In an effort to begin the reopening of some of the airports in the nation, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) held a Skype meeting with Munich Airport International to compare notes on the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on the airports.
The meeting, which was at the instance of the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, had in attendance the Munich Airport expert team, Herbert Keffel, Georgios Elkolids and Julian Duerdoth, and co-ordinated by Fortune Idu, Managing Director of FCI International Ltd with Nike Aboderin, the Director of Finance, as the team lead on the Nigerian side of 30 FAAN participants.
The aim was to assess the readiness of FAAN to gradually begin operations, following the Federal Government’s directive for reopening of the four regional airports. In initiating the meeting, Yadudu had exlained that “while FAAN is responding to the guidelines set by Nigerian Civil Aviation on the gradual airport reopening and Post-COVID 19 operations, it is important also to compare notes with other airports in the world to make sure we are on the right track and join the global industry in building back travel confidence.
“Munich Airport has successfully reopened and has recommenced domestic and international flights, so it is worth sharing experience with them,” according to Yadudu.
Furthermore, FAAN intends to begin involving itself in route development and, therefore, collaborative efforts between Munich and FAAN can help in that direction.
The presentation via skype was tagged ‘Rapid Aviation Plan’ by Georgios Elkolids. Herbert Keffel highlighted the steps and considerations which Munich Airport International adopted towards the successful reopening of the airport.
In response to a question raised by Aboderin, FAAN Director of Finance, on the issue of orderly management of human traffic in a relatively small airport space, the Munich airport team not only compared notes on how they have carried out flow management and social distancing orders with the FAAN team but also showed a willingness to continue the backend co-operation and information sharing to help build traffic, passenger confidence and also improve operational efficiency, non-aeronautical services and route development.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, has again appealed to the Federal Government to immediately release the intervention funds it pledged for the aviation agencies to ensure gradual restoration of air transport services as announced by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.
Nnaji said the appeal has become necessary in view of the fact that all the agencies are already finding it difficult to pay salaries due to the impact of the three-month lockdown of the sector.
According to him, all the agencies, ranging from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) rely on aeronautical charges as their major source of revenue which has been eroded by the closure of airports.