Air passengers in Nigeria have faulted the non-adherence to physical distancing protocol by airline operators following the reopening of the airspace for domestic flights on July 8.
Activities resumed for domestic airlines in Nigeria on Wednesday after months of nationwide lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
Airlines seem to be receiving a lot of backlash as pictures from yesterday’s flights show no form of safe sitting distance while passengers where on board.
Some of the air passengers told our correspondent that there was no need undergoing all the pre-boarding safety checks only to be crammed as usual into the aircrafts without physical distancing.
One of them who simply identified himself as Yusuf said; “I had thought that the sitting arrangements would be re-calibrated in a way to ensure physical, but that was not the case yesterday”.
Another passenger, Eniola Adeosun said; “there was no need going through all the checks only to get inside the plane and still sit like in the days before Covid-19. I think the operators and regulators should reconsider this”.
When asked if she would be ready to pay more should airlines be forced not to exhaust their carrying capacity, she answered in the affirmative.
But her position is far different from Mr Akin Ajayi, another passenger who kicked against increase in ticket fares. He said the government should find a way of bailing the airlines out in order not to incur losses if they have to do physical distancing without having to increase their fares.
For Human Rights Lawyer and Covener of the #EndSARS movement, Segun Awosanya who took to his twitter page to condemn the manner airlines are currently operating said the country did not lock down for three month just to have people become reckless while doing business afterwards.
This looks to me like a scene from an end time movie. This is highly condemnable & should be reconsidered. We didn’t stay lockdown for 3months only to make up for it with this kind of risk that guarantees a spread in biblical proportions. We are better than this. #Covid19Nigeria pic.twitter.com/r7pN6XGBF8— Segun Awosanya®🚨 (@segalink) July 9, 2020
For Charles Chigemezu he is of the opinion that nothing is wrong with what the airlines have done as he maintains that they are in line with the global best practice
I agree that the sitting arrangement is far from expectation and what was preached, but I think it's a "global practice". In this pandemic between 25th June until today, I had flown 4x, all flights operated on full capacity and every passenger wore a mask throughout the duration— Charles Chigemezu (@Charleschigeme) July 9, 2020
One wonders if it would be safer for these airlines to increase the fares of each passenger to cover for the lost spaces if the planes have to fly half full or passengers should wear their face masks and ensure they carry out all necessary procedures of safety while on board.
Airlines had previously promised not to effect an increase in the prices of tickets purchased by its passengers, and a look at the airfares while booking for flights this morning reveals that not much has changed in the prices put out there.
With the the current price of tickets that seem to match up with what it used to be airlines may stand to lose a lot if the outrage for lack of physical distancing intensifies.
Tickets for these airlines currently fall within the range of ₦27,000 to ₦33,000.
It would be recalled that Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika had on Monday spoke of the filtration mechanism in the aircrafts which he described as topnotch.
According to the minister, the mechanism is such that the air comes from the roof of the aircrafts and travels downwards to the floor and exit through the vents, adding that since the air in the aircraft is not recycled inside, there is no risk of transmission.