The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced its readiness to submit the aviation restart plan to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 by Wednesday, June 25, 2020.
This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, during an interactive session with stakeholders in the aviation industry at a forum on the way forward, which held over the weekend.
He explained that the industry was eager for restart, just as the airlines were pushing for it. He stated that in the over 3-month break period, the finances of NCAA had been negatively affected.
According to Captain Nuhu, “We are yet to get there but we are pretty close. The plan is that by Wednesday, we will submit our report to PTF. I reiterate, we are pretty close.
“Your lack of operations put NCAA in a difficult situation. Our revenue is down by 90 to 95 per cent. We are almost ready. Like I said earlier, not all the airlines and airports have to be necessarily ready before the restart.
“If anything goes wrong, NCAA will be held responsible. Sometime this week, the proposed restart date will be made known.”
Going further, he said, “If the airports get it right, the airlines job will be made easier. The airlines that have disinfected their aircraft should show proof to NCAA. On the middle seats, we need to listen to the health authority, even though I do not support the middle seat regime.
READ MORE: Apple MacBook Pro barred from flights – NCAA
“We are liaising with the health authority to get the best for the airlines. It is our interest that airlines start flying yesterday.”
The Chairman of NCAA COVID-19 committee, Engr. Godwin Balang, while disclosing the guidelines control measures employed by NCAA towards the restart of the industry, said that they were based on 10 key principles.
— Nigerian FlightDeck (@AnthonyPatrickO) June 22, 2020
The DG NCAA, however, pointed out that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) carried the bulk of the pressure and efforts were being made to get it right as airports are the most critical part of the value chain.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has assured Nigerians that the expected resumption of flight operations by domestic airlines may not necessarily lead to hike in air fares.
Minister of Aviation @hadisirika assures Nigerians that the expected re-opening of the airspace for domestic flights may not necessarily lead to a hike in fares.#AviationNG@NigerianCAA@AnthonyPatrickO
— Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria (@fmaviationng) June 22, 2020
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The Aviation Minister said that they are doing everything possible to make sure that ticket prices do not skyrocket. He said that the prices may be different, but they will remain affordable.
Update: FG announces new dates for domestic flight operations
This was disclosed in a tweet post by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
The Federal Government has announced the resumption schedule for domestic flight operations in our airports.
In the schedule that was announced by the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, domestic flight operations will resume in Abuja and Lagos airports on July 8, 2020. The airports in Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri will resume on July 11 and the domestic flight operations in the other airports will resume on July 15.
Sirika, also stated that passengers who want to travel outside the country would have to wait a bit longer as no date has been fixed yet for the resumption of international flight operations.
This was disclosed in a tweet post by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on his official Twitter handle on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
I am glad to announce that Abuja & Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on the 8th of July, 2020. Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri & Maiduguri to resume on the 11th. Other airports on the 15th. Date for international to be announced in due course. Bear with us, please 🇳🇬🙏🏽🇳🇬
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) July 1, 2020
He also said, ‘’I thank stakeholders in the aviation industry and indeed the Nigerian public who have had to cope with the adverse effects of the flight suspension for their perseverance and cooperation in ensuring a successful return of operations at the nation’s airport.’’
The Minister, while assuring that government will do all within its powers to ensure a rapid recovery of the aviation industry, advised passengers to follow all the safety guidelines and protocols put in place to ensure that the airports don’t become channels of infection for the dreaded coronavirus.
Nairametrics had reported a few days, that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the aviation ministry, conducted a dry test run of domestic flight operation for the Lagos and Abuja airports a few days ago. This was in preparation for the resumption of flight operation.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had also introduced some new measures for both passengers and non-passengers in preparation for the resumption of flight operations at the airports.
@hadisirika thanks stakeholders in the aviation industry and indeed the Nigerian public who have had to cope with the adverse effects of the flight suspension for their perseverance and cooperation in ensuring a successful return of operations at the nation’s airports.
— Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria (@fmaviationng) July 1, 2020
FG states international passengers to arrive 5 hours before departure, discloses other protocols
The Minister said all passengers must comply strictly with the directive on wearing of face masks.
The Federal Government has announced that upon resumption of flight operations at the airports, international passengers are expected to get to the airport at least 5 hours before departure, while domestic passengers would be expected to get to the airports at least 3 hours before departure.
This is to ensure that all protocols, including safety markings, social distancing, hand sanitizing, baggage decontamination, scanning of personal items and so on are complied with going forward.
This was disclosed by the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Saturday, June 27, 2020, during the dry test run simulation exercises which were carried out at the domestic terminals of Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The simulation exercise was aimed at assessing the readiness of the airports for reopening after the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. It started in Abuja on a Boeing 737 Aerocontractors flight as the passengers were taken through the post COVID-19 departure protocols and ended at the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos at about 1200 hours.
Apart from Sirika, the exercise was also witnessed by Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minster of State for Health, Dr, Olorunnibe Mamora, Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, Dr. Aliyu Sanni, Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu, Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, Chairman Air Peace, Allen Onyema and several other stakeholders.
The Aviation Minister said that the number of seats at the departure lounge of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport had been reduced to 50 from 500 in line with the social distancing policy. He said all passengers must comply strictly with the directive on wearing of face masks before entering the airport terminals while the aviation authorities will provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers at the airports.
Sirika, also expressed his delight at the level of facilities on ground, while adding that going by the measures put in place, the airports are about 90% ready for reopening.
Other Ministers and the National Coordinator of PTF that were present, took turns to comment on their impression on the level of preparedness of the airports for reopening. They expressed satisfaction at the measures taken so far and were optimistic that the airports were ready for reopening.
FG acquires profiling robots for airport
It can be programmed to identify unwanted items and check temperature.
The Federal Government has acquired Profiling Robots to process passengers at the Departure Hall of airports.
This was disclosed by the government via NTA News Twitter handle on Saturday, as the test run was done at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
It tweeted, “It can be programmed to identify unwanted items and check temperature. It is interactive and can lead or direct passengers.”
#PhotoNews: Federal Government Acquires Profiling Robots to Process Passengers at the Departure Hall. It can Be Programmed to Identify Unwanted Items and Check Temperature. It is Interactive and Can Lead or Direct You. pic.twitter.com/OeU4ebA2pj
— NTA News (@NTANewsNow) June 27, 2020
What you need to know: The robots would be used for passenger facilitation processes including profiling, check-ins, temperature checks as well as detection of security threats including dangerous goods and arms.
A source in Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) confirmed the development, as he disclosed that the test run of the robots was done at the Lagos Airport on Saturday.
According to him, if it works well, it will be adopted across other international airports in the country.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, along with the Presidential Task Force members at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, shared the protocols and guidelines for flight resumption in the country.
Sirika was also part of the simulation flight that was conducted ahead of the reopening of the country’s airspace to commercial operations on Saturday
The flight was operated by Aero Contractors beginning from the Abuja Airport to the Lagos Airport and vice-versa.
The Hon. Minister of Aviation and DG, NCAA checking in from NAIA, Abuja for today Demonstration Flight in MMA,Lagos. pic.twitter.com/m81hJJiLT4
— Nigerian CAA (@NigerianCAA) June 27, 2020
NCAA is expected to announce the resumption date for scheduled domestic operations anytime soon.