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FG insists on 6-months travel ban for international travellers who refuse to repeat COVID-19 test, reopens all domestic airports

Says all chartered flights require approvals

The Federal Government on Monday announced the reopening of all domestic airports for flight operations.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who made this disclosure  at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, also said that all charter flights will still require approval.

Sirika explained that other private operated airports were to reopen after meeting the required measures against COVID-19 and clearance from Nigeria Civil Aviation Agency, NCAA. 

He said, “Regarding approvals for flights within the country – domestic approvals. All airports in Nigeria are now open for domestic flights. Private charter operations will no longer need approvals from us to operate within domestic airports in all government-approved airports and in all government-owned airports.

“However, those airports that are private airports – government-approved airports – the operators should check the safety status with the NCAA (Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority). Such airports like Jalingo, Uyo, Asaba, Gombe, Nasarawa, Damaturu, Osubi, etc.

“So, you won’t need any approvals from the minister but you should kindly check the status of these airports with the NCAA which is normal.

“However, all flights out of the country and into the country that are private charter will still need approvals for those kinds of flights including technical stops.”

The minister added that talks were going on to reopen Nigeria airspace to some of the banned airlines and countries. 

Recalled that the minister had stated that the principle of reciprocity will be applied to countries who banned flights from Nigeria.

Some of the countries which have already banned flights from Nigeria are in the European Union (EU) as the EU included Nigeria on the banned countries on the first of July, 2020 when they opened their airspace.

Also, Air France, Lufthansa, Ethihad airlines, Air Rwanda, Air Namibia are all among airlines banned from coming into the country.

Meanwhile, the PTF has placed a six months travel ban on Nigerian passengers, who arrived the country and dodge the mandatory second COVID-19 test. 

The PTF coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, reiterated this while speaking at the daily briefing on COVID-19, adding that foreigners, who failed to carryout the second COVID-19 test, would have their visas revoked while leaving the country. 

He disclosed that so far, over 9000 passengers have registered with the new hub, while over 5,000 have actually made payments through the hub, which was an indication that the hub was working well. 

Aliyu also explained that young children would be excluded from COVID-19 test, even as he noted that those with diplomatic passports would also be excluded.

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