Strict adherence to slots allocated to the airlines, deployment of state of the art technology by the airport managers, and sufficient financial stimulus from government to genuine players in the air transport value chain, hold the aces to restarting travels, and to quick recovery of aviation from its present position of anomie.
These are the aggregates of the conclusions reached at the 24th edition of the public lecture organized by the League of Airports And Aviation Correspondents, LAAC , through the zoom meeting held on Thursday, 18th June 2020.
As the panelists marshalled the challenges confronting them in each of their various sub sectors of the industry, the discuss dovetailed to the aspect of crowd management, granted the terminal manager had done all necessary markings on physical distancing and all other COVID-19 safety protocols approved for the airports, et all.
Speaking on the subject, “Nigerian Aviation Industry: Changing Times, Changing Strategies”, Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt Shuaibu Nuhu, who was ably represented by the Director, Consumer Protection, Alh Adamu Abdullahi, commended the airlines, ground handlers and the airport managers among others, for making appreciable progress in their compliance level to the guidelines variously dispatched to the concern organizations.
The DG urged the airport managers to use the slot allocation to achieve crowd control at the airports with the view to reducing the probability of spreading the Coronavirus within the terminal building.
Adamu Abdulahi noted that, no matter how excellent the floor markings might be, and the markings on the chair for physical distancing, poor slot management could totally undermined all that had been planned when a disproportionate number of travelers arriving and departing flood both the arrival and departure halls, would sorely make mincemeat of the entire arrangement hence, the airport manager needs be firm in making the slots work.
The Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Capt. Hamisu Yadudu, agreed that such ugly incident could rare its head but added that, the airlines would be compelled to strictly comply with slots allotted them. He said in the interim, meeters and greeters had no place in the reconfiguration of spaces at the terminals. He said good slots management would help achieve crowd control especially at Lagos airports while it may be relaxed in others.
Yadudu promised that if need be, he would not hesitate to summon a meeting of all concerned on how the slots should be revered under the present covid-19 dispensation and to remind every stakeholders of the benefit inherent in strict compliance to all the new guidelines.
He strongly expressed his conviction that, due regard for the slot arrangement would help in preventing chaotic situation at the airport especially in Lagos while other terminal may not pose as much challenge as Lagos would without slot arrangement.
In his submission, the former Director General, NCAA, Dr. Olusegun Harold Demuren, advocated strongly of the need for a simulation few days to the start of flying. He added that the simulation would bring to the fore any latent gaps in the entire arrangement which shall quickly be addressed and promptly closed without much ado.
President of the foremost aviation pressure group in Nigeria, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, ASRTI, Dr. Gabriel Gbenga Olowo, made a strong case for the adoption of technology at the airports in a way that would drastically reduce human contacts at the terminals.
Olowo also urged the airlines to begin to encourage the purchase of tickets online, issuance of boarding pass online, and other processes that could be done through Artificial Intelligent, AI, should be jump-started so as to have a protocol in use, that aligns with international best practices as obtain in advance economies.
While corroborating the notion expressed by Dr. Olowo who, also is the President, Saber West Africa, representative of the DG NCAA, Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, said by the guidelines dispatched to the airport manager, the entire toilets must be revamped as the inspectors would not accept the use of manual operation of the tap to wash hands at the lavatory but the taps must be installed with sensors to perform automatically without touching the faucet.
The Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, Engr. Akinola Olateru, advised that both public and private orgnisations in the aviation value chain should start thinking outside the box.
Olateru said an unusual season as the world is currently witnessing requires an unusual methodology to cope with its challrnges. He noted that often, prospects that would catapult individuals and organizations into greater heights, often come in the form of a challenge as aviation is currently contending with.
The AIB Chieftain proffered that the ability to confront the challenges headlong as they’re rearing their heads, with strategic thinking and clinical execution of creative the ideas shall, result in growth and development for leadership who think outside the box as one off palliative may ultimately be found as inadequate but creative thinking holds the aces.
The Chairman Air Peace, barrister Allen Onyema, Managing Director Nahcoaviance, Mrs Olatokunbo Fagbemi, and the Managing Director, Sahcol, Mr. Basil Agboarumi, were all unanimous in the call for financial stimulus to help in the retention of the work force as the ruling party in federal government have severally professed to employment, job creation and job retention.
They avowed that the financial stimulus would help them to stay in business and it would in-turn facilitate job retention for the teeming youths in their various employment with the airlines and the ground handlers.
While given the vote of thanks, the Chairman of LAAC,
Comrade Olusegun Koiki, expressed gratitude to everyone that hooked up to the
highly seminal discourse and his greatest gratitude went to the faculty members
who proffered ideas for gratis, just for the sake of the survival and growth of
air transport in the Nigeria.
Koiki also pledged
the commitment of the over 50 strong members of the league which comprises of
reporters, editors, producers and publishers, to maintain their sacred duty as
the watch dog of the industry and this they’re doing without fear or favour and
with the sole aim of growing the industry and be counted among the best in the