International flights: FG bars Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, others

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As international flights resume on September 5, the Federal Government says only approved airlines will be allowed into the country’s airspace.

Speaking on Thursday during a briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, 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.

The minister also listed British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian, AWA, and Middle East Airlines as airlines allowed to operate into the Abuja airport.

However, Sirika said Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Angolan TAG, Air Namibia and Royal Air Maroc are not approved to operate flights into the country.

The country’s airspace and airports had been shut to flight operations in March to curb the spread of the lethal coronavirus disease which as of Thursday has killed over 1,000 people in Nigeria.

The FG subsequently approved the restart of domestic flights from July 8, adding that effective September 5, international flights would resume with the two airports.

Giving an update on Thursday, the minister said there would be sanctions for non-compliance with the guidelines on the part of the airlines and the passengers.

He said passengers who fail to comply with the Covid-19 protocol 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.

Sirika 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 are 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. Angolan TAG, not approved. South African Airways not applicable as international flights are yet to resume.”

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