COVID-19: Air Peace Downsizes Flight Operations

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NCAA takes steps to protect workforce

By Chinedu Eze

Nigeria’s leading carrier, Air Peace, has announced it would suspend its flights to Sharjah (Dubai) and some destinations in the West Coast, and streamline services on domestic routes in response to the adverse effects of the pandemic, Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

The airline company said it took the crucial decision after an emergency meeting with its top management staff to review its operations in the face of the disease, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already declared as pandemic.

The management also announced several measures aimed at addressing the adverse effects occasioned by the virus.

The Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of Air Peace, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, after the emergency meeting, said the airline took the decision to cut down its flight operations following a tremendous decline in passenger traffic and the need to cut costs.

According to her, “Air Peace, as a result of the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on passenger traffic, has today (yesterday) taken the hard decision to downsize our flight operations in order to cut the mounting costs occasioned by the pandemic.”

She remarked that as a result of the development, the airline would be suspending its operations to Dakar, Senegal, and Monrovia in Liberia as well as cutting down its Freetown, Sierra Leone, operations and Banjul in The Gambia operations to one flight a week.

She disclosed that the airline would also reduce its operations to Accra from Lagos to just two flights daily and suspends its Abuja to Accra operations.

“On the domestic scene, we are reducing our frequencies while at the same time, restructuring our operations by deploying our hoppers to more airports.

“Our international operations into Dubai through Sharjah International Airport shall be suspended from next week as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has shut its airports to nationals from other countries, including but not limited to Nigeria,” she added.

Meanwhile, following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has taken steps to protect its workforce from its scourge.

According to a statement signed by its spokesman, the Authority has issued detailed guidelines for officers of the agency who have recently travelled abroad to self-isolate for 14 days among other measures upon their return to Nigeria.

This is just as the Authority issued a directive for the compilation of details of all NCAA staff already on any official assignments or training in a country with high transmission of COVID-19.

This is to be forwarded to the Office of the Director-General and the General Manager of Aero Medical Standards.

As a result, all pending inspections, training and various exchange programmes involving foreign trips are suspended forthwith.

The statement said: “To complement all these, the Authority has also directed that the 2020 promotion exercise for staff scheduled to hold on April 4, 2020, will be suspended till further notice. This postponement is in line with advice given by the WHO for organisations to avoid large gatherings as part of precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus,” NCAA said.

It also enjoined all travelling public and other stakeholders to comply with all the directives issued to curb the spread of the global pandemic.