As part of the strategy to prevent further spread of coronavirus in Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced postponement of international flight resumption that was earlier scheduled to commence August 29th to next month, September 5th.
It said that the resumption date was shifted by one week to allow aviation officials to provide logistics and ensure perfection of COVID-19 preventive strategies at the entry ports.
The postponement came barely 48 hours to commencement of international flight expected to start from Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Announcing the postponement at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) COVID-19 briefing in Abuja on Thursday, Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, stated that while airlines and airports were ready to resume, non-availability of other non-aviation logistics prompted the one-week extension.
Nuhu, who explained that the initial announcement was that the airports would be reopened anytime before 29th, described the new date as sacrosanct and assured Nigerians that the date would not be shifted.
“We have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on, mostly the COVID-19 protocol tests and online platform. We need to get this ready.”
“In due course, we will be announcing the protocols for the resumptions and we will be giving further details. Hopefully early next week, we will release this,” the director-general added.
Earlier, the PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, described resumption of international flight would fast-track restore the country’s economy to the pre-coronavirus era.
“As we prepare to reopen the international airspace, therefore, we are optimistic that the economy will continue to improve along the value chain, as goods, services, and passengers move across borders.
“The aviation sector, no doubt, provides a window to the world and a shutdown of twenty-three straight weeks obviously impacted negatively on the economy”, Mustapha added.
It would be recalled that Nigeria placed restrictions on international flights in March as part of efforts to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus.