We shall only allow flights from friendly nations — Minister

Chinazor Megbolu
In an apparent retaliatory move to hit back at countries which imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians, the Federal Government had said it will allow only flights from countries that allow Nigerian flights. 
The Aviation Minister, Mallam Hadi Sirika via his Twitter account on Thursday disclosed this, stating that Nigeria will enforce the principle of reciprocity in granting permission to airlines to resume operations in the nation.
The Minister, who said this after a media briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, added that the decision was informed by the ban placed by some countries on flights from Nigeria.
“The principle of reciprocity means that only airlines from countries that allow flights from Nigeria will be allowed to fly into and out of the country,” he said.
Sirika also reiterated that flight operations will kick off with the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja airports as was done with domestic flight resumptions. 
He said that protocols and procedures will be announced soonest.
He maintained that airlines will be notified of the arrangements put in place to ensure that resumption of flights will be hitch-free.
“For now, only a few flights per day will be permitted as a test run for the protocols put in place to ensure a safe return to international operations.
“The protocols would be made public in due course,” he said.
Sirika enjoined all stakeholders to support the initiative towards ensuring a successful and efficient resumption of international flight operations.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Lagos Zone has feted aviation workers and passengers with distribution of face masks.
The distribution of facemasks, the union, said was part of its contribution to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beneficiaries of the facemasks includes those in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN), the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), the Nigerian Immigrations Service, airport/airline check-in personnel, and travelling passengers.
In his address, during the distribution, the Vice President, NANTA, Lagos, Mr. Yinka Folami said: “We all know how Covid-19 has impacted us. It has challenged us medically, socially and commercially. It is also a time for compassion and a time we all have to hold hands. It is a time to encourage the federal government and agency protocols regarding safety.”
“We have made provisions for at least 250 families within the vicinity of our head office. We thought that we should strategically encourage travel protocols and safety. One of the things we said we should do is to give out facemasks. 
“This will be for frontline staff of every agency that is involved in aviation”.

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