Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, says the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is 90 percent ready to open up the airways for domestic flights in the country.
Sirika spoke after a dry test run flight of Aero Contractors from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
The test run of the facilities in the two airports is to determine the readiness for the resumption of domestic flights.
He said all the protocol guidelines would be observed when the airports reopen, emphasising the importance of safety.
He said to ensure persons not permitted to be at the airport will not gain access to the airport, the physical distancing will begin right from the drop off points.
The aviation minister said passengers will aside from presenting their mode of identification, 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,” he said.
Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the directives for such and that it would be implemented to the later.
The minister explained that there will be zero contact with the person screening passengers, even as added that the seats in the departure hall have been reduced from 500 or 700 to 200 or 250.
Sirika said part of the readiness of the airports is the automated dispensing of soap and water at the toilets and limitation to a maximum of five persons in the restroom, are part of measures to ensure physical distancing.
He, however, said efforts will be made to stagger the flights to accommodate everyone without creating additional burdens for passengers.
The minister also explained that airlines have been given permission to carry out dry run of flights across the country to ensure the airworthiness of the planes.
Olorunnibe Mamora, minister of state for health, said no matter what is out in place by the aviation authority, individual responsibility is the most important form of protection and that compliance is very critical.
He said where people fail to comply there will be enforcement.
The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Saturday, re-opened for business with passengers duly screened, in line with safety protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airport also witnessed strict compliance with other safety measures, aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus.
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.
Journalists covering the presidential task force 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.
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