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International flights may resume before October – Sirika

(FILES) File photo dated on September 11, 2007, shows the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI 
The Minister of Aviation Tuesday said international flights may resume before October, noting that after consulting the ministry of health, foreign Affairs and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 the agreed date will be announced despite the ban on flights in Europe and the United Arab Emirates.
“International Flight resumption date is not October as the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency just issued a routine 90 day Notices to Airmen (NOTAM), Sirika tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
“In liaison with Health, Foreign Affairs & PTF COVID-19, we will announce the agreed date, regardless of the ban by Europe, UAE etc. May be earlier than October.”
Nigerian Airspace Management Agency earlier debunked rumours that Nigerian Airports may not reopen until middle of October 2020.
“The closure of Nigerian Airports to all international flights with the exception of emergency and essential flights, and scheduled cargo operations with approved summer schedules, will continue until date of resumption is approved,” NAMA’s director of public affairs Khalid Emele said in a statement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the agency on the 15th July 2020, in line with international standards, issued a 3-month duration NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) (from 15th July to 15th October 2020) stating that the Federal Government of Nigeria has extended the closure of the nation’s airports to all international flights with the exception of aircraft in a state of emergency.
“However, approval may be requested and granted to over flights, operations related to humanitarian aids, medical relief flights, alternate aerodrome in the flight plan and also those being used for extended diversion time operations, Technical landings where passengers do not disembark, Cargo flights and other safety-related operations.
Emele said while the agency looks forward anxiously towards the reopening of Nigerian airports to international flights, “we wish to clarify that the import of the said NOTAM and AIC is NOT that Nigerian airports remain closed till 15th October 2020.”
“Therefore, we crave the indulgence of our customers, airspace users and the general public to disregard the misconception being circulated as Nigerian airports will reopen to international flights at any date the Federal Government, Federal Ministry of Aviation and NCAA consider it safe, secure, and appropriate.”

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