Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos

Minister reels off conditions for airports reopening in Nigeria

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the Nigerian economy is gradually set to rebound sequel to several weeks of lockdowns, Hadi Sirika, Honourable Minister for Aviation, has reeled off some conditions currently being considered before the final reopening of domestic flights across the country.

ConsumerConnect reports that Sirika, who itemised the conditions for the reopening at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, in Abuja, FCT, said that following the directive of the Federal Government for domestic flights to prepare to resume operations June 21, 2020, technical and health factors would be considered.

“Regarding the tentative date for reopening of domestic flights from 21st of June, the explanation is that, this is an industry that is highly regulated, it borders on safety and efficiency.

“On the technical aspect, there are aircraft that have been parked for a few months and not been run. We want to ensure that between now and that time, these aeroplanes are good and safe to fly,” stated the Minister.

According to him, “the maintenance for aircraft is either usage or calendar time, and there are protocols to the use of such aircraft.

“So, the airline industry needs to be able to bring those machines to safe operations.”

As regards flight crews and carrier crew, Sirika stressed that efforts are being made to ensure that they get their licences valid again for operations.

The medical aspect also needs to be considered as every pilot has a licence which must state that he is fit and able to carry out operations, the Minister disclosed.

He emphasised that even the airport needs to be prepared to adopt the new way of life which must reflect physical distancing.

“Even the airport where all of these activities will be done needs to be prepared to get ready to accept this new way of air travel,” Sirika stated.

The aviation sector, he added, is the worst hit by the COVID-19 lockdowns, but caution must be taken to ensure reopening in a very orderly and organised manner, “so that we will achieve the intent and purpose of air travel which is safety, efficiency and security.”

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