The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) says having trees around is the easiest means of cleaning the air we breathe.
Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, the Director-General of NCF, made the assertion at an event organised by the NCF to mark the 2019 World Environment Day in Lagos with the theme: “Beat Air Pollution’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that World Environment Day is annually commemorated worldwide on June 5 and the theme for 2019 was: “Air Pollution’’.
Aminu-Kano said that trees absorb pollutants in the air, clear them and bring the air back to us as clean air.
According to him, the Lagos State Government and the World Bank set up seven centres in Lagos to test air pollution in Lagos and the Lekki Conservation Centre is one of the centres.
“The result of the test shows that Lekki Conservation is the least polluted area in Lagos.
“This is because the Lekki Conservation has trees all around the whole place.
“It is not that there are no cars, waste, other pollutants around and in the centre.
“The trees help to absorb all the carbon dioxide emitted in the environment and make the air clean again,” he said.
Amina-Kano said the cheapest way of beating air pollution is planting trees in commercial and residential areas, on the roads and all around us.
He said that bush burning, transportation, household, industry and waste were the five sources of air pollution in Nigeria.
Aminu-Kano said that emissions from vehicles, chemicals from the industries, cooking with firewood and burning of waste all releases pollutants into the atmosphere.
He said the use of alternative source of power should be developed and concerted efforts made to stop the use of electricity generators sets as source of power in the country.
According to him, the regeneration of the power sector is a must to ensure that people do not rely more on use of electricity generators as source of power.
Aminu-Kano said that many deaths resulting from breathing in fumes from generators as well as chronic illnesses caused by breathing contaminated air were all preventable.
Also, Mr Diran Olojo, Group Head, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), said that the people’s health depended on the quality of air they breathe.
According to him, sudden deaths are rampant in the magnitude not yet known due to pollutants in the air we breathe.
Olojo said that global reports show that the quality of air in Nigeria is the dirtiest and this is alarming.
Consequently, he called for national, state, local, organisational and individual actions to combat the situation.
“That is why the bank took up the protection of the environment as one of its Corporate Social Responsibility.
“The bank believes in the promotion of all means of preserving the natural resources.
“A cleaner Lagos is a task which has to be done gradually,’’ he said.
NAN reports that highlights of the celebration included drama presentations on Beat Air Pollution by some schools in Lagos.
The acts were in different categories of five, eight, nine and 11-years as well as 15 years and 18 years.
Some of the schools represented included the Army Children Junior High School, Refiner Schools, Genesis School and Falomo High School.
LatAm’s largest airline files for bankruptcy in U.S.
“LATAM Airlines Group S.A. and its affiliates in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the United States have filed for voluntary protection under the U.S. Chapter 11 financial reorganization process,” LATAM said in a statement, adding that its affiliates in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay are not included in the filing.
“After careful consideration, LATAM is confident that the Chapter 11 reorganization process is the best path forward to achieve the group’s objectives and meet its obligations while comprehensively managing its fleet and addressing its debts, most of which are held in the United States,” it added.
There would be no immediate impact on either passenger or cargo flights, the company said.
The Santiago, Chile-headquartered airline had announced a 95-percent reduction in operations during April.
Aussie police arrest pair over 400kg of meth stashed in hot sauce shipment
Australian police have arrested two men and seized large amounts of cash in relation to a shipment of 800 bottles of sriracha hot sauce used to smuggle roughly 400 kg of methylamphetamine into the country.
Police revealed on Tuesday that two men, aged 50 and 21, had been arrested during which detectives seized over half a million Australian dollars (367,528 U.S. dollars) in cash.
The shipment of hot sauce was intercepted in October 2019, with officers seizing the drugs, worth an eye-watering 300 million Australian dollars (196.8 million U.S. dollars).
At the time, five other men were also arrested and charged in relation to the crime, whose cases remain before the courts.
Following further investigations police swooped on two others on Friday, arresting the 21-year-old during a vehicle stop and the 50-year-old soon after.
During a subsequent search of the older man’s vehicle, police seized a money counting machine, a mobile phone and cash, including 63,000 Australian dollars, 1000 euros and 1000 U.S. dollars.
