The Federal Government of Nigeria has impounded an aircraft owned by a British company for conducting commercial flights into Nigeria without approval.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, revealed this on Sunday via his Twitter handle, @hadisirika.
He stated that the company, Flair Aviation, was authorised to conduct humanitarian flights but was caught operating commercial flights.
Sirika explained that in addition to the confiscated aircraft, a “maximum penalty” would be imposed on the company for the contravention of FG’s ban on commercial flights as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“COVID-19. Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably, we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous! The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve,” the minister tweeted.
COVID-19. Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous! The craft is impounded, crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!🇳🇬
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) May 17, 2020
Nigeria’s airports and airspace were shut in March following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Commercial flight operations, both local and international, had stopped forthwith but the President’s directive allowed the operation of essential flights including those for medical and evacuation purposes, amongst others, which are subject to the authorisation of the Federal Ministry of Aviation and agencies under it.
On May 6, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced that the closure of the country’s airports and airspace were further extended by four weeks after due deliberations with experts.