NIGERIAN aviation officials have begun putting plans in place to re-open the country’s airport amid indications that the federal government will soon lift the suspension on all domestic and international flights.
On March 19, Nigeria closed the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and the Port Harcourt International Airport in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly afterwards, the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja were closed too, with only special chartered flights allowed.
However, with the global easing of the coronavirus lockdown, Nigeria too is considering opening up her airspace in a bid to revive economic activity. Although the aviation minister is yet to declare the country’s air space open, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (Faan) has put in place arrangements on passenger facilitation ahead of the resumption of flights.
Faan spokeswoman, Henrietta Yakubu, warned passengers to expect delays and long hours of checks and re-checks from when they arrive the airport until they depart. She noted that when the airports re-open, escorts of VIPs would no longer be allowed to follow their principals into the terminal.
Ms Yakubu added: “We are going to expect flight delays, as flights will experience delays from checks and re-checks. If you are travelling, I will expect a potential traveller to leave home hours before his flight.
“Why do I say this? Because there is going to be a lot of checks in the front of the terminal and we have been told that some may activities and procedures will take place in front of the terminal. So, air travellers are expected to leave home very early so that they can get to the airport on time.”