The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has disclosed that 200 Americans were evacuated on Tuesday through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, bring the total number of foreigners evacuated in the past 10 days to 1,739.
The Regional Manager, South-West Airport of FAAN, Mrs Victoria Shin-Aba, told journalists in Lagos that besides the Americans, French and other Europeans have also been evacuated by both foreign and two Nigerian airlines.
According to her, “Delta Airlines from the United States (today) on Tuesday afternoon evacuated 200 Americans at the airport in continuation of the exercise.”
Statistics provided by Shin-Aba indicated that Air France had evacuated 399 French and European nationals; Lufthansa- 238, six Air Peace crew); Middle East Airline (MEA) 140; Ethiopian Airlines- 148, 137 (Canadians), 375 (U.S); Jed Air- nine (Liberians and crew); Air Peace- 87 and Delta with 200 Americans.
She said that the evacuation exercise had been going on smoothly with little or no hitches at all.
Shin-Aba said that FAAN, in collaboration with other agencies, would continue to carry out its duties with utmost caution and professionalism.
“So far, the activities have been okay and well-coordinated. Since the closure of the airport, we have had about 10 evacuations with different nationals.
“We have had from Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, Middle East Airline (MEA) with the Lebanese; Ethiopian Airlines has been on with Americans and Canadians.
“The conditions are that you have to get an approval from the Federal Ministry of Aviation, when the ministry gives the approval, it is sent to FAAN, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“Then, we send the approval to all the security agencies too. Most importantly, there is a procedure in place for the Covid-19 virus pandemic, which has to be followed.
“For instance, Port Health Service has to check everyone that is going out, at times, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will be on ground.
“Even, to access the terminal, there is a checking by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and others. It has been smooth sailing.
“Though, we had a cancellation some few days ago, but that was not due to anybody’s fault. It was due to logistics of the flight plan.
“Apart from today (Tuesday), we have had 1,539 evacuations through the Lagos Airport alone.
“Today, United States is having another 200, another batch of Americans will be airlifted tomorrow (Wednesday) and next week, we are having South African Airways and Air France too.
“They can come up with any plan in the cause of the week. That is why we are essential workers.
“We have to ensure that there is smooth running of operations. Nothing is compromised,” she added.