The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, PTF, yesterday said domestic flight operations can now resume after a satisfactory assessment of the industry’s readiness for restart. The National Coordinator, PTF , Dr. Sani Aliyu who announced the lifting of the ban on domestic flight operations in the country, said domestic operations are allowed to “open as soon as practicable but in line with existing international and local guidelines on COVID-19”.

Dr. Aliyu said passengers must observe all the health protocols put in place by the airport authority. “You must observe the social distance, wear a face mask, wash your hands, sanitize it, your luggage must be disinfected, temperature taking, and so on,” he said.

He also appealed to passengers to adhere strictly to the protocols for their good and the good of others.   While answering the question on whether there will be an increase in airfares Chairman of the PTF and the SGF, Boss Mustapha said with the reality on the ground, passengers should expect a review in airfares and other services at the airports.

Mustapha also said that with the increase in the Passenger service charge, PSC, by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, by 100% it was clear that charges for services would no longer be the same including that of other government aviation agencies and private businesses in the industry. He added that with such a review, less should not be expected from the airlines. “Because that is the nature of what the COVID-19 has thrust on the people and all over the world,” he said.

The chairman of PTF stressed that the industry had been hard hit with the loss of huge revenue due to no flight operations for over 3 months, adding that to recoup these losses both passengers and business owners would have to share the cost. “And there is going to be a maintenance of social distancing a bit of it inside the aircraft, if an aircraft has a capacity of 150 people, they might now be restricted to about a 100 or 75.

Flying comes with a component; aviation fuel is one of it, salaries for the pilots and the cabin crew is one of it, services that are paid for to the aviation industry institutions. Every time you see a plane take off, there is the attendant cost to that, who will bear the cost, it will be shared, the passengers will take part in it, the business owners will take part in the cost,” Boss Mustapha said.

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