FG states there may not be airfare increase as NCAA submits aviation restart plan

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced its readiness to submit the aviation restart plan to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 by Wednesday, June 25, 2020.

This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, during an interactive session with stakeholders in the aviation industry at a forum on the way forward, which held over the weekend.

He explained that the industry was eager for restart, just as the airlines were pushing for it. He stated that in the over 3-month break period, the finances of NCAA had been negatively affected.

According to Captain Nuhu, “We are yet to get there but we are pretty close. The plan is that by Wednesday, we will submit our report to PTF. I reiterate, we are pretty close.

“Your lack of operations put NCAA in a difficult situation. Our revenue is down by 90 to 95 per cent. We are almost ready. Like I said earlier, not all the airlines and airports have to be necessarily ready before the restart.

“If anything goes wrong, NCAA will be held responsible. Sometime this week, the proposed restart date will be made known.”

Going further, he said, “If the airports get it right, the airlines job will be made easier. The airlines that have disinfected their aircraft should show proof to NCAA. On the middle seats, we need to listen to the health authority, even though I do not support the middle seat regime.

“We are liaising with the health authority to get the best for the airlines. It is our interest that airlines start flying yesterday.

The Chairman of NCAA COVID-19 committee, Engr. Godwin Balang, while disclosing the guidelines control measures employed by NCAA towards the restart of the industry, said that they were based on 10 key principles.

The DG NCAA, however, pointed out that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) carried the bulk of the pressure and efforts were being made to get it right as airports are the most critical part of the value chain.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has assured Nigerians that the expected resumption of flight operations by domestic airlines may not necessarily lead to hike in air fares.

The Aviation Minister said that they are doing everything possible to make sure that ticket prices do not skyrocket. He said that the prices may be different, but they will remain affordable.

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