COVID-19: Airports Authority to implement flight spacing

The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu has said that the agency would implement flight spacing at all its airports in order to ensure total safety once the airspace is reopened for flight services.

Captain Yadudu added that about 85 to 90 percent of the agency’s staff had been trained by World Health Organisation (W.H.O) on operational and response time on Covid-19 pandemic, including 100 percent of its staff at Owerri Airport.

Speaking in Lagos over the weekend, Yadudu declared the flight spacing was not to disrupt any of the airline’s schedules but to ensure total safety of passengers, airline staff and others within the airport environment.

According to him, FAAN had informed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) of its plan, which he said would restrict multiple departures of flights from the same terminal at the same time.

He said: “We have already told NCAA that we are going to space the flights. No two airlines will depart at the same time from our airports. The spacing is not to make things difficult for the operators, but to protect their staff and other users of our airports.

“It is not going to be unnecessary spacing. Like I told them, it is not a slot, but just spacing of flights.”

On the inadequate space at the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Yadudu revealed that plans were on to increase its capacity by about 200 percent with the construction of fabricated materials within the facility. This, he said would be ready very soon.

He reiterated the readiness of FAAN to recommence activities in the industry, stressing that all staff had been adequately trained to withstand the new order.

The FAAN boss maintained that the management followed to the letter all the protocols on Covid-19 pandemic and advisory circular from NCAA, adding that the agency increased its performance by increasing the requirements.

Besides, he said FAAN’s staff had been trained by Port Health Services in order to ensure compliance upon resumption.

He said: “No airport in Nigeria has 100 percent of its staff trained by W.H.O and Port Health on Covid-19 pandemic, but we achieved that with Owerri Airport. All our staff at Owerri airport are trained 100 percent with certificates issues. Overall, about 85 to 90 percent of our staff have been trained and we want to achieve 100 percent training for all.

“At GAT, we have also erected a large canopy for people to stay in case of rain. We also have sanitizers and equipment to test their temperature at the airport and others in the country. Our tap water has sensors to minimise touch.

“We are discussing with some companies to enlarge the GAT with fabricated materials because we don’t have time for concrete work, which may take another five months to complete. The expansion of the GAT will lead to 200 percent in the hall capacity.”

Also, Yadudu disclosed that FAAN was installing transparent shields in front of all airline counters operating from its terminal in a bid to minimise physical contacts, adding that wearing of face masks and other protocols by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would be made compulsory.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Yadudu emphasised that FAAN would open two arrival halls for more convenience of passengers.