International flights grounded, ban on international travellers takes impact

• NCAA Restricts Flights To Lagos, Abuja Airports, Notifies Airlines, Operators
• Travel Agencies Downsize, Seek Bailout

The Federal Government’s ban on non-Nigerian travellers from some 13 international locations yesterday took full impact with business worldwide air motion virtually grounded to a halt at airports.

At the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Abuja, monitored yesterday, solely Air Peace and African World Airlines (AWA) have been on schedule for regional operations, whereas Emirates airways ran skeletal service from Lagos.

With huge plunge in visitors from the 13 international locations and those who have self-withdrawn, all American and European carriers have stayed away in compliance with FG’s order.

Similarly, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday, issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) on the journey ban and restriction of all international flights to Lagos and Abuja airports

The NOTAM signed by the Director General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu to all operators acknowledged that the restriction of entry into the nation for travellers from the 13 international locations took impact midnight of yesterday, March 20.

These international locations are: China, Japan, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, U.S., UK, Iran, France, Norway, South Korea and Germany.

And the huge international disruption in flight motion and travels is taking a heavy toll on airways and journey companies.  The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) yesterday mentioned they’d been pressured to both downsize or place staffers on half- wage, whereas the forthcoming yearly common assembly earlier slated for subsequent week in Kano had been postponed indefinitely.

President of the affiliation, Bankole Bernard, mentioned the journey companies urgently want authorities’s intervention to save lots of the trade from imminent collapse, ought to the coronavirus unfold and financial influence worsens.

As at yesterday, about 90 international locations have to this point imposed some journey restrictions and border closure in strikes to stop the unfold. Nigeria was the newest to additionally slam journey restrictions on 13 international locations which have COVID-19 prevalence. The ban takes impact from midnight in the present day.

The coronavirus has contaminated greater than 200,000 folks and killed greater than 10,000 globally, with virtually 80,000 folks having recovered from the an infection, in keeping with knowledge collected by Johns Hopkins University.

President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives of Nigeria (AFARN), Kingsley Nwokoma, mentioned the empty terminal was the impact of a “troubled industry and very difficult period” for the reason that outbreak of COVID-19.

Nwokoma mentioned it started with sluggish visitors, then cancellation of flights, and nice discount in cargo visitors.

“When it started, it was like a joke; we all thought it would soon pass away. The cargo sector or aviation generally is a big hit because most of the carriers that do not have freighters, they do a combo. But if we don’t have people going to the airports, meet with carriers to facilitate their cargo, where do you expect the cargo to come from?”

Recall that Arik Air has introduced the momentary suspension of flights to all its West Coast locations efficient Monday, March 23, 2020.

Air Peace airways has additionally declared readiness to scaled down operations, disclosing plans to droop Dubai operations in response to the adversarial results of the pandemic.

The NOTAM, made obtainable to The Guardian, acknowledged that the journey restrictions is relevant to all flight crews from the international locations affected.

“All operators wishing to function or fly into Nigeria are required to function with two units of flight crew (augmented crew); one set to function into Nigeria and the opposite set to function out of Nigeria.

“All persons arriving into Nigeria, who might have visited these 13 countries, 15 days prior to such arrival, will be subject to supervised self- isolation and testing for 14 days.”

The DG NCAA added that the Lagos and Abuja worldwide airports are designated for worldwide flights solely.

“Effective from 00.01 hours Saturday 21st March, 2020, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano (DNKN), Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu (DNEN), and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa (DNPO) will be closed to international flights.”

Only Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (DNAA) and Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, (DNMM) might be opened to just accept worldwide flights regardless of the kind of operation.

NANTA President, Bankole, informed reporters in Lagos yesterday that the trade has been worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with the worldwide trade shedding $200 billion in income.

He mentioned whereas international carriers have both withdrawn or scaled down operations resulting from lack of visitors, the native airways usually are not disregarded as they have already got 50 per cent lack of the market.

“The half traffic is not enough to sustain their cost of operations and it is just a matter of time before they shut down, if the problem drags. We the travel agencies have already lost N180 billion. Though we refuse to panic at this time, we are in dire need of government’s support, if this industry will not completely collapse,” he mentioned.

First Vice President of the affiliation, Yinka Folami, mentioned the companies wanted bailout in type of entry to comfortable loans and interest-free overdrafts to cushion the consequences of the huge disruption.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that Nigeria is vulnerable to shedding 2.2 million overseas-bound passengers, $434 million lack of income, placing over 22,200 jobs in danger, if the coronavirus unfold continues to escalate.

The affiliation that represents some 290 airways mentioned the gloomy outlook was not peculiar to Nigeria, however throughout the area and warrants emergency help for the airways.

IATA, in a market evaluation launched Thursday, appealed to governments in Africa and the Middle East, to supply emergency help to airways as they struggle for survival because of the evaporation of air journey demand on account of the COVID-19 disaster.

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