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Local Airlines May Resume Operations On June 21

Local airlines in Nigeria may resume operations on 21 June, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has said on Monday during a media briefing.

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The PTF led by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said the aviation sector will start developing protocols for domestic flights to possibly resume from June 21.

Speaking on Monday at the daily briefing of the presidential task force for COVID-19, Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, said industry stakeholders should start developing protocols towards flight resumption.

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“The aircrafts have been parked for three months, we have to ensure that within now and that time, these aeroplanes are good and safe to fly, The maintenance for aircrafts is either usage or calendar time,” he said.

Sirika also explained that pilots and other members of the cabin crew would be required to undergo medicals and license renewed ahead of resumption.

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Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator of the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 said: “When we say from June 21, we mean that we are preparing the aviation sector towards that date. That date may not necessarily be June 21, it could be June 26, 28 or even July 1”.

“It depends on whether or not they are prepared. So we are giving them a time frame of three weeks to start preparing for domestic flights.

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“Once we open up the skies to domestic flights then we would have to review the arrangements regarding interstate travel because you cannot have a ban on interstate travel and you have people flying from one state to another.

“We are giving an opportunity for the aviation sector that is heavily regulated to make sure that they start getting their acts together so that airports open up in a safe way.”

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Passengers would be required to wear masks or face shields, maintain physical distancing.

He said airports would also have to mark areas to reflect the new way of life while also ensuring clean surfaces.

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On the resumption of international flights, Sirika said the federal government would be receiving standards from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) before the end of the day to help reach a decision.

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