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Eleven Airports so far opened for flights, receiving lots of pressure, questions…. Sirika

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Magret Ekpo International airport, Calabar

As at 19th of July, 2020, only 11 airports out of 22 have been opened for domestic flights.
The airports owed and operated by government so far opened are the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja,  Murtala Mohammed International Airport,Lagos, Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa. 


Others are the Same Mbakwe airport, Owerri, Kaduna, Magret Ekpo airport, Calabar, Maiduguri Airport, Sultan Abubakar lll airport,Sokoto and Yola airport.

Sokoto airport


These airports that have been inspected and opened have complied with the provision of post COVID-19 restart guidelines and health protocols in addition to being authorized by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA.


The Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika says they are in a lot of pressure in the opening of airports and many questions are being asked why certain airports are opened before others.


“Unfortunately, we are leaving in a country where everything is so polarized and everything is trivialized. I remember receiving lots of pressure and questions regarding why can’t we open at least one airport in each Geo-political zone and pressure to open Owerri, we did open Owerri because we believe Owerri was good to open not because of any consideration whatsoever. If Owerri wasn’t ready to open we wouldn’t open Owerri and now we are also receiving from Sokoto pressure, if we find out that we can’t open because of one reason or the other we will not open it is all for safety.”


He explained that Airports are opened based on their compliance to the Covid19 Protocols.

Hadi who was speaking at the thursday PTF on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja said says the Murtala Mohammed International airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, Port Harcourt international airport, Mallam Aminu Kano International airport, Kano, Sam Mbakwe airport Owerri and the Maiduguri airport and Uyo airport are open and running.


” Yola and Kaduna we expect to open tonight (16/07/20) this is because once we said they are open, we now went back into those airports to ensure everything is okay and safe to operate, health wise and operation wise and some airports are so far apart and security reasons and difficulty in travel. We are lucky that we have an aircraft at our disposal which is meant to be for calibrating our equipment, we use that aircraft to enter into all of these airports to ensure they are safe.”

“So , Calabar is inspected ready to use, we have our challenge with one of the security equipment and once that is dealt with, we reopen Calabar as well, Sokoto.”


According to him, they are at libierty to open and close airports depending on some many other operation reasons, adding that at any point in time whether there is covid or no covid, airports can be close and open at any time if some issues are discovered.


“This is because once we said they are open, we now went back into those airports to ensure everything is okay and safe to operate, health wise and operation wise and some airports are so far apart and security reasons and difficulty in travel. We are lucky that we have an aircraft at our disposal which is meant to be for calibrating our equipment, we use that aircraft to enter into all of these airports to ensure they are safe.”


The Minister maintained that some airports are not yet ready for inspection and when ready, they would go there to check and ensure they are ready in line with the guidelines to restart operations.
“Katsina and Kebbi we would inspect them on the 17th of July which is tomorrow on Friday and open them, Benin, Akure, Ilorin and Ibadan, they are not ready for the inspection until 20th July and this is according to the Airport Managers who are localized there, so on 20th July, we will get into these airports ensure we do the needful and also open them.”

He added, “Markudi  is scheduled for Saturday we will try to pair it with Jos to inspect and then some of those we are awaiting them to send in their plans for restart some are not airports owed by the FG like Bauchi, Gombe, Asaba, Escravos are not government owed. However, Dutse, Osubi are FG owed and we will wait until when they tell us they are ready and we will go and inspect and we will open them. Please note, that you can wake up tomorrow and we will close Abuja if we have a need to do so, it is not any consideration of geographical spread or federal character, No.”

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