Uche Usim, Abuja
The Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika on Sunday disclosed that an airplane has been impounded, while its crew members were currently being detained and interrogated for conducting illegal commercial flights in Nigeria.
The Minister, who made the revelation on his verified Twitter handle on Sunday gave the name of the aviation company involved in the illegal operations as Flair Aviation.
The firm has ties to Germany and the United Kingdom.
According to Sirika, the company was given clearance for humanitarian operations, but welded unauthorized flight services to its services.
He said: “Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous!” he tweeted on Sunday.
“The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!”
The federal government shutdown the air borders to international flights on March 21 as a strategic move to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some foreign carriers are warming up to resume scheduled flight operations into Nigeria by next month, the Minister insisted that the airports will not be opened until there is sufficient proof that it is safe to do so.