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Travellers take to the air as flights resume

FAAN warns passengers of delay at airports

Nigeria will today open its airports, particularly the Murtala Muhammed Air-port, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to travellers as domestic flights resume operations after the lockdown occasioned by coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Airlines said they are ex-cited that they will be receiving passengers today after the airports were closed for more than three months due to the COVID-19. Nigerian airports have been shut since March 23rd. An airline operator, who pleaded anonymity, said from its reservation, they are scheduled to operate two flights to Abuja from Lagos, saying hundreds of people look up to the trips to see their families, loved ones and to do business in other cities.

He said only about half the normal, pre-outbreak number of flights will operate today, with only threequarter of seats on planes expected to be filled. New Telegraph visited both the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 privately run by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) and the domestic airport one christened General Aviation Terminal (GAT), Lagos. Operators at both MMA2 and GAT have complied with all the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols regarding facilities for travellers.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has reached 95 per cent compliance while BASL, operators of MMA2, have equally met all the conditions for reopening. At both terminals, many workers were seen putting finishing touches to new facilities that would help social distancing while many security officers were seen holding security drills. Airline officials from Air Peace and Aero Contractors were perfecting check-in procedure simulation as they prepare to welcome passengers. The domestic airport terminals are wearing new looks preparatory to welcoming travellers.

At the domestic airport one, a new facility had been erected shortly before entrance into the terminal where intending passengers would be screened as domestic travellers are expected to arrive three hours before check-in. Spokeswoman for FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, told New Telegraph that the Federal Government has invested heavily in health and safety measures and is ready to welcome travellers who have been grounded in their homes for months. According to Yakubu, “You have seen the procedure, you have seen the protocols. We are working hand in hand with the NCDC and we also got an advisory circular by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“All of those procedures and protocols we put in place, if the members of the public do not adhere to them, they are good as useless. Our request is for members of the public as they come to the airport, they should please adhere to all of these procedures.” Yakubu warned passengers to expect delays and long hours of checks and re-checks from when they arrive the airport until they depart. She said escorts of VIPs would no longer be allowed to follow their principals into the terminal.

“We are going to expect flight delays; flights will experience delays from checks and re-checks. If you are travelling, I will expect a potential traveller to leave home hours before his flight. Why do I say this? Because there is going to be a lot of checks,” Yakubu said.

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