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Port Harcourt International Airport reopens

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Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos

Kano, Maiduguri also prepare for operations
The Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) has restated commitment towards ensuring a zero Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission as Port Harcourt International Airport resumes operations, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Mr. Abayomi Akinbinu, the Regional Manager, South-South and South-East, FAAN, said this on Saturday at the airport during the arrival of the first flight after three months of COVID-19 shutdown.
The first flight conducted by Air Peace 5N EUV from Lagos arrived Port Harcourt International Airport terminal at 7.50 a.m.
Abayomi said that the Port Harcourt airport management was poised at ensuring zero chances of COVID 19 transmission as flight operations kick-starts at the airport
According to him, compliance with the COVID 19 safety guidelines by regulatory bodies in the sector has been well upheld, adding that management will give no room for default.
While commending safety compliance level by service providers and passengers at the airport, he however decried poor adherence to the physical distancing rule.
“To the best of my understanding, I think I’m satisfied with our adherence to safety tips but there could be a few protocols that we need to adjust especially in the area of adherence to physical distancing rule.
“Our markings of 1.5 metres apart are visibly on the floor, but may be because of excitement it’s not being properly followed; so we need to make quick enforcement in that regard,” he said.
On passenger turnout, Abayomi said that being the first COVID-19 flight, low passenger turnout was expected with a gradual increase in the coming days.
“On the departure section, we are gradually getting more passengers and I believe that going forward passengers’ turnout is going to increase.
“My message to prospective passengers is that the Port Harcourt International Airport terminal is safe,” he added.
Dr. Nuhu Mwabi, Head of Aviation Medical Clinic of the airport, also said that the Port Health is fully on ground conducting mandatory temperature checks on both service providers and passengers before allowing them into the terminal building.
“This is because we want to fish out persons with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius and above, so that we can isolate such individual.
“Our cardinal objective is to ensure that we contain the spread of COVID-19 as well as other communicable diseases within the airport,” he said.
Mwabi also said that various medical teams and the WHO are also fully ready to professionally handle any suspected case where the need arises.
“We have an isolation centre right here for any person with a high temperature to be examined and if need be, we would then call for further assistance from the State Epidemiological unit,” Mwabi said.
Meanwhile, some passengers have also commended FAAN on its innovations in the COVID-19 era.
Mr. Ralph Akinyemi, one of the first passengers who arrived Port Harcourt from Lagos, urged management of the airport and other regulatory bodies to maintain the tempo, which he described as commendable.
While the Port Harcourt Airport has resumed operations, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has given the all-clear to two airline operators to hit start airlifting passengers to the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, which was opened to domestic flight operations on Friday.
The two operators, Azman and Max Air, received their restart plan approval for commercial flights on Thursday and scheduled their inaugural flight for Lagos to Abuja and Abuja to Kano Friday.
The duo joined Air Peace, Aero Contractors and Arik to resume flights to Kano, Port Harcourt and Owerri on Friday.
In a letter of restart plan approval signed by NCAA Director-General, operations, the NCAA confirmed Azman complied with the provision of AOL of May 5, with ref. (DG13/20) and advisory circular NCAA-AC-FSG-001 on post-COVID-19 restart guidelines as well as health protocol, thereby authorized to resume operations.
Managing director, Azman air, Faisal Abdulmunaf said Azman was 100 percent reinvigorated to embark on the new normal operations despite the huge impact of COVID-19 on the industry, adding that all staff are being recalled to resume their duties. While lamenting huge economic loss occasioned by the lockdown, Abdulmunaf canvassed for quick disbursement of the N25 billion aviation intervention pledged by the Federal government to ease the massive manpower retrenchment in the sector.
Regional manager Max Air Limited, Sule Arome, said they have met NCAA’s requirements and normal flight operations will restart on Wednesday.

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