• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Lessons for Nigeria from Gatwick Airport as international flights resume August 29


As Nigeria prepares to resume international flights August 29, 2020, there are lessons Nigerian airport authorities and airline operators can learn from Gatwick Airport, London, on how it is implementing COVID-19 protocols to keep passengers safe while flying and passing through the terminal.

Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s minister of aviation, had earlier in the week tweeted that the resumption of international flights would begin with Lagos and Abuja, as the ministry did with domestic flight resumption, adding that protocols and procedures would be announced in due course.
For frequent air travellers who travel through Gatwick Airport, they will notice a number of differences as they go through the airport.

For the time being, all arrivals and departures operate from the North Terminal and Gatwick has added new measures to ensure passengers are protected as much as possible.

The airport has appealed to passengers to follow its social distancing and hand hygiene guidance so as to have a safe and pleasant journey, adding that they will need to wear a face covering at the airport.

In an email sent to its customers, it stated, “Wear a face covering while travelling through Gatwick – following government legislation, this is now compulsory in all enclosed transport hubs, including airports; maintain social distancing; wash your hands regularly and keep your hands clean on the go by using hand sanitiser.

“Face coverings will not be mandatory for anyone under the age of 11 or those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.”

The entire airport’s staff will also be wearing face masks in passengers’ areas of the airport.
The airport’s North Terminal is open for flight arrivals and departures and all flights to and from Gatwick are temporarily operating only from this terminal. Passengers who arrive by train are required to take the free shuttle between terminals. Passengers who drive are to book one of the parking options.

Passengers who arrive the UK must complete a Government form up to 48 hours before arrival. They are to download the completed form on their phone or print it, as they may be required to show it at Border Control. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also has the latest guidance for people travelling overseas.

Advice for travelling through Gatwick

Passengers travelling through the airport will see protective screens in place at many places, including check-in, boarding and gates. This is to protect both passengers and those working at the airport. There are also additional cleaning measures in place to help passengers feel reassured. These include dedicated staff to clean common use surfaces, touchscreens, handrails, etc. Gatwick has also installed special ‘PPE bins’ in the terminals, which are clearly marked for the disposal of face coverings and gloves only.

Passengers hear in-terminal announcements and see plenty of signage and digital reminders about keeping to social distancing rules and to wash or sanitiser their hands regularly throughout their journey.
Gatwick has installed a large number of hand sanitiser stations throughout the terminals, and other places where passengers can wash their hands are clearly marked.

The seating arrangements have been changed to ensure social distancing measures can be observed. Families and groups travelling together will, however, be able to sit together. In some areas of the airport, one-way flows will be in place.

The airport has compiled some additional answers to some of your most frequently asked questions with regards to coronavirus and travel.

Making new booking

Passengers can make new bookings for Official Gatwick Parking with confidence as its flexible cancellation policy allows passengers to cancel free of charge up to 24 hours prior to travel.
Passengers can also view and amend their booking details quickly and conveniently.

Short stay parking

Gatwick’s short stay car parks are located next to the terminal, providing quick and convenient direct access. There is no maximum stay duration, and in addition to advance bookings the short stay North car parks remain open for drive-up customers who are intending to pick-up/drop-off travelling passengers.
As part of its Covid-19 special measures, the main touch points within the car parks, including lifts, trolley bays and payment machines, are sanitised at regular intervals.

The airport has encouraged customers to make any payments by credit/debit cards at the exit barriers rather than queue at payment machines.

Customers parking in the South Terminal multi-storey car park can simply take the inter-terminal shuttle service to the North Terminal. It runs every few minutes 24/7 and has a transfer time of just two minutes.

Valet parking

The airport is operating a new COVID-secure process for Valet parking, which has been specifically designed to keep passengers and staff safe and healthy, and to follow government guidelines on social distancing. This includes the following new measures:

Gatwick is specifically managing the check-in area to allow for social distancing; passengers will be asked to wait inside their vehicles while it carries out the necessary checks to keep contact to a minimum; every vehicle will be sanitised before they are moved to secure storage and keys and vehicles will be sanitised before they are picked up.

Long stay parking

The North Terminal Long Stay car park is opened at 3am and remains open with a 24/7 busying service to the North Terminal building.

Official Gatwick Airport Long Stay parking is a convenient and cost-effective option for those longer trips away. In response to the Covid-19, the airport has implemented new special measures in the long stay car parks and shuttle buses, which include:

Hand sanitiser dispensers are located on each bus; shuttle buses will be limited to 50 percent capacity to allow for social distancing; buses will be cleaned after every journey and buses are completely sanitised at regular intervals

Eat-in, take-away on-board

Deliciously good, refreshingly fast breakfast, lunch, coffee and dinner will be for eat-in, takeaway or on-board. At lunch, passengers choose from multigrain baguettes, nutritious salads, hearty Hot Boxes or delicious pasta, and complement with a delicious fruit or snack pot.

Pure offers a wide range of delicious vegan and vegetarian food and caters to all tastes and dietary needs, meaning there is something for everyone to enjoy, including their ‘Pure Minis’ children range.

Their speed of service means passengers can get your breakfast or coffee within 60 seconds and there are over 130 comfy seats to dine-in, if passengers want to relax before their flight.

Shopping, eating opening times

Plenty of Gatwick’s shops and restaurants are now open in North Terminal and the airport expects this to increase further as more flights begin to operate again and passenger numbers increase.

All of our restaurants are participating in the Government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, according to Gatwick’s authority, which means passengers can get 50 percent off Monday to Wednesday (up to a max of £10) if passengers dine in at any of its places to eat.