The Federal Government has announced that the civil aviation authorities will determine the resumption of domestic flights in the country.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, revealed this during a briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
Aliyu had earlier said that “the aviation industry is requested to start developing protocols to allow for domestic flights to resume anytime from the 21st of June onwards.”
However, while giving an update on Thursday, he noted that the PTF was yet to receive any update from the aviation sector on its preparedness to restart commercial flight operations.
The national coordinator said, “What we said to the aviation authorities is; you need to let us know from the 21st of June onwards if you are ready to start opening the skies. We didn’t say 21st of June skies open.
“We gave them a window of three weeks to prepare and I believe they are still preparing. We did not ask them for updates on how things are going but we expect them to get back to us.
“The aviation industry is highly regulated. There are certain things they have to do before they start flying such as retraining of pilots, recalibrating the aircraft, and ensuring safety at the airports to make sure people are safe.
“We don’t have an update on that yet but we expect them to come to us by the 21st of June. If they come back to us by the 21st of June and they say, ‘we are ready’, we will open the skies for domestic travellers and that’s when we will address the issue of interstate restrictions and curfew but at the moment, there is no plan right now to say, 21st of June, here we go. It’s aspirational if anything.”
Nigeria’s airports and airspace were shut in March by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
Commercial flights, both local and international, were stopped immediately but the President’s directive allowed the operation of essential flights including those for medical and evacuation purposes.