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Flight Resumption: June 21 Not Feasible, Says NCAA

* Says Agency Not Satisfied With Operators’ Restart Plans

Against widespread expectations for the resumption of domestic flights across the country, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has told Nigerians that the June 21st date was no longer feasible and they may have to wait a bit longer, as the sector is not yet fully ready to reopen.

Director-General of NCAA Capt. Musa Nuhu who stated this on Thursday while responding to questions from Journalists at the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, said that in spite pressures coming from stakeholders, the aviation body will not rush to reopen.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika

The NCAA boss explained that with the reports it has received from operators, it is not yet “feasible” to reopen. He added that the industry had been grounded for over three months, hence the need to ensure that all aircrafts are checked, all pilots assessed, and all security systems put in order.

“The NCAA will not approve the start of operations until we are sure and we confirm that we are ready to start in a safe, secure and organized manner. “To do otherwise would be disastrous for all of us. We are not too far, we are close, but there is need for time for us to ensure that we are ready to start work. “We are going to go to each operator to verify what they have given to us as their restart plan. A lot of the service providers have provided very good documents, while some provided inadequate documents which were sent back to them.

Capt Musa Nuhu
DG, NCAA

“Significant progress has been made but there is still a lot of work to be done. We have to implement systems to ensure that the aviation sector is not a venture for mass transmission of Coronavirus,” he said.

He however gave a ray of hope as he the Agency working with all operators to see the possibility of restarting the industry by the end of June, promising to give an update by the end of next week.

Captain Nuhu further clarified that because Aviation industry is a highly regulated one, Nigeria cannot operate in isolation, which is why the NCAA is working with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Airport Council International to ensure that all regulations and protocols for resumption of flights are fully observed to ensure the safety and security of air travellers.

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