The Federal Airports Authority of Nigerian (FAAN) has proposed what it described as a new standard operating procedure (SOP), which would be followed on resumption of flight operations even as the country grapples with COVID-19.
The procedure, which is awaiting the approval by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), is aimed at protecting passengers and other airport users from contracting COVID-19 after the resumption of flight operations.
Airports and aircraft have been identified globally as critical places that can enhance the spread of the virus.
This has fuelled the need for stringent efforts being made by governments, airlines and airport managers to ensure that the spread of the virus by air travellers is checked.
FAAN, which is managing about 22 airports in the country, intends to unveil the new SOP before flight service would resume after endorsement from the NCAA.
The agency said it has put together the SOP, which would be followed on resumption of flight operations, noting that the main objective of the procedure is to protect all “our stakeholders and prevent further spread of COVID-19.”
In order to protect passengers and other airport users, FAAN said it has established coordinated and monitoring team at its headquarters to ensure smooth take-off of passenger facilitation.
“Airports would also establish their team that would report to headquarters. This team would consist of the following: operations, aviation security (AVSEC) to ensure crowd control and enforcement of directives, safety and environmental protection.
“The Corporate Affairs Department would sensitise and educate our stakeholders and the travelling public on new travel procedures and guidelines at our airports. This would be done using media such as radio jingles, handbills, newspaper publications as well as social media handles. “Announcements would be made intermittently from the announcement rooms, on the new guidelines and procedures at our airports,” FAAN said.
On departure and boarding procedures, FAAN proposed a minimum of two metres apart between passengers to ensure physical distancing, which would be designated by floor markings and guided by ropes and signage.
FAAN also proposed that officials from aviation medial and port health would screen each passenger’s temperature, and ensure the use of other personal protective equipment such as hand gloves.
“Passengers are required to wash their hands before proceeding into departure halls. Hand sanitisers would be provided for passengers’ use before entrance at the waiting halls, lounges and pre-boarding gate. All passengers luggage must be disinfected before entry into the departure halls,” FAAN said.
The agency explained that footwear would be sanitised by foot mats placed at all entrances of the terminal building and passengers would observe physical distancing rule while sitting in the halls.
According to FAAN, the seats would be clearly marked for usage and non-usage, while passengers travelling with pets must get necessary clearance from the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services.
On arrival procedure, FAAN said on disembarkation from the aircraft, passengers would observe distancing as they board the co-buses, while hand sanitisers would be provided in the buses.
Also, wash hand basins would be provided at the entrance of the arrival halls and protocol lounges for passengers’ use.
“Passengers would observe physical distancing protocols at the baggage claim area, where hand sanitizer is also provided,” FAAN added.