FirstNation Airways will resume commercial operations in 2013 with two Airbus A319s (5N-FND and 5N-FNE). The two, sixteen year-old, aircraft were painted at Dublin, and will presumably be ferried to Nigeria early next year. The paint scheme is slightly different from the one worn by the three A320s that were returned to the lessor earlier this year.
The airline also signed a contract with FLYHT Aerospace Solutions to install an Automated Information Reporting System, AFIRS 220, on its aircraft.
A few updates:
- Dana Air has sent its employees on compulsory leave, since the airline’s intentions to resume services have met with political resistance.
- Med-View Airlines currently wet-leases a B737-800 (CS-TQU) from EuroAtlantic Airways.
- A second A319 (5N-FNE; ex-EI-DVU) has been painted in FirstNation Airways’ colours. The airline aims to resume commercial operations next year.
- Overland Airways has resumed its daily Abuja-Asaba service.
- Four suspects were arrested near Enugu Airport, with two boxes of fireworks in their car.
- The Aviation Investigation Bureau will soon get its own accident investigation laboratory in Abuja at a cost of US$5.5 million.
- Aero has been awarded a Best Domestic Airline of the year 2012 prize.
- The FG is planning to impose stricter rules on the operation of private, corporate and charter aircraft in Nigeria.
- Niger State has allocated N80 million for the training of ten pilots by NCAT at Zaria and Minna.
- FirstNation Airways intends to lease an A319 (5N-FND; ex-EI-DVD) from ILFC. The aircraft is being prepared for painting at Dublin.
- Allied Air Cargo, reportedly, has acquired a B734F (5N-OTT; ex-N737WF).
- NAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules (NAF 917) has been repaired and is back in service. The aircraft’s wing was hit by an Arik Air B737 on 14 July at Jos Airport.
- United Airlines has postponed the start of its five weekly B787 service to Lagos till the end of January 2013. The flights from Houston to Lagos are currently operated with a B777.
- The Federal Government has designated Kano Airport as cargo airport.
- The authorities also announced that mobile airfield lighting will soon be installed at Lagos Airport runway 18L, serving the domestic terminals.
- The House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for the dismissal of the NCAA’s DG, Harold Demuren, as well as the withdrawal of Dana Air’s AOC.
- The Federal Ministry of Aviation admits that the Nigeria’s radar and airport security systems are not functioning properly, contrary to claims made by NAMA.
- There was a minor fire incident at a construction site beside the D-wing extension of the international terminal at Lagos Airport, on 20 December 2012. On Wednesday, part of the roof of a building – most likely the E-wing of the international terminal – was blown off by a Avient Aviation MD11F taking off.
- About 300 christian pilgrims are stranded at Tel Aviv airport, as KS Travels/Empire Aviation Services failed to arrange a charter flight back to Nigeria.
- To emergency landings this week: an Overland Airways ATR42 from Ilorin to Lagos developed issues with its landing gear last Sunday, while an Aero B737 on its way from Lagos to Enugu experienced an engine failure on Tuesday.
- The governor of the Central Bank, L. Sanusi, has advised the Federal Government against the idea of floating a government-owned national airline
- It appears that the recent proliferation of charter airlines in Nigeria also resulted in many ‘paper’ airlines: Fly Jets, Ferry Aviation, and Ed Air.
- FirstNation Airways plans to restart operations in 2013 with ‘younger’ aircraft.
- DHL Express will base a B737-400 freighter aircraft at Lagos for domestic cargo operations.
- The remodelling of Port Harcourt Airport will be ready in two months according to FAAN.
- The World Bank handed over the newly completed perimeter fence at Abuja Airport to FAAN.
- The Nigerian Air Force ordered nine Russian helicopters for surveillance purposes. It was also announced that the NAF aims to refurbish three Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
- Bridgewater Academy is now a IATA recognised training centre.
FirstNation Airways lost its fleet of three A320s to the lessor, Aviation Capital Group. The aircraft (5N-FNA, -FNB and -FNC) are likely repossessed; they were re-registered to the US FAA register as N409AG, N466AG and N997AG earlier this month. FirstNation Airways suspended its flight operations in June 2012, and ferried at least two A320s to Istanbul for maintenance.
A quiet week:
- The Abuja Gateway Consortium filed a suit against the Federal Government. The consortium won a bid in 2006 to develop Abuja Airport, but the contract was annulled and is now awarded to Chinese investors.
- Kebbi State has approved a sum of N13.6 billion to upgrade the state-owned airstrip at Ambursa to the status of international airport. The expansion of the runway and construction of a new terminal will be done by CGC and should be ready in March 2013.
- A Qatar Airways A330 coming from Doha made an emergency landing at Lagos Airport on 29 September, after discovering a minor landing gear problem.
- Hawker Beechcraft sold 26 aircraft in Nigeria between 2007 and 2011 (11 percent of their African market).
- The Nigerian Navy acquired a Bell 206 Jet Ranger (NN 10) for training purposes.
