There was palpable joy on Saturday as the first international, non-essential passenger flight landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, for the first time in over three months.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this was coming after five months of closure of the Nigerian airspace due to the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Middle East Airline (MEA), which took off from Beirut, Lebanon, made history as the first international flight to land anywhere in the country as it touched down at the MMIA at exactly 2.30p.m.
The aircraft was ceremonially welcomed with a water cannon demonstration by the officials of the Aerodrome and Rescue Fire Fighters, a Department in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
NAN also reports that officials of FAAN, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Port Health Services (PHS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other relevant agencies were on ground to attend to the passengers brought in by the airline.
On arrival at the terminal, passengers presented their documents, including COVID-19 PCR test results for screening by the Port Health Services officials, while their travelling papers, passports and visas were handled by the immigration officials at the airport.
At the arrival and departure halls of the airport, the arriving and departing passengers observed the social distancing protocols, just as it was being currently observed on the domestic routes.
Speaking on the procedures, Abdullahi Usman, Comptroller, NIS, MMIA, said the process was seamless and passengers were cooperative while travelling documents were requested from them by the officials.