03:31 GMT01 December 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Nigerian authorities have impounded an aircraft of UK's Flair Aviation airline company over a violation of commercial flight ban introduced in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said on Sunday.

    "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 a maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!" the minister said on Twitter.

    The director of information at the country's Aviation Ministry, James Odaudu told Vanguard newspaper that the Nigerian authorities had launched the investigation into the incident. The news outlet said, citing an informed source, that those responsible for the flight were already using their contacts within the government to plead for leniency.

    In March, Nigeria closed its airspace and airports in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. On 6 May, the authorities extended the restrictions for one month.

    To date, the African country has confirmed a total of 5,621 cases of the coronavirus infection, 1,472 recoveries, and 176 fatalities, the World Health Organization data shows.

    Tags:
    flights, Nigeria, United Kingdom
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