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

Ahead of Saturday’s resumption of international flights, the Federal Government of Nigeria on Thursday said only approved airlines would be permitted into the Nigeria’s airspace.…

Ahead of Saturday’s resumption of international flights, the Federal Government of Nigeria on Thursday said only approved airlines would be permitted into the Nigeria’s airspace.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Angolan TAG, Air Namibia and Royal Air Maroc were not approved to operate flights into Nigeria.

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He listed British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian, AWA, and Middle East Airlines as airlines permitted into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He also listed Egyptair, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, AWA, Kenya Airways and Middle East Airlines as airlines allowed to operate into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The government had in March shut the nation’s airports to halt the spread of COVID-19. It later approved the resumption of domestic flights from July 8; and international flights, September 5.

Explaining the reasons for the ban and the principle of reciprocity being applied to some countries, Sirika said Nigeria was simply following what each country had done to the country.

He said the country would go ahead and implement the principle of reciprocity to all countries that had banned flights from Nigeria.

Some of the countries which had banned flights from Nigeria are in the European Union as the EU included Nigeria on the banned countries on the first of July, 2020 when they opened their airspace.

The minister said that the approved international airlines would operate strictly on the Federal Government approved COVID-19 protocol.

“Intending passengers must register online, pay for COVID-19 test fee and upload the COVID-19 negative result not older than 72 hours before boarding,” he said.

While warning against sharp practices, Sirika warned that any airline caught with passengers without COVID-19 negative result would be punished with $3500 fine for each passenger and the passenger returned if he or she was a foreigner, while a Nigerian affected would be force into an isolation centre and be made to bear the full cost of isolation and treatment.