Nigeria: COVID-19 - Nigeria Announces Dates for Resumption of Domestic Flights

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport

The Nigerian government has announced that domestic flights will resume on July 8.

Nigeria shut its airports to non-essential flights in March, to check the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced the new dates for resumption of flights on Wednesday.

According to a press statement signed by the Ministry of Aviation's spokesperson, James Odaudu, Mr Sirika also disclosed that only the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos will commence operations on July 8.

The Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Maiduguri airports will reopen to flights on July 11, while other airports across the country will join on the July 15.

The minister had last month during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, announced that domestic flights will resume June 21.

The date was later postponed. The postponement was announced by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu.

Representing the minister at the briefing, Mr. Nuhu said the aviation industry "is trying not to be a vector for the mass transmission of the COVID-19 virus."

"The aviation system is a very complex system and this complex system has been compounded by the public healthcare concept which the aviation sector is not used to implementing.

"Now, we have to develop and implement these systems to ensure that the aviation industry is not a vector for mass transmission of the coronavirus," he said.

Wednesday's announcement means domestic flights will now resume July 8.

International flights still suspended

Mr. Sirika said passengers looking to travel out of the country will have to wait a bit longer as the dates for the restart of international flights into and out of the country will be announced later.

He thanked stakeholders in the aviation industry and the Nigerian public who have had to cope with the adverse effects of the flight suspension for their perseverance and cooperation in ensuring a successful return of operations at the nation's airports.

"Passengers are highly advised to follow all the safety guidelines and protocols put in place to ensure that the airports don't become channels of infection for the dreaded coronavirus," he said.

He assured that the government will do all within its powers to ensure a rapid recovery of the aviation industry.

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