The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said it is automating access points into all airports, especially international terminals, to reduce overcrowding of the facilities and possible human-to-human interface.
Its Managing Director, Captain Hamisu Rabiu Yududu, who stated this in an interview with The Nation at the weekend, said the authority was leaving nothing to chance in ensuring passengers , airline personnel ground handling operators , eateries and duty shop operators at airports adhere strictly to the prescribed protocols rolled out by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The FAAN boss said besides measures rolled out during the first wave of the pandemic, the authority has not relented in ramping up efforts by its personnel to sensitise members of the public and airport users on the dangers of not complying with the guidelines.
The authority, he said, continues to step up the game in ensuring the major planks of the protocols/guidelines – social distancing, sanitisation, fumigation of baggage and reduction in person-to-person interface at airline counters are adhered to starve off further spread of the virus.
Yadudu said such steps had become necessary so as not to erode the confidence of air travel. He said once passengers have lost confidence in air travel, huge potential of the sector would be lost.
He said: “We are implementing enhanced measures for access control in line with COVID -19 protocols at all airports. The regulations have not changed. We continue to implement security access measures at the airports to guard against crowd control. We are carrying out automation of all entry points into the airport to reduce person-to-person interface. With technology access control has improved to ensure people, who do not have any business do not come into the terminal building. With reducing interface with humans, it has improved because you cannot bribe the computer to grant you access.
“We have commenced automation of all access points into all international airports. This has become imperative for the airport authority because we are tired of forcing people to comply with the regulations. Arresting violators and taking them to court for unlawful access into the airport is taking a lot of time and resources. We prefer the automation model, which precludes people who are not authorised to gain access, rather than running around spending money and quality time from deterring people from doing the wrong thing. People are constantly enlightened to stop doing the wrong thing by gaining unauthorised access into critical national infrastructure. It is not about FAAN, but a matter of national security. We are even tired and scandalised for arresting people who violated airport rules; it is negative on our national image.
“Needlessly, we prefer people who have no business not come into the airport.”
On enforcement of protocols, he said: “We will continue to step up awareness among airport users to boost the confidence of the travelling public. There is no compromise and continue to step up the confidence of airport users.”