By Kasim Sumaina
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, yesterday ordered that catering services, hitherto suspended at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic disease should resume on domestic flights immediately.
Sirika disclosed this at the weekly media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
According to him, the decision was taken in consideration of the businesses involved in the provision of in-flight refreshments that have been adversely affected by the suspension.
He, however, said that modalities and protocols for the resumption of the services would be worked and rolled out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which would be in line with international best practices.
Sirika, in a statement made available to journalist by the Director of Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, Mr. James Odaudu, also reiterated the plan to resume international flight operations at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and the Port Harcourt International Airport.
He said that members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 would be visiting the airports for simulation exercises to ascertain their readiness for international operations.
The minister also revealed that a technical working group that comprised of agencies involved in the facilitation of passengers has been set up to ensure that all standards required for seamless operations at the airports earmarked for resumption of international flights are available.
Sirika also commented on the suspension of the Emirates Airlines operations in Nigeria and disclosed that discussions were on to resolve the issues involved, even as he restated the country’s position on the impropriety of the extra COVID-19 tests the airline was demanding of Nigerian travellers.