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Turkish Airlines Extends Flight Cancelations Until Late May



by Jay Singh

Turkish Airlines will not operate any commercial flights until May 28th. The Star Alliance carrier has been forced to extend its grounding, citing public health issues. This extended suspension is also indicative of the lack of major international travel demand, likely to continue to the end of May, or longer.

Extension Of Flight Suspensions
>The Situation In Turkey

Turkey itself is facing a major spike in the number of coronavirus cases. On April 28th, the country reported over 114,000 cases of the virus, with just under 3,000 deaths.

Beyond the situation in Turkey, Turkish Airlines has one of the most extensive route networks in the world. As a result, the carrier has to face many different government restrictions when it comes to allowing flights and foreign passengers. In addition, even when government restrictions are lifted, there is no guarantee that passengers are planning on flocking back to Turkish Airlines as quickly as they stopped traveling.

Grounded Turkish Airlines Fleet

 Some passengers are concerned about flying internationally again. Why did Turkish Airlines extend the suspension?

While Turkish Airlines has suspended flights through May 28th, it is likely that this suspension could be extended beyond the end of May. Another global carrier, Emirates, is expecting a July return to operations. However, US carriers are a little more optimistic, with the three major carriers resuming international flights starting from May. Although, even that may end up changing.

 The suspension may be extended if travel demand remains low.
However, the situation at Turkish Airlines is not exactly the same as the big three US carriers. For one, the US airlines are likely resuming some international flights knowing there will be limited passenger travel but expecting to fill the hold with cargo adding some semblance of profitability. Turkish Airlines, however, has a dedicated fleet of cargo aircraft that can facilitate the movement of vital goods.

 Turkish Cargo is flying freight all around the world while passenger operations remain suspended.

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COVID-19: Nigeria Bans Flights From India, Brazil and Turkey



Reduces PCR Test to 72 Hours from 96 Hours

…To Fine Airline $3,500 For Each Defaulting Passenger

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19,  has reduced the COVID–19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for all Nigeria-bound passengers from 96  to 72 hours.

This is just as the Committee also stated that PCR test results older than 72 hours before departure shall not be accepted;

The Committee came to this conclusion after due consideration and agreed to implement these  protocols as it concerns Brazil, India and Turkey.

According to the Committee non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents, who visited Brazil, India or Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria, adding that this regulation, however, does not apply to passengers who transited through these countries.

The  Committee said that the following measures shall apply to airlines and passengers, who fail to comply with I and II(a) above:
Airlines, it said  shall mandatorily pay a penalty of $3,500 for each defaulting passenger while non-Nigerians will be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at cost to the Airline.

A statement signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/ Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19,Mr. Boss  Mustapha, explained that Nigerians and those with permanent resident permit who visited Brazil, India or Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria shall be made to undergo seven  days of mandatory quarantine in a Government approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at cost to the passenger.

The following condition , he said shall apply to such passengers within 24 hours of arrival shall take a COVID-19 PCR test. adding that if positive, the passenger shall be admitted within a government-approved treatment centre, in line with National treatment protocols.

If Negative, the passenger shall continue to remain in quarantine and made to undergo a repeat PCR test on day 7 of their quarantine.
Mustapha said that passenger(s) arriving in Nigeria from other destinations must observe a 7-day self-isolation at their final destination.

The passenger shall carry out a COVID-19 PCR test on day 7 at selected laboratory. and shall be monitored for compliance to isolation protocol by appropriate authorities.

The Committee warned that passenger(s) who provided false or misleading contact information will be liable to prosecution while person(s) who willfully disregard or refuse to comply with directions of Port-Health staff, security agencies or evade quarantine shall be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

“State Governments are required to ensure that all returning travelers from ALL countries are monitored to ensure adherence to the mandatory seven-day self-isolation period and the repeat COVID-19 PCR test on the seventh day after arrival.

“We urge members of the public to adhere to all COVID-19 preventive measures in place including adherence to the national travel protocol, proper use of face mask, regular hand washing and physical distancing.

“This travel advisory shall come into effect from TUESDAY 4TH day of May 2021. The guidelines provided in this document shall be subject to review after an initial period of 4 weeks,” the Committee said.

