….Arik leads with first flight to Abuja, Airpeace records high number of paxs
Four domestic airlines started domestic flight operations this morning from the Lagos airport.
The airlines are Arik air, Airpeace, Max and Ibom air.
Overland airways approved to fly has moved the start of operations to 15th of July.
The first flight to Abuja from Lagos was operated by Arik air with an above average passenger load factor.
The arik flight slated for 7am this morning took off at about 7.15am, the passengers boarding was from the General Aviation Terminal One GAT under the supervision of officials of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
Spokesman for Arik Air, Mr. Banji Ola in an interview expressed satisfaction with the passenger traffic and the orderliness and cooperation of passengers.
He also disclosed that the last two flights of the day would have more passengers then the numbers recorded in the morning based on the number of tickets so far sold.
He also applauded the arrangements put in place by the Airports Authority to ensure the safety of passengers.
Airpeace flight PA47120 from Lagos to Abuja had 103 passengers on board excluding the crew, departed at 11.50am from the GAT One.
Ibom Air too has also departed with about 80 passengers on board while Max Air started boarding at 10.10am from MM2
At the Murtala Muhammed Terminal, MM2 operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services, Ibom air counter tickets were seen attending to passengers seeking boarding passes.
Head of operations, Ibom Air, Mr. Lookman Animashau said, the airline would be operating just one flight today and subsequent increase the flights as more passengers turn up.
He said, the covid-19 safety protocols measures in place at the airport was an indication that the industry was good to go.An aviation consultant, Mr. Tayo Ojuri, who was onboard Airpeace flight said some passengers were complaining that while they were on ground, there WS social distancing but onboard they sat close to each other.
He stressed that passengers needed education in this regarding social distancing inside the aircraft.
Passengers this morning arrived the airport as early as 5am to commence boarding formalities.
On arrival, they sanitize their hands, their temperature checked, baggage disinfected before going into the terminal to queue maintaining Sofia distancing to get their boarding passes before heading to the screening area and onward to the departure lounge to wait for boarding announcement.
The schedules of the 3 airlines operating today are spaced, according to investigation, the NCAA Insisted on a staggered departure time to enable them monitor every procedures by the airlines and also to overcrowding the terminals.
Directors Operations and Security Services, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Captain Muktar Muye and Group Captain Sadique Usman,rtd, who also monitored the first flight out of Lagos said passenger turnout was good being the first time of restart of operations after over 3 months of shut down.
They also applauded the conducts of the passengers in compliance with the protocols put in place in the terminal.
Directors, Airspace and Aerodromes Standards, NCAA, Engr. Tayib Odunowo who flew on the Arik first flight commended the procedures and expressed joy that the hard work put in to achieve the restart of domestic flights have paid off.
Passengers on their part said they were surprised to see the efforts put in place to ensure their safety, adding that this had shown that covid-19 is real.