Investigators also located a further half a million Australian dollars (367,528 U.S. dollars) in cash inside a cooler bag in the boot of the vehicle.
Portugal airline TAP announces flight schedule for June, July
Portugal‘s flag carrier TAP Air Portugal on Monday published its flight schedule for the next two months, which involves 27 weekly flights in June and 247 in July, according to data released by the airline.
As some of the restrictions imposed on airlines were lifted, TAP added flights to London and Paris, two flights a week to Sao Paulo and a weekly flight to Rio de Janeiro, bringing the total at the end of May to 18 flights per week.
According to its schedule, the airline plans to return to operating more intercontinental flights next month, including two a week to New York, one to Luanda, and another to Maputo.
In July, the carrier expects to significantly increase its flights with a reinforcement of the European and intercontinental networks to 247 flights per week, which are still far from the 3,000 a week it recorded before the pandemic.
Small aircraft crashes in Rome, one passenger missing
A small airplane crashed into the Tiber River in Rome shortly after takeoff on Monday.
Hours after the crash landing, police were still searching for one of the two passengers who was officially listed as “missing,” though a police officer told Xinhua the passenger was “feared dead.”
According to the police, the small aircraft carried a flight instructor and a flight student from the small Roma Urbe Airport in the northern part of the Italian capital. The instructor was able to disengage from the aircraft and was easily rescued and taken to the hospital with minor injuries. But the student was unable to escape.
Police said the plane left the airport at around 3:30 p.m. local time Monday. Police did not say which of the two passengers was piloting the plane or why it went off course and into the river.
The identities of the two passengers have not been released.
As of 7 p.m. local time, a police officer said a team of police and firefighters continued to search for the missing student.
The Roma Urbe Airport is the smallest of Rome’s three airports and the only one within the city limits. It is dedicated to small civilian aircraft.
Yobe Int’l Airport to be test landed on May 29 — Gov Buni
Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe on Monday said that the Damaturu International Airport would be test landed on May 29.
Buni disclosed this in Damaturu while hosting the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
“The Damaturu International Airport will be test landed on May 29, and we are going to provide Nigeria Air Force (NAF) quarters there as we have already promised.
“We are soon commencing on the quarters project and all other facilities will also be provided,” the governor said.
He noted that such gesture would go a long way in addressing the problem faced in the region.
“This is quite reassuring and a clear sign that the madness called insurgency is coming to an end very soon,” Buni said.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and the military for their efforts.
In his remarks, Abubakar commended the governor for being supportive to the military.
“I am very excited that Buni has been supportive to the air force and provided additional land area where we are putting certain facilities that will add lots of value to what we are doing,” he said.
The CAS also expressed confidence to address insecurity in the state with the facilities in place.
”I am very confident with what we have. It is going to be much easier for the air force to respond to any threats within Yobe rather than going to Maiduguri and coming back.
“We can now operate from Damaturu which is very exciting for us indeed and to our comrades that are fighting on land as well,” Abubakar added.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Uzbekistan eyes Europe-China air freight market
Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirzioyev has instructed the government to enter the Europe-China air cargo market to overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the president’s press service said Monday.
The president tasked the ministry of transport to develop a business model for Uzbekistan Airways and Uzbekistan Airports, as well as the development of rail and road transportation, according to the press service.
Mirziyoyev also discussed with government officials about the issues of transferring the management of Uzbekistan Airways to a foreign company, attracting new air carriers and modernizing airports in the country, according to the press service.
Uzbekistan’s transport companies have suffered a loss of over 33 million U.S. dollars due to the pandemic, and the figure is likely to increase, the press service said, adding that Uzbekistan Airways and Uzbekistan Airports were already given loan extension and tax benefits worth of millions of dollars.
Former UK PM Tony Blair questions Trump’s leadership in coronavirus pandemic
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair questioned U.S. President Donald Trump’s leadership in facing “terrifying” novel coronavirus pandemic and expressed his worry about the lack of global coordination in tackling the crisis, the British newspaper Daily Mail has reported.
“The worry I have that an absence of global coordination and global leadership that’s necessary for it is a huge problem,” the Daily Mail quoted Blair as saying, citing his recent interview with NBC News.
