THE Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said passengers should brace up for rigorous health checks at the airports, flight delays and increase in airfare when restrictions are lifted and operations resume post COVID-19.
Speaking 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 travelers 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 in fares.
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 percent, 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.
In her contribution, Ebele Okoye, General Manager Customer Service/SERVICOM, FAAN, harped on the decongestion of the terminal building especially outside where all sorts of people who do not have business at the airport mill around. According to her, in reducing contact, the days of opening people’s bag at the airport to search what is inside should be done away with.
Okoye urged passengers to save themselves the stress of coming to the airport to buy tickets rather they buy their tickets online, check in online and pay for their trolleys online to reduce the hours they would have to spend carrying out these activities.
“Social security can be done, online ticket purchase: I am sure that the airline will notify the people who purchase their ticket online to check in online and decongest the terminal building.
There would be no hangers around, touts should be out of the airport, anyone not travelling should not be allowed to enter the airport.
How do passengers get their trolley? They can pay online, you don’t need contacts,” she said.
In a related development, the government of Netherlands on Tuesday, evacuated 71 of its citizens from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
The Boeing 767-300 airlifted 71 passengers from MMIA to Accra.