Air travelling in post Covid-19 leaves a picture of tiresomeness and expensiveness as airlines globally plan longer check in process and 45 percent increase in air fares.
Nigerian airlines and passengers will not be left out of the quagmire as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has hinted the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of the major landmark change in the global air travel industry that would see passengers lose more time and spend more.
Speaking on the development at a virtual aviation seminar organised by Women in Aviation (WIA), Nigeria, Henrietta Yakubu, general manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, said in addition to paying 45 percent more for air tickets when commercial airline operations resume, air passengers should also expect delays and long hours of checks and re-checks during departure and arrival.
“Passengers should expect that airlines will charge more in terms of airfare. The IATA has said that there would be 45 percent increase in fares. As the nation’s airports reopen soon, escorts of VIPs would no longer be allowed to follow their principals into the terminal and such principals would be subjected to all health checks.
“Passengers are expected to leave their home early hours before their flights to go through the various checks before entering the terminal and after. We are going to expect flight delays, flights will experience delays from checks and re-checks. If you are travelling, I will expect a potential traveller to leave home hours before his flight. Why do I say this? ”Because there is going to be a lot of checks in the front of the terminal we have been told that some may activities and procedures will take place in front of the terminal. So air travelers are expected to leave home very early so that they can get to the airport on time,” Yakubu said at the webinar themed, “Aviation: The New Norm in the post COVID.”
The webinar moderated by Rejoice Ndudinachi, WIA president, featured the Airport Manager South West Airports/Airport Manager, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos, Victoria Shin-Aba, former Rector, Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Zaria and other women professionals in the industry.
According to Yakubu, COVID-19 has brought a lot of changes to air travel and to ensure the safety of passengers and airport users the way of doing things before has to change. The pandemic will make people cut down on non-essentials and lead to low demand of air travel, she said.
Yakubu restated that social distancing would be observed at all the airports as well as temperature screening, wearing of face masks, disinfection of shoes and luggage of passengers regardless of personalities.
She said: “There will be floor markings indicating where each passenger will wait on the queue, arriving Passengers will also be subjected to temperature screening, physical distancing too will be observed while passengers are waiting by the carousel to pick up their luggage. Passengers are expected to arrive the airport with their face masks on, their luggage and pairs of shoes to be disinfected.
“Passengers will subject themselves to temperature screening and departure halls will be arranged in such a way that physical distancing too will be observed.”
The General Manager Customer Service/SERVICOM of FAAN, Mrs Ebele Okoye read “riot act” to touts and loiters at the terminal building and outside, saying with COVID-19 there would be no room for them.
“I will urge all the airports to consider and make provision for different kinds of passengers, social distancing, adequate information and security and more importantly, social security,” she said.
Okoye advised passengers to buy their tickets online, check in online and pay for their trolleys online to reduce the hours they would have to spend carrying out these activities and also save themselves the trouble of coming to the airport to buy tickets.