- CHC is planning to re-enter the Nigerian market. It will operate AW139/S76 helicopters in partnership with Jagal.
- SkyBird Air is not only operating three Do328Jets but also a Gulfstream GIV (probably 5N-BOD; ex-5N-FGP).
- Dana Air has begun test flights ahead of their resumption of commercial services. It seems the airline will retain its corporate identity.
- FirstNation Airways appears to have resumed flights between Lagos and Abuja with one A320, although flights cannot be booked through their website. Associated Aviation also continues to operate scheduled flights to Akure and Benin. This article analysing the decrease of capacity and increase of air fares over the past months, however, claims that both airlines are currently not operating any flights.
- The Federal Government has replaced the top management of various aviation agencies.
- Overall, the volume of air cargo traffic in Nigeria grew in 2011, but designated cargo airports such as Ilorin and Owerri didn’t record a single cargo flight last year.
- A new issue of Arik Wings is available online.
Air Nigeria’s flight operations are suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the second time in two weeks time. Last week the airline was grounded for safety inspections after a strike action. Today, the NCAA decided to ground the airline with immediate effect over indications that the airline is in financial distress. Air Nigeria’s Managing Director was arrested last Monday by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over the airline’s failure to pay taxes amounting to N4.86 billion over five years and for forging a Tax Clearance Certificate. Air Nigeria’s chairman, Jimoh Ibrahim, is also accused of misusing money from the Aviation Intervention Fund to support his other businesses.
Air Nigeria operates eleven aircraft and operates mainly domestic and regional flights from Lagos. It’s the third airline to shut down this month: Dana Air was grounded after a crash of one of its aircraft and FirstNation Airways had to stop all its operations as its whole fleet requires mandatory maintenance checks.
FirstNation Airways temporarily suspended all its operations, as its fleet of three A320s is ferried to Istanbul for maintenance. The airline plans to resume services from Lagos to Abuja and Port Harcourt in early July. FirstNation Airways denies it has been grounded by the NCAA.
- Aero has doubled its daily flights from Lagos to Calabar, Kano and Uyo (schedules).
- Aero’s fourth B737-400 (5N-BOB) was ferried to Lasham for painting.
- Arik Air will end its lease and lease back construction with HiFly soon. The two A345s will be transferred to the Nigerian registry and operated on Arik’s own AOC. CS-TFX will become 5N-JIA and CS-TFW will be re-registered 5N-JIB.
- Intrepid Aviation has denied that it will be leasing (up to) four A330s to Arik Air.
- Arik Air’s B738 (5N-MJP) returned into service after maintenance work at Smith Reynolds Airport.
- EgyptAir is reported to have agreed a one-year wet-lease of two of its A330-200 aircraft to Air Nigeria from May and June 2012.
- FirstNation Airways has temporarily suspended its daily Lagos-Port Harcourt flight due to the lack of operational aircraft.
- Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates have signed an air services Memorandum of Understanding, which allows an increase in all-cargo frequency entitlements for the designated carriers of the two countries.
- A new start-up, Gambia Birds, is planning to commence flights between Banjul and Lagos.
- Arik Air will suspend its Abuja-London service again per 25 March. Apparently the slot issue at London Heathrow has not been resolved.
- Arik Air has ferried one of its CRJ900 aircraft (5N-JEC) to Arkansas for maintenance recently.
- SkyBird Air will soon take delivery of its first Dornier 328Jet (5N-BMH).
- DANA will also accept a new Dornier 328 aircraft (5N-DOW / ex-D-CASI) soon, after selling some of its aircraft last year.
- Air Taraba’s EMB145 has received its livery (without titles yet) at Bournemouth; the aircraft will be registered 5N-BOZ.
- A police helicopter (a Bell 427 that joined the fleet last year; 5N-POL) crashed near Jos on 14 March. The Airwing of the Nigerian Police also acquired a Cessna Citation XLS (5N-HAR) new last year.
- Shell has given Caverton Helicopters a loan of $85 million to upgrade its fleet with six AW139s. Caverton will from next month expand its operations to Cameroon, signing a five-year contract with the Cameroon Oil Transportation Company.
- Air France will resume flights from Lagos to Abuja from June 2012. It will be the airline’s third destination in Nigeria.
- Enugu Airport will be closed for traffic for three weeks from 18 March (now postponed to April), to enable the installation of runway lighting.
- Bauchi Airport has re-opened after a year of renovation works.
- Kano State Government has appealed to KLM to shelve plans to suspend operations at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport.
- FirstNation Airways have commenced a daily Abuja-Port Harcourt service from 14 March.
- Allied Air Cargo continues to lease two MD11Fs from World Airways along its own four B727Fs.
- Associated Aviation still operates an ERJ-145 (5N-BJM) leased from the Bauchi State government.
- MaxAir has acquired a Embraer Legacy 600 (M-ANGA) for its charter operations. The airline also operates a Learjet 45 (5N-LDM).
This is the last update to be posted on this blog.
