Coronavirus: Nigerian government considers October as resumption for international flights

Nigerian Government is now considering reopening of its airports for international flights in, or before, October, following long time closure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe.

Penpushing reports that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said  on his verified Twitter account, that the government is yet to name the date for the reopening of international air flights “but this may come earlier than October.”

The minister assured that international flights would restart in the country despite the ban placed on Nigeria by Europe and the United Arab Emirates, adding that the date for the resumption would be announced after consultation with necessary stakeholders including the ministries of health and foreign affairs and the Presidential Task Force on coronavirus.

“International Flight resumption date is not October. NAMA just issued a routine 90-day Notices to Airmen. In liaison with Health, Foreign Affairs, and PTF COVID-19, we will announce the agreed date, regardless of the ban by Europe, UAE, etc. may be earlier than October,” he tweeted.

Penpushing recalled that President Muhammad Buhari had in March ordered the suspension of international flights to curb the influx of imported cases of the virus in the country, while the country reopened its airports for domestic flights earlier this month, it extended the shutdown of international flights which was billed for August.

The Nigerian government has been under pressure to lift the ban on international flights after 30 per cent traffic was reportedly recorded a week after resumption of domestic flights, while the tour operators and travel management companies, considered to be  the hardest hit by the airport closure, are groaning about the cumulative loss incurred as a result of the continuous cessation of international flights.

Penpushing further reports that, Sirika, had said that the country’s aviation sector had been losing N24 billion monthly since the outbreak of the virus in the country,while it is on record that  the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Nigeria risks losing 124,000 aviation jobs, which could amount to losing about $900 million in GDP.

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