The Monday, June 21st date earlier fixed for the resumption of flights may not be feasible going by the level of preparation by aviation authorities.
This is just as the federal government has declared that the date was not sacrosanct, as it was not in a hurry to reopen the airspace.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, disclosed this yesterday during a webinar on Aviation Industry Restart Plan hosted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had recently hinted that the aviation industry could reopen by June 21 after three months of shutdown occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Aviation Industry Restart Committee led by the Director General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, has been interfacing with relevant stakeholders in the industry especially the airlines towards a safe return to the sky.
No fewer than six airlines out of 14 are ready with their aircraft already disinfected, according to the NCAA Director of Airworthiness, Engr. Ita Awak.
But the decision on whether the industry would reopen on Monday would be made on Friday when the NCAA DG would make a presentation to the PTF.
Speaking at the webinar which was also attended by the National Coordinator of PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, Sirika said while a lot of progress has been made to restart the industry, he doubted if the gaps that are yet to be filled could be done in four days.
He said it would be a herculean task to reopen the airspace on Monday next week going by the level of preparation on the ground.
He stressed that if the airports would be reopened, it would reopen permanently with every necessary safety and security measures in place.
The NCAA DG said the decision on whether to reopen would be made known to the PTF tomorrow, saying, “As the Chairman of the Restart Committee, I will say we have a long way to go. I am submitting a preliminary report on Friday and it is going to give you the true colour of the situation. If we are not ready, of course, we are not ready. Because what we don’t want to do is to rush into it.”