By Seun Ibiyemi
The Federal government has impounded an aircraft belonging to Flair Aviation, a United Kingdom- based aviation company for operating a commercial flight as against the humanitarian operations it was given approval for in Nigeria.
Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika confirmed this on his official twitter handle, saying the crew are also being interrogated as there shall be maximum penalty for the offence.
According to Hadi Sirika @hadisirika: “COVID-19. Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights.
“This is callous! The craft is impounded, crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!”.
Nigerian NewsDirect reports that the country’s airports and airspace were shut in March by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as part of efforts to contain COVID-19.
Commercial flight operations, both local and international, had stopped forthwith but the President’s directive allowed the operation of essential flights including those for medical and evacuation purposes, amongst others, which are subject to the authorisation of the Federal Ministry of Aviation and agencies under it.
On May 6, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced that the closure of the country’s airports and airspace were further extended by four weeks after due consultations with experts.