The Government of Nigeria has impounded an aircraft, owned by a British company, for disrespecting its territorial authority by operating passenger flights into Nigeria without approval.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this on Sunday via his Twitter handle, @hadisirika.
According to the minister, Flair Aviation, was authorized to conduct humanitarian flights but was caught operating commercial flights.
Mr. Sirika added that in addition to the confiscation of the aircraft, a “penalty” would be imposed on the airline for contravening the country’s ban on commercial flights as part of measures to check the spread of coronavirus.
The crew are also being interrogated as there shall be maximum penalty for the offence, he said.
He tweeted: “COVID-19. Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably, we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous! The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve.”
Since March Nigerian airports and airspace were shut by the President Muhammadu Buhari, stopping both local and international.
The closure was extended on May 6 by another four weeks by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, “after due consultations with experts.”