With “global coordination”, Blair said leaders could find a vaccine together, accelerate the development of therapeutics and testing capability, and organize economic measures to keep the international economy afloat, Daily Mail reported.
“It’s that global coordination, the absence of which means that each individual country’s less effective at dealing with the disease. That’s the thing that worries me,” he said.
“The safest thing for any political leader to do is just keep the lockdown because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is going to be minimal, but on the other hand if you’re looking responsibly into how you get through this into the medium term without the economic wreckage being absolutely devastated,” he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
“The countries that locked down fast and that are building, testing, tracing and tracking capability fast, that then enables you to be more bold on the economy,” he said in the interview with NBC.
Enugu FA shifts burial of ex-chairman, Ofo-Okenwa, to July 24
Enugu Football Association (EFA) says the burial ceremony of its late chairman, Chidi Ofo-Okenwa, has been shifted from June 10, to July 24, to accommodate members of the state’s football family.
The Enugu FA Secretary, Francis Ugwu, who disclosed this to newsmen in Enugu on Monday, said the shift in date was communicated to the FA by the diseased’s family.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that Chidi Ofo-Okenwa died on Tuesday, May 5, after a brief illness.
Okenwa was also the Chairman of Nigeria National League (NNL) and a board member of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) before his death
Okenwa hailed from Akpugo Town in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State. He will be buried in Akpugo.
According to Ugwu, ”I wish to inform you that the family of the late Chidi Ofo-Okenwa has shifted the burial date to July and it is no longer June 10 as earlier scheduled.
“The shift in date is due to the appeal from members of the state’s football family within and outside the country asking to be given the opportunity to participate in the burial ceremony.
“There is hope that the inter-state movement or lockdown will be over before the new date,” Ugwu said.
Edited By: Joe Idika/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Chaos at Indian airports as country resumes domestic air travel
India resumed domestic flights on Monday, two months after a coronavirus lockdown was imposed, but confusion and chaos prevailed at major airports as large numbers of flights were cancelled.
Air services were suspended in late March when India went into a lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, bringing the domestic aviation sector to the brink of collapse.
More than 80 flights to and from the capital New Delhi were cancelled on Monday, airport authorities said, with irate passengers complaining of not being informed until the last minute.
Similar scenes were taking place at airports in Mumbai and Chennai, with many passengers sitting outside after their flights were cancelled, domestic news channels showed.
The cancellations were a result of confusion as each state made its own set of rules on easing restrictions, including capping the number of flights to address concerns about infections being imported from other cities.
States also had different rules on the duration of quarantine for arriving passengers, in some places as long as 28 days.
“We travelled (all) night to catch a flight from the Delhi airport but we are now told our flight is cancelled. We got no notifications from our airlines,” a passenger at told a domestic news channel.
Passengers were also stranded at airports in southern cities of Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram after flights were cancelled, broadcaster NDTV reported.
Eastern India’s main airport in Kolkata was not yet operational. West Bengal, the state in which the city is located, was battered by Cyclone Amphan last week and repair works are under way.
India’s government last week announced the resumption of domestic flights in a “calibrated” way, with airline companies allowed to operate one-third of their scheduled flights.
But a plan to keep the middle seat vacant on planes in accordance with physical distancing was dropped to cap ticket prices.
The Supreme Court on Monday directed international flights repatriating Indian nationals to have the middle seat vacant from June 7 to prevent infections. It was not clear whether this would apply to domestic flights.
The resumption of domestic travel comes as the country entered the top 10 countries worst-hit by the virus, after four days of record spikes in the number of new coronavirus cases.
India registered 6,977 new patients in the last 24 hours, taking the total to over 138,000 cases, overtaking Iran. 4,021 deaths linked with COVID-19 have been confirmed.
India that entered its fourth phase of lockdown on May 18, announced several relaxations including resumption of domestic travel, allowing bus and passenger vehicles, within and between states but outside of containment zones.
Passenger train services will also expand from existing 15 trains to more than 200 from June 1.
