….as Arik, Aero, Dana, others begin Lagos-Abuja flights Wednesday

Following the easing of restrictions placed on inter-state movement by the federal government, passengers are anxiously awaiting the resumption of flights which are expected to commence on Wednesday. Many Nigerians who had postponed business and personal travels are now in high spirits, just as six domestic carriers are set to resume the popular Lagos-Abuja flights. “I am very excited because I have been stuck in Abuja for about three months now” says Nnamdi Ogbulie, a property developer.

Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Air Peace, DANA Air, AZMAN Air and Max Air will re-start operations on Wednesday after complying with the anti-COVID guidelines rolled out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).  For now, the airlines seem to have settled for the most popular routes of Lagos-Abuja, Abuja-Lagos, and Lagos-port Harcourt.

NCAA has cautioned domestic carriers not to violate the terms of the protocols handed over to them for restart. NCAA Director-General Captain Musa Nuhu who issued the warning said “All stakeholders must meet the protocols set by the NCAA. If you do not meet, you are not granted permit to start”.

Arik Air Managing Director Captain Roy Ilegbodu said in a statement that the carrier will be operating three flights daily from Lagos to Abuja in the first phase of the restart.He stated that Port Harcourt would be added to the schedule from Saturday when its International Airport in Omagwa is expected to be reopened. He advised Scheduled passengers to arrive the airport at least three hours before departure to enable airlines carry out the mandatory checks and follow the strict anti-COVID protocol mandated by NCAA.

While the airlines have settled on the need to raise airfare due to social distancing rules on flights, passengers who spoke with TheEconomy are satisfied with the reasons for the hike. “I know the airlines have incurred losses and also the social distancing rules calls for an increase in fare. I am okay with that as far my health is not compromised” says Nana Ighofode, a Lagos-based business woman. Passengers are advised to arrive the airport properly kitted and with their face masks on. They will also be given hand sanitisers and their shoes disinfected before accessing airport terminals. Medical personnel will also be on ground to screen passengers.

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