COVID-19: Local Airlines Losing N17bn Monthly – Sirika

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The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has stated that the sector has been the worst hit since the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the country.

According to him, airlines have lost nearly N17 billion monthly since their operations were grounded, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

“We are in very difficult moments like everyone else. All of this started because someone travelled and unfortunately came back home with it and the consequence is what we’ve been going through.

“We are the worst hit, than any other sector. Some N17 billion monthly is being lost by the airlines, thanks to COVID-19,” the minister said during the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja on Wednesday.

Speaking further, Sirika noted that the sector is highly regulated and very co-ordinated and has set standards that must be followed at all times, regardless, because it speaks to safety.

This, according to him, would mean that “we will not be able to open up after closing for several weeks and perhaps for some months”.

“There are safety issues and concerns. Those airplanes have been kept and when we are going to bring them back into service, we will have to ensure that they are airworthy and that they can make those flights safely,” he added.

“So also, for the flight crew, they have certain standards they must conform with. They have licencing issues which will fall due for recurrency to be done within this period, so what do you do with them.

“Certainly they won’t just pick up their bags and continue where they left. They must conform to those standards and ensure that they are safe to operate both in terms of their health and their proficiency to be able to conduct a very safe flight”.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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