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HomeBusinessAir France, KLM, Lufthansa can now fly into Nigeria ~Aviation minister

Air France, KLM, Lufthansa can now fly into Nigeria ~Aviation minister

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By Samuel Bankole

Nigeria has lifted the ban placed on flights by Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways into the country two months ago.

The federal government had in September barred eight airlines, including KLM, Lufthansa and Qatar from flying into the country after it resumed international flights on Sept. 5 following a prolonged lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The ban of the airlines was said to be in retaliation for similar restrictions placed on Nigerians from traveling to the home countries of the airlines.

The government is also working to open three additional airports in the country to international flights “before the end of the year,” Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said Tuesday on Twitter.

“We are working with Ministry of Health, CACOVID & The PTF to open Kano, Port Harcourt & possibly Enugu airports before the end of the year.

“Also Lufthansa, Air France/KLM has been given go ahead to resume. Qatar Airways is approved to start Abuja. Thank you for your patience,” Sirika wrote on his Twitter handle on Tuesday.

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In September, Sirika named the airlines barred from flying into the country as Air France, KLM, Etihad, Rwandair, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines, Air Namibia, and Royal Air Maroc.

The action of the government may have been in the reciprocity of the actions of their home countries, which had announced the exclusion of passengers from Nigeria into their countries.

“We used the foreign carrier operator permit, which is the requirement by our laws, guidelines by COVID-19 Presidential Task Force and other guidelines including restrictions that came from other countries which will affect our own operations here at home.

“Airfrance and Lufthansa were not approved. The reason is that Swiss visas owners are not allowed entry and the same reason for KLM.

“In making decisions as to who comes, in the wisdom of the PTF and the ministry of Aviation, we understood that the government has done very well with a low rate of fatality. If you look at other countries, for example, they recorded lots of fatalities,” the minister said then.

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