Abuja, Lagos airports warm up for business

The Federal Government will soon confirm a date for the resumption of domestic flights as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority posted a 90 percent mark in preparation to open up the airways.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika gave an assessment in Lagos after the Aero Contractors plane test run flight from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

Activities are back to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, as passengers duly screened, in line with safety protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport also witnessed strict compliance to other safety measures, aimed at curtailing spread of the virus.

Provisions were made for hand wash and alcohol-based sanitizers, temperature checks, as well as strict compliance to social distancing of about one metre apart.

Journalists covering the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 were led on dry run test from Lagos to Abuja, to witness firsthand, reopening of the aviation sector.

Checks for COVID-19 safety protocols and screening were carried out on passengers at the departure lounge. The seats, which were usually crowded, have been rearranged in compliance with the social distancing rule.

The test run of the facilities in the two airports was to determine their readiness for the resumption of domestic flight operations across the country.

Sirika said passengers on domestic and international flights will arrive three and five hours respectively before boarding while observing protocol guidelines for safety as dictated by COVID-19.

He said non-passengers will not gain access to the airport as physical distancing will begin right from the drop off points while passengers will be required to remove their masks for five seconds for the security operatives to confirm that they are truly the person to fly before they will be allowed into the airport.

The minister explained that there will be zero contact with the person screening passengers, even as added that the number of seats in the departure hall has been reduced drastically.

A few innovations are automated dispensing of soap and water at the toilets and limitation to maximum of five persons in the rest rooms to ensure physical distancing. Airlines will also carry out dry runs across the country to ensure the air worthiness of the planes.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnibe Mamora emphasised individual responsibility and compliance with safety measures and warned that where people fail to comply there will be enforcement.


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