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Yesterday, the Nigerian government announced it would resume international flights starting on September 5th. The West African country has had an travel restriction in place since March 24th when all five of its international airports officially banned air traffic. This means that no regular commercial passenger international flights have taken place for over five months.
Air Peace flies to several international destinations in the West African region but has also operated service to the United Arab Emirates. Photo: Air Peace
VOA News reports that Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, is justifying the resumption of international flights because no in-flight infections occurred during the restart of domestic flights on July 8th.
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Postponed by a week
The announcement of flight resumption was made by Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). It came as part of an update by Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Nigeria’s resumption of international travel comes a week later than the date initially suggested as the earliest possibility by the government. According to Andalou Agency news, the country said it was to resume flights abroad “anytime” from August 29th.
FLIGHT UPDATE: Akure and Kano flights from Lagos and Abuja set to return on the 28th of August, 2020.#BetterDealWithAirPeace #Kano #Akure pic.twitter.com/Jyuc7lVLCW
— Air Peace (@flyairpeace) August 26, 2020
Simulation first conducted
As part of the NCAA’s update, Nuhu said a simulation exercise was conducted before deciding to resume flights. The simulation exercise took place yesterday and involved 102 passengers at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, the nation’s commercial hub. The exercise implemented safety measures and protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
This will be not only great news for Nigerian carriers but also for international airlines flying services to Nigeria. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying
Test certification necessary for travel
Are you planning to fly to Nigeria with this change in policy? It’s important to note that incoming passengers arriving in Nigeria will need to carry a document that certifies a negative test for COVID-19.
VOA News had also reported that the Nigerian government wants passengers to pay for a second test on their arrival in the country. However, this has not yet been confirmed.
Azman Air’s Airbus A340 might take to the skies again in the near future. Photo: Azman Air
The government also warns travelers that anyone caught skipping the tests will be put on a travel watch list. Furthermore, if it can be proven that a traveler testing positive for coronavirus was allowed to board an aircraft, then the government will impose a $3,500 fine on the airline for allowing it to happen.
Repatriation efforts have been ongoing
The news of regularly scheduled international travel resuming doesn’t mean that international flights haven’t been happening. There have been repatriation flights taking place to bring home Nigerian citizens.
In fact, on August 25th, at least two repatriation flights landed. This includes 261 stranded citizens being flown back from Guangzhou, China with Air Peace, and 372 flying on Saudia, arriving in Abuja.
261 Stranded Nigerians in China returned yesterday 25th August 2020 from Guangzhou, China via @flyairpeace flight.
All evacuees are now on a 14-day SELF ISOLATION as mandated by @NCDCgov and Presidential Task Force on #Covid_19.
Picture Credit : @flyairpeace. pic.twitter.com/xadjFYETYa
— Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (@nidcom_gov) August 26, 2020
The government reports that the first four international flights into the country will be arriving in the nation’s federal capital of Abuja, as well as the commercial center of Lagos. However, the origin of these flights has yet to be announced.
If you have travel plans to Nigeria as a result of this policy change, share them in the comments below!
This article first appeared on simpleflying.com
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