A Delta Air repatriation flight carrying 208 U.S. citizens departed Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos for Washington Dulles International Airport on Tuesday, April 7, bringing to 1,739 the number of foreigners that have left the country over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Boeing 777-232 flight 8956, took off at exactly 13.54 hours with a total of 208 people on board including 17 crew members.
The flight is the second in a series of repatriation flights for American citizens out of Lagos. The US Mission in Nigeria said it hopes to get about 1, 000 Americans out of Lagos this week alone as additional flights are expected over the next few days.
The US Consul in Nigeria said priority is given to the elderly, individuals with serious health issues, unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, and physically challenged citizens. Before boarding, local health authorities conducted temperature checks on all the passengers.
So far, 1,739 foreigners have been evacuated from Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos since the exercise began about 10 days ago according to the South West regional manager of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba.
She said: “Since the closure of the airport, we have had about 10 evacuations with different nationals. We have had from Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, Middle East Airline (MEA) with the Lebanese, Ethiopian Airlines has been on with Americans and Canadians. Then, we have domestic charter too. Also, Jed Air did Liberia, Air Peace airlifted Israelis. Today, we have Delta Airlines on ground that will take about 208 Americans.
“The conditions for evacuation are that you have to get an approval from the Federal Ministry of Aviation, when the ministry gets the approval, it is sent to FAAN, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Then, we send the approval to all the security agencies, too. Most importantly, there is a procedure in place for the Covid-19 virus pandemic, which has to be followed.