The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has revealed the real motive behind the resumption of domestic flights in the country.
While countries of the world are taking the safety of their citizens as the basis for easing off lockdowns and opening corporate entities, Nigeria uses monetary lose as their yardstick.
Speaking on Wednesday via his twitter handle, Sirika said airlines had, at the time, lost nearly N17 billion monthly since their operations were grounded.
I am glad to announce that Abuja & Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on the 8th of July, 2020. Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri & Maiduguri to resume on the 11th. Other airports on the 15th. Date for international to be announced in due course. Bear with us, please 🇳🇬🙏🏽🇳🇬
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) July 1, 2020
“We are in very difficult moments like everyone else. All of this started because someone travelled and unfortunately came back home with it and the consequence is what we’ve been going through.
“We are the worst hit, than any other sector. Some N17 billion monthly is being lost by the airlines, thanks to COVID-19,” Sirika said while responding to questions during one of the Presidential Task Force briefings on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He, however, noted that while there is a need to revive the sector, the process could not be rushed because according to him, the sector is highly regulated and very co-ordinated and has set standards that must be followed at all times.
“There are safety issues and concerns. Those airplanes have been kept and when we are going to bring them back into service, we will have to ensure that they are airworthy and that they can make those flights safely,” he said at the time.
“So also, for the flight crew, they have certain standards they must conform with. They have licensing issues which will fall due for recurrency to be done within this period, so what do you do with them.
“Certainly they won’t just pick up their bags and continue where they left. They must conform to those standards and ensure that they are safe to operate both in terms of their health and their proficiency to be able to conduct a very safe flight”.
The minister noted that Abuja and Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on July 8, while the Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri airports would resume on the 11th.
Other airports are also expected to resume operations on the 15th.
Sirika, however, noted that a date for the international airports will be announced in due course.