Air travel will no longer be normal, says Sirika

As the country prepares to commence domestic flights on June 21st, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has disclosed that air travel in and around the country will no longer be what passengers were used to prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19.

The Minister however, assured of the safety of the air space and the passenger.

Speaking on Monday at the daily briefing by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Minister said measures are currently being put in place to boost passenger confidence when flights resume.

The minister who was responding to the question of how aviation industries fared after 9/11 in comparison with the aftermath of COVID-19 said: “Pandemic is not new to civil aviation, there have been such before and similar other pandemics and civil aviation took to the challenge.

“However, the problem drawn from 9/11 and COVID-19 is a bit different. COVID-19 is known and we do know that it gives fever, causes shortness of breath, we know that it could be contracted through droplets and we must avoid touching our eyes, ears, and noses. So, COVID-19 has defined itself and it is known, unlike terrorists who carry out attacks such as 9/11.

“So, we are getting ready as we get more knowledge on knowing the virus so that we do everything possible to make sure that we do not become the mechanism nor the platform by which the virus is spread.

“It is easy for us since we know about the virus. The campaign has started from this platform to tell the public especially in Nigeria that we do understand perfectly the enemy, we know how it behaves and we will make sure that we do not give it the chance to harm us more.

He continued: “The protocols are being developed. Before the industry comes back, we will sensitize the public through the media on what our intentions are and what is expected of them.

“Certainly, air travel will not be as normal as it used to be just like 9/11 where passengers were in some cases asked to remove their clothing or go through a scan.

“So, this one will also be the same but we want to assure people that civil aviation will be extremely safe. We will unveil mechanisms that we are putting in place and hopefully, before the resumption, we would be able to find the vaccine so that it is of no consequence anywhere.”

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