The Federal Government yesterday revised its COVID-19 health guidelines for the aviation industry, removing nearly all restrictions hitherto placed on passengers and operators in the industry.
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the aviation regulatory body, yesterday issued revised COVID-19 public health guidelines for all aviation service providers for both domestic and international operations.
The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Musa Nuhu stated that the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and most parts of the world has remained at a low level for a sustained period.
He consequently explained that the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 revised public health guidelines.
For domestic operations, the PSC he stated mandated that the wearing of facemasks inside airport terminal buildings and onboard aircraft by airport workers, passengers, and crew members is no longer mandatory, stressing that wearing of “facemasks by passengers onboard aircraft or inside airport terminal buildings is discretionary but recommended”.
Persons aged 60 years and above, immunocompromised, and those with comorbidities are advised to use facemasks, wash their hands with water and soap, use hand alcohol-based sanitisers and avoid large gatherings.
Also no longer required is the disinfection of bags at the entrance of terminal buildings and maintenance of social distancing at airport terminal buildings.
The PSC equally mandated airlines to resume serving catering (meals and drinks) onboard aircraft while the use of alcohol-based sanitizers by passengers and airport workers is recommended.
For international operations, the same requirements as domestic operations are to be applied.
Pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests have been abolished and are no longer required for all passengers irrespective of vaccination status while PCR tests required for all passengers who are partially or not fully vaccinated have equally been suspended.
Equally significant is that health declaration forms and permission to travel/QR code are no longer required.
Nuhu however stated that a simplified health questionnaire form (non-COVID-19 specific) shall be completed by all passengers travelling to Nigeria preferably pre-departure on the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP).
He explained that passengers who fail to fill the health questionnaire on the NITP pre-departure will be required to fill the health questionnaire either onboard the aircraft prior to landing or at the airport terminal building upon arrival.
He warned that failure by any aviation service provider to comply with all Operators Letter (AOL) shall attract appropriate sanction, adding, “This AOL shall be effective immediately”.