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FG bars Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, others ahead of international flights resumption

Valentine Chinyem

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The federal government on Thursday said only approved airlines will be allowed into the country’s airspace.

Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, said this while speaking on the scheduled international flights resumption on September 5, at the Presidential Taskforce briefing on COVID-19 at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

The minister said, only the NAIA and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, would reopen for international travels.

He listed EgyptAir, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, AWA, Kenya Airways and Middle East Airlines as airlines permitted to operate into the Lagos airport, while, British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, AWA, and Middle East Airlines as airlines allowed to operate into the Abuja airport.

Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, TAAG Angola Airlines, Air Namibia, RwandAir and Royal Air Maroc are not approved to operate flights into the country, the minister noted.

Sirika, added that, passengers who fail to adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines put in place to curb the importation of the virus would be suspended from travelling for six months while airlines that fail to comply would pay a fine of $3,500 per passenger.

He said, “Now, at this point, it is important that we announce the airlines that are allowed for operations into the country. The ones not approved are Air France. Middle East Airlines is approved for only Lagos (airport). British Airways (is) approved – allowed entry under Covid-19 protocol.

“The reason for Air France is that tourists’ business holders are not allowed entry. KLM not approved for the same reason as Air France. Delta Airlines, no restrictions – USA, we have an Open Skies with them and they also allow us in.

“Qatar Airways is allowed and approved under Covid-19 protocol. Etihad, not approved. Ethiopian Airlines allowed entry under Covid-19 protocol. EgyptAir approved, allowed entry under Covid-19 protocol.

“RwandAir, not approved. Air Peace, not applicable, they are our own carrier in Nigeria, we thank them. Virgin Atlantic, approved, allowed entry under Covid-19 protocol. Air Namibia, not approved. Asky, approved. Royal Air Maroc, not approved. African World Airways, Ghana, approved.

“Air Cote d’Ivoire, approved. Lufthansa, not approved. Kenya Airways approved. Emirates Airlines, approved. Turkish Airlines, approved. Cabo Verde not applicable as international flights are not resumed. TAAG Angola Airlines, not approved. South African Airways not applicable as international flights are yet to resume.”

Recall that the government had in March placed a ban on all international flights, in bid to further curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.