As effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to cripple activities world-wide, Domestic Airlines in Nigeria have announced the suspension of their operations from tomorrow Friday, March 27, 2020, even without the Federal Government issuing any directive along this line.
In different statements obtained by The Culture Newspaper, the airlines; Max Air, Air Peace, Arik Air, Aero Contractor, Azman Air, and Dana Air announced the suspension of all flight operations.
According to the statement from Air Peace, the decision was taken as part of concerted efforts being made to stop the spread of the pandemic coronavirus.
“It is with a great sense of responsibility that we have decided, in the best interest of our nation, passengers and workforce to suspend scheduled flight operations for 23 days effective 23:00hrs on Friday (an hour before midnight) the 27th day of March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This difficult decision was reached in order to support the efforts of the FG and other stakeholders in curbing the spread of this virus in our nation while also protecting our esteemed passengers and staff from becoming victims of the pandemic” the statement read.
On its part, Dana Air announced the suspension of all its operations from midnight of March 25 for the period of two weeks.
“In line with the precautionary measures by the Lagos State Government to stem the spread of the COVID-19, kindly note that all our flight operations will be suspended effective Wednesday, the 25th of March for two weeks,” the airline said.
Similarly, Arik Air also announced the suspension of its operations from Friday while informing customers that they can still make use of their tickets when it resumes operation.
“The safety and well-being of our valued customers are paramount at this period of health emergency. We implore everyone to keep safe and abide by all directives issued by governmental authorities,” the statement by Roy Ilegbodu, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, read.
Azman Air, Aero Contractor also revealed via different statements that their operations would be suspended for two weeks from Friday.
According to the statement from Azman, “The consensus was reached after a detailed consultation with stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation industry and in a bid to support the Federal Government efforts in curtailing the spread of Coronavirus and to ensure its eventual eradication” the statement reads.
On its part, Aero Contractor in a statement, said the decision to suspend flight services was taken in a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria and in support of initiatives and precaution to ensure that there is no community infection in the country.
“Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, is a global threat to our humanity and considering its devastating effect on many countries where it has led to the death of thousands of people, we have decided to make this onerous sacrifice by suspending our flight operations for two weeks, effective midnight 26 March 2020. After the two-week duration, we will review the progress made and take a decision on resumption of operations. This is also in line with the decision of the Lagos State government, which has prohibited any gathering that is more than 20 persons” the statement by Aero Contractor reads.
The suspension of operations is coming couple of days after a memo by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority announced the closure of all airports to international flights.