Lagos — Pressure has continued to mount on the Federal Government to lift the ban on international flights less than a week after the reopening of airports for national flights.
But the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the apex aviation regulatory agency, insists the time is not ripe to resume international operations, even as it stated that the decision was beyond it.
The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, made the clarification in response to pressure by travel agencies in the country for international flights to resume.
At the NCAA industry restart webinar held on Tuesday, travel agencies made a passionate appeal to the authority to lift the ban on international flights.
The President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye, and her predecessor, Bernard Bankole, spoke on behalf of the travel agencies which constitute the downstream sector of the aviation industry.
Akporiaye said since evacuation flights were carried out virtually on a daily basis since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Federal Government could lift the ban on international flights even if it would allow two or three flights per week.
Our correspondent reports that many travel agencies have been crying over the huge losses they have incurred as a result of the ban on international flights in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the travel agents at the meeting said, “If we could manage evacuation flights this way and guaranteed their safety, why can’t we take in international flights which have prepared well ahead of time to ensure safety on board.”
Responding to the concerns of the travel agencies, the NCAA DG disclosed that the Federal Government had started working on public health protocols for international flights.
He empathised with the travel agencies for the huge losses they were incurring, saying NCAA as an agency also generated 85 per cent of its revenue from international flights.