Aviation officials indicated that international flights may begin by mid-June.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Fijian parliament okays government guarantee for Fiji Airways
The Fijian parliament approved on Monday the motion for the government to guarantee the Fiji Airways borrowing of 455 million Fijian dollars (about 203.2 million U.S. dollars).
Fiji’s Civil Aviation Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said in parliament that this includes domestic borrowings of up to 191.1 million Fijian dollars (about 85.3 million U.S. dollars) and off-shore borrowings of up to 117.1 million U.S. dollars. And this will be valid for 3 years effective from May 30 this year.
Fiji Airways, the national airline, is feeling the full brunt of the COVID-19 impacts resulting in job losses, the grounding of flights and this cannot continue, he said, adding that the government guarantee will keep Fiji Airways up and running.
The minister said that despite earning near-zero revenue, the national carrier has to pay monthly fixed costs of 38 million Fijian dollars (about 16.9 million U.S. dollars) and this comprises of aircraft loans and leases of 20.2 million Fijian dollars (about 9 million U.S. dollars), employee costs, fixed payments for aircraft maintenance, and other costs totalling 6 million Fijian dollars (about 2.67 million U.S. dollars).
Fiji Airways will also be exempted from paying the guarantee fee.
Fiji Airways has recently extended the suspension of international flights through to the end of June, and is in the process of reducing scheduled flights for July and August.
A 20 percent permanent salary reduction has been implemented for all retained employees effective June 1, 2020.
Earlier in the day, Fiji Airways announced in a statement that it has decided to lay off more than 700 staff members including all cabin crew and all 79 expatriate pilots from Monday.
Eight expatriate executives have also had their employment terminated, with five expatriate staff remaining, including the CEO Andre Viljoen. The airline has six local executives, who will all retain their jobs and now constitute the majority of the leadership team.
The national carrier said that it has done the workforce adjustments as a consequence of the current and foreseeable operating environment.
“The adjustments are necessary and unavoidable as the COVID-19 crisis endures, causing the further suspension of scheduled international services and ensuring that the airline will receive virtually zero revenue in the coming months,” the national carrier said.
Tourism is the backbone of the Fijian economy, and it is dependent on a strong and sustainable national carrier. Fiji Airways said that it will be vital in leading Fiji’s economic recovery post COVID-19.
Sri Lanka grants approval for global airlines, crew to use two airports
Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAASL) said on Monday it had granted approval for the Mattala International Airport and the Ratmalana Airport for international airlines and corporate jets to carry out technical landings, refueling and crew rest options as airlines worldwide look to restart operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to CAASL Chairman Upul Dharmadasa, crew members who wish to halt over for a rest can do so at a predetermined nearest hotel to the relevant airport and shall maintain self-quarantine at the respective hotels.
Several health guidelines will, however, have to be maintained including that international crew members shall undergo thermal scanning at the airport and are strictly instructed to self-quarantine in their hotel rooms and have meals only through in-room dining until they operate the next flight out of the airport to their planned destinations under strict instructions given by the Ministry of Health and CAASL.
Crew members have also been advised to wear a mask when entering the airport and also when in contact with others while in the country.
Sri Lanka closed its international airports for passenger arrivals in March in order to prevent a further spread of the COVID-19 as over 1,100 people have been infected to date.
Nine deaths have been reported from the virus in the country, the Health Ministry said.
Zimbabwe president castigates West for continued interference in affairs of African states
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has castigated the West for meddling in the internal affairs of African countries and called on Africans to deepen the culture of democracy and good governance as taught by the continent’s founding fathers.
In his address to the nation on the eve of the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union, Mnangagwa said former colonial powers had no authority to lecture Africa on democracy as the continent had fought to achieve the democracy being enjoyed to this day.
Africans should not be shy to express the rich cultural heritage, languages and identities, he added.
He said Zimbabwe continued to suffer from unwarranted interference and endure illegal sanctions imposed as punishment for reclaiming land.
“However, we are buoyed by the fact that we have re-united with our land, which is now irreversibly reposed into our hands, we its true owners,” he said.
“As we commemorate and celebrate the unity of our continent, we in Zimbabwe deeply thank our SADC region and the whole continent of Africa for standing with us. Africa has rejected and denounced the sanctions against Zimbabwe and the Sudan, urging those responsible for these illegal, heinous measures to immediately lift them without conditionalities.