The Committee said that its action is part of effort to continue to safeguard the health of the Nigerian population, as well as to minimize the risk of a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the Presidential Steering Committee carried out a risk assessment of countries with high incidence of cases.

The risk assessment, according to the Committee  took into consideration the epidemiology of cases, prevalence of variants of concern and average passenger volume between Nigeria and each country among other indicators.

It stated that of the countries assessed, this interim travel advisory applies to three countries in the first instance and that these precautionary measures are a necessary step to minimize the risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases introduced to Nigeria from other countries, while national response activities continue.

It  advised Nigerians to avoid any non-essential international travels to any country at this period and specifically to countries that are showing rising number of cases and deaths.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 said it has over the last few weeks been monitoring with concern, the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in several countries, with additional focus on countries with high incidence, fatality rate and widespread prevalence of variants of concern.

The Government of Nigeria, the Committee  deeply empathizes with the citizens and governments of these countries and assures them of our commitment, unflinching support and solidarity at this time of need

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NAMA logo

In a bid to boost capacity and efficiency of air traffic management in the country the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has obtained licenses for 24 newly recruited air traffic control officers from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Organization (NCAA) after successfully undergoing the necessary training and examination on Aerodrome and Approach Control.

The new air traffic controllers are currently being posted to strategic aerodromes in the country according to their need.

In the same vein the agency has also recertified a total of 30 air traffic controllers in different categories air traffic control including Terminal Approach Radar, Area Procedural Control and Area Surveillance Control after passing the required proficiency/rating tests and certified mentally fit in line with Annex 1 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and part II of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR).

Making this disclosure in a statement, the Managing Director of NAMA Capt. Fola Akinkuotu recalled that from year 2020 to date, the agency recertified a total of 194 air traffic controllers in addition to their periodic training and retraining, targeted at keeping them up to speed with latest skills and technology in air traffic management to ensure they remain competitive with their peers globally.

The NAMA helmsman also revealed that in order to reduce delays and congestion in the nation’s airspace the agency has commenced the construction of Aerodrome and Approach Control simulator at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos as a pilot project to be replicated in Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.

Akinkuotu who noted that the safety of the Nigerian airspace remained a cardinal goal of the agency also enjoined air traffic controllers to continue putting in their best in order to justify government’s huge investment in building critical infrastructure as well as capacity of personnel

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Azman Air on Course to Resume Operations Soon- NCAA



Azman Air, a privately-owned airline, is following guidelines of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to advance standard in its operations, Mr Sam Aderogboye, NCAA General Manager, Public Relation, has said.

Aderogboye made this known on Thursday in Abuja during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The general manager said the airline had significantly fulfilled the recommendation made by NCAA following a series of incidents involving Azman Air Boeing 737 Aircraft.

He said considering Section 35 (2) of Civil Aviation Act, 2006, and Part (A) of Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015, NCAA suspended operations of all Boeing 737 aircraft in Azman’s fleet.

He added that the suspension was with immediate effect from March 15, 2021, till date.

According to him, the suspension is to enable the authorities conduct an audit of the airline to determine the root causes of the incidents, and recommend corrective actions to forestall re-occurrence.

“NCAA regrets the inconvenience this action may cause to the public, particularly to Azman air passengers, but the need to ensure the safety of air transport and protect the public interest cannot be compromised.

“NCAA will continue to ensure compliance with its regulations in the interest of safety and will view any violation(s) seriously,“ he said.

In a related development during an interview NAN, a top rank Official of Azman Air , who pleaded anonymity, said the airline was responding to issues raised by NCAA.

According to him, NCAA is happy with the level of compliance the airline had undergone during the suspension to maintain standard in the aviation industry.

“We stopped on 15th march. NCAA suspended us due to incidences that concurrently happened, and they decided to conduct an audit on our operations.

“We are responding to all issues raised by NCAA, right now we are conducting some refreshers training, we almost closed all gaps highlighted, we assure you that we will come back stronger and better.

“NCAA are delighted with our responses as stated by NCAA Director General last week. Though, we are on top of situations when it comes to maintenance but the questioned incidences occurred naturally,“ he said. (NAN)

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