Foreign airlines may recommence flights between September 1st, October

Indications have emerged that some foreign airlines have expressed their readiness to recommence flights between their home countries and Nigeria from 1st of September while others have indicated interest to resume flights in October.

The latest development is coming after the Federal Government announced that international flights will resume tentatively from August 29th, 2020.

While some of the foreign airlines said they were ready to resume flights on September 1st, 2020 others are delaying till October over what they called their decision to observe the situation of things before embarking of flight operations in the country once again.

In a brief chat with journalists at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2 after the distribution of facemasks by the National Association of Travel Agencies in Nigeria, (NANTA), Chairman Social Corporate Responsibility, NANTA, Mrs Ime Victor-Ekpo, said Lufthansa, British Airways, Emirates and few others were ready to start off flights on the 1st of September.

While noting that the restart of foreign flights was going to be gradual as the airlines do not want to restart and shut down again, Victor-Ekpo declared: “Lufthansa said they are starting on the 1st of September, British airways 1st of September, other airlines too, most of them are starting 1st of September but others are pushing to October because they have to be ready, so whenever they are all around you know the situation is a gradual process, we don’t want a part to have the same COVID-19 we are running from for us to come the second time so we are taking our time, so it is going to be a gradual process and in time everything will be fine.”

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For countries not yet open up to Nigeria, Mrs Victor-Ekpo said, only countries ready to receive Nigerians would be opened to, adding that NANTA members were ready to start work.

“Like the webinar we had with the UAE, they are not saying we shouldn’t come, they have opened up, so we are opened up to countries that have opened up that allows us so definitely they were telling us, your airport us not open until your airport we will have time and we will take you in but as far as your airport is not open we cannot do anything, so they were right but now that our airport is going to be opened I believe they will also open to us.

“We are already prepared, we have been on zoom, educating our people on the way forward, we have been in touch with all the airlines, nearly all the airlines, we have been in webinars with them and they have told us that they are prepared definitely if they are prepared, we will not be left over, we are also prepared because one on one we have a meeting with them”.

Speaking on NANTA preparedness for international flight restart, the Vice President, Lagos Zone, NANTA, Mr Yinka Folami, said members had adequately been educated on what their responsibilities would be in this era of the new normal.

According to Folami, NANTA members had been encouraged to have first-hand information on the protocols at airports, inflight, boarding and at destinations for seamless facilitation of and a better experience for their customers.

“We have had several webinars over 15. Most of our webinars are focused on the education of our members. What we have done is that we have encouraged our members to understand what the travel protocols are. We are the first line of contact with the travelling public. We have done a lot of webinars to encourage our members to understand what the airport protocols are, what the inflight protocols are, what the destination and restriction protocols are.”

Folami said NANTA members have been made to understand that their duties now go beyond ticketing services as the opportunity today has presented by the pandemic was for travel agents to do more of consultancy services.

“So this is an opportunity for us to act as consultants to the travelling public and we have armed ourselves with enough knowledge and as international airspace has opened now, we are all eager to go to work and in addition to our ticketing services we are going to provide consulting services to the travelling public ad we are going to give them information and advisory information right from the airport protocols, inflight protocols, through the journey and destination requirements.”

While hinting that the body had set up a national NANTA training Academy that would focus on continuous education of members geared towards imparting professionalism and in turn impart the travelling public, Folami added: “We have assurances now that the airport will be opened in the 29th, we don’t expect all the airlines to resume immediately, it will be phased depending on their schedule. There is some level of demand for travel, a lot of students want to go back to school, there are a lot of naturalized foreigners in Nigeria that really want to go back, so we are to the extent that the Traveling public is ready and to the extent that the airlines are ready, we are ready to engage with our customers and we have no choice than to be ready for about 5 months we have practically done nothing as travel agents, most of our offices have been closed.

“The aviation business has not really kicked off and it looks like a bit slow when you consider the level of patronage but people are getting more ad more confident and we expect it to get better, it is not going to pick immediately but what is very clear to us is that the world will fly again, it is an essential and the world will fly again.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Foreign airlines may recommence flights

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Foreign airlines may recommence flights

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