Some reasons have been given as to why international flight operations are yet to resume at Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airports.
According to a report from Thisday, the delay in issuing notice to airmen (NOTAM) by the Federal Government and low passenger turnout are key factors delaying the resumption of international flights from the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
According to the report, a senior official of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) revealed that after the special flights operated by Ethiopia Airlines and Egypt Air on April 6, 2021, from Kano to Addis Ababa and Cairo respectively, international flight service was expected to have officially opened from the Kano airport, but airlines are yet to complete their documentations to kick-off operations from there.
The report states that the delay in issuing NOTAM announcing that flights have resumed at the Enugu and Port Harcourt airports is also part of the reasons why flights were yet to start from the two airports.
This is also as Lufthansa Airline, which operates to Port Harcourt airport was yet to express readiness to fly to that destination due to feared low turnout of passengers.
What the Senior FAAN official is saying
The senior FAAN official said, “Kano airport has been opened officially for international flight service, but the airlines designated to the airport have not completed their documentation. We have agreed that airlines should start operations at Port Harcourt airport because work has been completed there and the international wing of the airport has been marked, but Lufthansa, which is the only international carrier that goes to the airport, has not indicated interest to resume due to possible low traffic.
Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt have received Airport Council International (Africa) health accreditation, but as we are opening our airports, Europe is closing theirs. Lufthansa is doing only Abuja and Lagos for now. Ethiopia Airlines will go to Enugu.
We are waiting for them to go to Enugu, but I cannot confirm if we have finished other protocols for the international wing of Enugu airport. I will go to Enugu next week for the Airport Performance Evaluation, but I understand that the availability of passengers will determine the decision of airlines to resume operations in these three airports.’’
What you should know
It can be recalled that the Federal Government had on March 16, 2021, announced the dates for the resumption of international flight operations at Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu International airports, which were shut down as part of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while speaking at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 said Enugu airport would be reopened on May 3, 2012; Kano airport would be reopened on April 5, 2021; while the Port Harcourt airport would reopen on April 15, 2021.