Sirika: International travellers may need to arrive airport 5 hours before takeoff

Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, says intending passengers on international flights may have to be at the airport five hours before their flight’s takeoff.

Sirika, on Saturday, said this would be part of the operation guidelines when flight operations begin.

The minister led members of the presidential task force on COVID-19 on an inspection of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja and Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos ahead of the planned resumption of domestic flights.

According to the minister, authorities are putting the necessary equipment in place to help passengers adapt efficiently to the new normal and ensure that time is not wasted.

“We will announce all the protocols again before opening. But you need to be at the airport three hours ahead of your flight,” he said.

“The experience is quite nice but it takes a bit of time which is why you will need to be at the airport three hours before your local flight. For an international flight, we may do five hours.”

Addressing concerns about the profitability of the aviation business upon the resumption given the new protocols to be followed, Sirika said the new guidelines would be implemented in a way that flights would still be profitable.

“Those new norms are coming and we will implement them in such a way that flights are profitable. The World Health Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation have developed protocols of the sitting,” he assured.

Stakeholders in the industry have expressed concerns about the airlines’ ability to make a profit if middle row seats are kept empty in line with social distancing guidelines.

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