Air France, KLM, Lufthansa Others Not To Come To Nigeria Now- FG

Yemisi Izuora

The federal government has asked some international airlines not to start operations for now as flights have been scheduled to start arriving the country from 5 September.

Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said on Thursday that not all airlines will be allowed to come in for now.

Those banned are Lufthansa, KLM, TAAG Angola Airline, RwandAir, Etihad, Air France and Air Namibia.

Sirika, who spoke at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, said there is no going back on the September 5, 2020 date for resumption of international flights as all preparations have been completed.

The minister said all aviation preparations and COVID-19 protocols have been perfected and the airports in Abuja and Lagos are for reopening.

He said the airlines coming into the country were the airlines approved for operations with appropriate COVID-19 protocols.

Sirika further noted that intending passengers must register online, pay for COVID-19 test fee and upload the COVID-19 negative result not older than 72 hours before boarding.

While warning against infractions, he said any airline caught with passengers without COVID-19 negative result would be fined $3500 for each passenger and the passenger returned if he or she was a foreigner and the passenger would in addition, be suspended from flying for six months.

Giving further insights into the reasons for the ban and the principle of reciprocity being applied to some countries, the minister said Nigeria was simply following what each country has done to Nigeria.

Some of the countries which have already banned flights from Nigeria are in the European Union (EU) as the EU included Nigeria on the banned countries on the first of July, 2020 when they opened their airspace.

Sirika said: “Now, at this point, it is important that we announce the airlines that are allowed for operations into the country.

The ones not approved are Air France. Middle East Airlines is approved for only Lagos (airport). British Airways (is) approved – allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.

“The reason for Air France is that tourists’ business holders are not allowed entry. KLM not approved for the same reason as Air France. Delta Airlines, no restrictions – USA, we have an Open Skies with them and they also allow us in.

“Qatar Airways is allowed and approved under COVID-19 protocol. Etihad, not approved. Ethiopian Airlines allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. EgyptAir approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.

“RwandAir, not approved. Air Peace, not applicable, they are our own carrier in Nigeria, we thank them. Virgin Atlantic, approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. Air Namibia, not approved. Asky, approved. Royal Air Maroc, not approved. African World Airways, Ghana, approved.

“Air Cote d’Ivoire, approved. Lufthansa, not approved. Kenya Airways approved. Emirates Airlines, approved. Turkish Airlines, approved. Cabo Verde not applicable as international flights are yet to resume. TAAG Angola Airlines, not approved. South African Airways not applicable as international flights are yet to resume.”

The airlines that have Nigeria’s aviation authorities green light include, EgyptAir, Virgin Atlantic,, Turkish Airlines, African World Airways (AWA),

Kenya Airways.

Others are Middle East Airlines, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Qatar Airways

Emirates, Asky, Air Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Cote D’Ivoire, Air Senegal.

Airlines that are barred are Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, TAAG Angola Airlines, Air Namibia, RwandAir, Royal Air Maroc.

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