Efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria have intensified as the nation’s biggest carrier, Air Peace, has announced the suspension of all its flight service beginning from Friday.
In a statement signed by its Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, Air Peace said, “It is with a great sense of responsibility that we have decided, in the best interest of our nation, our passengers and workforce, to suspend scheduled flight operations for 23 days effective 23.00hrs on Friday (an hour before midnight on Friday) the 27th day of March, 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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.”
The airline said that it had to be equally noted that passenger traffic in the last three weeks has slumped drastically as a result of this pandemic, so it is therefore very unwise to continue raking up avoidable costs that the airline could ill afford.
“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 costs of operations.
“While the suspension is on, we are, however, willing to do special flights both for the government and our people. Normal scheduled flight operations shall resume on April 20, 2020. We regret any inconvenience this decision may have caused our teeming passengers,” the airline also said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero Contractors has offered its aircraft both fixed wing and helicopters to the federal government for airlift of relief materials, medical equipment and personnel in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
This was disclosed by the CEO of the company, Captain Ado Sanusi, who said that it was the contribution of the airline in support of government’s fight against the virus and treatment of those already infected.
Sanusi said that the aircraft would henceforth be at the disposal of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of Coronavirus in Nigeria, headed by the Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
The Aero CEO urged well-meaning individuals; corporate organisations and others to support the government to overcome this pandemic, which is resetting the world.
He commended the efforts the federal government is making so far in the fight against the pandemic and urged that Nigerians should abide by the rules to get themselves protected from the scourge.
“We at Aero Contractors have decided to offer our fleet to the federal government, all the aircraft in the fixed wing and rotary, to deploy at its disposal in the fight against COVID-19. This is what we have decided to do to support government.
“I am impressed by what the Task Force is doing so far and I believe that our little contributions will help them. They can use the aircraft to airlift relief materials, medical equipment and personnel.
“I use this opportunity to implore Nigerians to follow instruction by the federal, state governments and the task force so that we will protect ourselves from this pandemic,” Sanusi said.