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Airlines can’t resume local flights on June 21- FG

The Federal Government on Thursday said it was not feasible to open the airspace for commercial flights to begin operations again on June 21, 2020.

According to the government, it will be disastrous to allow domestic flights begin operations from June 21. It, however, noted that the airspace might be opened towards the end of the month.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this through the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu, at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

In his address at Thursday’s briefing, Nuhu said, “We never said aviation is going to start definitely on June 21.

“We are supposed to report back based on what we have. We have some work to do and as such June 21 is not a feasible date to resume domestic operations.

“The civil aviation authority, despite pressures coming from all quarters, will not approve the start of operations any day until we are sure and confirm that we are ready to start in a safe, secured, organised and efficient manner.”

He added, “To do otherwise will be disastrous for all of us. God forbid, if we have an incident, I believe the government will come hard on us and it is going to be counter-productive and disastrous for the industry.

“We are not too far; we are close, but there is need for time so that we are positively and absolutely ready to start work.”

On when the airports would open, Nuhu said the NCAA was looking at the end of this month, adding that the agency would submit a report through the Federal Ministry of Aviation to the PTF for review.

The Senate had also on Thursday cautioned the Federal Ministry of Aviation against unlocking the sector on Sunday, saying doing so could be suicidal.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, gave the caution after an emergency meeting with leaders of unions in the sector led by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers.

He said based on serious issues raised by stakeholders in the sector as regards safety and security during the meeting, the plan of unlocking the airspace should be postponed.

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