Air Peace suspends flight operations to Dubai over rejection of visas to Nigerians

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

Air travellers from Nigeria to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UAE will be forced to consider alternative means of transportation in the coming days

This came as Nigeria’s indigenous airline, Air Peace suspended flight operations to the country indefinitely over non issuance of visa to Nigerians by the UAE.

UAE immigration authorities last month announced a visa ban to Nigerians without any reason, rejected applications for visa while the fees are Non- refundable

Following the development, the management of Air Peace in a statement stated that, “We hereby inform the public, especially our Dubai passengers, that effective from Tuesday, November 22, 2022, we shall be suspending our Dubai operations till further notice.

“This is consequent upon the persisting non-issuance of visas to Nigerian travellers by the government of the United Arab Emirates and the accompanying inconveniences.

“Air Peace has been operating into UAE even with the country’s recent travel restrictions, but given the heightening hurdles Nigerian travellers are facing in accessing the country, it has become imperative that we halt our operations to that destination.

“We shall provide further updates as the situation progresses. Passengers whose flights are affected by this development can mail our Call Center to attend to their concerns.”

NAIA Cargo terminal to be Commioner soon by President Muhammadu Buhari

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said that the cargo terminal project at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja will be commissioned soon.

The  cargo terminal that will be commission by President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated that the national carrier will take off before the end of the year with boeing 737 series airplanes.

Sirika stated while responding to questions from lawmakers during his defence or 2023 budget at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

He said: “There are two cargo projects in Abuja. One has been completely finished and will be commissioned by His Excellency Mr. President soon. The second one, the contract was given in 2012, the contractors were advanced money up to about 75%.

“These contracts were abandoned by the contractors. Mr. President directed that they be investigated, prosecuted and the monies recovered but because we don’t have prosecuting powers, we reported to EFCC.

“Now in the last three and half years, they confirmed to me that they have finished the investigation. This is worrisome. We will inform the the House when we see EFCC and they brief us formally.

“The aviation ministry has recorded some significant achievements in virtually all areas of the sector within the life of this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We have provided the safety and security needed in the aviation sector, which has led to the certification for the first time ever in the history of the country of Murtala Mohamed Airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport.

“It is a milestone being the first ever airports to be certified, government in, government out. This testimony as to our concern to our focus on safety. We have recorded the highest level of safety and unprecedented growth, making aviation the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy.

“Today, Nigeria is the 7th highest country in recovery from COVID. Some airlines also received interventions to be saved from total collapse. We also created an enabling environment, which provided airlines in the country to attain certification and international air transport association operational safety audit. Our airports are wearing new and befitting looks.”

In his remarks, earlier, the chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji expressed concern over the omission of the 2023 budget of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) by the government, promising to address the matter.

“You would recall that the committee spend most of last week visiting some projects executed by the ministry and some of its agencies within the FCT. Within the next few weeks, the committee will be embarking on similar tours to most importantly but not limited to the other three International Airports Terminals slated for concession.

“The Committee has noticed with great concern the omission of one of the critical Security and Safety Agency of the Ministry, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) from the 2023 FGN budget.

“This Committee and its Senate counterpart is committed to ensuring that the abnormality is corrected. However, as the minister superintending the ministry, we request that you make the clarification on the matter,” Nnaji said.

Nnamdi Azikiwe international Airport @ 40 tomorrow

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

 

All is set for the celebration of the milestones that have been achieved by one of Nigeria’s foremost Airports, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja on September 29 for its 40th anniversary.

Commissioned on the 29th September, 1982, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has developed into a hub for the north-central region of Nigeria and beyond.

Instatement released by the Ag General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs Faithful A. Hope-Ivbaze, the Airport prides in the possession of world-class Airport facilities including a brand new international terminal with a passenger handling capacity of 15million per annum commissioned by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in December, 2018, a recently rehabilitated domestic terminal, as well as a hajj/cargo terminal.

To underscore the continuous progress that has been made by Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja over the years, the Airport was awarded the Best Airport in Safety for the Year 2018 by Airport Council International, Africa Region. It also received ACI’s Airport Service Quality Award in the year 2020, amongst several other recognitions.

As part of activities lined up for the commemoration of the 40th anniversary celebration, the Airport will hold an anniversary event on the 29th September, 2022, where passengers, stakeholders and former Managers of the airport will be honoured for their contributions to the development of the Airport.

The hallmark of the event will be the commissioning of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport’s Park & Pay Automated Car Parking Service by the Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Capt. Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu.

