The Federal Government has canceled the June 21st resumption of domestic flights in the country, saying the initial move is not feasible anymore.
The Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital/New Media, Mr. Tolu Ogunlesi, disclosed on his Twitter handle on Thursday and noted that the date is not a feasible date to resume domestic air operations in Nigeria.
Ogunlesi while quoting the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said, “We will not approve the resumption of flight operations until we confirm we are able to start in a safe, secured, organized and efficient manner.
“We will only give the go-ahead for resumption of domestic flights when we are ready. By the middle of next week we hope to submit a report through the Minister of Aviation to PTFCOVID19, advising on a possible date for resumption”.
He explained that nobody promised that flights would definitively resume on June 21st, 2020 as it was always a tentative date and the earliest possibility.
Meanwhile, the Committee on Aviation, Nigerian Senate on Thursday, has said the re-opening of the nation’s airports for operation on June 21st was unrealistic.
The committee maintained that the cancellation is as a result of the concerns raised by workers in the aviation industry.
The chairman of the Committee, Prince Smart Adeyemi, All Progressive Congress (APC Kogi), stated this when the committee met with officials of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Air Transport Services.
The leadership of the union had raised concerns experienced by the workers from their various employers.
While seeking for financial intervention from federal government for members, they hinted the committee, in their presentations, that workers had not been paid salaries for some months, while some were paid half or received quarter salary by their various employers since the COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020.
Adeyemi posited the senate was worried about the issues raised by the aviation workers on their challenges, given that the aviation sector was key to the social-economic development of Nigeria.
“Though you emphasized the need to unlock the airport, the fact remains that there are quite a number of issues that are begging for answers.
“I do not see how we will allow the airports to be unlocked when you are telling us that some of your colleagues have not been paid for months or that they were paid half salary.
“It will be suicidal to allow you guys to man the facilities if you are saying that you have not been paid, so we must see how we can address this issue.
“I personally nurse the fear that it will be practically impossible for us to unlock the airports and aviation industry on June 21st, given the issues raised,” Adeyemi said.