Nigeria: Govt Orders International Airports Closed for 4 Weeks, but Exemptions Exist

24 March 2020

Lagos — All International airports in Nigeria have finally shut down 12:00 a.m Tuesday for four weeks as directed by the Federal Government as a measure to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has however listed exemptions which include flights for humanitarian delivery, medical, technical and safety reasons.

This was approved by the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika.

The Minister confirmed in a statement on his Twitter handle (@hadisirika), saying, "All Int'l Airports remain closed for 4 weeks as said, except for Aircraft in distress and overflights."

Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu in a letter to operators informed them of the decision of the government to shut the airports to international operations.

In the letter, Nuhu reads: "Further to our earlier letter on restriction of international flights into Nigeria, we wish to confirm the following are considered Essential Flights:

a. Aircraft in State of emergency

b. Over flights

c. Operations related to humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights

d. Alternate aerodromes identified in the flight plan (including those being used for extended diversion time operations

e. Technical stop where passengers do not disembark

f. Cargo flights

g. Other safety related operations."

The update by NCAA added: "With exception of aircraft in a state of emergency, request for approval for other flights is required and shall be addressed to, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika."

It is in line with this exemption that Ethiopian Airlines would deliver some medical items to Nigeria today. The items including sanitizers, masks, among others were donated to Africa by Jack Ma Foundation.

Meanwhile, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said although all international flight operations have been suspended, passengers can still travel within Nigeria unhindered.

"We also use this opportunity to request all Passengers and other stakeholders to adhere strictly to all travel instructions and guidance in the interest of all," spokesperson of the authority, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said.

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