The Federal Government has announced that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic did not lead to an increase in airfares.

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It dismissed claims that airfares had increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It stressed that since there was no physical distancing onboard the airplanes, airfares would witness little or no change in prices.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this while inspecting the resumption of flight activities from Abuja to Kano and other airports.

Kano, Port Harcourt and Owerri airports resumed operations on Saturday, joining Abuja and Lagos which had resumed on July 8, 2020.

Sirika also explained why physical distancing onboard flights was not mandatory.

On airfares, he said, “There is no price increase in airfares because I know that someone travelled at about N30,000, while another person told me it was N25,000 (from Abuja) to Lagos.

“So I want to assume that even if the increase had happened like I said earlier on during the COVID-19 briefing, it will be minimal that passengers can afford.”

Sirika said the purpose of the inspection, which was done alongside members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, was to ensure that the airports were opened in accordance with protocols established by PTF.

He said the aviation authorities had done well by complying with the PTF COVID-19 protocols, as the airports were safe for operations.

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On why it was not mandatory to observe physical distancing onboard flights, Sirika said, “Because of the nature of the airplane, the aircraft cabin is hygienic enough once you have your mask on.

“So you are safe to remain sitted on your seat and where possible, we will keep the distance. Airplanes are designed in such a way that the ambient air at altitudes is clean. It is not contaminated.”

He said the clean ambient air being dropped in the aircraft would be pressurised by up to 200 degrees, killing all forms of bacteria or virus before being cooled to two degrees.

According to him, this air is thoroughly filtered and released into the aircraft cabin as a pure and safe air for passengers, who must have their face masks on.