House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has expressed satisfaction with safety measures put in place by the Ministry Aviation and other critical stakeholders for the resumption of flight operations after 3 months of shutdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairman of the Committee, Nnoli Nnaji, who stated this in Abuja yesterday, also commended major airlines for conducting test flights to ascertain the airworthiness of their aircraft before full resumption.
He said: “Test flight successfully conveyed members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 from Abuja to Lagos in line with COVID-19 set down safety standards by the Ministry of Aviation, including the use of robots to profile passengers and also other security protocols like removal of facemasks by passengers for security checks and identification.
“The test flight was necessary to ascertain the safety operational standards of the airports and we are satisfied by the progress and commitment of critical stakeholders.
“As the nation prepares to gradually open up the airspace, Nigerians should rest assured that the House Committee on Aviation, will in line with our oversight mandate, continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Aviation and other stakeholders to not only ensure the smooth resumption of flight operation, but also a strict observance of the safety protocols to contain the pandemic in the aviation industry.”
Nnaji, however, urged Nigerians to embark “only absolutely necessary” air travels upon the resumption of flights, saying that COVID-19 remained a real threat to humanity.
“Notwithstanding the gradual ease of the lockdown and resumption of businesses, including commercial operations flight, Coronavirus pandemic is real and is here with us.
“It is important that Nigerians only embark on air travels that are absolutely necessary and continue to observe the precautionary measures and directives rolled out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Aviation. We must never lower our guards,” he advised.
The lawmaker, who represents the Nkanu East/Nkanu West Federal Constituency, Enugu State, also assured that the renovation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu will soon be completed to enable the resumption of flights to the city.
“The House Committee is also not resting on its oars over the Akanu Ibiam International Airport. We are working round the clock to ensure completion of work and resumption of flights at the airport.
“Only last week, I was there on oversight inspection with the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Toby Okechukwu and Simon Atigwe; and I can say that we were satisfied with the quality of work. Currently, the rainy season affects laying of asphalts, thereby extending the completion period. But we only need to exercise a little more patience,” he added.