Africa: Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation urges air travellers to adhere to COVID-19 safety rules, as new robots set to profile passengers


Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has urged air travellers in the country to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 safety protocols instituted by the Presidential Task Force ahead of flight resumption in the sector.

This is just as the ministry has deployed new robots at airports to facilitate, profile and check in passengers for seamless operations at airports in the country.

Sirika made the appeal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja during departure simulation processes by domestic carriers in the industry.

According to, the Minister said strictly adhering to the new laws will prevent spread of COVID-19 from person to person at the airports.

“Every activity we are undertaking here is to ensure that people observe physical distancing, wear face masks or shade, wash hands with soap and water, apply hand sanitiser and maintain environment.

Also, COVID -19 Protocol: International air travellers must arrive 5 hours before departure — Minister.

“Government will ensure passengers participate in disinfecting the area for the sake of hygiene,” the minister said.
The minister said that passengers would be enlightened to adopt the “new normal” laws on time.

“It is advisable that we will announce when we are going to open the protocols; you need to be at the airport for local flight at least three hours before the flight.

“We have demonstrated here in a mock manner; we have demonstrated here a sick person, the health workers attending to him.
God forbid, but if someone falls sick, we are very ready to attend to him. All of these is just to keep safe and this is the `new normal,” he said.

According to Sirika, under the new normal, passengers served tea or beverages will need to pick the tea that will be in a disposable material by themselves, to avoid contaminating others.

“The essence is to ensure smooth operation of our airports and this is to demonstrate that everything is alright and we are ready to start,” the minister added.

On seating arrangement, he said the new idea was to make cabin economically alright and avoid infection.

According to Sirika, the government will ensure the new laws are implemented in such a way that flights are comfortable according to World Health Oganisation (WHO) and International Civil Aviation Oganisation (ICAO) standards.

“WHO and ICAO developed the sitting protocols; we will ensure that those protocols are observed and implemented safely for aviation to remain an economically viable venture,” the minister said.

NAN reports that Aero B737 aircraft, with Registration Number NG110, which departed by 11.25 a.m., carried 51 passengers of the Presidential Task Force team from Abuja to Lagos.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) started the simulation exercise at 8 a.m. during which there were 1.5m physical distance markings, two hand wash areas and bags disinfecting area.
Hand sanitisers were placed at strategic locations and Port Health workers were seen taking the temperature levels of intending passengers.

Similarly the newly acquired robotsby the ministry is set to be used to profile and check in passengers at Nigerian Airports.
The robots which were spotted at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja can check body temperature of passengers and detect any unwarranted items. It is very interactive and can lead and give direction to air traveller.

A source in Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) confirmed the development, as he disclosed that the test run of the robots was done at the Lagos Airport on Saturday.

According to him, if it works well, it will be adopted across other international airports in the country.

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