Capt. Musa Shuaibu, the Director General/Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced that flights will resume operations when it’s safe to fly.
He confirmed this in an interview with Channels TV on Thursday, June 18. He said “We never said aviation will definitely resume on the 21st.”
“We still have some work to be done and based on that, June 21 is not a feasible date to resume domestic operations.”
”The civil aviation authority (NCAA), despite all pressures coming from all quarters, will not approve operations until we are sure that we can operate in a secure, organized and efficient manner.”
”To do otherwise will be disastrous for all of us.” He said.
It was earlier reported that Mr. Hadi Sitka, the Minister of Aviation said the resumption of domestic flight on June 21 will be premised on the implementation of the approved protocols for safe operations of the airlines.
Domestic flights which have been suspended since March as one of the measures to control the spread of the coronavirus,
Sirika, who disclosed this at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, explained that the three weeks period between May 30 and the resumption date is to enable the operators to adhere to all the necessary industry regulations, without which they cannot take to the skies after being dormant for some time.
This is because aviation, unlike other sectors, is a highly regulated one, he said.
On modalities for the operation of flights when they resume, Sirika said consultations have been on and will continue between the Ministry and industry stakeholders on the best ways to operate profitably while at the same time ensuring the safety of travellers.
Sirika cautioned owners of private aircraft who have been in the habit of asking for permits to fly within the country despite the restrictions in place to desist, as the restrictions are still in place, except for those on essential services which have been clearly defined.
He also made it clear and unequivocal that approval for flights on essential services are not paid for, while it takes little or no time to grant such approvals.
Mr Sirka warned against people allowing themselves to be scammed by people outside the approving authorities as the sector under his watch has had zero tolerance for corrupt practices since his assumption of office as Minister.
The Minister also expressed gratitude for the cooperation of stakeholders in the aviation sector in spite of their unquantifiable losses occasioned by the lockdown since March and assured that all things humanly possible would be done to ensure a speedy recovery of the sector.