- Arik Air lost the impounded A330-200 (5N-EIA) for good. The owner, Amentum Capital, is offering the aircraft for lease again.
- Arik Air formally withdrew the B737-300s (5N-MJA/MJB) from its fleet. One of the B737-700s (5N-MJF) is also taped up and stored at Norwich. A Dash 8-Q400 is currently at Maastricht for maintenance.
- This is the design for the proposed Arik Air Aviation Centre, Lagos. It is unlikely that the terminal/hangar will be built soon, as Arik Air is in financial dire straits and because of the ongoing struggle over the ownership of the GA Terminal at Lagos Airport. Click here for more information and images on the Neumann website.
- Arik Air got approval from the US authorities to start services to Houston. The airline announced an non-stop Houston-Lagos route on its Facebook page. The new routing of its US flight will probably become LOS-JFK-IAH-LOS.
- Air Nigeria will lease a seventeen year old B737-400 from ILFC. The aircraft (5N-VNM), still stored at Istanbul, has slightly smaller titles than the other Air Nigeria aircraft. One of Air Nigeria’s B733s (5N-VNC) has been stored at Shannon for months.
- FirstNation Airways took delivery of three A320s (5N-FNA/5N-FNB/5N-FNC), which are now stored at Lagos Airport. The successor of Bellview Airlines aims to start scheduled services this month between Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. However, the airline might be forced to delay the start of its operations, because it still has to obtain an AOC and its aircraft may be grounded for outstanding debts from Bellview Airlines era.
- This is the first picture of the G550 (5N-FGW) that will soon join the Presidential Air Fleet of the NAF. A second Dassault Falcon 7X (5N-FGV) will follow later this year.
- One of DANA’s Do328s (5N-IEP) was spotted in Bournemouth with an all-white livery.
- This is an election promise made by the governor of Imo State: a new Owerri Airport. The State Government financed the failed Air Midwest project in the past.
- Hangar8, a UK charter company, opened a fixed-base operation (FBO) in Lagos and Abuja.
- The NCAA has inspected all classic B737s in Nigeria. Initially, the B737-300 freighter (5N-BMA) of Axiom Air, operated on Skypower Express’ AOC, was grounded.
- An untitled Nigerian registered B727 freighter (5N-BNQ) was spotted in Poland, probably to pick up election material. The aircraft, registered 5N-BNQ, is owned by Millennium Travel & Tours Ltd, but was operated under Associated Aviation flight code.
- A Hawker 800XP was registered 5N-BNM in Lanseria and is operated by SkyJet Aviation (Barbedos Group).
- Chanchangi Airlines announced that its B737-300s (5N-BMB/BMC) are undergoing heavy maintenance in Belgrade and Johannesburg and may return into service soon. The airline now operates two B733s wet-leased from Jordan Aviation.
- The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority officially commissioned the new Flight Tracking Operations Command Centre in Lagos last month.
- The Federal Government plans to build a new domestic terminal at Abuja.
- IRS Airlines hopes to add more F100s to its fleet this year.
- SkyBird Air took delivery of its first Dornier 328DBJ in February 2011.
- One of the NAF G222s carrying election material made a hard landing at Abuja Airport on Friday, 8 April 2011. Meanwhile, a Mi35 helicopter also deployed for the election made an emergency landing in Bayelsa State.
- The Nigerian Air Force inaugurated two Augusta A109 helicopters at the 305 Flying Training School in Enugu. The helicopters are meant for the training of military and civilian pilots.
- The Nigerian Air Force announced it will organise an Air Expo in 2012.
The successor of Bellview Airlines, an airline called FirstNation Airways, will soon commence operations in Nigeria with A320 and B767 equipment. Here is a picture of the first A320 (N409AG):
FirstNation is to lease three former Gulf Air A320s (5N-FNA, serial 409; 5N-FNB, serial 466; and 5N-FNC, serial 497) from Aviation Capital Group. For more information: www.flyfirstnation.com
A few short updates:
- Overland Airways accepted a third ATR 42-300 (5N-BND) this week.
- NAHCON contracted Alwafeer Air to carry Hajj pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia (presumably for Meridian Airlines).
- An Aero B735 suffered an incident at Lagos Airport on 24 October 2010, as mist developed in the cabin prior landing.
- Air Nigeria published its new schedules, including the new service to Kano that starts next week. The airline is desperately in need of a new website though.
- Click here to see the future website of FirstNation Airways featuring its logo. The airline is recruiting flight crew and mechanics for A320 and B763ER aircraft.
Recently, there have been indications that the management of defunct Bellview Airlines is trying to breathe new life into the airline. The airline would be renamed ‘First Nation Airways’ and operate a fleet of A320 aircraft. Airbus has added a new African operator called ‘First Nation Airways’ to its orders and deliveries spreadsheet in August with a fleet consisting of three A320s. If First Nation Airways regains Bellview Airlines’ AOC, it might be possible to actually see Airbus aircraft in Nigeria in the near future.