[By VICTOR NZE]
Federal Government, through the Ministry of Aviation, has lifted the flight ban earlier placed on international carriers like the Lufthansa, KLM and Air France, as it cleared them to resume operations into the country.
The international airlines were barred from operating into the country for infractions, on the commencement of international flight operations in two airports, the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, as well as the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja in September.
Also Qatar Airways has also been granted approval to start operations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, after a stand-off arising from visa issuance was resolved with the Nigerian Government.
This follows the approval of their respective flight plans and schedules submitted to the Ministry.
In granting the approvals, Minister of jAviation, Senator Sirika harped on the need for airlines operating in the country to employ international best practices in handling Nigerian passengers, as government will not tolerate any form of maltreatment of its citizens by any airline.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Aviation has stated that it was working with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and other relevant bodies to ensure that all the international airports in the country meet all the safety and health requirements and protocols that would enable them resume international flight operations before the end of the year.
A statement issued by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, quoted Sirika as saying that efforts are being made to ensure that all logistic and policy necessities would be in place to address the difficulties encountered by international travellers, especially with the impending yuletide season.
Sirika, in the statement, expressed his appreciation for the understanding and cooperation of aviation stakeholders in ensuring the smooth reopening of the nation’s airspace.
So far, only the MMIA in Lagos and the NAIA in Abuja are cleared for international flight operations as other international gateways like the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu are yet to receive clearance to that effect.