NCAA issues post COVID-19 rules for international flights



As the country prepares for the reopening of businesses, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued post COVID-19 protocols for Nigerian based crew operating international flights.

According to the new protocol, flight crew are now expected to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and observe infection, prevention and control (IPC) measures for the duration of the flight.

Contrary to the recent practice, the protocol also states that the flight crew will not be quarantined upon arrival in Nigeria but would be made to undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19 every 14 days at cost to the air operator.

This is contained in a statement in Abuja on Thursday by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu.

Odaudu quoted a letter with reference NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/120 27th May 2020 signed by the Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu and addressed to all operators, airports and other service providers.

According to the letter, the new protocol approved by Federal Ministry of Health replaces the current practice where Nigerian based flight crew members who operate international flights are quarantined for 14 days upon their return to Nigeria.

The letter highlighted 20 guidelines that must be followed by operators.

For the payment of test of crew members, the guideline reads: “Upon return to Nigeria flight crew will not be quarantined but will undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19 every 14 days at cost to the Air Operator. Flight crew members who test positive for COVID-19 will be taken to a treatment center for further management.”

The guidelines reads further, “Nigeria based Airlines/Aircrew wishing to conduct flight operations outside the country shall be required to comply with the following: “Ensure orientation and sensitization of crew on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures as per training and guidance from public health authorities, ensure they have adequate stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), minimum 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers and Universal Precaution Kits (UPK) on board aircraft before the flight.

“Ensure flight crew wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and observe IPC measures for the duration of the flight as follows; Flight deck Crew: Non-medical face mask and gloves. Facemask can be removed when the cockpit door is closed for safety reasons Cabin crew – Non-medical face mask, gloves, disposal surgical gowns and safety visors/goggles and ensure safe removal of gloves after performing specific tasks.

“Avoid touching their face and eyes with unclean hands, flight crew are to ensure that all passengers wear a non-medical face mask for the duration of the flight except when eating or using emergency oxygen and flight crew are to ensure that passengers rub their hands with alcohol-based sanitizer as they embark the aircraft.

“Put up a notice in the lavatory/washroom on hand washing that requests passengers wash their hands after using the lavatory, flight crew are to maintain a safe distance between passengers and themselves; avoiding direct physical contact, cabin crew will serve only pre-packed meals to passengers and where practicable, flight crew will reserve one lavatory for their own use.

“Cabin crew will apply disinfectant spray in lavatory every 60 minutes during the flight, airline 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 facemask and gloves.”

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