The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has advised passengers to prepare for new regimes ahead of the full reopening of the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Except for cargo flights which are in operation since the lockdown commenced on March 31, commercial flights have been in inertia. However, the full reopening of the economy is imminent.
Speaking ahead of it at an aviation webinar organised by Women in Aviation (WIA) Nigeria, with the theme: Aviation: The New Norm in the post COVID-19, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, said passengers should expect delays and long hours of checks and re-checks right from when they arrive the airport and departs as the agency has put arrangements in place regarding passenger facilitation and what to expect.
She said escorts of Very Important Persons (VIPs) would no longer be allowed to follow their principals into the terminal and such principals would be subjected to all its health checks.
She said passengers are expected to leave home early hours before their flights in order to go through the various checks before entering the terminal and after.
“We are going to expect flight delays; flights will experience delays because of checks and re-checks. If you are travelling, I will expect a potential traveler to leave home hours before his flight, why do I say this? Because there is going to be a lot of checks in the front of the terminal. We have been told that some activities and procedures will take place in front of the terminal. So air travellers are expected to leave home very early so that they can get to the
airport on time.”
The FAAN spokesperson also explained that passengers should expect that airlines would charge more in terms of airfare, adding that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that there would be 45 per cent increase
Yakubu stated that the COVID-19 had brought a lot of changes to air travel and to ensure the safety of passengers and airport users the way of doing things before have to change, adding that the pandemic would make people cut down on non-essentials and lead to low demand of air travel.
At all airports, she said social distancing would be 100 per cent, temperature screening, wearing of face masks, disinfection of shoes and luggage of passengers would also be carried out 100 per cent regardless of personalities.
“There will be floor markings indicating where each passenger will wait on the queue, arriving passengers will also be subjected to temperature screening, physical distancing too will be observed while passengers are waiting by the carousel to pick up their luggage. Passengers are expected to arrive the airport with their face masks on, their luggage and pairs of shoes to be disinfected. Passengers are expected to observe social/physical distancing.
“Passengers will subject themselves to temperature screening and departure halls will be arranged in such a way that physical distancing too will be observed,” Yakubu said.