NCAA casts doubts over domestic flights resumption date

The Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said it could not confirm the new date for re-opening of airports, saying that every preparation to restart domestic flights will be subject to the approval of the Presidential Task Force on COVID -19.

Captain Musa Nuhu disclosed this in a webinar, adding that the agency is working closely with the PTF whose task it will be to unveil the new date.

Speaking through the Director, Consumer Protection Directorate, Abdullahi Usman the NCAA, said it was working with airlines, the airport authority and other players in the sector to ascertain their level of compliance with the protocols designed for the restart of domestic flights, but it would need approval from the PTF to unveil the new date.

“We cannot confirm the new date for resumption of flight. The earlier date given was not sacrosanct. We need to get back to the Presidential Task Force on COVID -19 to affirm any new date. We are awaiting further instructions to be guided. The PTF will decide when domestic flights will resume after it may have lifted the restriction on interstate movement.”

The declaration came just as the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu said the authority will implement slot allocation system for domestic carriers to achieve social and physical distance at airports.

Yadudu said as much as the authority has redesigned new operational procedures for the restart of domestic flights, it was, however, burdened with capacity challenges; which has forced new thinking, as it plans to construct a new domestic terminal along the Agege Motor Way of the metropolis.

The proposed terminal he said was to address capacity constraints of the apron and other operational areas of the two existing terminals of the Lagos Airport.

Yadudu said FAAN plans to carry out a test run of the redesigned system to enable it to close existing gaps before domestic flights resume.

He said FAAN was increasingly getting worried over capacity constraints at the Lagos Airport and will initiate a meeting among operators and the regulator on the best operating procedures to adopt before the resumption of flights.