The Nigerian government says Domestic flights operations in the country will resume in the next three weeks.
Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika who announced this at Monday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the resumption of flights will be premised on the implementation of the approved protocols for safe operations by the Airlines.
He explained that the three weeks window before the resumption date was to enable the operators adhere to all the necessary industry regulations, without which they cannot fly after being dormant for some time.
”This is because Aviation, unlike other sectors, is a highly regulated one”.
On modalities for the operation of flights when they resume, the Minister said consultations have been on, and would continue between the Ministry and the industry stakeholders on the best ways to operate profitably while at the same time ensuring the safety of travellers.
Senator Sirika cautioned owners of private aircraft in the habit of asking for permits to fly within the country despite the restrictions in place to desist, as the restrictions are still in place, except for those on essential services which have been clearly defined.
According to him, approval for flights on essential services are not paid for, while it takes little or no time to grant such approvals.
Senator Sirika, however warned the people not to allow themselves be scammed by those outside the approving authorities, as the sector under his watch has zero tolerance for corrupt practices since his assumption of office as Minister.
The Minister also expressed gratitude to the stakeholders in the aviation sector for their cooperation in spite of their losses occasioned by the lockdown since March and assured that efforts are being made to ensure a speedy recovery of the sector.
It would be recalled that Flight operations in the country was suspended in March 2020 as one of the measures to control the spread of the Coronavirus Pandemic.