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FG Approves Resumption Of Domestic Flights, As Fare Hike Expected

…Allows Inter-state Movement Within curfew Hours..

The Federal Government has approved the resumption of domestic flights in the country and has said a hike in flight fare was inevitable in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic contrary to the Minister of Aviation’s declaration a week ago that there would be no fare increase.

This is as government has also lifted the ban placed on interstate travels with effect from July 1, provided such journeys are made outside curfew hours.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made these known while responding to a question during the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja

Mustapha said those in the aviation sector are in business for profit explaining that with the protocol on social distancing, airlines will be expected to fly fewer number of passengers.

He noted that operators will have to share the cost in view of present situation with their passengers.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika with some members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 during their inspection of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos on Saturday

National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu had earlier announced domestic flight operations is now allowed to open in Nigeria after a satisfactory assessment of the industry’s readiness for restart.

According to him, domestic operations are allowed to open as soon as practicable but in line with existing international and local guidelines on covid-19.

He emphasized that passengers must arrive the airport 3 hours before flights to observe all the health protocols put in place by the airport authority.

“You must observe social distance, wear a face masks, wash your hands, sanitize it, your luggage must be disinfected, temperature taking and so on.”

It would be recalled that the Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, on company of some members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, and officials of the Ministry of Aviation and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and other agencies, conducted a restart simulation at both the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos on Saturday where they all expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness to resume services.

On the lift of the ban placed on interstate travels with effect from July 1, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed that movement was possible provided such journeys are made outside curfew hours.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, disclosed that the latest developments were contained in the task force’s fifth interim report which was submitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), earlier in the day.

Mustapha said, “I am pleased to inform you that Mr President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 through Midnight of Monday, 27 July, 2020.

“Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect:

“Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator; Permission of movement across state borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;“Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places.”

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