By Chinelo Obogo
Baring any unforeseen circumstances, international flights will resume at the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu on Thursday, July 29.
Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, who revealed this at the 25th annual conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC), held in Lagos on Wednesday, July, 28, said all the necessary preparations have been made and the airport management is only waiting for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to sign off on it.
Since the suspension on international flights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, operations have resumed in four airports; Murtala Muhammed airport, Lagos, Aminu Kano, Kano, Nnamdi Azikiwe, airport, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport, Abuja.
However, Nnolim has said that preparations for resumption of flights has reached the point where it is expected that the Federal Government will officially announce the resumption of flights.
“We believe that international operations will resume at Enugu airport on July 29. It was waiting for the NCAA to sign off, but we have already taken it to that point where we expect the Federal Government to announce the resumption of flights,” Nnolim said.
Also reacting to the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban sales of forex to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, Nnolim said the coming weeks will determine how the policy will affect the price of air tickets, while urging the apex bank to increase supply of forex to banks so that airlines can access it easily.
“The government didn’t do much in terms of bailout for the airlines. The cost of the engine of a Boeing is close to $10 million and what the government provided for all the airlines is about N4 billion, so, when you compare what our airlines got to what airlines in other countries got, you will find out that they didn’t do much for the industry. The aviation industry is a very expensive business and most people do not break even. What they just succeed in doing is to just keep the business going because everything about the industry is offshore and that is a challenge.