The long-awaited partial reopening of Nigeria’s international airspace to commercial flights starts September 5, according to the country’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
Nigeria is partially opening up the airspace after over five months of COVID-19-induced lockdown. While making announcing the decision, the minister unveiled a long list of approved and unapproved airlines for the take-off. He also released comprehensive guidelines for passengers wishing to board Lagos or Abuja-bound aircraft to check escalation of the COVID-19 situation in Nigeria.
In line with the standard protocols, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), has officially notified foreign airlines and the civil aviation community of the flight resumption.
Though the global community welcomed the development, they urged the Nigerian government and its counterparts in Africa to cooperate and collectively reopen all borders for improved connectivity and faster recovery of the aviation sector.
GOVERNMENT had, after five months of the lockdown, announced that international flights operations into Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, would resume on August 29. But 24 hours before the resumption, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 team further shifted the take-off by one week.
The early phase of the ‘new normal’ would permit only a maximum of 1,280 arriving passengers or four flights per day at each of the airports. Already, more than 15 airlines have expressed readiness to resume international flight operations.
As a mark of readiness, the apex regulatory body, NCAA, confirmed that it had issued a circular to all aviation stakeholders and the foreign airlines flying into Nigeria.
This development is expected to help in restoring economic activities in Africa’s largest economy, which has been badly hit by the pandemic-induced shutdown.