As the country gets ready for the gradual reopening of airports for flight operations, the Federal Government has issued flight resumption protocols for passengers who wish to travel.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) announced that with the resumption of commercial flight operations at various airports, passengers who are not travelling will not be allowed into the airport terminal building.
This was disclosed by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria on Monday, June 16, 2020, through a tweet post from the government aviation agency’s official Twitter handle.
— FAAN (@FAAN_Official) June 16, 2020
This is part of the new protocol to be implemented by FAAN in adherence to the safety measures that had been announced by the Presidential Rask Force (PTF) for Covid-19, and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
It means that only passengers with valid travel documents will be allowed inside the airport terminal building.
In preparation for the gradual reopening of commercial flight operations, FAAN advised passengers to maintain 2 meters’ distance from each other at the airports, while pointing out that those without face masks on would not be allowed into the airports’ premises.
Following indications that domestic flight operations might be resuming on June 21, 2020, FAAN, together with other aviation agencies has been meeting with domestic airlines and airport operators on the modalities and health protocols as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and in accordance with standard practice.
The Federal Government had on March 23, 2020, shut all airports in the country to commercial flight operations, as part of measures to contain the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic. This flight ban had been extended a couple of times by the government, due to the rise in cases.
Lagos Ferry Company targets 480,000 commuting passengers daily – MD
The administration is seeking ways to decongest the heavy Lagos traffic and using inland water transport.
The Managing Director of the Lagos Ferry Services Company (LAGFERRY) Mr AbdoulBaq Balogun says the company has a target of transporting 480,000 people daily on the waterways of Lagos State.
He made the comment in an online show called ”Covinspiration”.
He said, “As at June 30, we had operated for 77 days on inland waterways and moved 60,000 passengers”. Revealing that the company had 14 boats and was making efforts to expand operations with bigger ferries with the involvement of private investors.
Adding that the administration is seeking ways to decongest the heavy Lagos traffic and tapping into the potential of inland water transport.
“With about 1.6 million people moving on Lagos roads every day, we are being tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that we move at least 30 percent of these motorists off the roads through the waterways.
“That gives us about 480,000 passengers. So, moving 480,000 passengers is our daily target on the waterways of Lagos State.
“Mr Governor is focusing his energy on ensuring a multi-modal transport system with the abundance of water bodies we have. We are moving people and goods on pleasant experience through the inland waterways,” he said.
He said the company operates in all the 40 inland waterway routes, and expanded operations will decongest traffic from in the on Lekki Epe Expressway, Ikorodu road, the Third Mainland Bridge and Lagos-Badagry Expressway
The managing director said that traffic congestion on Lekki Epe Expressway, Ikorodu road, the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos-Badagry Expressway would be minimized with LAGFERRY operations in those six routes.
“We are just coming on board, we are still testing the water, passengers are just coming to know us and we are still creating awareness.
“We have not reached our peak and we are yet to get to the optimum operational level. We want to expand the services of LAGFERRY to other routes and enhance productivity,” he said.
FG bars aides of VIPs from airport terminals, to grant loans to airlines, others at 5%
The minister insisted that face masks must be worn at all times inside the airport and airplane.
The Federal Government has barred all non-travelling aides of public office holders and very important personalities (VIPs) from gaining access into the Airport terminal.
This is part of the measure and aviation protocol designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease and ensure safety of the passengers and workers in the aviation sector.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during Monday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Sirika said that this measure applies especially to Governors, Ministers, National Assembly Members, Judicial officers and Military officers as the practice of having their Personal Assistants and Special Assistants, who they insist on seeing them off up to the aircraft though not travelling with them, would be stopped.
The Aviation Minister in his statement said, ‘’Henceforth, all VIPs will no longer be permitted to bring non-travelling aides into the Airport Terminals. This especially applies to Governors, Ministers, NASS members, Judiciary and Military officers.’’
While speaking on the new procedures during this COVID-19 era, the minister said that mandatory temperature and symptoms checks will be carried out at the airport terminals and frequent washing of hands should be done at the airports. He also said that face masks must be worn at all times inside the airport and airplane and anyone who does not do that will not be allowed inside the airport terminals.
He pointed out that physical distancing will be maintained at all times just as unruly passengers will not be allowed to board the aircrafts or fly as no pilot will be allowed to fly a plane carrying an unruly passenger.
He revealed that the processes of compression, heating, cooling and filtration that aircraft cabin air is subjected to, takes out 99.9% of all organisms including viruses etc. that’s why cabin air is safer than most other environments.
The aviation minister also stated that operators in the aviation sector including airlines, ground handling firms and others, will be given loan at 5% interest rate with effect from 2021. He, however, noted that the modalities for the loan is being worked out with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
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It can be recalled that Sirika stated this in an interactive session with the senate committee on Aviation where he said that any VIP coming into the airport this time around as a personality, minister or even members of the national assembly will not be carrying their aides into the airports anymore.
Arik Air to resume flights on July 8 as FG lifts ban on air travel
Capt. Roy Ilegbodu announced that Arik Air airline would operate 3 flights from Lagos and Abuja in phase 1 of the re-opening.
Following the announcement by the Aviation Ministry that the Lagos and Abuja airports will reopen on the 8th of July, Arik Air announced on Sunday that its domestic flights will resume from July 8.
Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, announced in a statement that the airline would operate 3 flights from Lagos and Abuja in phase 1 of the re-opening. He also announced that flights to Port Harcourt will begin on July 11 when the airport reopens. Some part of his statement read:
“We are ready to fly our esteemed customers again. All preparations have been made to make flying in this extraordinary period in the world safe and pleasurable.
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“The airline has put various measures in place, in line with COVID-19 health protocols, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Passengers have been assured of their safety and wellbeing at every stage of their flight.
“Arik has worked actively with aviation agencies for an effective re-start of the industry and also ensure that agreed health measures are effectively implemented.”
The CEO then advised that passengers come properly kitted with face masks during the flights.
Arik Air suspended operations on March 27 after the Federal Government closed the airports to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.