COVID-19: Over 125,000 could be lost in the aviation Industry – Sirika

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has warned that over 100,000 persons risk losing their jobs as the Coronavirus pandemic poses a threat to the the aviation sector.

Mr Sirika said this on Wednesday at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He stated that the aviation sector has been dealt a severe blow by the pandemic, noting that airlines have lost nearly N17 billion monthly since their operations were grounded, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

His words, “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.

Speaking further, Sirika noted that the sector is highly regulated and very coordinated 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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