The Federal Government reveals that it banned some foreign airlines from operating international flights into Nigeria in order to control the traffic of passengers.
When Nigeria’s international flights resumed earlier this month after shutdown since March, eight foreign airlines were not approved to resume.
However, while speaking at a media briefing on Monday, September 14, the minister said the major criteria was based on how many passengers Nigeria can currently process amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With international flights only allowed in Lagos and Abuja since operations resumed on September 5, Sirika said the government did not approve the airlines so the country can better manage its human and material resources to fight the novel disease.
He said, “If there were no challenges or restrictions, we would have opened the airport and everybody would come in.But we have a predetermined certain number that we can process in these our airports, and that’s why we’re opening only Lagos and Abuja.”Based on that, we have to calculate based on facts, available numbers, protocols and facilitation to determine how many number of passengers can we handle per given time, from where and how.
The airlines were contacted. For those who are able to take passengers out of Nigeria that are non-residents on tourist visas were tabulated, calculated, and contacted, and those who are not able to do so.
So it had nothing to do with countries per se. Sirika said he has held talks in the past few days with officials of Lufthansa and Air France-KLM to discuss the policy with them, and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also coordinating a meeting with other concerned airlines.
The minister also announced that international airports in Enugu, Kano, and Rivers will remain closed until Nigeria is able to process more international passengers.”Everything is being well-calculated to ensure we are able to all remain safe.
All airports open for domestic flights Sirika also announced that all Nigerian airports, including private airports and airstrips, are now opened for domestic commercial flights.
When domestic flights were allowed to resume in July, it was done in phases as some airports still needed to get approvals from the Ministry of Aviation.
Sirika said on Monday private charter operations will no longer need approvals to operate within domestic airports in all government-approved airports, and in all government-owned airports.
However, those airports that are private airports – government-approved airports – the operators should check the safety status with the NCAA (Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority). Such airports like Jalingo, Uyo, Asaba, Gombe, Nasarawa, Damaturu, Osubi, etc.
So, you won’t need any approvals from the minister but you should kindly check the status of these airports with the NCAA which is normal,” the minister said.He noted that all flights into and out of the country that are private charter will still need approvals including technical stops.
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