minister of State for Education, among others.

Present were the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu, Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN and the Regional and Terminal Managers of FAAN

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