As Federal Government contemplates lifting the ban on international flights, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 has said passengers would be expected to arrive at the airport three hours before their flight departure to ensure proper checks in line with health protocols.
The PTF said there would gradual resumption of international flights and has directed the aviation industry to begin preparation.
The Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who stated said this at the daily briefing on Thursday in Abuja, said it was important to ensure that restrictions were not completely relaxed in order to control transmission of Covid-19.
He explained that despite the extension of the second phase of the easing of lockdown “it is, however, important to inform you that the major changes being proposed are aimed at achieving the following:
“Gradual re-opening of international air flights within established parameters;
“Re-opening of rail transportation within established parameters”.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the PTF had communicated to the aviation ministry to begin processes of reopening international flights.
Aliyu also noted that one of the new requirements would be to ensure that international passengers arrived three hours before departure to ensure proper checks before takeoff.
He further stated that if all requirements from the aviation sector were made the resumption of international flights would be a matter of weeks and not months.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika stated that the aviation sector was ready to open any moment.
Sirika also explained that international flights would open as soon as it was safe to operate as all efforts were being put in place to ensure the reopening in weeks and not in months.
According to him, the reopening of the airport is not just an aviation function as it has to do with health in the interest of the general public.
He said: “We in the civil aviation want to open the airport like yesterday because we are bleeding. We are sacking our workers, we can’t pay salaries, we have to move and fly from one point to the other and pay airfares for us to pay salaries. So, we really want to open.
“But we can’t open alone there are others within our areas of operations they include the police, immigration, custom, hotels among others so the PTF on Covid-19 had set up a technical committee to come up with a date that everyone will be comfortable with to open our airport.
“These could be in weeks or months, so we will appeal to Nigerians not to blame anybody not the PTF Chairman or Minister of health or me, put it on Covid-19. We are doing everything possible to open”.