The Presidential Task Force(PTF) on COVID-19, on Thursday, August 6, gave aviation authorities and airline operators approval to commence international flights resumption.
This was disclosed by Sani Aliyu, PTF National Coordinator, during a briefing in Abuja. He said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), other aviation agencies and airline operators, should commence the process for the resumption of international flights.
Aliyu in his statement said, passengers should arrive three hours before departure time when international flight is finally open for commercial operations.
Aliyu said, “Specific to air transportation, 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.
“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 when this restarts.”
The national coordinator stressed that though the government would like to restart international flights to balance health concerns and economic recovery, the government also would like to do so in a safe manner.
“There may be additional infrastructure for some of the airports. What we want to do and we’ve made it very clear at the PTF is that we want to resume as soon as possible but in a safe manner and do not put at risk all that we’ve done to control this pandemic. Hopefully in weeks but not months,” he added.
The PTF met with the president on Wednesday and briefed him on the progress made so far in containing the spread of COVID-19 and listed recommendations on how to retain the current phase of the response, with minor changes to address economic, socio-political, and health concerns. Which a gradual reopening of international flights was among the proposed change.
Speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the government was conscious of its decision and would like to reopen as soon as possible while working with other ministries, departments, and agencies of government but said no date has been fixed for now.