By Lawani Mikairu
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and the Presidential Task Force team on Covid-19, PTF, Saturday expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness of the major airports to commence operations after over three-month shutdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Sirika in the company of the PTF team expressed the satisfaction at the end of a dry run test conducted at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos ahead of the recommencement of flights.
The Minister and the team were at the Lagos Airport to assess the level of preparedness at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) otherwise known as MMA1.
Other members of the team were the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, Minister of State for Health, Olounnibe Mamora, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of State for Education and other officials.
The team arrived Lagos at about 12:30 pm aboard Aero flight and inspected both the departure and arrival areas of the airports to assess the social distancing measures put in place.
They observed that the boarding and waiting areas were clearly marked for passengers to observe social distancing while the toilets have automatic handwashing points.
Similarly, automatic sanitizer dispensers have been provided at every point of the boarding just as there are automatic temperature screening points.
However, Sirika who did not specify when the airports would reopen for commercial flights, said he is 90 to 95 per cent satisfied with what is on ground.
The Aviation Minister said: ” Once we start, all the physical distancing measures would be observed. The markings in Lagos are as much as we have in Abuja “.
“I’m not 100 per cent satisfied but I am 90 per cent satisfied and why did I say so? I said so because our airports both Lagos and Abuja, we have marked them clearly, we have trained our staff to ensure the physical distancing, we have provided COVID-19 compliant toilets. We have provided for hand sanitizers, we guided people efficiently. We reduced the amount of people the Co-Bus we take”.
” So we have done everything humanly possible to ensure that people keep physical distancing and they are wearing their mask. So I am very satisfied and happy.”
In terms of timeline, he said, “I think once we are good to go, we are good to go. You know there are two components of it. The health and safety components. This thing is not as easy as you think. I don’t want to give a date but I am sure we are getting there.”
Also speaking, the PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu expressed satisfaction with the level of preparation by the Aviation sector to restart, saying the stakeholders have done tremendously well.
He assured would be passengers that the Aviation industry is safe for them to fly and they would be well protected against contracting the dreaded virus.
Also Minister of State for Health, Senator Mamora said compliance is very critical and government might be forced to enforce compliance.