The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has revealed that there is currently no infrastructure to conduct COVID-19 tests on thousands of passengers who will use the airports as soon as international flights resume on August 29.
The Federal Government had earlier announced that international commercial flights are scheduled to resume at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on August 29.
The Government suspended flight operations about five months ago to curb the spread of COVID-19 through airports.
The Director-General, NCAA, Musa Nuhu, while speaking at Monday’s briefing of the President Task Force on COVID-19, explained that operators in the aviation sector had aligned with the pre-departure testing protocol stipulated by the PTF.
The PTF Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, had during the briefing stated that about 10,000 passengers would be using the airports daily once international flights resume, adding that they would need to undergo COVID-19 testing before coming to the airports.
Reacting to Aliyu’s comments, Nuhu said operators in the sector were working assiduously to be ready for the August 29 resumption date.
He said, “This entails working closely with the national coordinator and the Port Health Services to develop protocols for testing (of passengers) coming to Nigeria.
“The aviation sector is quite comfortable and agrees with the protocols of the pre-departure PCR test. We are quite comfortable with that.
“In addition to that, we do not have infrastructure at the airports to deal with this. The airports were never built for such. So we need to build infrastructure.”
The NCAA boss stated that even if the airports had the infrastructure, any attempt to test about 10,000 passengers at airports would create crowding and other issues.