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Nigerian airports not shut to foreign airlines — FG



The federal government has dismissed speculations on the purported closure of Nigerian airports to international flights until the middle of October this year.

This was contained in a statement signed by Khalid Emele, General Manager (Public Affairs) of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA..

The agency noted that “following the receipt of an All Operators Letter (NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/152) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, the agency issued an Aeronautical Information Circular, AIC, titled “Phased Resumption of Domestic Flights” on 7th July 2020 to the effect that Lagos and Abuja airports will open for domestic flight operations on 8th July while Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Maiduguri, and Uyo opens on 11th July and all other airports on 15th July 2020.”

NAMA added that paragraph 9 of the AIC stated that “The closure of Nigerian Airports to all international flights with the exception of emergency and essential flights, and scheduled cargo operations with approved summer schedules, will continue until the date of resumption is approved.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the agency on the 15th July 2020, in line with international standards, issued a 3-month duration NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) (from 15th July to 15th October 2020) stating that the federal government of Nigeria has extended the closure of the nation’s airports to all international flights with the exception of aircraft in a state of emergency,” stressing that approval may be requested and granted to “overflights, operations related to humanitarian aids, medical relief flights, alternate aerodrome in the flight plan and also those being used for extended diversion time operation, technical landings where passengers do not disembark and cargo flights and other safety-related operations.”

The agency, therefore, called on airspace users and the general public to “disregard the misconception being circulated as Nigerian airports will reopen to international flights at any date the federal government, Federal Ministry of Aviation and NCAA consider safe, secure, and appropriate.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said there are chances of international flights taking off and landing in Nigerian airports before October this year.

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In a tweet on his verified twitter handle @hadisirika, on Tuesday, the Minister wrote: “International flight resumption date is not October. NAMA just issued a routine 90 days’ Notice to Airmen, NOTAM. In liaison with Health, Foreign Affairs Ministries, and Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, we will announce the agreed date, regardless of the ban by Europe, United Arab Emirates UAE, etc., maybe earlier than October.”

It would be recalled that the federal government had initially stated it would liaise with the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, other countries and stakeholders in the aviation industry before announcing the date for resumption of international flights.

This is even as the government also premised the delay in the resumption of flights to and from other countries to the ban placed on Nigeria by some countries in a bid to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

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