Nigerian airports not shut to foreign flights – NAMA

Fola Akinkuotu, Managing Director, NAMA

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agencies (NAMA) has stated that Nigerian airports are not totally shut against all international flights as being speculated that the airports would not be reopened to international flights till the middle of October 2020.

NAMA noted that the airports still receive approved international flights whose operations are related to humanitarian aids, medical relief flights, alternate aerodrome in the flight plan and also those being used for extended diversion time operation, technical landings where passengers do not disembark and cargo flights and other safety-related operations.

NAMA noted that the speculation is untrue and stated that the airports would be reopened to full international flights at any date the Federal Government, Federal Ministry of Aviation, and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) consider it safe, secure, and appropriate.

This development was contained in a press statement released by Khalid Emele, General Manager, Public Affairs, NAMA, in Lagos.

NAMA maintained that it had issued a notice to airmen that stating that the Federal Government of Nigeria had extended the closure of the nation’s airports to all international flights with the exception of aircraft in a state of emergency and that approval may be requested and granted to special flights.

According to the statement, ‘’the attention of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has been drawn to insinuations making the rounds in certain quarters that Nigerian Airports have been shut to international flights until the middle of October 2020. Indeed, such speculations are entirely untrue.

‘’Following the receipt of an All Operators Letter (NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/152) from NCAA, the agency issued an Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) titled “Phased Resumption of Domestic Flights” on 7th July 2020 to the effect that Lagos and Abuja airports will open for domestic flight operations on 8th July, Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Maiduguri, and Uyo opens on 11th July and all other airports on 15th July 2020.

 ‘’Furthermore, paragraph 9 of the AIC states that “The closure of Nigerian Airports to all international flights with the exception of emergency and essential flights, and scheduled cargo operations with approved summer schedules, will continue until the date of resumption is approved”.

‘’For the avoidance of doubt, the agency on the 15th July 2020, in line with international standards, issued a 3-month duration NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) (from 15th July to 15th October 2020) stating that the Federal Government of Nigeria has extended the closure of the nation’s airports to all international flights with the exception of aircraft in a state of emergency, however approval may be requested and granted to: overflights, operations related to humanitarian aids, medical relief flights, alternate aerodrome in the flight plan and also those being used for extended diversion time operation, technical landings where passengers do not disembark and cargo flights and other safety-related operations.

‘’From the foregoing, there was no indication that the closure of Nigerian airports to international flights was from 15th July to 15th October 2020. However, the NOTAM was issued for a minimum duration of 3 months in view of the fact that a specific date for resumption of international flights has not been confirmed by the Honourable Minister of Aviation or the Director-General of NCAA.

‘’While the agency looks forward anxiously towards the reopening of Nigerian airports to international flights, we wish to clarify that the import of the said NOTAM and AIC is NOT that Nigerian airports remain closed till 15th October 2020.’’

The agency called on its customers, airspace users, and the general public to disregard the misconception.

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