Kunle Akinbode, the assistant general manager operations, Port Harcourt International Airport, has confirmed that all domestic flights operating at the Airport have been rescheduled following a planned shut down by management.
Akinbode made the confirmation in an interview with journalists on Thursday, March 26, 2020, in Port Harcourt.
He said that Arik Air, Aero Contractors and Air Peace airlines would be shutting down operations on Thursday, adding that Dana Airline did close down flight operations on Wednesday.
Akinbode also said Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State in a broadcast on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, said that he would not allow passengers arrive into the state.
“With this development, all the airlines are already shutting down in compliance,” he said.
He also said that the airport was a critical facility that could not be completely closed down because there could be very essential cargos that might come in through the airport.
“For instance, it’s in the news that a Chinese businessman has donated medical supplies to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These supplies have already arrived at the Abuja Airport, so if there are signals to deliver the supplies across states through the airports, then such essential cargos would be allowed to land.
“All airports in the country are open to receiving essential cargos especially transporting medical supplies or other essentials.
“The position of the Federal Government is that the airports would be shutting down to passengers.
“For the Port Harcourt International Airport, most of the airlines have already adjusted their flight schedules to end at about 14:00 hours today (Thursday) and this was done even before the Rivers State Government issued its ultimatum on border closures,” he said.
Akinbode, however, said that though the Airport will remain closed to passenger flights, some skeletal operations, especially at the Airport’s control tower, would remain unhindered.
“It is not possible to lock down the control tower of an Airport, so the tower will remain active and our controllers will be on the ground to provide necessary surveillance and signal information as no aircraft is permitted to fly in isolation,” he said.
Hattip to Independent