By Ruth Richard
It is no longer news that the novel Coronavirus has affected all aspects of life; the aviation industry is not an exception. In their analysis, Statista.com forecasted number of air passengers worldwide in 2020 before the Coronavirus outbreak at 4.72bn, also forecasted revenue from air passenger traffic worldwide in 2020 before the pandemic outbreak at 581bn USD and estimated revenue loss of airlines worldwide in 2020 due to the novel Coronavirus outbreak at 314bn USD.
These figures provide a summary of the aviation industry worldwide and the negative impact Coronavirus has brought. As flights are set to resume operations in Nigeria come June 21, though only select airports are expected to commence operation in the country such as Nnamdi Azikwe international airport, Abuja; Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; Omagwa International Airport, Port Harcourt; Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano for only domestic flights.
It is imperative to note that the virus has not been defeated but life must take its full course and economic activities that have been halted by COVID-19 is gradually coming back to life with precautionary measures being put into consideration. Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has brought out guidelines to regulate the activities of flights in the country viz: 1. Checking of passengers temperature by airport authority 2. Social distancing, movements and queue arrangements within the airport 3. Transparent barriers by the counters where airline agents are to attend to passengers to protect the stakeholders 4. Sitting arrangement to guide passengers 5. Airport staff to guide passengers to ensure strict compliance to the rule 6. At the point of boarding, airlines are to provide sanitizers for each passenger’s hands before boarding and 7. Compulsory use of face mask to gain access to the airport terminal building.
In a press release, the body regulating aviation matter in Nigeria, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) signed by the Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu and made available to newsmen reads, “flights crew must wear personal protective equipment for the duration of flights”. Recalled that on March 23 2020, Nigeria government suspended all international flights due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. NCAA also said among other things that they will not quarantine flight crew but they will be made to undergo compulsory COVID-19 test every 14 days, airline operators are to pay for the cost of the test. FAAN also said that they are working hard to ensure smooth operations as they commence operations but it will not be business as usual.