Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika on Monday listed some conditions which are currently being considered before the final reopening of domestic flights following weeks of lockdown as a result of Coronavirus pandemic.
These fresh conditions were listed at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
Sirika said following the directive of the Federal Government for domestic flights to prepare to resume operations June 21, technical and health factors will be considered.
“Regarding the tentative date for reopening of domestic flights from the 21st of June, the explanation is that this is an industry that is highly regulated, it borders on safety and efficiency.
“On the technical aspect, there are aircraft that have been parked for a few months and not been run. We want to ensure that between now and that time, these airplanes are good and safe to fly.
“The maintenance for aircraft is either usage or calendar time and there are protocols to the use of such aircraft. So, the airline industry needs to be able to bring those machines to safe operations,” he said.
On the issue of flight crews and carrier, the minister added that efforts are being made to ensure that they get their license valid again for operations. He further explained that the medical aspect also needs to be considered as every pilot has a license which must state that he is fit and able to carry out operations.
According to the Aviation Minister, even the airport needs to be prepared to adopt the new way of life which must reflect social distancing.
“Even the airport where all of these activities will be done needs to be prepared to get ready to accept this new way of air travel,” Sirika said
The Minister concluded that, although the aviation sector is the worst hit by the COVID-19 lockdown, caution must be taken to ensure reopening in a very orderly and organized manner, “so that we will achieve the intent and purpose of air travel which is safety, efficiency, and security.”