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COVID-19: FG reopens Lagos, Abuja airports, says 90 per cent ready for domestic flights

Abuja Airport

 

 

With the successful test-run of the facilities at Lagos and Abuja airports, the Federal Government on Saturday indicated readiness for the resumption of domestic flights just as the Abuja airport reopened for business.

According to one of the government agencies — the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) — it is 90 per cent ready to open up the airways for domestic flights in the country.

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, announced this at a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Lagos after the Aero Contractors plane “dry pilot test” flight from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja Lagos.

Persecondnews reports that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Saturday re-opened for business with passengers duly screened in line with safety protocols.

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

Two newly acquired machines for identifying passengers have been stationed at the airport.

 

Reporters were led on dry run test from Lagos to Abuja to witness first hand the reopening of the aviation sector.

The seats have been rearranged in compliance with the social distancing rule with the inscriptions  “do not use this seat”, “keep your distance”.

Reeling out COVID-19 protocol toward the reopening, Sirika said passengers for domestic and international flights will be required to arrive three and five hours respectively before boarding.

“All protocol guidelines will be observed as the measures are for safety. It is to ensure that persons that not permitted to be at the airport will not gain access to the airports.

“The physical distancing will begin right from the drop off points. Passengers will aside from presenting their mode of identification, will 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.

 

“Nobody not permitted to travel will access the airport, adding that the new airport security operatives, have been trained to handle will ensure compliance with the help of K9,” the minister said.

Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the directives for such and that it would be implemented to the letter.

He assured that there would be zero contact with the person screening passengers, adding that the number of seats in the departure hall has been reduced from 500 or 700 to 200 or 250.

Among the measures put in place are automated dispensing of soap and water at the toilets and limitation to maximum of five persons in the rest room.

The minister promised that efforts would be made to stagger the flights to accommodate all passengers without creating additional burdens for them.

He said airlines had been given permission to carry out “dry run” of flights across the country to ensure the air worthiness of the planes.

On his part, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, said in addition to the measures announced by the aviation authority, individual responsibility including compliance remained the most important form of protection.

He warned against non-compliance with the guidelines at the airports, saying where people fail to comply there will be strict enforcement.

Corroborating the aviation minister’s assertion, the PTF Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the aviation sector had done “tremendously well and is ready to begin business”, restating the call for every Nigerian to take responsibility for his/her own safety.

 

“What will protect you is yourself, you have to challenge those putting you at risk who are wearing a face mask and maintaining physical distancing.”

The seats have been rearranged in compliance with the social distancing rule with the inscriptions  “do not use this seat”, “keep your distance”.

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Written by PER SECOND NEWS

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