Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has certified the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and the Maiduguri Airport ready and safe to resume flight operations.
According to Sirika who stated this over the weekend in Kano when he visited the airport to monitor its inaugural flight conducted by Max Air and Azman Air after three months of lockdown, all of the nation’s airports would be fully ready for flight operations by July 15.
While acknowledging that the airports have met all necessary safety protocols to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, the minister dispelled speculations as to whether social distancing will be maintained during flight.
He assured that the cabins are safe enough and would not be a risk factor to the spread of the disease, adding that passengers should endeavor to wear their masks at all times during flight.
“Once you have your mask, you are safe to remain seated and where possible, we will keep the distance.
“Let me explain the mechanics that makes it hygienically safe during COVID-19 period. Airplanes today are designed in such a way that ambient air at altitude is clean, it is not contaminated.
“The aircraft is pressurised and heated to about 100 degrees Celsius before cooling. No virus can survive this procedure. The air filtration and circulation happens about every two minutes. So, if you are going to Lagos, it will happen close to 30 times. Its more hygienic to be in an aircraft than an operation theatre,” he explained.
On whether there would be hike in air fares, Sirika noted “there is little or no increase because nothing changed within the cabin”.
Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, who was also present at the event, said he believes the measures put in place would ensure that there is adequate protection and safety for the passengers.