The Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika has stated that the aviation industry was 90/95 percent ready to restart the sector but did not give a timeline.
This is just as he stated that palliatives to the aviation industry would be announced as soon as the sector inches towards restart.
He disclosed this at a media press briefing held with the Presidential Task Force(PTF) on COVID-19 after a test flight from Abuja to Lagos to ensure airport preparedness for the restart of operations.
Speaking on the much talked about palliatives for the industry ravaged by COVID-19, Sirika said that the amount for the palliative would be announced soon in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and the Ministry of Finance.
“Government is coming with the palliative very soon in conjunction with the CBN and the Ministry of Finance. By next week we will come out with the amount and palliative will be announced within the week within the economic sustainability plan. It will go round the entire civil aviation but may not necessarily be as people expect.”
Speaking on the restart, Sirika stated that aviation was ready to go.
“Once we start, all the physical distancing measures would be observed. The markings in Lagos are as much as we have in Abuja.
“I’m not 100 percent satisfied but I am 90 percent satisfied and why did I say so? I said so because our airports both Lagos and Abuja, we have marked them clearly, we have trained our staff to ensure the physical distancing, we have provided COVID-19 compliant toilets. We have provided for hand sanitizers, we guided people efficiently. We reduced the number of people the Co-Bus we take…
So we have done everything humanly possible to ensure that people keep physical distancing and they are wearing their mask. So I am very satisfied and happy.”
On the timeline, he said, “I think once we are good to go, we are good to go. You know there are two components to it. The health and safety components. This thing is not as easy as you think… I don’t want to give a date but I am sure we are getting there,” he said.
In the same vein, the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 has expressed satisfaction with the handling of the test flight from Abuja ahead of the restart plan of the aviation industry,
The Taskforce stated that the industry was ready but would not give a timeline or date for the restart
The Coordinator PTF COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who gave his assessment of the preparedness of the industry when he arrived with the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika on an Aero Contractors flight from Abuja after undergoing the same process at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport(NAA), Abuja.
“Aviation is a highly regulated sector and this is the new normal. Things have changed and things have changed because we have a disease killing people.
“The aviation industry has shown what they have done as an industry and now it is left to Nigerians to do what they need to be safe.
“While aviation has done tremendously well, what will protect you is yourself and we equally will make sure Nigerians can be safe when they fly,” he said.
Apart from Sirika, and the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, others in the team Minister of State for Health, Olounnibe Mamora, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of State for Education, among others.