The Nigerian government has suspended all ASky Airline flight operations to Nigeria over the transportation of an Ebola virus victim into the country.
Benedict Adeyileka, acting director-general of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced the decision in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday, the nation’s economic hub.
The West African nation regulatory authority had to take the action to protect Nigerians from the deadly Ebola virus, currently ravaging some parts of Africa, the director general said.
ASky Airline is an important player in East, West and Central Africa, operating 80 flights into Lagos and Abuja weekly.
The airline last week flew a Liberian infected with Ebola virus into Lagos, where he died.
Adeyileka said the Country Manager of ASky had been invited to explain issues relating to the trip but that he could not offer any conclusive or substantial evidence on the matter.
According to him, the airline manager did not demonstrate any capacity to be able to prevent a reoccurrence or possible transportation of Ebola victims into Nigeria.
This is contrary to the provision of Article 14 of the Chicago Convention, 1944, which states that “each contracting State agrees to take effective measures to prevent the spread by means of air navigation, of cholera.”
Also of typhoid, smallpox, yellow fever, plague and such other communicable diseases as the contracting state shall from time to time decide to designate.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has similarly prescribed measures in Annex 9 to the Convention which a state must take to prevent the spread of communicable disease in the event of an outbreak.
The Nigerian official added that the lives of millions of Nigerians were too precious to be risked on the platter of negligence of an airline.
Adeyileka directed the Directorate of Air Transport Regulation to proceed to write a letter of investigation to the airline.
He said the agency would also write to other airlines operating into and out of Nigeria to ensure they put in place all necessary preventive measures during screening of passengers.
Thursday July 31, 2014