Musa Nuhu, Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has mandated all pilots and aircrew members operating international flights to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and observe infection prevention measures for the duration of all flights.
This is contained in a letter with reference NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/120, May 27, 2020, signed by Nuhu to all operators, airports, and other service providers as COVID-19 Pandemic Public Health Protocols.
According to NCAA, the new protocol has been approved by the Federal Ministry of Health.
The protocol, sighted by The Punch, also stated that the flight crew will not be quarantined, but undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19 every 14 days at a cost to the air operator upon return to Nigeria.
It added that crew members who test positive for COVID-19 will be taken to a treatment centre for further management.
It said the protocol replaces the current practice, where Nigeria-based flight crew members, who operate international flights, are quarantined for 14 days upon their return to Nigeria.
It stated that Nigeria-based airlines/aircrew wishing to conduct flight operations outside the country, will ensure the orientation and sensitisation of crew on Infection Prevention and Control measures, training and guidance from public health authorities.
The authority said airlines must ensure they have adequate stock of PPEs, a minimum of 70 percent alcohol-based hand sanitisers, and Universal Precaution Kits onboard aircraft before the flight.
Providing further guidelines on how the crew should use the PPEs, the NCAA said flight deck crew should wear non-medical face mask and gloves.
“Face mask can be removed when the cockpit door is closed for safety reasons,” it stated.
For cabin crew, it said they should use a non-medical face mask, gloves, disposal surgical gowns, and safety visors/goggles.
“Ensure the safe removal of gloves after performing specific tasks. Avoid touching their face and eyes with unclean hands,” the agency said.
It added: “Flight crew is to ensure that all passengers wear a non-medical face mask for the duration of the flight except when eating or using emergency oxygen.
“Flight crew are to ensure that passengers rub their hands with alcohol-based sanitiser as they embark on the aircraft.
“Put up a notice in the lavatory/washroom on handwashing that requests passengers wash their hands after using the lavatory.
The NCAA said flight crew should maintain a safe distance between passengers and themselves, avoiding direct physical contact.
It further said that only pre-packed meals should be served to passengers, adding that where practicable, the flight crew should reserve one lavatory for their own use.