Airlines on Wednesday recorded low passenger traffic as flight operations resumed on the Lagos / Abuja route.
Arik Air, Air Peace, Max Air, and Ibom Air operated scheduled flights on the Lagos / Abuja routes from the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA1) as well as Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) in Lagos.
While Arik Air and Air Peace operated flights from the GAT, Max Air and Ibom Air operated from the MMA2.
Amid low passenger traffic.
The first flight to Abuja from Lagos was operated by Arik Air with an average passenger load factor.
The Arik Air took off about 7.15 am with passenger boarding supervised by officials of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
A spokesman for Arik Air, Mr. Banji Ola in an interview expressed satisfaction with the passenger traffic, orderliness, and cooperation of passengers.
He also disclosed that the last two flights of the day would have more passengers based on the number of tickets already sold.
Speaking on the resumption of flights, spokesman of Air Peace, Mr. Stanley Olisa said the airline has put in place reliable measures to protect both passengers and staff pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight.
Olisa said the flying public should not express any worry but comply with health protocols rolled out by aeronautical authorities.
He said the airline has thoroughly disinfected its aircraft affirming that its flight crew has undertaken the necessary training to remain COVID-19 conscious.
He stressed that passengers must always wear their face masks before entering the airport terminal and onboard, and are expected to submit themselves for temperature checks before boarding.
According to him: “If your temperature reads above 37 degrees, you’ll be denied boarding. No loitering on the aisle of the aircraft. Hands must be sanitized and no more meals on board.
“This is to reduce crew-passenger contact. Flying will be somewhat different but we can guarantee your safety”.
The airline also urged its customers to embrace online booking and check-in, employing its user-friendly Mobile App, as a means of minimizing physical contact.
Olisa, who implored the flying public to download the Air Peace Mobile App for seamless booking and check-in, asserted that the airline’s aircraft are in perfect shape as multiple shakedown flights have been conducted for safety reassurance.
He added that the airline has also been operating a series of ‘special’ flights, which is an indication of aircraft airworthiness.
DANA Air on its part said it will resume flights on Thursday, July 9, 2020.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kingsley Ezenwa said the airline will operate three daily flights from Lagos to Abuja and back while the date for the addition of Port Harcourt and Owerri will be announced later.
Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air Obi Mbanuzuo, while speaking on the preparedness of the airlines said: ” Dana Air is ready to fly safely again from July 9, 2020.
“We have worked round the clock with the NCAA to achieve this safe resumption of flights and we are introducing other initiatives soon in line with the present realities and the need to minimize contacts at the airport.
”We have disinfected all our aircraft, provided all our staff with the recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been made available at our check-in, boarding gates and on board the aircraft for guests and we have an optimized cleaning protocol in place as recommended by the World Health Organisation, (WHO), and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“We have also created a boarding strategy which will give our passengers some sense of safety onboard our aircraft.
”We are distinctly positioned to reduce the impact of the concerns you might have, starting from proper maintenance schedule, pre-flight cleaning, and boarding, to in-flight service and disembarkation — all aspects of our flights have been optimized for the safety and well-being of our guests.
”To stay ahead, our guests are advised to book their tickets online, use our self-service at MMA2 or download the Dana Air app for booking and reservation.”
Ibom Air according to its head, Operations, Engineer Lookman Animashaun operated a single flight on the Lagos / Abuja route.
Investigations revealed that the NCAA insisted that the schedule for the carriers that operated flights were staggered to avoid overcrowding of the terminal.
Directors Operations and Security Services, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Captain Muktar Muye, and Group Captain Sadique Usman (rtd), who monitored flights out of Lagos said passenger turnout was appreciable.
They also applauded the conduct of passengers in compliance with the protocols put in place in the terminal.
Directors, Airspace and Aerodromes Standards, NCAA, Engr. Tayib Odunowo who flew on the Arik first flight commended the procedures and expressed joy that the hard work put in to achieve the restart of domestic flights paid off.
Passengers on their part said they were surprised to see the efforts put in place to ensure their safety, adding that this had shown that COVID-19 is real.