COVID-19: Aviation Minister Says International Flights Will Resume When It Is Safe

Hadi Sirika OnoBello

On Monday July 27, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 gave a press briefing in Abuja and during the exercise, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika stated that efforts are being made to review the ban imposed on international flights in the country.

According to him, the government was planning to reopen the airports for international flights as soon as possible but would do so at a time considered to be safe.

The Minister said, “Certainly, aviation is the worst hit in this (pandemic). There must be passenger movements, especially international passenger for us to be able to survive… so, we want to open more than you want to open.”

“But this is subject to so many factors and all of the sacrifices the aviation is making is in the interest of the public; in the interest of all of us to stay safe,” he explained.

“So, therefore, the government will not abdicate its responsibility of ensuring that all of us stay safe. We definitely will open. We will open very soon when everything seems to be okay and is safe.”

Sirika lamented that the closure of the airports for international fights has seriously affected the aviation sector as employers were struggling to pay salaries.

He noted that effort towards the resumption of international flights was not just the work of the sector but some Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) have various roles to play.

The minister explained that the purpose of the delay was to identify the best way to ensure that the people were not exposed to the risk of contracting the disease. He said, “If it is us, we will open yesterday because when we open, the ministry will make more money, we will be able to carry on our activities, we will pay our salaries and provide the service.

“We know that some people are cut away from their families, they are cut away from their businesses but this is an act of God; so please bear with the situation, we are very responsible people and we will open when it is the right time to open and I am sure it will be sooner than later.”

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