Ghana has become the first African country to resume partial flight services with the reopening of domestic flight services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Domestic flight operations have now resumed following the lifting of the partial lockdown by President Nana Akuffo Addo.
The partial commencement of flight operations was preceded by thorough fumigation of the various regional airports and the introduction of new enhanced Covid-19 safety protocols by the Airport Authorities and the Ghana Health Service.
Passenger turn out on the first day of flight activity was surprisingly high. Both domestic careers Africa World Airlines and Passion Air confirmed their flights were fully booked on the first day.
“All our flights today are sold out”, remarked the Chief Operations Officer of Africa World Airlines Sean Mendis.
“Our flight to Tamale today was full,” said Samuel Takyi the Marketing and Sales Manager for Passion airlines.
At the Airports, new protocols such as the mandatory wearing of a nose mask, the use of hand sanitizers, observing social distancing in check-in queues and sitting arrangement at the boarding areas had been implemented.
Passengers even have to hold out their ID cards from a distance at the checking counters to reduce contact.
On board, middle row seats had been left vacant to ensure social distancing on board the flights. This according to the Chief Operations Officer for Africa World Airlines will however not change the prices of tickets.
“The intention at this point is that passengers will not have a seat next to them. The exact passengers on board will be 34 adults and no more. However, children will be allowed to sit next to their guardians. At this time we will be observing the situation but the prices of tickets will not change” said Sean Mendis
Buses that covey passengers to the aircraft as well as the aeroplanes are now regularly being disinfected and fumigated after each load.
“I’m impressed at what they are doing here. I’ve been wearing my nose mask and gloves since I got into the terminal. They are doing a good job here” said one female passenger.
“I boarded a bus from Kumasi earlier and the measures were not being enforced. But here at the airport, the safety measures have been implemented and you are checked at every point to use your sanitizers and keep your face mask on” added another passenger.
According to the Deputy Minister for aviation Yaw Afful, the enhanced safety protocols have been implemented at all the other regional airports. i.e. Kumasi, Takoradi and the Tamale Airports.
These measures he said are part of the government’s effort to protect passengers and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus as we start flight operations.
He urged passengers to also adhere to the new protocols to maintain the safety of all.
He said “make sure that all the protocols that have been set in place are followed. Don’t get angry at the staff when they ask you to use the hand sanitizer or wear your face mask. I believe that if we all do this we all will be safe”