FG 90% ready to re-open airports – Sirika

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The Federal Government, on Saturday, said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was 90 percent ready to open up the airways for domestic flights in the country.

 

It said though it was not 100 percent satisfied with what was on ground, it was 90 percent satisfied with what had been done to get the sector ready for business.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made this known at a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Lagos after an Aero Contractors plane test-run flight from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

The test-run of the facilities at the two airports was to determine their readiness for the resumption of domestic flight operations across the country.

The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is also being test-run for re-opening, as passengers were duly screened in line with safety protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, passengers for domestic and international flights will arrive three and five hours respectively before boarding due to the present reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He reiterated that all physical distancing protocols and guidelines would be observed stressing that the measures are for safety.

Also speaking, the Minister of State, Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, stressed that every individual must take personal responsibility in terms of effective use of face masks and keeping social distancing.

He warned that government might be compelled to “to put in place some enforcement to ensure people comply with instructions.”

Speaking on behalf of airlines, the Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, said the nation’s airline operators were 100 per cent ready to start operations.

“If they ask us to start flying tomorrow, we are ready 100 per cent. We have put in place all the health and safety measures as instructed by the NCAA,” he said.

While he said the airlines were opposed to skipping the middle seat inside the aircraft, they had put in place measures to minimise contact.

Our correspondent gathered from aviation sources that domestic flights might resume in the first week of July.

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