Air passengers in Nigeria, both Local and international, are now to arrive airport 3 hours before flight, as part of the ‘New Normal’, which both operators and passengers in the aviation industry are expected to experience with flight resumption.
This was revealed during a webinar organised by LAAC, where the Managing Director, Aero Contractor Airline, Captain Aso Sanusi, explained that travellers must arrive earlier than they are used to and trust that boarding a plane was safe and that they would be able to enter the destination country.
The most immediate and perhaps most visible change the industry will witness is social distancing or touchless travel.
“Shortly before the total lockdown, we had implemented the social distancing policy and that took a lot of time.
We witnessed a lot of delays because we had to ensure passengers keep safe distances at the point check-in in order to curb the spread of the virus.
But physical distance policy in the aircraft will not be possible. That will not happen.
“Passengers will have to be fit to travel, as the Yellow cards will be substituted for COVID-19 card.
Passengers must arrive earlier than they used to at the airport and definitely expect more delay. The old normal turn around for local will increase from 30 minutes to over 1 hour (new normal) because aircraft will be sanitized every time the plane land.”
According to him, there would also be panic at the airport or in an aircraft if certain things happened. For instance, if anyone sneezed, others would panic. “We will have to work hard to psychologically educate the passengers that the aircraft is the safest place to be,” he added.
Country Manager, Nigeria & West Africa, Qatar Airways, Kennedy Chirchir, also agreed that the new normal of the industry would mean a total paradigm shift.
To him, the development would affect airline preparations, check-in preparations together with how agencies interacted with customers and airlines.
But the concern of some passengers was that flight delay should not reoccur after lockdown, as such development would be frustrating for passengers that must arrive airports early.
In the same vain, the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria also issued flight resumption protocol for both international and local passengers across the country.
This was disclosed by the agency via its Twitter handle on Monday.
It said, “Flight Resumption Protocol for Passengers: You are advised to arrive at the Airport 3 hours before your flight due to the new COVID-19 safety checks.”