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June 21st Date For Resumption Of Flights Not Feasible — Aviation Minister

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Tobi Adebayo 

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said that the June 21 date scheduled for the resumption of domestic flights in the country is not feasible.

Sirika made this known at a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

The minister who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt Musa Nuhu, said, “June 21st is not a feasible date to resume domestic operations.

“The civil aviation authority despite pressures coming from all quarterswill not approve the start any day until we are sure and we confirm that we are ready to start in a safe, secure, organised and efficient manner. To do otherwise is disastrous for all of us.

“If we open the industry when we are not ready, and we are guilty of spreading coronavirus, God forbid we have any incident, I believe the government will come hard on us and it is going to be counterproductive and disastrous for the industry.

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“We are not too far, we are close but there is a need for timing to ensure that we are ready, positively, absolutely ready to start work.

“Authority has been rubbing mind with airlines, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and other stakeholders, adding that feedbacks have been received and concerns are being addressed.

“Inputs are also being received from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the United Nations agency in charge of civil aviation as well as standard and recommended practices for the sector.

“We have to adopt all these, it’s not easy; it’s a very complex process. What I can assure is that, the civil aviation authority will only give a go-ahead when we are ready, nothing further.

“We are looking towards the end of this month. Hopefully, by the end of next week, we will submit a report through the Ministry of Aviation to the Presidential Task Force for review. We know the industry is anxious but to do otherwise will be a great disservice and neglect of our statutory mandate from the government of Nigeria.”

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