Domestic flight operations in Nigeria have resumed after the federal government on Monday announced the opening of all airports in the country.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who announced this in Abuja at Monday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, however, noted that operators flying into private- owned airports must know the status of such airports.
In July, the Federal Government opened 14 airports managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, after shutting the facilities for several months in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. Sirika had stated that other airports would be opened as soon as they met the safety protocols required to curb the spread of the virus. Speaking at the PTF briefing on Monday, the minister said approvals for flights within the country would not be needed from the ministry again, as all airports had been opened for domestic operations. He said, “All airports in Nigeria are now open for domestic flights, including those that are for private charter operations.
“They (operators) will no longer need approvals from us to operate domestically within government-owned airports. However, for the private airports, operators should check their safety status with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.“Such airports are Jalingo, Uyo, Asaba, Gombe, Nasarawa, Damaturu, Osubi, etc. So you don’t need any approval from the minister, but you should check the status of these airports with the NCAA.”
On international chartered flights, Sirika said approvals would be needed.
He said, “All flights out of the country that are private charter will still need approvals for those kind of flights, including technical stops.“So with this, it means that the approvals that are sent via the NCAA, NAMA and myself will cease and if there is any change, it will be so advised accordingly.” Sirika further explained that the government’s approval to certain international carriers to start operating into Nigeria was based on the carrying capacity of the country’s airports at present.
He said the decision was a collective one taken by the PTF, adding that the non-approval of some other airlines was not to cause any diplomatic hiccup between Nigeria and other countries.