All Nigeria based airlines and aircrews will not be subjected to quarantine but rather undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19 every 14 days after returning to the country. Airline operators are to bear the cost.
This is one of the items listed in the new health guideline issued by the Federal Ministry of Health to further stem the spread of the COVID-19 as airlines are anxiously waiting to return their flying machines back to the sky.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) who communicated the health guideline in a memo to the airlines advised the airlines and their crews to comply with the new guidelines.
NCAA said the new guideline has replaced the current one where Nigerian based flight crew members who operate international flights are quarantined for 14 days upon return to Nigeria.
NCAA noted that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had recommended IPC COVID-19 awareness and orientation training for the staff of airlines, airport and other aviation service providers.
The new guideline recommends among other that all flight crews must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and all passengers must wear non-medical face mask for the duration of the flight except when eating or using emergency oxygen.
Flight crews are to maintain a safe distance between passengers and themselves avoiding direct physical contact. Cabin will serve only pre-packed meals to passengers.
According to the guideline, flight crew members will have no physical contact with any persons while in the foreign country including ground handling staff, airline staff, embassy staff, drivers, protocol officers, hotel/accommodation, etc.
It is mandatory for flight deck crew to file their flight plan via online, advising that where they are experiencing difficulty in doing so, the crew members must exercise caution by wearing face mask and gloves when filing a flight plan and receiving documents from ground staff and flight dispatchers.
The guideline added that airlines will carry augmented crew to ensure the immediate turnaround of the flight with no crew member disembarking from the aircraft except the pilot that will conduct the mandatory walk around in which case the pilot is required to wear a non-medical face mask and gloves.