Flights to resume June 21, govt orders 50% passenger reduction - PUNCH
BY Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government on Monday announced that domestic flights would resume on June 21 and directed airlines to take between 50 and 70 per cent of passengers on any flight.
It also stated that the aircraft of most airlines were currently being serviced in preparation for the June 21 resumption date for domestic flights.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made the announcement at Monday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVD-19 in Abuja.
Sirika further stated that the airfares of flights should be appropriate to the issues at hand.
He said, “The modality of operations by airlines and the passenger numbers will certainly drop and the load factor will also drop.
“Only 50 or 70 per cent of the passengers should be taken. These are some of the things that we have been looking at.”
The minister said domestic flights, which had been suspended since March as one of the measures to control the spread of coronavirus, were getting set to resume at the nation’s airports again.
He explained that the resumption of flights would be premised on the implementation of the approved protocols for safe operations of the airlines.
Sirika stated that the three-week period between now and the resumption date would enable operators to adhere to all the necessary industry regulations, without which they would not take to the skies after being dormant for some time.
“This is because aviation, unlike other sectors, is a highly regulated sector,” he said.
The minister said consultations had been on and would continue between the ministry and industry stakeholders on the best ways to operate profitably while at the same time ensuring the safety of travellers.
He cautioned owners of private aircraft who had been 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.
Sirika also declared that approval for flights on essential services were not paid for, and warned against people allowing themselves to be scammed by those outside the approving authorities.