Africa: Nigerian aviation agencies, airlines, others brainstorm on reopening airspace to domestic travel

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Following the guidelines issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for the recommencement of domestic travel in the industry, agencies in the sector are brainstorming on how to ease the ban on air travel.

The NCAA had earlier sent a circular to all airline operators in the industry, highlighting the importance of kick starting the process of getting the industry ready for an organised, safe, secure and efficient flight operations when the nation’s airspace is reopened for business.

The various aviation agencies comprising the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON).

According to Sunday Telegraph, FAAN and especially the NCAA are looking at the various strategies put in place by airlines, service providers and other airport users to show that they would comply with rules to ensure the containment of Covid-19 before the aviation regulatory body; the FAAN issues a post- Covid-19 travel guideline for air travellers.

Meanwhile, FAAN yesterday disassociated itself from a purported post- Covid- 19 travel guideline for air travellers being circulated on social media.

Spokeswoman for FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a statement emphatically stated that although FAAN was carefully and seriously working on a guideline, the release of new travel guidelines credited to the agency did not emanate from “us as it is still a work in progress”.

She said: “Consequently, the authority will like to enjoin air travellers and the general public to disregard the content of the said release.

At the appropriate time, FAAN will release the post-Covid-19 travel guidelines via our official communication medium.”

And in a related development, both regional and notable foreign airlines are eagerly waiting for Nigeria to re-open her airspace to begin flight operations. Nigeria holds huge promise and market for regional carriers like Ghana-based Africa World Airlines and Lome, Togo-based ASKY among other carriers.

Ghana had on May 1, 2020 re-opened its airspace to domestic travel. The Ghanaian domestic air travel market is very small to sustain airlines like Africa World Airlines (AWA) without the Nigerian market which though relatively small compared to those of South African and Egyptian market is a huge pie for the Ghanaian and Togo- based ASKY Airlines.

A source, who works with a foreign airline but preferred anonymity, said Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines are ready to begin flights to Nigeria and have shown preparedness the next day any time the Nigerian government decides to re-open the airspace.


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