As domestic flight operation resumes in some of the airports in the country, the Federal Government has explained why one of the safety protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19 may not be observed in the aircrafts.
According to the government, the cabin is safer than any hospital theatre because of the procedures the air that is circulated in the cabin goes through.
Also, contrary to what passengers thought prior to resumption of domestic flights, the government also explained that the non-adherence to physical distancing was responsible for the ‘affordable’ ticket fare.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, yesterday when he embarked on a simulation return flight to the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano to assess the preparation of the airport for resumption of flights.
Speaking on why physical distancing may not be observed, Sirika said: “Because of the nature of the airplane, the airplane is hygienic enough once you have your mask, you are safe to remain seated on your seat and where possible, we will keep the distance.
The minister added: “Airplanes are designed in such a way that the ambient air at altitudes is clean. It is not contaminated. The air is dropped in the aircrafts, pressurised and because of pressurization, the temperature of the air goes up to 200 degrees which is twice boiling water and there is no bacteria or virus that can survive it and it is suddenly cooled to about 2 degrees centigrate and then it is passed to a filter.
“Passing through the filtration system ensures that every single organism is screened and then it is passed to the cabin and once it is passed through the cabin, it comes from the ceiling downwards.
“So, it is not coming from the cockpit to the rear, it is from the ceiling downwards and it drops on the floor and gets circulated.”
He continued: “With this mechanism in place, everything will be safe provided that we are decontaminating the airplane before we enter and decontaminating after we leave and also cleaning all the possible surfaces that one will touch.”
The minister was accompanied by the National Coordinator of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Senator Kabiru Gaya, Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau and others.
After inspecting measures put in place at the airport, Sirika stated that the airport was ready and safe to commence operation.
The minister hinted that Kano, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt and Owerri airports joined Lagos and Abuja airports to commence domestic flight yesterday, adding that other airports in the country that are yet to commence will join on the 15th.
Airports across the country were shut for over three months as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Credit: The Nation