FG intensifies airports’ upgrade for resumption

*FAAN, NAMA, AIB relocate headquarters to Abuja

In a last-minute push to get the airports ready, the Federal Government has rallied resources to get five airports ready for proposed local flights’ resumption.

The preparation, currently being executed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), is to speed up the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, and Enugu airports’ rate of compliance to safety guidelines in a COVID-19 era.

In a related development, FAAN and its sister agencies, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) have relocated their Headquarters from Lagos to Abuja, in accordance with the government’s directive.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), at a webinar held recently, showed that airlines, airports, and other service providers that had submitted resumption plans and compliance programmes from assessment, were all on various percentage levels of preparedness.

The air navigation service providers have reached 80 per cent, airlines 75 per cent, ground handlers 80 per cent and domestic airports only 57 per cent ready for COVID-19 safety protocol.

Officials said the minimum expected of all operators was 95 per cent, and airports’ 57 per cent was abysmally poor and unacceptable since all passenger facilitation exercises happen at the airport.

The Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, said they were doing everything possible to upgrade both safety and security levels at the airport, without further delay of the resumption plan.

“Please, bear with us. It is primarily on safety and security issues. We need to improve what we have. That is why we started training our personnel. On procurement, there are things you do not get on time. We have been going at a drastic pace since June 21, 2020, to achieve the common goals.” Yadudu said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), has also pledged to support FAAN to fast track quick reopening of the airspace.

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