The Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos has announced via its Twitter @LOSairport, that there would be a special repatriation flight and that the aircraft would come in from Cotonou, Benin Republic, for the operation. The evacuation of EU citizens from Nigeria has begun. This picture was posted on same page yesterday at 2:15pm Nigerian time:
A letter of approval from the ministry dated March 26 and obtained by The PUNCH, showed that there would be similar flights on April 2 and April 9, 2020.
The Ministry of Aviation has reiterated that the airline must operate strictly based on the protocol guiding such operations under COVID19.
According to reports, the pilot and crew of the Air France aircraft were not allowed to disembark. The said nationals were subsequently escorted to the aircraft to board and fly. The evacuation of EU citizens from Nigeria has begun.
According to their spokesman, “Air France teams all over the world are fully mobilised and are doing all they can to help French and European nationals at this difficult time. Air France is working together with the French and international authorities to adapt its flight schedule in real time in line with the evolving situation and the new restrictions imposed on airlines.”
The General Manager, Public Relations of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Sam Adurogboye, said the flight was duly approved by the minister in person. The flight would not have happened without the special clearance of the minister in these times.
Mr Sam Adurogboye then continued; “We are in a period of emergency and in section 36 of Nigerian Civil Aviation Act, the minister has power to approve or clear flights in emergency”
The NCAA had last week issued a circular that all international airports should remain closed to international flights till further notice. The evacuation of EU citizens from Nigeria has begun because a special approval was issued for them.
Exemptions were however made for cargo, technical, humanitarian, medical relief, and safety flight operations.