By Adedapo Adesanya
The management of Arik Air has announced plans for the resumption of domestic flights following the green light by the federal government to local airline operators.
The government had last week announced a phased-reopening of its air space for domestic flights, with a date for international operations to be announced later when the coast is clear.
During the announcement, it was stated that airline operators can resume operations in Lagos and Abuja from Wednesday, July 8, 2020, after almost four months of inactivity.
Arik Air, alongside other airlines, had suspended operations on March 27 after the federal government closed the airports to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Roy Ilegbodu, announced in a statement that it would operate three flights from Lagos and Abuja in phase 1 of the re-opening beginning on Wednesday, July 8, adding that flights to Port Harcourt will begin on Saturday, July 11 when the airport reopens.
Owerri and Maiduguri airport will also reopen on Saturday while the other airports in the country are set to restart operations on July 15.
Mr Ilegbodu said, “We are ready to fly our esteemed customers again. All preparations have been made to make flying in this extraordinary period in the world safe and pleasurable.
“The airline has put various measures in place, in line with COVID-19 health protocols, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Passengers have been assured of their safety and wellbeing at every stage of their flight.
“Arik has worked actively with aviation agencies for an effective re-start of the industry and also ensure that agreed health measures are effectively implemented.”
The Arik CEO further called on passengers to adhere to the punctuality guideline as instructed by the federal government, reminding them to be at the airports three hours early and also come properly kitted with face masks for the flights.
Last week, FAAN released new guidelines for air travellers and other airport users. The new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is aimed at protecting all stakeholders and preventing further spread of Covid-19.
According to its spokesperson, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu: “All passengers must ensure a minimum of 1.5 meters of physical distance.
“Aviation Medical/Port Health personnel would screen each passenger and ensure the use of face masks.
“Hand sanitisers would be provided for passengers before the entrance, at the waiting halls/lounges and pre-boarding gates, all footwear would be disinfected and sanitised by foot mats placed at all entrances to the terminal building.”
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