By Ahmet Abdulaziz…
My daughter is getting married in Antalya, Turkey on 29th August 2020. For that reason, she left the TRNC on 12th August, to get her marriage related paperwork done in Turkey.
So by taking her to the airport to say goodbye, I got a chance to visit Ercan airport, on 12th August. I am not sure when I last visited Ercan, but I am sure that it must be around a year ago.
Reaching the airport early (rather too early) is my habit. People make fun of me due to this, but for the whole of my life I have remained with this habit. The time of the flight was 19.45, and we were told to reach the airport at 16.45. According to my old practice, we reached the airport at 16.00 (4pm). Outside the airport, there were just a few vehicles in the parking area and I could see just a few people coming out of the main building.
I had thought that there would be more people inside the building but that was not the case. Entering the main building, it looked as if we were entering a haunted place. I know that I am exaggerating a bit, but that’s the only word that came to my mind when I entered the large departure hall.
The ceiling lights were on, but the overall feeling of the brightness was there. The air conditioning system was functioning, but of course it was not able to cool the whole of the building.
Most of the shops, inside the building, were either closed or were left unattended.
One of the check-in counters was open, and there were only 4 or 5 persons there. Except for them, we were the only others in the hall. In my mind I recalled the times when there had been long queues of passengers waiting in front of the check in counters. But now there was none.
In a short period of time, those few passengers also left the hall, and there was no-one else but us 4 people remaining.
This is what COVID-19 has done. I thought, that if this is what COVID-19 has done to a small airport in a very small country called TRNC, how would the huge airports be looking now in the mega cities of the world. Planes grounded, flights almost brought to a minimum, absence of passengers, etc etc, must have changed the overall impression of an airport, everywhere in the world.
Our counter opened at 4.45pm. My daughter was the only passenger waiting. Getting the boarding card took a few minutes. We bade her goodbye at the stairs leading to the immigration section and waited for her to get cleared from the passport control booth. In a couple of minutes, she sent a text to us that everything was OK, and she was in the waiting lounge. There was no reason for us to stay any longer so we drove back home. Our daughter waited to board the plane for over two hours.
After she reached her destination that night, I asked her about her journey. She told me that there were not even twenty passengers in the plane, and everyone took a seat according to personal choice. I thought of my previous travels in very packed airplanes. But that was in the past.
Now the present is different. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. Even our personal lives are going through changes. Our social behaviour is also going through a change. Even our way of thinking in various fields is being affected by it.
I wonder, once the pandemic is over, will we all be the same as we were in the past.