The Senate has said it would be suicidal for the Federal Government to reopen the aviation sector this Sunday, June 21, as earlier planned.
The Senate Committee on Aviation raised the alarm after an emergency meeting with leaders of unions in the sector led by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers.
The federal government had fixed Sunday, June 21, 2020 as date for commencement of domestic flights in five major airports across the country after about 75 days of lockdown in curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
But the Senate Committee on Aviation after being briefed by unionists in the sector on the inherent danger in the plan, called on the federal government to suspend it for now.
Specifically, chairman of the committee, Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi West) said based on serious issues raised by stakeholders in the sector as regards safety and security, the plan to unlock it should be postponed.
“As submitted by the key players in the sector, many of the pilots have lost currency and needed to be re-certified, certificates of airworthiness of most of the aircrafts have expired, most of the workers are owed salaries or on half salary since the lockdown began in March.
“These are serious issues directly connecting to safety and security aside required intervention that must be made by the government in the form of bailouts for the operators.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika during the briefing by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja suspended domestic flights which were scheduled to resume operations on June 21.
The minister added that a new date would be fixed after a report is submitted to the Task Force for review next week.
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