The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made this known at a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Lagos after the Aero Contractors plane dry test run flight from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on Saturday.
It said even though it is not 100 percent satisfied with what it’s on ground, it is 90 percent satisfied with what has been done to get the sector ready for business.
The test run of the facilities in the two airports is to determine the readiness for the resumption of domestic flights.
He said all the protocol guidelines would be observed when the airports reopen, emphasising the importance of safety.
According to the minister, passengers for domestic and international flights will arrive three and five hours respectively before boarding due to the present reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reiterated that all protocol guidelines will be observed stressing that the measures are for safety.
Sirika said in order to ensure that persons not permitted to be at the airport do not gained access to the airport, the physical distancing will begin right from the drop off points.
He explained that, passengers will aside from presenting their mode of identification, remove their masks for five seconds for the security operatives to confirm that they are truly the person to fly before they will be allowed into the airport.
The minister added;
Nobody not permitted to travel will access the airport, adding that the new airport security operatives, have been trained to handle will ensure compliance with the help of K9.
Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the directives for such and that it would be implemented to the later.
The minister explained that there will be zero contact with the person screening passengers, even as added that the seats in the departure hall have been reduced from 500 or 700 to 200 or 250.
Sirika noted that part of the readiness of the airports is the automated dispensing of soap and water at the toilets and limitation to a maximum of five persons in the restroom, are part of measures to ensure physical distancing.
He, however, said efforts will be made to stagger the flights to accommodate everyone without creating additional burdens for passengers.
The minister also explained that airlines have been given permission to carry out dry run of flights across the country to ensure the airworthiness of the planes.
Also speaking, Olorunnibe Mamora, minister of state for health, said no matter what is out in place by the aviation authority, individual responsibility is the most important form of protection and that compliance is very critical.
He said where people fail to comply there will be enforcement.
This comes as the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Saturday re-opened for business with passengers duly screened, in line with safety protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airport also witnessed strict compliance with other safety measures, aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus.
Provisions were made for hand wash and alcohol-based sanitisers, temperature checks, as well as strict compliance to social distancing of about one metre apart.
Journalists covering the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, were also led on dry run test from Lagos to Abuja, to witness firsthand, reopening of the aviation sector.
Checks for COVID-19 safety protocols and screening were carried out on passengers at the departure lounge.
See some photos of the dry test run below;