Commercial activities returned at the Benin airport on Monday after three months of closure by the Federal Government as part of measures to check the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika at the weekend announced approval for resumption of normal flight operations at the Benin airport and others across the country.
The minister had earlier scheduled July 15, 2020 as resumption date of flights operations in the airport but later suspended it due to non-certification of the airport by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for resumption of operations.
A visit to the airport showed that necessary guidelines have been put in place, particularly the COVID-19 protocol which are floor markings to observe physical distancing, temperature check with infrared thermometer as well as disinfection of baggage and hands in the airport.
Speaking to BusinessDay, Odion Igbinowen, a cab driver with Avis Nigeria said the resumption of flight operations in the airport has brought a sigh of relief to those in the car hire service.
“The airport has been closed for three months. Today we are happy the airport has opened.
“Before we have many flights but we are expecting just one and we pray there is improvement.
Another airport business owner, Omon Esther said “we are happy that we are resuming today. We are happy to see the passengers. We are expecting more passengers in the coming days.
On his part, Joe Aligbe, one of the passengers en route to Abuja, expressed delight over the reopening of flights.
Aligbe, who is the National Vice President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria noted that traveling by air is now the only best option in the country due to bad state of roads and insecurity on the highway.
“It is a thing of joy that flight is resuming today at the Benin airport. I am particularly happy, our roads are very bad in terms of security and because of that air travel is the option”,he added.