There are indications that the large turnout of air travelers and cargo movement anticipated during the yuletide will multiply the challenge faced by security operatives at the nation’s airports in the coming days.
Industry observers said they envisaged that more Nigerians would travel by air this year than the previous years because most roads in the country are in dilapidated condition due to prolonged rainfall and the efforts to rehabilitate them could commence after the yuletide.
Former Managing Director of Capital Airlines and aviation consultant with Etimfri Group, Amos Akpan told THISDAY in Lagos that there would be corresponding increase on the demand for the facilities and services provided by all aviation agencies in Nigeria this Christmas season.
Akpan, said airport aviation security apparatus must gear up to handle increased human and cargo traffic in the airports.
“Aviation Security (AVSEC) must reposition to monitor, advise, and apprehend persons on breach of security status. The handling companies should set baggage loading, offloading and delivering time envelope.
“It should not take a passenger more than 15 minutes from the time he disembarks to receive his baggage on a local flight. Mixing suitcases with grease and oil should be eliminated. The airport authority should remove those conveyors that tear and disfigure suitcases,” he said.
He said facilities at the airports would be overstretched and advised that airport management; the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) must reinforce efforts to improve efficiency.
“Waiting in stuffy and crowded halls is hazardous to health. If the air-conditioning in the airport hall is nonfunctional and it cannot be fixed, open the windows and exits for ventilation, use red tapes as barrier and position security personnel at those exits.
“The toilet attendants need to clean, clear, replace toiletries and sanitisers much more frequently. It is difficult to avoid overcrowded waiting halls because the harmattan dust haze will disrupt flight schedules causing delays and merger of flight schedules.
“There are usually passengers connecting domestic flights from international, let us reduce their impression that nothing works here. The airline managers, the handling companies’ reps, the officially recognised protocols in the departure and arrival lounges should meet weekly to work out strategies to make traveler’s experience good this season,” Akpan said.
He said aviation agencies should avoid making reoccurring situations take them by surprise, noting that poor visibility would occur as in the previous years.
“There are airports certified to open from 6:00 am to 6: 00 pm only, and there are 24 hours airports in Nigeria. Fuel trucks will meander through traffic to come into tarmac to fuel aircraft.
“Electronic check in systems will collapse. There will be more passengers than available aircraft seats on the following dates 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 December. Passengers will carry more baggage than they usually do this season. For the airlines, the airhostess, the loader, the check in counter, the baggage and passenger handling officers will be stretched this season; therefore plan for it,” he said.