The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has led to evacuation of 1,739 foreigners from Nigeria since airports were closed to international flights.
The Regional Manager, South West Airports, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mrs Victoria Shin-Aba, stated this on Tuesday following the evacuation of 200 Americans from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Tuesday by a Delta Airlines flight which came into the country from Accra, Ghana.
Shin-Aba said passengers who had passed through the airport included 399 Europeans evacuated by Air France; 238 by Lufthansa; Air Peace, 93 and Middle East Airlines, 140.
She said Ethiopian Airlines airlifted 660 Americans and Canadians from the MMIA; Jed Air, nine, and Delta Airlines, 200.
She said the evacuation exercise commenced with the airlifting of French and European citizens by Air France late March.
About 375 US citizens were also evacuated by Ethiopian Airlines on Monday.
The US Consulate said following the closure of Nigerian airports to all international commercial flights, many Americans had contacted the US Mission requesting assistance to return home.
The consulate, however, said priority on repatriation flights would be given to the elderly, individuals with serious health issues, unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, and physically-challenged citizens.
According to the consulate, as of April 5, the US Department of State had coordinated the repatriation of 43,116 Americans from 78 countries. Shin-Aba stated that so far, the evacuation activities had been well-coordinated.
She said, “Since the closure of the airports, we have had about 10 evacuations with different nationals.
“We have had from Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, Middle East Airlines with the Lebanese; Ethiopian Airlines has been on with Americans and Canadians.
“Then, we have a domestic charter too. Also, Jed Air did Liberia, Air Peace airlifted Israelis. Today, we have Delta Airlines on the ground that will take about 200 Americans, apart from Tuesday, we have had 1,539 evacuations through the Lagos Airport alone.”
According to Shin-Aba, the conditions are that those involved have to get approval from the Federal Ministry of Aviation and send the approval to FAAN, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
She said another batch of Americans would be airlifted on Wednesday and next week, adding that South African Airways and Air France were also expected to carry out evacuation flights in the coming days.