The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on Thursday explained why the Federal Government postponed the earlier announced date for international flights resumption.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had said international airports in the country would reopen effective August 29 to resume international flight operations.
But speaking at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 in Abuja on Thursday, NCAA Director-General, Capt Musa Nuhu, said there were non-aeronautical logistics that needed to be put in place before the country’s airspace is opened to international flights.
Nuhu said, “Since the announcement by the honourable minister of aviation a few weeks ago that international flights will resume anytime from 29th of August, the aviation sector has worked assiduously to be ready for this date.
“The aviation sector including the airports is ready to resume on the 29th. However, we have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on mostly to do with the Covid-19 protocols, tests, and online platforms. We need to get this in place so that we will have a smooth and efficient resumption of international flights without difficulties for all the passengers.
“So, for this reason, unfortunately, I have to let you know that the resumption date has been shifted by one week to the 5th of September which is now a sacrosanct date. The initial announcement was anytime from August 29. Now we have fixed a date – 5th of September to ensure that resumption of international flights.
“In due course, once these logistics are done, we will be announcing the protocols for the resumption and also we will be giving further details on the principle of reciprocity we have mentioned. So, hopefully early next week, we will release this.”
The country’s airspace and airports had been shut in March to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic but the FG on July 8 opened the airspace and airports for domestic flight operations.