Resumption of domestic flights on June 21 no longer possible – FG

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The Federal Government has explained why domestic flights will no longer resume operation from June 21.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had proposed June 21 for resumption of domestic flights.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, however stated on Thursday during the PTF briefing that the proposed resumption date was no longer.

He stated more works must be done before flights can resume, adding it would be disastrous to keep the June 21 date.

He also explained that a new date would be fixed after report is submitted the Task Force for review next week.

Giving an update on the level of preparedness of the aviation sector to resume domestic flight, the Minister who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, highlighted reasons why the date was no longer feasible.

He said: “We developed a circular and sent to all stakeholders to develop a restart plan and submit to the regulatory body for review and approval depending on the business of the service providers.

“The restart plan is meant to cover airworthiness, operations, passenger licencing, aviation security, safety management system, consumer protection, and air transport regulation. These are the regulatory technical requirement but most importantly, the COVID-19 protocols under the public health corridor concept.

“This public health corridor concept was developed in collaboration with federal health authorities including federal ministry of health, NCDC and Port Health services in addition to guidelines from the World Health Organisation (who) and other international organisations.

“Currently, a lot of service providers have provided their restart plans and the plans are supposed to be reviewed by NCAA; the regulator of the industry.

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“We are going to review the documents and if we are happy with the documents, then we will go to each individual organization to verify what they have given as their restart plan.

“A lot of work has been done and a lot of the service providers have provided good documents while some provided inadequate documents and their documents were sent back to them significant progress has been made but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

On why the proposed date was no longer possible, he said: “The aviation system is a very complex system and this complex system has been compounded by the public health care concept which a lot of the aviation the 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.

“It is also our responsibility to ensure that operations are safe and secure. The industry has been grounded for close to three months now and we have to ensure that all aircraft are checked, they are airworthy, all pilots will have to check their proficiency and ensure that they are update, we have to ensure our security at the airports are up to date and so many other areas.”

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About Samuel Abasiekong 904 Articles
Samuel Abasiekong, Senior Journalist, Newspaper Publisher, Author of many literature text books, French-English, English-French languages Translator and Interpreter, Multi-sectoral Counsellor & Consultant, National Convener of National Public Interest Group - NPIG, Secretary Uyo Division of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, News Editor & Reporter @ 9News Nigeria

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