FG impound British aircraft operating commercial flights into Nigeria

The Nigerian government has impounded a foreign aircraft running commercial flights into the country despite the ban on international flights over the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the aircraft, Flair Aviation, an aviation company with ties to Germany and the United Kingdom, has been seized and the crew are being interrogated.

According to the minister, the company was given clearance for humanitarian operations.

According to information provided on its website, the company specialises in aircraft leasing and sales, technical and flight support, spare parts and tooling, and aviation consultation.

“Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous!” he tweeted on Sunday.

“The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!”

The federal government barred international flights into the country on March 23 as part of efforts to control the coronavirus outbreak.

The Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja were the last airports to be shut down.
Only essential and emergency flights are allowed in the country.

Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case on February 28; an Italian who arrived via a Turkish Airlines flight on February 25.

There are already reactions to the minister’s tweet with some calling for maximum sanctions.

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