The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has rejected the October 15 date fixed for the resumption of international flights by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), saying flights may resume before October.
In a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued yesterday by NCAA to international airlines, the agency fixed October 15 for the resumption of international flights.
But in his reaction to the NOTAM, the minister, in his verifiable twitter handle, @hadisirika, said the federal government was yet to fix the date for resumption.
“International flight resumption date is not October. NAMA (Nigerian Airspace Management Agency) just issued a routine 90-day notice to airmen (NOTAM). In liaison with Health, Foreign Affairs and PTF COVID-19, we will announce the agreed date, regardless of the ban by Europe, UAE etc. May be earlier than October.”
The minister also acknowledged that Europe, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) banned Nigerians from travelling to their destinations because of COVID-19 on the excuse that Nigeria is not conducting enough testing for the virus.
Earlier, NCAA had issued NOTAM that it is extending the closure of international air space until October 15.
The NOTAM was signed by NCAA’s Director General, Captain Musa Nuhu.
According to the NOTAM, “The federal government of Nigeria has extended the closure of our airports to all international flights with the exception of aircraft in a state of emergency. However, approval may be requested and granted to flight operations related to humanitarian aids, medical relief flights, alternative aerodrome in the flight plan and also those being used for extended diversion time operation, technical landing where passengers do not disembark and cargo flights and other safety related operations,” the NOTAM said.
NCAA also directed that requests should be addressed to Sirika.
NOTAM is international means of communication in aviation and information is issued through NAMA, which is in custody of the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) through which all information in aviation is communicated all over the world.
All aviation agencies, airlines and other aviation organisations pass their message through NAMA.