Nigeria to reopen intl air travel in few weeks- Minister

Nigeria will reopen for international air travel in a matter of weeks, the aviation minister said on Thursday, without giving a specific date for the resumption after months of closure due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

 “It will be in weeks rather than in months,” Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika told a regular briefing in the capital Abuja on coronavirus.

 Nigeria began to close its airports in March, a month after Africa’s most populous country confirmed its first coronavirus case. Domestic air travel restarted last month.



“We must move or fly from one point to another in order for us to remain in business but that is not the case now. So, we really want to open but we can’t open alone”.

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“PTF has set up a technical committee to come up with the state where everybody is happy to start.
“If it were up to us, we won’t even close the airports but we were forced by the virus to close.

“So, we will open as soon as all of us are happy to open and I want to adopt what the national coordinator has said by saying, it will be in weeks rather than in months for international flights to resume.

So please do not blame any of us because we have been putting efforts to ensure we open.

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“We feel your pain and we know that the closure of the airports has separated families and friends and denied some access to hospitals abroad, schools and businesses.

“The continuous closure is not on purpose or punitive, it is just to ensure that we remain safe and healthy and the Government is conscious of this fact and we are all aware of the adverse effect of the closure of the airport.”

Nigeria’s airspace was shut down to both domestic and international flights in March, but domestic operations resumed in July.

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Wole Shadare