Home News LAAC Webinar: Stakeholders harp on need for minimal contact, economic viability post COVID-19

LAAC Webinar: Stakeholders harp on need for minimal contact, economic viability post COVID-19

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By Pearl Ngwama.

In preparation for safety post C0VID-19, Aviation stakeholders in a recent webinar have harped on the ways to reduce physical contact to barest minimum in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, as the industry restarts.

In the webinar organised by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) with theme, “Nigeria’s Aviation Industry: Changing Times, Changing Strategies” participants probed into various ways to attain safety and protection of air travellers as well as aid airlines and allied firms gain economic success.

At the front burner in the new normal is the engagement of technology assessed as a major solution both to reduce physical contact minimally and equally create viability and profitability in the system.

A former Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, advised that the industry should take advantage of the present disadvantage occasioned by the pandemic to do proper automation as this will help reduce contact.

“You can do every ticket purchase, every check-in and even choose a seat via your laptop. You as journalists can help us advocate this. You cannot process 1000 people one by one and you should not have to, so the industry needs automation,” he stressed, adding that “airport infrastructure also needs to improve.”

Speaking on airlines’ response to facilitation and safety during restart, Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema, reiterated that airlines do not support the middle seat removal but have all come up with ways of maintaining minimal contact during boarding as well as safeguard passengers.

According to him, apart from the constant disinfection of aircraft, passengers are not likely to catch the coronavirus or any other virus on board the aircraft but could do so around the airport or any other environment before even getting to boarding point.

“Covid-19 is contracted anywhere and it could be at any environment. We have devised a way to board and reduce contact a lot by first calling for the right window seat and after that is done and they are settled we can call for the middle seats then. After that we can call the left window seat then you can call in the aisle seat at the right and then the aisle seat at the left. This will ensure interaction is minimal. If we leave the middle empty then the least ticket would be N100, 000, which will not be good for airline and passengers,” he explained.

Principal Managing Partner of Avaero Capital, Sindy Foster, corroborated Onyema that removal of middle seats from the equation is not to anyone’s advantage.

She said: “It is a ridiculous idea for airlines and it won’t work, it is unnecessary and we have to look at the disadvantage and majorly, a lot of people will have limited capacity for travel by air.”

Foster pointed out that the Country needs to be attractive for any investor, hence, the need for infrastructure upgrade in order to attract investment into the Aviation Industry.

“The Industry needs to attract investment. Investment in aviation is important and it is the responsibility of everyone in the Industry to make it attractive. Meaning there must be corporate governance in every aspect of the Industry and majorly airlines and the negative publicity needs to stop. Players have to be law abiding, recent events in all media have painted the Industry negatively so as players it is our responsibility to end that.

Foster also noted the potential in boosting cargo market and therefore advised the extension airport operations with more emphasis on cargo.

She was of the view that since most goods are transported through the roads and that 60 per cent of such cargo are lost on these roads there is need to do something to attract flying cargo with the right pricing.

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