International flights resumed at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, on Monday, when an Airbus A350 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines taxied to a halt at the airport terminal.
The flight, which took off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport with 180 passengers onboard, landed at the NAIA at exactly 2pm and was received to a water cannon reception.
This coming more than five months after the closure of the Nigerian airspace to scheduled international flights due to lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Port Health Services, amongst others, were on ground to receive the passengers and ensure protocols put in place by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 were strictly obeyed.
Ethiopian Airlines media consultant in Nigeria, Ikechi Uko, confirmed the development to our correspondent in a telephone chat.
According to him, the flight later departed for Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital city, with 257 passengers onboard.
It was earlier reported that flight operations restarted at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, when an aircraft operated by Middle East Airlines touched down at the airport on Saturday afternoon.
The country’s airspace and airports had been shut to flight operations in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
The Federal Government subsequently approved the restart of domestic flights from July 8, adding that effective September 5, international flights would resume with the two airports. The government also barred some airlines from operating into the country.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had said there would be sanctions for non-compliance with the guidelines on the part of the approved airlines and the passengers.
He said passengers who fail to comply with the Covid-19 protocol put in place to curb the importation of the virus would be suspended from travelling for six months while airlines that fail to comply would pay a fine of $3,500 per passenger.