‘Maximum Penalty’ Awaits British Plane Found Flouting Nigeria’s Flight Ban

Flair Aviation “was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably were caught conducting commercial flights”, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said.
Ethiopian Airlines Emerge as Core Investor in Nigerian Air (News Central TV)
Nigeria’s Aviation minister Hadi Sirika speaks following a press conference at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London, on July 18, 2018. – The Nigerian government launched plans on Wednesday to create new flag carrier airline Nigeria Air by the end of this year. “I am pleased to tell you that we are finally on track to launching a new national flag carrier for our country: Nigeria Air,” Sirika announced. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

Nigeria plans to strongly penalise an airplane owned by a British company, FlairJet, for flouting the country’s travel ban imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika said the plane was impounded because the aviation company deviated from its approved permit saying it “was given approval for humanitarian operations but it was caught conducting commercial flights”.

“The craft is impounded, and the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty” Sirika said Sunday on Twitter.

Nigerians were outraged by the news and supported the government’s proposed punitive measures against the British aviation company noting that such actions could have led to an increase in the import of infected Covid-19 travelers.

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On March 18, the government announced it was restricting entry into the country for travelers from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the US, Norway, the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Those coming from high-risk countries are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Nigeria expanded its restrictions on March 21 announcing it will close its two main international airports in the cities of Lagos and Abuja from March 23 for one month.

On April 20, the closure of airspace and airports was again extended till at least June 4 except for essential services, such as the delivery of food supplies and items for humanitarian use as 5,959 covid-19 infections have so far recorded in Nigeria with 182 deaths.

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