By G9ija

The Minister of Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika, has assured that international flights may resume at the Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu, Mallam Aminu Kano International airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt International airport, Omagwa before the end of the year.

He said all hands are on deck to ensure that all logistic and policy necessities are soon in place to address the difficulties encountered by international travellers, ahead  of impending yuletide season. 

He expressed his appreciation for the understanding and cooperation of aviation stakeholders in ensuring the smooth reopening of the nation’s airspace.

The minister also revealed that Air France, KLM and Lufthansa have received approval to resume operations. 

This follows the approval of their respective flight plans and schedules submitted to the ministry.

In granting the approvals, Sirika emphasised the need for airlines operating in the country to employ international best practices in handling Nigerian passengers, as government will not tolerate any form of maltreatment of its citizens by any airline.

In a tweet on Tuesday, November 17,  Sirika wrote that the European airlines which were suspended from operations are now allowed to fly including Qatar Airways.

“We are working with Ministry of Health, CACOVID and the PTF to open Kano, Port Harcourt and possibly Enugu airports before the end of the year. Also Lufthansa, Air France/KLM has been given go ahead to resume. Qatar Airways is approved to start Abuja. Thank you for your patience,” he tweeted.

The Federal Government had announced resumption of international flights from August 29 after six months of restrictions as a result of the COVID19 pandemic.

Only a few flights per day were allowed as a test run for the protocols put in place to ensure a safe return to international operations. 

Resumption started partially with Lagos and Abuja airports and the number of passengers were restricted to 1,280 a day for each airport.

In August, Nigeria also enforced the principle of reciprocity in granting permission to airlines to resume operations in the country.