FG fine tunes bailout grey areas for aviation as six airlines cross airworthiness mark


  • 20 firms submit COVID-19 restart plan
  • Demuren seeks simulation before airport reopening

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika has disclosed that the much talked about palliative for airlines and the entire industry is ready, stressing that the only thing left is the template to adopt that would be fair to everybody.

Sirika spoke in a Webinar entitled, “Nigerian Aviation Stakeholders Rub Minds On ‘Status Of Industry Restart’

In his remark while addressing over 300 participants drawn from airlines, aviation agencies, aviation ground handling companies and other support services, the Minister said the whole purpose of the exercise was to get it right, hinting that was necessary for all stakeholders to come together, marry ideas and suggestions for the betterment of the aviation industry.

His words: “Palliative is being considered and it is for the whole industry. There will be a template and it would be fair to everyone in the industry.”

He further assured stakeholders that their input would be implemented by the government, adding that   nothing will go to the government unless it is something that is collectively agreed upon.

The Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu stated that the industry needs to work together to achieve common goal.

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Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika

  “We have 11 recommendations and we have reviewed the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)’s recommendations. The guideline is going to reflect our last meeting with airlines””

“On recovery plan, 20 aviation stakeholders have submitted their restart plan so far. We have received from FAAN, plan on Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt; Sam Mbakwe Airport while that of Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja came later,” he said.

Director, Airworthiness Standards of NCAA, Ita Awak revealed that six of the airlines have crossed the mark from the point of view of airworthiness.

According to him, “We have asked all the airlines that they should use only reagents that are approved by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) of their different aircraft types, to disinfect their machines.”

Former Director-General of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren suggested a simulation before the real opening of the airports to passenger traffic, advising that passengers need to be reassured that it is safe to fly.

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His stance was also backed by an aviation consultant, Mr. Chris Aligbe emphasized that the whole exercise is for the passengers and airport users.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Dr. Sanni Aliyu in his submission said the mandate of the task force is to protect public health.

On the opening of the airspace, he said: “We are keen to see aviation sector resume, making sure that airports open in a safe manner.”

He warned stakeholders to be wary of fake Covid-19 entrepreneurs as he assures the industry that ‘PTF will welcome the sector’s submission’ as it concerns the reopening of the industry.

The immediate past National President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA), Mr. Bernard Bankole on measures he thought should be considered said, “Airlines should extend validity of tickets, and it will go a long way.”

He also added that porters and personnel at the carousel and lavatories area should be looked into. Bankole corroborated the stance of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on the discouragement of non-travelling persons inside the terminal.

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Area Manager, West Africa of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dr. Samson Fatokun, while relaying the global airlines’ association stance on the resumption of aviation activities said: ‘We support the operationalisation of the ICAO’ CART by Nigeria.

He warns that airlines will not break-even with proposed 70 per cent load factor just as he called for HEPA filter sanitises air in the cabin of aircraft.

“Air transport in Nigeria is distressed with the shutting down of operations. This industry need financial support in which way it can come. We are appealing again to the government to support the industry. We are also ready to support in training.”

Managing Director of Overland Airways Captain Edward Boyo while throwing his weight in support for palliative said Nigeria should not be different as ‘every country is supporting its industry.

Wole Shadare