Nigeria Air: Ethiopian Airlines owns 49%, local investors 46%,  FG 5%

By Favour Nnabugwu
Ethiopian Airlines (ET) consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder for Nigeria Air, owning 49 percent of the national carrier as 46 percent is oened by local investors and federal government own only 5 percent
Minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika when briefing yesterday in Abuja, stated  ET scored 89 percent out of 100 in the technical bidding process and 15 out of 20 as regards financial bids.
Sirika explained that the request for proposal (RFP) under the public-private partnership (PPP) Act, governed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission(ICRC), has been completed.
After a careful, detailed and ICRC governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder, offering an owner consortium of 3 Nigerian investors.
“The Nigerian investors are MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46 percent), FGN owning 5 percent and ET 49 percent. The consortium has been subject to a due diligence process.
“The contract will be negotiated between consortium and FGN, leading to a full business case (FBC) which will be expected to be approved by the federal executive council (FEC). We expect this process to take 6-8 weeks
The minister said the national carrier would launch with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.
According to him, “Nigeria Air will be launched with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable and affordable travel between the two major airports”
The minister added that other domestic destinations would follow later. “The first aircraft is ready to arrive in Abuja for further work and NCAA inspection, demo flights and audit as part of the AOC requirements”
“In time, two others will arrive to complete the required three aircraft for a new AOC holder. The interim executive team has prepared with the support of FAAN.
“The team has arranged for Terminal C at the Abuja Airport and finalised a contract with MMA 2 terminal in Lagos for the operation of an initial shuttle between Lagos and Abuja,” he said.
He noted that the Operations Control Centre (OCC) at the Abuja Airport would act as the headquarters of the airline.
FG directs NCAA to sanction foreign airlines not selling tickets in Naira

FG orders NCAA to sanction foreign airlines not selling tickets in Naira
By Favour Nnabugwu
The Federal Government has ordered the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA to sanction any international airlines that refuse to sell tickets in Naira.
The Government also said that the decision to float a national carrier, Nigerian Air is on course and that there is no going back
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, stated this at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Senator Sirika said intelligence reports indicated that some of the airlines are refusing naira and charging their ticket fares in dollars in violation of the nation’s laws, adding that some of the airlines have also blocked local travel agencies from accessing their websites for transactions.
The Minister stated that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) hss been directed to deal with any of such airlines that are wilfully breaching the country’s laws.
He noted that the foreign airlines have made over $1.1 billion from Nigeria from 2016, which could have been retained in the country if they were local airlines.
Sirika recalled that the airlines remitted over $600 million to their home countries in 2016 while over $265 million has also been released this year out of about $484 million due to them.
He said the government is trying to keep the airlines happy by ensuring that their money does not pile up again, saying that while the country needs their services, the airlines need the Nigerian market.
The Minister warned them to refrain from using the social media to press home their demands rather than resorting to the diplomatic channels.
On the Nigerian Air, he said that the project is a Public Private Partnership, PPP, which is guided by the Infrastructural Committee Regulatory Commission, adding that Nigeria is a candidate for national carrier.
CBN releases $265m to airlines to reduce crisis in aviation

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released the sum of $265 million to airlines operating in the country, to settle outstanding ticket sales.

This move is to help reduce the crisis in the aviation industry

A breakdown of the figure indicates that the sum of $230 million was released as special FX intervention while another sum of $35 million was released through Retail SMIS Secondary Market Intervention Sales) auction.

Confirming the release in a statement, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi said: “The Governor, Godwin Emefiele and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travelers as well as the country in the comity of nations.”

He reiterated that the CBN was “not against any company repatriating its funds from the country, adding that what the Bank stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so”.

The CBN noted that with the release, it is expected that operators and travellers as well will heave a huge sigh of relief as some airlines had threatened to withdraw their services in the face of unremitted funds for outstanding sale of tickets.

Recall that Emirate Airlines announced on August 18 that it “has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 01 September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market”.

AIB-N directs airlines to establish accident investigation units

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

 

The Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N), has directed all airlines, both commercial and non commercial operating in the country to establish an accident investigation unit in the offices

This is coming against the backdrop of the Havilland DHC -6-400 Twin Otter operated by Caverton Cameroon that crashed in May 2022.

It was learnt that the DHR-6-400 Twin Otter (registered TJ-TIM) was operating Yaoundé (Nsimalen) – Dompta – Yaoundé (Nsimalen) on May 11, 2022 when it crashed killing all the passengers and crew members. The aircraft was found crashed in a forest, not far from Nanga Eboko.

Both countries are exploring areas of cooperation and collaboration that can boost accident investigation and air safety in Africa.

However, the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N), Engr. Akin Olateru while receiving the investigation team from Cameroon probing the crash stated that, Nigeria was part of the investigation in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13 since there were Nigerians onboard the ill-fated aircraft.

He said: “Cameroon has not decided whether it would cede the investigation completely to Nigeria or not.

“Nigeria will be assisting Cameroon in the investigation with her Flight Safety Laboratory, which is one of the best in the world currently.

“The laboratory has an upgraded facility called Memory Access Retriever System (MARS), which will be deployed to retrieve information from the CVR, which was badly burnt and damaged.

“As you are aware, we have one of the best safety laboratories in the world. We have the capability, which the United States NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) has, which is getting information from burnt or damaged flight recorders. This aircraft crashed and a recorder badly burnt but we will be able to retrieve the information. This is one of the best equipment you can find in the world today.

“You will understand that this is not the first time Nigeria will be helping other nations. We helped Sao Tome and Principe during an investigation. We helped Gambia. We helped Niger republic. We are helping Sierra Leone”.

“We just got an approval from the Ministry of Justice to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sierra Leone to help them set up an accident investigation body. This is where we are today. “

He stated that the unit would help the airlines to understand and take advantage of the benefits of accident investigation to boost safety in their operations.