“They are illegal, unjust, spiteful and undeserved. Above all, they go against the grain and spirit of civilized international relations as espoused in the United Nations Charter. We reiterate that sanctions have no place in modern international relations.”
He said Zimbabwe also continued to pursue robust cooperation with its neighbours and the continent as a whole; subscribing to a fully integrated continent of Africa.
“We must now urgently consolidate the implementation of cross-border projects, to improve our road networks, water, energy and ICT infrastructure, among others. This will inevitably accelerate multi-faceted sustainable development in the region and on the continent,” he said.
NAF trains 94 Special Forces, 35 personnel in RTC Bauchi – Air Chief
Katsina, 25, May 2020 The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal (AM) Sadique Abubakar said that 94 Special Forces (SF) and 35 personnel had been trained at the Air Force Regimental Training Centre (RTC) Annex, Bauchi.
Abubakar said this over Eid el-Fitr lunch with troops of the Air Component, “Operation Hadarin Daji” at the 213 forward operation base in Katsina on Monday.
“In the past four and the half years, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken giant strides by inducting new platforms and reactivating grounded ones.
The Air Chief said that he was happy to be in Katsina to wine and dine with the troops on the occasion of Eid el Fitr in the mission area.
Abubakar said that the gesture had become the tradition since he assumed office as Air Chief in order to further strengthen the affinity and oneness in the NAF family.
He charged officers and men of the service to take responsibility against COVID-19, advising that face masks should be worn at all times while personnel should maintain physical distancing at public gatherings.
The Air Chief thanked Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari and the people of the state for their support to NAF since the establishment of the 213 Forward Operating Base in the state.
In a remark, Wing Commander Bashir Abubakar, the Commander of the base, thanked the chief of air staff, the state’s governor, and people of the state for their tremendous support to the unit and troops deployed to fight bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, and armed robbers in the area.
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Mumbai airport resumes domestic flight operations
Mumbai airport commenced domestic flight operations on Monday after two-months of nationwide lockdown.
The first flight departed from Mumbai airport to the northeastern city of Patna at 6:45 a.m. local time on Monday morning while the first arrival flight to Mumbai took off from the northern city of Lucknow at 8:20 a.m. local time, airport officials said.
Mumbai, which surpassed the grim milestone of 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 late Sunday, is the political capital of Maharashtra state.
On Sunday afternoon, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had sought more time to open up air travel while the state home minister termed the federal government’s move to reopen airports in red zone as “extremely ill-advised.”
However, late Sunday, the state government allowed for landing and departure of 25 flights each on a daily basis with stringent guidelines for passengers.
Mumbai airport, the second busiest airport after Delhi in the country, handled around 700 landings and departures flights daily before the COVID-19 outbreak.
While aviation is a federal subject, the support in terms of public transport to ferry passengers from and to their last-mile destination lies with the state.
As per the official update on Monday afternoon, India has 77,103 active cases of COVID-19 with 4,021 deaths reported so far.
Over 700 staff members of Fiji Airways terminated due to implication of COVID-19
More than 700 staff members of Fiji Airways, Fiji’s national carrier, were terminated on Monday as a result of the implication of COVID-19.
According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) on Monday, around 775 staff members of Fiji Airways which include all cabin crew have been given termination letters by the company following a meeting on Monday.
In the letter, Fiji Airways said the severe effects of COVID-19 have resulted in the company taking this drastic step.
The letter stated that in future all terminated staff will need to reapply when the situation normalizes.
Banditry: Niger LG chairman tasks residents to report suspicious movement
Alhaji Nura Kokoli, Chairman, Agwara Local Government Area in Niger state, on Sunday tasked residents to be security conscious and report suspicious movement to authorities in order to end banditry in the area.
Kokoli gave the advice while speaking with journalists after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayers in Agwara.
“This has become necessary considering the rampant cases of armed banditry and kidnapping witnessed in Niger.
“The people of Agwara should help the government tackle insecurity by reporting those with questionable character in their midst to the security agencies nearest to them for prompt action,” Kokoli said.
