Major airports in the country will in the “next few days” roar into life after weeks of inactivity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
The airports are the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja; Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano Arport, Kano and the Port Harcourt Airport, Choba, Rivers State.
The Federal Government on March 16 placed a travel ban on 13 countries, including China, United States and Italy that had recorded over 1,000 cases of Coronavirus.
On March 13 it shut all airports for one month and later extended it by two weeks. On May 6, the government further extended the airports’ closure by four weeks until June 7.
The decision to commence flights at the airports, according to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), is to avoid chocking the “system.”
NCAA Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu stated this at a virtual event organised by the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ART) titled COVID-19: The Challenges and Opportunity for Nigeria’s Aviation Value Chain, During and Post.
Nuhu said the NCAA worked with representatives of airlines and ground handling companies before forwarding a proposal to the Minister of Aviation for approval.
The NCAA boss said: “We may resume domestic operations with four or five airports and we hope to expand as we get better. We don’t want to rush everything at the same time and get it choked up….
“Every money is important and we cannot achieve the two-meter physical distance. We are hopeful in the next few days we can resolve those issues and allow the airlines to commence operations.
“We have made our suggestion and recommendations and we are awaiting feedback from the Ministry of Aviation.”
Nuhu said air transport must be safe and not become part of the ways of spreading Coronavirus. He stated that physical distancing was an issue as discussions were still on leaving the middle seats in an aircraft vacant.