Nigeria To Commence Int’l Flight Operations Sept. 5

Yemisi Izuora

The Federal Government has set September 5, 2020 as new date for resumption of international flights into the country after almost six month hiatus.

This time government said the new a date is ‘sacrosanct.’

The earlier date was from August 29 which the Coordinator of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, penultimate week said was not sacrosanct.

According to him, August 29 is not sacrosanct but if aviation authorities meet the criteria for resumption on the 29th, they will be given the green light to resume.

“We are grateful to CACOVID and it’s partners for helping to support this process, because it would help us to expedite action of the airport.

“And if I may clarify, we said from August 29th, we didn’t say on August 29th. So, very similar to what we did for the domestic flights.

“Don’t come back and say that we promised we will open on the 29th, but that date is not sacrosanct; but we will work towards it.

“We will seriously try and deliver it but from the 29th as far as the PTF is concerned, if aviation comes to us and say they are ready from the 29th, we will say please go ahead. If they come back on the 28th, it is too early.”

Director-General of the NCAA, Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, revealed the new date during a Presidential Task Force COVID-19 briefing in Abuja today.

He said while airlines and airports were ready to operate, other non-aviation logistics prompted the one-week extension.

“We have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on, mostly the COVID-19 protocol tests and online platform,” he said. “We need to get this ready.”

Nuhu described September 5 as a “sacrosanct date”, noting that “the initial announcement was anytime from the 29th.”

“In due course, we will be announcing the protocols for the resumptions and we will be giving further details,” he said. “Hopefully early next week, we will release this.”

While many of the international airlines were yet to meet the guidelines laid down by the aviation regulatory body, few others have complied.

This much was revealed by the Director-General of the NCAA at a webinar hosted last week which shows that the carriers needed to meet with all aviation security guidelines and other air transportation regulations before they can be allowed to operate into the country.

The NCAA had in March announced the closure of all five international airports in the country to curb further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) into the country.

However, after a five-month hiatus, Virgin Atlantic will be welcoming customers back on-board as it makes a return back to Lagos on September 10, 2020.

A statement from the carrier said to ensure the health and safety of customers and crew, Virgin Atlantic is implementing additional measures to offer peace of mind in the airport and when taking to the skies.

These include enhanced and thorough cleaning practices at check in, boarding gates and on-board including the use of electrostatic spraying of high-grade disinfectant in all cabins and lavatories before every flight, ensuring no surface is left untouched.

Safe distancing will also be adhered to wherever possible, and mask wearing will be required throughout the journey.

All customers will be provided with a personal Health Pack for their health and safety, which will contain three medical grade face masks to be worn on-board, surface wipes and hand gel.

 

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