Domestic flights to resume June 21, says Sirika

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has announced that flights, which had been suspended since March due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, will resume June 21.

A statement issued Monday in Abuja by Mr James Odaudu, Director of Public Affairs in the ministry, quoted Sirika as saying this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force COVID-19.

According to Sirika, the resumption of flights will be based strictly the implementation of the approved protocols for safe operations of the airlines.

“The three-week between now and the resumption date is to enable the operators to all the necessary industry regulations, without which they cannot take to the skies after being dormant for some time.

“This is because aviation, unlike other sectors, is a highly regulated one,” said.

The minister added that consultations had been on between the ministry and the industry’s stakeholders on the best ways to operate profitably, while, at the same time, ensuring safety of travelers upon resumption.

Sirika cautioned owners of private aircraft, who said, were in the habit of asking for permits to fly within the country despite the restrictions in place, to desist, as the restrictions were still in place.

“Except for those on essential services, which have been clearly defined,” the minister added.

said that since approval for flights on essential services was not being paid for, it would take little or no time to grant it.

Sirika warned against people allowing to be scammed by those outside the approving authorities.

He pointed out that the sector, under his watch, had zero tolerance for corrupt practices since his assumption of office as minister.

The minister also expressed gratitude to the stakeholders in the aviation sector for their cooperation, in spite of their unquantifiable losses, occasioned by the lockdown since March.

He assured that humanly possible would be done to ensure speedy of the sector. (NAN)