International flights will start arriving in Nigeria from 5 September, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said on Thursday.
But not all airlines will be allowed to come in for now.
Those banned are Lufthansa, KLM, TAAG Angola Airline, RwandAir, Etihad, Air France and Air Namibia
The airlines that have Nigeria’s aviation authorities green light include Virgin Atlantic, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airline, Delta Airline, Qatar, Emirates and others(See List)Sirika, who spoke today at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, said there is no going back on the Sept. 5, 2020 date for resumption of international flights as all preparations have been completed.
Sirika said all aviation preparations and COVID-19 protocols have been perfected and the airports in Abuja and Lagos are for reopening.
He said the airlines coming into the country were the airlines approved for operations with appropriate COVID-19 protocols.
Sirika further noted that intending passengers must register online, pay for COVID-19 test fee and upload the COVID-19 negative result not older than 72 hours before boarding.
While warning against sharp practices, he said any airline caught with passengers without COVID-19 negative result would be fined $3500 for each passenger and the passenger returned if he or she was a foreigner.
The passenger would in addition, be suspended from flying for six months.
Giving more insights into the reasons for ban and the principle of reciprocity being applied to some countries, the minister said Nigeria was simply following what each country has done to Nigeria.
Some of the countries which have already banned flights from Nigeria are in the European Union (EU) as the EU included Nigeria on the banned countries on the first of July, 2020 when they opened their airspace.
In his words
Sirika said: “Now, at this point, it is important that we announce the airlines that are allowed for operations into the country. The ones not approved are Air France. Middle East Airlines is approved for only Lagos (airport). British Airways (is) approved – allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.
“The reason for Air France is that tourists’ business holders are not allowed entry. KLM not approved for the same reason as Air France. Delta Airlines, no restrictions – USA, we have an Open Skies with them and they also allow us in.
“Qatar Airways is allowed and approved under COVID-19 protocol. Etihad, not approved. Ethiopian Airlines allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. EgyptAir approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.
“RwandAir, not approved. Air Peace, not applicable, they are our own carrier in Nigeria, we thank them. Virgin Atlantic, approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. Air Namibia, not approved. Asky, approved. Royal Air Maroc, not approved. African World Airways, Ghana, approved.
“Air Cote d’Ivoire, approved. Lufthansa, not approved. Kenya Airways approved. Emirates Airlines, approved. Turkish Airlines, approved. Cabo Verde not applicable as international flights are yet to resume. TAAG Angola Airlines, not approved. South African Airways not applicable as international flights are yet to resume.”
List of Airlines that can fly into Nigeria:
African World Airways (AWA),
Middle East Airlines
Air Cote D’Ivoire
Air Cote D’Ivoire
Airlines barred from Nigeria:
TAAG Angola Airlines
Royal Air Maroc
*Abankula is reporter at large for PMNEWS