Africa’s most populous country Nigeria has effective 5 September resumed international flights. Only two airports are currently permitted to offer international service as the country reopens in a phased manner.
“Glad to announce the resumption of international flights from the 29th of August, 2020. Beginning with Lagos and Abuja as we did with the domestic flight resumption. Protocols and procedures will be announced in due course. We thank you for your patience.” Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika announced through his Twitter feed in August.
However, the initial reopening was deferred to early September due to technical reason as explained by Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Director General Musa Nuhu. “The aviation industry including the airports is ready to resume on the 29th. However, we have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on mostly to do with the Covid-19 protocols, tests, and online platforms. We need to get this in place so that we will have a smooth and efficient resumption of international flights without difficulties for all the passengers.”
“The initial announcement was anytime from August 29. Now we have fixed a date – 5th of September to ensure that resumption of international flights,” Captain Nuhu added.
Countries have been releasing list of nations whose citizens will be allowed into their countries as a Covid19 screening measure. The same measure has been used to temporarily ban airlines registered into those countries.
Nigeria said it will use the principle of reciprocity in granting traffic rights to airlines on the Nigerian routes. “If you ban us from coming to your country, the same will apply the other way,” said Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said in a recent press statement.
“Nigeria will enforce the principle of reciprocity in granting permission to airlines to resume operations in the country as it opens its airspace. What it means is that only airlines from countries that allow flights from Nigeria will be allowed to fly into and out of the country,” the statement added.
WHO IS SUSPENDED?
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority released a list of the airlines permitted to fly into Nigeria and those that are suspended.
Royal Air Maroc, Air Namibia, South African Airways and TAAG Angola are among the list of airlines suspended from flying into Nigeria. The NCAA gave varying reasons to the suspension.
Some airlines have not been re-issued the foreign operator’s permit but their nationals are permitted to enter into Nigeria on a tourist visa.
Royal Air Maroc, Air Namibia and TAAG Angola are on the suspended list due to the fact that their countries are yet to resume international travel.
South Africa, Africa’s covid19 hot bed is on the list because the country is yet to announce protocols for international travel. Currently South Africa permits domestic travel and repatriation travel.
The resumption of international flights will be done in accordance to health measures put in by the Nigerian Health Ministry, NCAA and international prescribed standards by IATA and ICAO.
Nigeria approved only 1280 incoming passengers to be facilitated at each international airport daily. No limit was gazetted on departing passengers and will be reviewed in the coming weeks.
An initial international flight schedule was released by the NCAA for the two airports and will be review in a phased manner. “Each flight shall carry a maximum of 200 passengers” Captain Nuhu ended.
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