Resumption of scheduled commercial flights in Nigeria will have to wait longer than June 21 as the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority says the date is no longer feasible.
Musa Nuhu, Director General of NCAA, while speaking at a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said flight operations would resume only when it is safe, secure and organised.
He cited precaution as a major factor in view of safety measures needed to avert spread of coronavirus.
Nuhu, an air captain, represented the minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He said, “The civil aviation authority, despite pressures coming from all quarters, will not approve the start any day until we are sure and we confirm that we are ready to start in a safe, secure, organized and efficient manner. To do otherwise is disastrous for all of us.
“If we open the industry when we are not ready and we are guilty of spreading coronavirus, God forbid we have any incident, I believe the government will come hard on us and it is going to be counterproductive and disastrous for the industry.
“We are not too far, we are close but there is a need for timing to ensure that we are ready, positively, absolutely ready to start work.”
The NCAA boss said the authority held talks with airlines, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and other stakeholders, adding that feedbacks were received and concerns were addressed.
Nuhu noted that recommendations were also received from the World Health Organisation, the International Air Transport Association, the Airport Council International, and the African Civil Aviation Commission.
“We have to adopt all this. It’s not easy; it’s a very complex process. What I can assure is that the civil aviation authority will only give a go-ahead when we are ready, nothing further.
“We are looking toward the end of this month. Hopefully, by the end of next week, we will submit a report through the Ministry of Aviation to the presidential task force for a review. We know the industry is anxious but to do otherwise will be a great disservice and neglect of our statutory mandate from the government of Nigeria,” he added.