FG ‘may’ lift international travel ban before October 2020, says Minister

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika said the country would most likely re-open the country’s airspace to international flights earlier than October.

The Minister on his verified Twitter handle @hadisirika said what was earlier announced to be re-opening of airspace to international flights for October 15, 2020 was the routine 90 days Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

Sirika however stated that in liason with Health, Foreign Affairs Ministries and Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic, “We will announce the agreed date, regardless of the ban by Europe, United Arab Emirates, etc. It may be earlier than October”.

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NAMA Nigeria had today  issued NOTAM stating that it is extending closure of international airspace until October 15 instead of August 19 as previously stated.

The NOTAM which is information to all aviation personnel especially to flight operators and others that have roles to play in flight operations clearly stated that, “The Federal Government of Nigeria has extended closure of our airports to all international flights with the exception of aircraft in a state of emergency”.

It further stated that, however, “approval may be requested and granted to over-flights, operations related to humanitarian aids, medical relief flights, alternate aerodrome in the flight plan and also those being used for extended time operations.

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Also allowed are technical landings where passengers do not disembark, cargo flights and other safety related operations.

 

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika

The aviation regulatory body disclosed that request shall be addressed to the Minister of Aviation through hadisirika@gmal.com, while copies should be sent to musa.nuhu@ncaa.gov.ng and MSNAIBI@yahoo.co.uk.

A top official of NCAA who pleaded anonymity confirmed the development to Woleshadarenews in a telephone conversion.

The source who described the action as extension did not disclose the reason for the action.

He said international airports would remain closed until October.

He said there was never a time the Federal Government gave a specific date for reopening the airspace for international flight operations but that the government had previously said the airports would be closed until August.

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He clarified that with this extension, the airspace would remain closed until October and if there was a need to extend the closure, it would be communicated.

This implies that only essential and diplomatic flights would be allowed for now until the airspace is opened for international flight operations.

Wole Shadare