President, Aviation Roundtable Safety Initiatives, ARTSI, Dr. Gbenga Olowo has stressed tonnes of human contacts and check points at airports be done away with.
Speaking on his expectations as domestic operations is set to open by 21st of June, 2020, Dr. Olowo emphasized that Nigeria airports should urgently update its system to address the issue.
He said, as the industry continues to advance in Technology, the ease of doing business without or limited human contact would progress the industry further and challenge the skill set of employees.
Olowo also stressed that Health certificate valid for at least 14 days scannable on phones just like boarding pass should be a necessary condition for travel to avoid isolation at the destination.
“Face mask, hand washing & sanitization will be a necessary and sufficient condition for travel.”
“The airlines have been advancing in technology prior to Covid19 on social distancing through self service for online ticketing and payments, self service check in, self service security & passport controls,etc.”
He harped on the sharing of Security information, currency and Agriculture with the relevant agencies while the harmonised processes are automated.
“for example instead of two different people having to check the passenger passport all the time, currency & Agriculture information should also be shared with Security.”
Dr. Olowo stated that the 3 weeks space given domestic airlines and other stakeholders to prepare and recommence operations was good enough to do the needful as the industry had never stopped strategizing and talking all through the lockdown.
“It’s time to walk the talk.”
The ARTSI President said it is expected that all states and countries reopen simultaneously while they continue to battle with the virus.
“Aviation connects economies, our economic life line must not be destroyed. The two are directly related. Just as disease can kill, hunger can also kill and even kill faster.”
Olowo observed that onboard social distancing would be quite challenging except Aircraft would be configured to all first class seats for economic operations.
He added that no airline can ever break even with less than 40 % load factor at the extremely low fares prevalent in the market where Passengers pay less than $100 per hour on jet engines.
“This was the levels 30 years ago precisely 1990. Lagos, Abuja N2200 exchange rate N 22/$. The dichotomy is can the passengers afford higher levels of tariff ?This is where government intervention in Airline economics is needed in Nigeria by deliberate application of subsidies on fuel, taxes, airport charges,vat, 5% or lower interest rate on loans, quick FX availability, etc. in order to lower Airlines cost of operations.”