The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, says the June 21 date earlier fixed for the reopening of the Aviation sector and commencement of domestic flights is no longer feasible. He said this on Thursday in Abuja at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
He said, “The NCAA will not approve the start of operations until we’re sure and we confirm we’re ready to start in a safe, secure, and organized manner. To do otherwise would be disastrous for all of us”.
Recall, that we stated earlier this week that the Aviation Industry was set to commence operations in the Country. It was also stated that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) issued its guidelines towards reopening.
However, all of these have been placed on hold until further notice. The Federal Government said a lot of work has to be done. In addition, drastic measures had to be put in place to ensure the aviation sector doesn’t aid in transmitting the novel virus.
The DG also said, ”If we open the industry when we’re not ready and we’re guilty of spreading coronavirus, I believe the government will come hard on us and it’s going to be counterproductive and disastrous for the industry”.
However, inputs and support are being received from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the World Health Organisation, The International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the Airport Council International (ACI). Also, the African Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC) are all in full support of the development.
When Is The Newly Proposed Date For The Reopening Of The Sector?
The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, is looking at reopening the sector at best towards the end of this month. Hopefully, by the end of next week. This will likely be done after the DG submits the report to the Presidential Task Force for review.
In a related development, the Senate Committee on Aviation has asked the Federal Government to suspend the planned reopening of the sector. The committee’s chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi, after an emergency meeting with union leaders in the sector said based on issues raised by stakeholders as regards safety and security that the planned resumption of flights should be postponed.
We know the industry is anxious, but to do otherwise will be a great disservice Nigerians. This will probably do more harm than good, as regards containing the spread of COVID-19.