Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, on inspection tour at MMA1 domestic terminal, Ikeja, Lagos, a prelude to starting domestic flight
Federal Government Agencies concern with rendering critical services that impact on safe, secured, efficient, and comfortable air transport have been charged to buckle up and make their readiness to effectively manage international airlines’ arrival and departure known to the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, so as to flag off international travels in the nation’s airspace in the shortest time possible.
Succinctly put, the PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, charged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, to increase their pace of preparation to receive international flights as the start of domestic operations four weeks ago, have provided enough basics to build on.
The PTF on COVID-19 Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, made these known at a briefing in Abuja, Thursday, on the Task Force update at mitigating the spread of the virus in the country and the measures to return life to normal so as to give vent to national economic life already in comatose.
Aliyu recounted that since the interstate road transport had been given the nod, the railway had restart, domestic flights had been soaring for the past 30 days, it’s logical for international air transport to complement the entire intermodal transportation chain.
He enunciated to his audience that, “as you are aware, domestic flights have already resumed, the railway sector has also restarted. For international travel, we have made recommendations to the aviation industry to commence the process for reopening international airports provided all existing international and local Covid-19 protocol are in place”.
The PTF Coordinator said in as much as the federal government is desirous of restarting international air travel in earnest, the health concern of over 200 million citizens is of paramount importance hence, the reopening of the nation’s air space for international flights require painstaking effort in order to be done in a safe and COVID-19 Safety protocol compliant manner.
Aliyu also announced on facilitation that, “We have modified the protocol for passenger arrivals at the airports. Domestic passengers arriving at the airports are advised to arrive one hour before their flights and three hours before international flights”
Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika, said the PTF had set up a technical committee to critically look at the logistics and other infrastructure issues and come up with the state where everybody will be ready and happy to restart.
Sirika said that if
all things were equal, the nation’s airspace would not have been closed but for
the pandemic that shook the whole world and still very much with us, government
had no option than to shot down the airspace but for essential and emergency
The Aviation Minister however enthused, “we will open as soon as all of us are happy to open and I want to adopt what the national coordinator has said by saying, it will be in weeks rather than in months for international flights to resume”.