After impounding its aircraft for operating commercial flights into Nigeria, thereby violating Nigeria’s COVID-19 restrictions, the Nigerian government has quarantined pilots of a British airline, Flairjet.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the pilots would remain isolated for 14 days, while the aircraft, Legacy 600 with registration number GPRFX is grounded.
Speaking at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja on Monday, Sirika said, “There is a company called Flairjet. I want to apologise that I tweeted in the afternoon (on Sunday) when the fasting was biting harder and we verified this as Flair Aviation. The correct name is Flairjet and it is a UK-registered company.
“They have an aircraft, Legacy 600, and the registration number of the aircraft is GPRFX. Their business address is Business Aviation Centre, Terminal Road, Birmingham International Airport, West Midlands and their code is B26QN.
“This company applied severally as to operate humanitarian flights and we did approve. It is very clear at the beginning of this exercise that we defined what those flights should be: essential flights basically – cargo, medical evacuation, medical supplies, and so on and so forth.”
Explaining further, he stated, “Unfortunately, this company decided to become commercial in their service, charging money and flying people in and out.
“In the first place, the whole essence of a lockdown is to ensure there is no movement of persons freely because this COVID-19 we are all spending sleepless nights for happened because somebody travelled abroad. So, we believe this shouldn’t happen.
“Current status, we are investigating the matter right now, it would finish very soon. The crew is British nationals. The pilots are subjected to 14 days quarantine at the moment while the investigation goes on. Whatever is there in our laws will be applied to the fullest.”
Sirika did not disclose if the passengers brought by the plane and other crew members were tracked and placed on quarantine as well.
Nigeria’s coronavirus cases hit 6,175 after recording 216 new cases on Monday. There have been 191 deaths and 1,644 recoveries.
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