The Minister of Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, has said the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano (MAKIA) and the Maiduguri airport are ready and safe for flight operations.
The minister also said, by July 15th, all of the 22 federal airports in Nigeria would have been fully ready for flights operations.
Sirika said the airports have met all necessary safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The minister spoke Saturday in Kano when he visited the MAKIA during the inaugural flight into Kano by Max Air and Azman Air after over three months of lockdown.
Concerns over physical distancing
The minister also dispel the growing concern over the lack of physical distancing in the aircraft.
The minister assured that the cabin is safe enough and cannot be a risk factor to the spread of the deadly COVID-19 if passengers wear their masks at all times during the flight.
“Sitting in an airplane, because of the nature of the airplane, it is hygienic enough.
“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,” he explained.
He explained further that; “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.
“It’s more hygienic to be in an aircraft than an operation theatre,” he said.
Airfare remain same
Sirika also said airfare air fare has not been increased.
“There is little or no increase because nothing changed within the cabin.
Also speaking, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Chairman of Senate Committee on Aviation, said: “I believe very sincerely that a measure of things have been put in place as far as this airport is concerned to ensure that there is adequate protection and safety for the passengers.
“When you talk about this pandemic, the airport is key to eradicating and minimizing the inffection.
“Today, we have gone round to see the measures already on ground with the objective of minimizing the spread,” he said.