- Domestic Airlines to Suspend Local Flight Operations
Domestic airlines have announced the suspension of local flight operations as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases surged in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had reported that the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 51 on Thursday while the World Health Organisation (WHO) put the total number of infected persons in Africa at 2,412 and 64 deaths as at Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Arik Air and Air Peace had announced the suspension of operations on certain international routes to protect passengers and staff. However, with the number of cases recorded in the country rising, the two airlines have joined other local airlines like Dana Air Azman, Aero Contractors and Max Air to put a stop to local flight operations.
Air Peace, Arik Air and Azman suspension will commence on Friday, March 27 while Aero Contractors and Max Air will halt operations on Thursday, March 26 and Saturday, March 28, respectively. Dana has already suspended service since Wednesday, March 25.
Kingsley Ezenwa, the Media and Communications Manager, Dana Air, explained that the suspension would be for a period of two weeks to assess the situation.
Mrs. Toyin Olajide, the Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace, however, said the company had agreed to suspend flight operations for 23 days.
She said, “This difficult decision was reached in order to, not only, support the efforts of the Federal Government and other stakeholders in curbing the spread of this virus in our nation but also to protect our teeming passengers and our staff from becoming victims of the pandemic.”
“Continuation of flight operations in the present circumstances we find ourselves as airlines could lead to the total collapse of any airline hence the need to quickly stem the rising financial burden and cost of operations.”
Olajide added that normal scheduled flight operations would resume on April 20, saying that the airline would be willing to operate special flights both for the government and the people.
According to an AFP report, global deaths due to COVID-19 rose to 19,246 on Wednesday with over 427,000 confirmed cases. Spain’s total deaths jumped to 3,434 on Wednesday after 738 people reportedly died from the virus within 24 hours.