The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has expressed optimism that flight operations would soon resume at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja; Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt Airport, Choba, Rivers State.

Recall that on March 13, the Federal Government had shut all airports, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

Giving the updates at a virtual event organised by the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, ART, on Saturday, the NCAA Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the decision to commence flight operations at the aforementioned airports was to avoid chocking the system.

According to him, NCAA had consulted with representatives of airlines and ground handling companies before forwarding a proposal to the Minister of Aviation for approval.

“We may resume domestic operations with four or five airports and we hope to expand as we get better. We don’t want to rush everything at the same time and get it choked up.

“Every money is important and we cannot achieve the two-meter physical distance. We are hopeful in the next few days we can resolve those issues and allow the airlines to commence operations.

“We have made our suggestion and recommendations and we are awaiting feedback from the Ministry of Aviation,” Mr Nuhu noted.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Air Peace, Allen Onyema, urged the government to provide intervention for local carriers, saying that the gesture would enable the airliners retain their staff.

Mr Onyema said: “The world is on break and nothing is happening. The authorities have reeled out things and these things come with a huge cost.  How will airlines manage them and still be able to pay about 37 charges.

“I do not want free money that I cannot account for. This is not an opportunity to ask for money to buy new planes.

“In fact, intervention should be for the work force. I have over 3, 000 staff members at Air Peace. These people’s livelihood are endangered and we must do everything possible to keep their jobs.

 “We should be asking the government for specific things that would help retain jobs. Job retention should be first and foremost.”

DN

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