The country may tentatively reopen for domestic fights by June 21, but must consider first the “technical and health” measures before flights reopen, aviation minister Hadi Sirika has said.

“On the technical aspect, the aircraft themselves that have been parked for about three months not being run, we have to ensure that within now and not time these airplanes are good and safe to fly,” he said at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 in Abuja. 

“The maintenance for aircraft is either usage or calendar time whichever comes first and the protocols to storages of such craft either for short time for a long time or whoever, that is being done now so the airline industry needs to be able to bring those machines to safe operations. The issues that affect also the flight crews and the cabin crews there are highly regulated. 

“They are all licensed to carry out their functions. 

“This license may fall due for recurrency and to get them back to currency and that is extremely very important for safe operations within the period we’re developing the house to get them to be able to come and get their license is valid for  the operations,” Sirika said.

He added that there are also the issues of medicals that every pilot has a medical license or medical permit the states that are physically fit and well enough to carry out safe operations within this period so don’t fall short and they need to do their medicals and so on and so forth.

On the health side, the minister said there is how the passenger will ensure they are wearing a mask, has a face shield, physical distancing, clean surfaces, getting the airport back to accept this new culture, a new way.

But the country will have to wait for suggestions, practices of standards from the International Civil Organisation of Aviation before reopening for non-domestic flights.

He said some countries definitely will run faster than others but that huge countries with huge populations and huge division activity such as Nigeria will definitely needs caution, will need us to reflect on safety and efficiency of the industry.

He said, “Then the private jets wanting us to short circuit the system by which we are given approval for flights. Certainly, it is not for anybody who has money to fly on the private jet from Kano to Lagos or Port Harcourt no, we still maintain and insist that it must be either for health reasons, for humanitarian mention, Finance, oil and gas, power and agriculture.

‘These are the ones that we will allow to fly even on private jets, it is not just any individual.”



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