He said that security of lives and property was a collective responsibility, hence the need for all hands to be on deck to tackle the menace.
He commended the state government for measures taken to combat armed banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in the state.
The council boss reiterated his administration’s commitment to safeguard the lives and property of the people in the area.
According to him, the council will continue to provide basic social amenities to the people.
Earlier, during the sermon to mark the end of Ramadan fast, Chief Imam of Agwara, Alhaji Mohammed Mammare, prayed God to bring an end to the pandemic.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
Defence HQ says airstrikes kill 400 bandits in Katsina, Zamfara
The Defence Headquarters says the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji has neutralised no fewer than 400 armed bandits in multiple air strikes in Katsina and Zamfara.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, in a statement released on Sunday in Abuja said the operations were in continuation of the offensive to rid the country of bandits and other criminal elements.
Enenche said that close to 200 bandits were killed in multiple air strikes conducted at Ibrahim Mai’Bai’s Camp in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina and Kurmin Kura in Zurmi in Zamfara on May 22 and May 23.
He said the air strikes were executed, following confirmation that the two locations were being used as hideouts for some bandit leaders while also serving as collection points for rustled cattle.
According to him, the air component, employing Nigerian Air Force ground attack aircraft and helicopter gunships, engaged the two locations in multiple passes, destroying makeshift structures in the camps as well as killing the bandit leaders and their fighters.
“Human Intelligence sources later confirmed that close to 200 armed bandits were killed in the air strikes at the target locations.
“The Chief of Air Staff (CAS) commends the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji for their professionalism and directs them to remain resolute toward eradicating all armed bandits.
“The CAS has also directed that additional assets be deployed to cover Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi States to frustrate any attempt of the bandits to relocate to adjoining states,” he said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
British Flairjet to pay N1m penalty for airport violation, says Minister
FlairJet, a British private charter company, which is also an affiliate of Flexjet, is to pay one million naira for violating COVID-19 airport directives in Nigeria.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure on Sunday via his verified twitter handle.
“The maximum penalty for each is N500, 000.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the company was recently authorised to conduct humanitarian flights but was caught operating commercial flights.
Only passenger flights, which evacuate people or repatriate Nigerian citizens are currently allowed to operate as all airports in Nigeria are closed to international commercial flights until at least June 4.
However, flights for essential services, such as delivery of food supplies and items for humanitarian use are allowed to operate.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Israeli aircraft lands in Turkey for first time since 2007
An Israeli plane has landed in Turkey for the first time for over a decade, Israel’s leading airline El Al said on Sunday.
El Al was the only Israeli airline to conduct flights to Turkey until it canceled the route to Istanbul in 2007 due to high security costs and stiff restrictions arising from the tense relations between the two countries.
Since then, except for emergency landings and private flights, no Israeli aircraft has landed in Turkey.
On Sunday, however, El Al’s Dreamliner aircraft, converted to carry cargo, landed in Istanbul.
It was loaded there with 24 tons of humanitarian coronavirus equipment, destined for Israel and the United States.
So far, El Al has received approval from the Turkish authorities to operate two flights for humanitarian purposes and is awaiting approval to operate cargo flights regularly.
Indian state seeks more time to open airports as COVID-19 cases rise
India’s western state of Maharashtra has sought more time to open up the airports from the country’s federal government as the novel coronavirus cases continue to surge in the state.
Addressing the citizens of the most industrialised state of the country with Mumbai as its political capital, Maharashtra, Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray said, “I understand the need for opening up air travel, but we need more time to prepare.”
India’s federal government has allowed domestic flights to resume from Monday but Maharashtra government is against allowing significant staff at airport as also plying of buses and cabs as the state accounts for one-third of the COVID-19 cases in the country.
“It’s extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers’ is inadequate without swabs. Impossible to have autos/cabs/buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add Covid stress to red zone,” said Anil Deshmukh, Home Minister, Maharashtra state.
So far Maharashtra has allowed special flight including international transfer passengers, medical emergencies, students among several others on compassionate grounds.
While aviation is a federal subject, the support in terms of public transport to ferry passengers from and to their last mile destination lies with the state.