As Pandemic Prolongs: Ban On All Flights Extended By One Month – FG

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The Federal Government in an effort to curtail the more spread of the COVID-19 across the country, it has extended the ban on all flight both domestic and international by four weeks.

 

This was declared in Abuja on Wednesday by the Chairman Presidential task Force on COVID-19 also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha while briefing the committee.

He said, “Tomorrow (Thursday) marks the last day for the enforcement of the closure of Nigerian airspace to all flights.

He continued, “We’ve assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that given the facts available to us and based on the advice of experts, the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks,”

the SGF enjoined the state governors to queue into the plan of their plan on the repatriation of the Almajiri, saying they can dialogue on the matter.

He revealed the assessment carried out while the lockdown was eased, it is very clear that Nigerians are yet to come to terms with realities of the pandemic.

He lamented over the non-compliance to the guidelines like physical distancing, carrying capacity of taxis and interstate travels through carrying people concealed in a truck carrying food items, the gathering of persons at the banks and gridlocks on the main roads are evidence to such violations.

He explained that individuals and collective safety are in the hand of the citizens, frowning on citizens to avoid taking such risks.

The PTF noted the challenges experienced earlier at the banks.

However, said “We assure you that the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as the Bankers’ Committee, has put in place strategies that would reduce such re-occurrence.

“I, therefore, plead with Nigerians to be patient and schedule their physical appearances at banks.

“On the other hand, I wish to repeat my call to the banks to also quickly address issues related to difficulty with using their on-line platforms, especially re-validating expired ATM cards amongst others.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said Airlines Company lost N17 billion monthly during this lockdown, saying he doubts if several of them will survive the pandemic.

He revealed based on the unfolding events, prior to COVID-19, the total loss is about N21 billion approximately plus about N3 billion.

Splitting such he added as follows; N7 billion for aviation,(What they lost in a month), N10 billion for airlines, N4 billion for ground handling, catering among others and then the N3 billion for the taxation.

Mr Sirika continued;

“That for Nigeria, lost airline revenue is $99m and in terms of employment at risk, 125,370.

The loss of contribution to the GDP of the country is $885 million.

Now, these are IATA figures.

“We’re in very difficult moments like everyone else.

All of this started because someone travelled and unfortunately came back home with it and the consequence is what we’ve been going through.

“We’re the worst-hit than any other sector.

Some N17bn monthly is being lost by the airlines, thanks to COVID-19.”

“What this means is that we’ll not be able to open up after closing for several weeks and perhaps for some months.

“There are safety issues and concerns.

Those aeroplanes have been kept and when we’re going to bring them back into service, we’ll have to ensure they’re airworthy and that they can make those flights safely.

“So also, for the flight crew, they’ve certain standards they must conform with.

“They have licensing issues which will fall due for re-currency to be done within this period, so what do you do with them.

“Certainly, they won’t just pick up their bags and continue where they left.

“They must conform to those standards and ensure they’re safe to operate both in terms of their health and their proficiency to be able to conduct a very safe flight,” Sirika said.

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