“Big carriers like American Airlines have such units, which has greatly benefited the carriers adding that it is the responsibility of everyone to have an understanding of accident investigation in Africa.

“When fully commissioned AIB-N training school will play significant role in training airlines’ personnel in accident investigation, which will help them in investigating occurrences with a view to enhancing safety in their operations.

“The AIB Training School, a world class training institution located in Abuja is near completion and is expected to commence operations before the end of the year. Singapore and other two countries have signified readiness to assist the AIB training school.”

Meanwhile, the Cameroonian delegation led by Mrs Leopoldine Essimi of Ministry of Transport included Col. Brice Okomou, Capt. Raymond Ekenglo and Mrs Mispa Samnick.

According to her, “We are in Nigeria to seek AIB-N expertise in the reading of the flight recorders, transcription of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), analysis of the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and FDR animation.”

NiMet DG, Prof. Mansur Matazu confers with RIMSON Fellow

By Favour Nnabugwu
Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Professor Mansur Matazu has been conferred with Fellow of Risk Managers Society of Nigeria, (RIMSON)
Matazu collaborations with various partners, government and non-governmental organizations has aided the weather forecast agency to co-produce and deliver user-defined, impact-based products and services which are accurate, reliable and timely.

The NiMet DG gave this revelation after being as well as the Distinguish Service Award by the Rotary Club of Abuja Metro (RCAM)

According to him, “Almost across all continents of the world, humanitarian crisis is on the increase, requiring cooperation and various levels of partnership to overcome”.

The decision by the Board of Trustees and the Executive Management of RIMSON to confer the Award of the Fellow of Risk Managers Society of Nigeria on Professor Matazu was done in recognition of his integrity, professionalism, commitment and contribution to Risk Management as well as the contribution of NiMet to preventing and mitigating disasters in Nigeria under his leadership.

Matazu observed that national development of any nation was in jeopardy in an atmosphere of chaos, diseases, disaster, epidemics, food insecurity, hazard and many more.

Matazu noted that Rotary Club as a non governmental organization and a non profit
humanitarian service provider was commendable especially with the many challenges being experienced in the world today

He noted that in the heart of solution was the Rotary international supporting global efforts at improving quality of lives and building international relationships.

According to Matazu the new president of the Rotary Club, Rotarian Ifeanyi Nnodu, was an effective pillar of progress in NiMet until his retirement as a worthy Director of Weather Forecasting Services.

The RCAM is the biggest Rotary Club in Africa with membership of over 200 from various professions.

NCAA suspends Dana Airlines flight operations, withdraws ATL

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced the suspension of Dana Airlines’ Air Transport Licence (ATL) and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) indefinitely, with effect from midnight of Wednesday, 20th July, 2022.

According to the authority, the suspension was made pursuant to Section 35(2), 3(b) and (4) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part 1.3.3.3(a)(1) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), 2015.

The suspension order, handed down by the Director General, Captain Musa Nuhu, has since been communicated to the management of Dana Airlines.

Nuhu notes that, “The decision is the outcome of a financial and economic health audit carried out on the Airline by the Authority, and the findings of an investigation conducted on the Airline’s flight operations recently, which revealed that Dana Airlines is no longer in a position to meet its financial obligations and to conduct safe flight operations.

“The NCAA acknowledges the negative effect this preemptive decision will have on the Airline’s passengers and the travelling public and seeks their understanding, as the safety of flight operations takes priority over all other considerations.”

It would be recalled that Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero contractors also suspended its passenger flight operations indefinitely from today.

Vanguard had reported that the company, stated that the suspension of its operations was due to the impact of the challenging operating environment on its daily operations.

In a reaction to the development, Aviation Analyst, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, stated that, “Aero Contractors is the oldest airline in Nigeria and also the most successful in the non-scheduled operation services before they ventured into schedule operations, and since then they have been struggling to break through the bridges of operations couple the buy over by the Ibru family and then professionalism began to erode the company, coupled with mismanagement.

“The company have maintained a perfect safety record, they went into aircraft and maintenance had a succession in viable maintenance organization, they have a standard and well-equipped training school.

“As a company, they felt like rather than lose it all, they had to suspend a section of the business. It is a perfect decision, they have been with AMCON for sometimes and they are yet to come out of that problem. If they suspend flight operations to concentrate on other aspects of their operations which includes non-schedule operations which are profitable, aircraft maintenance agency and the aircraft training school which is doing well, I must commend them for being bold on this.”

143 stranded Nigerians return from Libya

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

A total number of 143 returnees arrived Lagos airport today even as male and female adults among them have medical issues

The Returnees were arrived Nigeria through the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State with Al Buraq Air Boeing 737-800 registration number 5A – DMG at about 3.18pm.

On arrival at the airport, the Returnees were received by the Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA who represented the NEMA Director General, Alh Mustapha Habib.

Giving the profiling, NEMA said they consist of 96 male adults, eight boys and a male toddler while female adults were 36, a girl and female toddler.

He said a female and male adults among them were with serious medical issues.

The Coordinator did not disclose the nature of their sickness.