The Federal Government has granted approval to nine airlines to commence international flights in Nigeria. Speaking at a briefing of the Presidential TaskForce on Thursday, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, confirmed the September 5 as the date for the resumption flights, backing an earlier statement issued by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.
He added that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed International Airport would be opened up for operations.
The minister noted that Air France, KLM, Etihad, RwandAir, Air Namibia, Royal Air Maroc, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines were denied approval to commence flight operations.
He said Cabo Verde and South African airlines were denied approval as international flights were yet to resume in their countries.
Middle East Airline, British Airways, Delta, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Air Peace, Virgin Atlantic, Asky Airlines, Africa World Airways, Air Cote-d’ Ivoire, Kenya Airways, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines were all granted approval to resume.
Sirika said, “Abuja and Lagos will be open for operations on the 5th of September. We are satisfied with the preparations so far. We don’t anticipate any hitches.
“Saturday for Lagos there will be BA, Delta, Emirates, Qatar, AWA, Kenya Airways and Middle East airlines while for Abuja we have BA, EgyptAir, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, AWA, Middle East Airlines and Turkish. And then we will release to you the time table for the remaining days to say time.
“In our decision, we used two items, the foreign carier operating permit which is a requirement by our laws, and the guidelines by the COVID-19 taskforce and other guidelines as restrictions that come from other countries which will affect our operations at home.”
“Now, at this point, it is important that we announce the airlines that are allowed for operations into the country. The ones not approved include Air France. Middle East Airlines is approved for only Lagos. British Airways is approved, allowed entry under Covid-19 protocols.
“The reason for Air France is that tourists business holders are not allowed entry. KLM not approved for the same reason as Air France. Delta Airlines, no restrictions – USA, we have an Open Skies agreement with them and they also allow us in.
“Qatar Airways are allowed and approved under the COVID-19 protocol. Etihad, not approved. Ethiopian Airlines allowed entry under the COVID-19 protocol. EgyptAir approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.
“RwandAir not approved. Air Peace, not applicable, they are our own carrier in Nigeria. We thank them. Virgin Atlantic, approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. Air Namibia, not approved. Asky Airlines, approved. Royal Air Maroc, not approved. African World Airways, Ghana, approved.
“Air Cote-d’Ivoire approved, Lufthansa, not approved, Kenya Airways approved, Emirates airlines approved, Turkish airlines approved, Cabo Verde not applicable as international flights has not resumed. Angola TAAG, not approved, South Africa moved because international flights have not been approved.”
He listed Egypt Air, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, Africa World Airways, Kenya Airways, and Middle East Airlines as airlines permitted to operate into the Lagos airport.
The minister also listed British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian, Africa World Airways, and Middle East Airlines as airlines allowed to operate into the Abuja airport.
Sirika tasked the passengers to take responsibility and obtain all COVID-19 protocols laid down by the PTF, promising to sanction errant passengers and the airlines involved.