The federal government of Nigeria has released the list of nine airlines granted approval to commence international flights in the country.
Speaking at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Thursday, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said only approved airlines will be allowed into the country’s airspace.
He confirmed September 5 as the date for resumption of flights.
The minister noted that Air France, KLM, Etihad, RwandAir, Air Namibia, Royal Air Maroc, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines were denied approval to commence flight operations.
He said Cabo Verde and South African airlines were denied approval as international flights were yet to resume in their countries.
Nigeria had in August vowed to implement a reciprocity clause by banning flights and airlines from countries that put similar bans on flights from Nigeria as nations open their airspace amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airlines approved include British Airways, Delta Airlines, Emirates Qatar, Kenya Airways and Middle East Airline, Egypt Air Emirate, Ethiopian Airline, WA, and Turkish Airline. Virgin Atlantic, Air Peace, Asky, Africa Ward Ghana and Air Cote d’lvoire.
“Abuja and Lagos will be open for operations on the 5th of September. We are satisfied with the preparations so far. We don’t anticipate any hitches.
“Saturday for Lagos there will be BA, Delta, Emirates, Qatar, AWA, Kenya Airways and Middle East airlines while for Abuja we have BA, EgyptAir, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, AWA, Middle East Airlines and Turkish. And then we will release to you the time table for the remaining days to say time.
“In our decision, we used two items, the foreign carier operating permit which is a requirement by our laws, and the guidelines by the COVID-19 task force and other guidelines as restrictions that come from other countries which will affect our operations at home.
“Now, at this point, it is important that we announce the airlines that are allowed for operations into the country. The ones not approved includes Air France. Middle East Airlines is approved for only Lagos. British Airways is approved, allowed entry under Covid-19 protocols
“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 agreement with them and they also allow us in.
“Qatar Airways are allowed and approved under the COVID-19 protocol. Etihad, not approved. Ethiopian Airlines allowed entry under the 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 Airlines, 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 has not resumed. Angola TAAG, not approved, South Africa moved because international flights have not been approved.”
President Muhammad Buhari had in March ordered the suspension of international flights to curb the influx of imported cases of the COVID-19 virus in the country.
While local flights were also suspended, they resumed about five weeks ago as the country joined the rest of the world to battle the pandemic.