Nigeria to resume international flights in weeks — Minister

FG extends airport closure by four weeks 

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha

 

Nigeria will announce the resumption of international flights anytime soon after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for another four weeks.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this during the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

The extension is the third for the second phase of lockdown currently observed across the country.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika later said flights will resume in weeks, not months.

He didn’t give 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,” Sirika said at the PTF briefing.

Nigeria began to close its airports in March, a month after it confirmed its first coronavirus case. Domestic air travel restarted last month.

The task force had met with President Buhari on Wednesday and briefed him on the progress made so far in containing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping citizens safe from contracting the virus.

Mustapha said the PTF made some recommendations to the President and the extension of the current ease of lockdown was among them.

According to him, the major changes being proposed are aimed at achieving the gradual re-opening of international flights within established parameters, reopening of rail transportation within established parameters, and the granting of permissions to exit classes to resume ahead of examinations.

Under the revised guidelines of the eased lockdown which will be maintained in the next four weeks, the current nationwide curfew from 10pm- 6am still stands.

Also, meetings for government officials and parastatals will continue to hold virtually.

While the ban on entertainment centres will be maintained, restrictions on recreational parks have been lifted for non-contact physical activities.

Passengers arriving for domestic flights can now arrive at least an hour and a half before flight, and three hours before the flight for international travellers.

Mustapha emphasized the need for Nigerians to take responsibility and stop the stigmatization of persons who have contracted, been treated, and have been certified negative for COVID-19.