as passengers welcome flight resumption
….flights depart at intervals
By Lawani Mikairu
Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, denied Aero Contractors, Azman Air, and Max Air approval to restart flight operations yesterday because they have not met the new flight protocols.
This is just as passengers were yesterday elated that domestic flight operations have resumed at the two major hubs, Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamidi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The five airlines approved to start operations yesterday are Arik Air; Air Peace, Dana Air , Overland and Ibom Air. Arik Air started the first commercial flight out of Lagos. However, only Arik Air, Air Peace and Ibom Air operated flights yesterday in keeping with the new protocol of flight spacing. To avoid crowding the terminals, flights are now operated at various intervals.
Chairman, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) COVID-19 Committee, Godwin Balang had on Tuesday night during a webinar announced that the Authority granted approval to only five airlines to restart flight yesterday. They are Air Peace, Arik Air, Dana Airlines, Ibom Air and Overland Airways Limited
For unscheduled aircraft operators, the committee said that ” Allied Air Limited, ANAP Business Jets and Bristow Helicopters had so far complied with the NCAA regulations”.
The committee also said that all domestic airports “scored an aggregate 87.2 percent but only Murtala Muhammed International Airport, GAT; Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MM2; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja have been given the approval to restart”.
In keeping with the new flight spacing, Arik Air commenced the first early morning flight to Abuja, while Air Peace was airborne by 10:30 am for their first flight. At about 11 am, Ibom Air started their first flight for the day.
Overland Airways which does not fly Lagos to Abuja will resume flight services, according to its Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Aanu Benson on July 15, 2020.
Meanwhile, passengers who spoke with Vanguard expressed happiness that flights have resumed. One of the frequent fliers, Mr. Patrick Oshoma said he is particularly happy because he does not like traveling by road.
” The roads are not good at all. They are not motorable. The situation has been made worse by the current insecurity in the land. I can’t risk road travel. I am so happy I can fly to anywhere I want to go. I frequent Abuja a lot”, Oshoma said.
Another female passenger who identified herself as Mrs. Sola Adigun told Vanguard that despite the fear of Covid-19 which many people believe was brought to the country through the airport, she is happy to start flying again.
” I know some people don’t want to come to the airport now because they believe that the coronavirus entered Nigeria through the airport. But, for me, air transport is still the safest means. I don’t like going by road,” she added.