Nigeria’s airspace will roar back to life on Wednesday as six domestic carriers are set to resume flights after more than three months the Federal Government shut down all airports to prevent Coronavirus spread. The airlines are Arik Air, AeroContractors, Air Peace, DANA Air, AZMAN Air and Max Air .
Their resumption follows their compliance with the safety, health and other guidelines rolled out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as preemptive measures against the spread of COVID-19.
The Nation’s checks on their websites on Sunday showed that they would for now concentrate on the lucrative Lagos – Abuja; Abuja – Lagos and Lagos – Port Harcourt routes.
Information gleaned from the websites indicated that passengers would be paying not less than N33,000 for the economy cabin.
Arik Air Managing Director Captain Roy Ilegbodu said in a statement that the carrier will be operating three flights daily from Lagos to Abuja in the first phase of the restart.
He stated that Port Harcourt would be added to the schedule from Saturday when its International Airport in Omagwa is expected to be reopened.
He said: “Passengers have been assured of their safety and well-being at every stage of their flight as the airline has put various measures in place in line with COVID-19 protocols as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Federal Government.
“Passengers are advised to arrive at the airport three hours before scheduled departure times so as to have ample time to undergo all security and health protocols before flight. Furthermore, all passengers are required to come properly kitted with their face masks
Air Peace said it will operate three flights on the Lagos – Abuja route as well as return flights on the same route.
DANA Air said it will operate flights but did not state the number of rotations.
According to information on its website, AZMAN Air will operate two flights out of the Lagos Airport into Abuja and one into Lagos from Abuja.
MAX Air on its part said it will have three flights out of Lagos.
NCAA has cautioned domestic carriers not to violate the terms of the protocols handed over to them for restart.
Its Director-General Captain Musa Nuhu who issued the warning at a webinar coordinated by the authority said: “All stakeholders must meet the protocols set by the NCAA. If you do not meet, you are not granted permit to start.
”Some airlines will be given approval to start. Not all airlines and airports will start.”
Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt Rabiu. Yadudu, who spoke on security at the airports, said: “We have closed-circuit televisions across our airports.
Last week, FAAN released new guidelines for air travellers and other airport users. The new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is aimed at protecting all stakeholders and preventing further spread of Covid-19.
According to its spokesperson, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu: “All passengers must arrive at the airport properly kitted with their face masks on.
“They must also ensure a minimum of 1.5 meters physical distance.
Aviation Medical/Port Health personnel would screen each passenger and ensure the use of face masks.
“Hand sanitisers would be provided for passengers before entrance, at the waiting halls/lounges and pre-boarding gates, all footwear would be disinfected and sanitised by foot mats placed at all entrances to the terminal building.”