Airlines in Nigeria are losing about N17bn monthly as a result of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak across the country, the Federal Government said on Wednesday.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said this while speaking in Abuja at the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“We (aviation sector) are worst hit than any other sector. Some N17bn monthly is being lost by the airlines, thanks to COVID-19,” the minister stated.
This came as the Airline Operators of Nigeria condemned the decision of the Federal Government to patronise foreign airlines for the evacuation of Nigerians abroad.
In his address at the PTF briefing, Sirika explained why the Federal Government would not open the airport today (Thursday) as planned.
“The sector is highly regulated, very coordinated and has set standards that must be followed at all times. Safety, security and efficiency in the sector is extremely important regardless of what is going on.
“We will not be able to just open up after closing for several weeks and perhaps for some months. Those aircraft have been parked and if we are going to bring them into service, we will ensure that they are airworthy and that they can make those flights and land safely.”
Sirika further explained that flight crew officials must meet certain standards before returning to work.
He said there were several other protocols that must be met in order to ensure high safety and security alertness before the airports would be reopened for operations.