Archive | November 2009

Nigerian Eagle Airlines Signs Deal With Ethiopian Airlines

Nigerian Eagle Airlines has signed a network wide codeshare and interline agreement with Ethiopian Airlines. The airlines signed a technical service agreement (TSA) in August 2009.

Nigerian Eagle also has a codeshare and interline agreement with Kenya Airways.

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Enugu Airport Closure Update

Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu, will be closed in January 2010 for repairs. The runway will be extended to 3000m and broadened to 60m. The project should be completed in 12 months.

The Minister of Aviation, Babatunde Omotoba, denied that Enugu Airport was granted an international status. Only Abuja, Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt enjoy the international airport status in Nigeria.

Traffic will be diverted to Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri.

Arik Air Adds Regional Flights From Abuja and Lagos

In addition to the new Lagos-Cotonou-Dakar-Lagos route, Arik Air commenced four weekly Abuja-Accra-Dakar/Banjul services (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) this week. All flights are operated with B737-700s.

Schedules are:

  • Abuja-Accra 19:45-20:35 (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday)
  • Accra-Abuja 06:30-9:20 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday)
  • Accra-Banjul 21:20-00:10 (Sunday and Friday)
  • Banjul-Accra 02:45-05:35 (Monday and Saturday)
  • Accra-Dakar 21:20-00:20 (Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Dakar-Accra 02:15-05:35 (Wednesday and Friday)
  • Lagos-Cotonou 21:20-22:00 (Monday and Friday)
  • Lagos-Dakar 21:20-00:10 (Sunday and Wednesday)
  • Cotonou-Dakar 22:40-01:00 (Monday and Saturday)
  • Dakar-Cotonou 02:00-06:20 (Sunday and Tuesday)
  • Cotonou-Lagos 07:00-07:40 (Sunday and Tuesday)
  • Dakar-Lagos 01:00-05:50 (Monday and Thursday)

The flights to Dakar and Banjul are in addition of the four weekly Lagos-Freetown-Dakar-Banjul service.

The airline also aims at commencing flights to the new Akwa Ibom Airport, Uyo. Test flights are currently being conducted.

Nigerian Air Force Plans First Air Show

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) plans an air show in April 2010 to showcase its refurbished and newly acquired aircraft. Some of the aircraft expected to be shown are Chengdu F-7NI and FT-7NI combat and trainer aircraft, AW139 helicopters and ATR-42 maritime patrol aircraft.

The Nigerian Air Force announced it acquired five used AS-332 Super Puma helicopters to assist security forces in the oil-producing Niger Delta and on foreign peacekeeping missions.

The Federal Government of Nigeria also aims at acquiring four new VIP aircraft to replace some of its current eight aircraft strong fleet. It has been reported that a Gulfstream IV will be replaced by a Gulfstream G550. The presidential fleet further comprises a BBJ1, a GV, a HS125, a Cessna 550, a Dornier 228, and two Falcon 900s.

Bellview Sells Tickets Without Operating Flights

Bellview Airlines recently announced it would commence flights between Lagos and Jeddah on the 19th of November, 2009. It now appears the airline sold tickets without aircraft nor permission to operate the route. Flights to Jeddah are no longer listed as available in Bellview’s online booking system.

The restart of the Lagos-London route has been postponed till 11 December 2009.

Arik Air Aims To Join An Alliance

Arik Air’s new CEO Jason Holt said the airline aims at joining an airline alliance as soon as possible to be more competitive with other African airlines:

Managing Director of the airline, Mr. Jason Holt, who spoke at a briefing to herald Arik Air’s operations to New York from Lagos and London Heathrow from Abuja, said the airline had been able to match South African Airways through adequate funding and products.

Jason said Arik Air was desirous of undergoing the International Operational safety Audit (IOSA) as soon as possible to enable it get into one of the world’s airline alliances.

The main question is why Arik Air is now deploying a B738 on the Lagos-Johannesburg route against South African Airlines’ B744. Is the third A345 delayed of do they have problems funding the aircraft? Another possibility is that loads on the route were not sufficient to sustain an A345. But will Arik Air still be able offer a superior product?

With regard to the alliance, it’s most likely that Arik Air would join SkyTeam.

Lagos Aiport Meets ICAO Standards

According to Nigerian agencies, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMA), Lagos, has complied with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards on aviation security.

Meanwhile, ASECNA certified the navigational aids at eight Nigerian airports: Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Sokoto, Owerri, and Ilorin.

Nigeria recorded a considerable growth (17%) in passengers numbers in the first two quarters of 2009.

Air France to Port Harcourt via Lagos

Air France will reroute its service to Port Harcourt from 7 December 2009. The current non-stop service with an A319LR Dedicate will be replaced by a daily flight via Lagos with a B777-300ER.

Lufthansa also operates four weekly flights Port Harcourt via Abuja. Virgin Atlantic is yet to return to the airport after its closure in 2006-2008.

Article About Arik Air

A rather shallow article on Arik Air in World Airnews (October 2009 issue), but nevertheless worth reading:

IN JUST over three years Nigerian airline, Arik Air, has carried over three million passengers during its 120 daily flights within Nigeria, Africa and Europe utilising some of the airline industry’s most modern equipment. (…) Many will be watching closely the rise of what could be one of Africa’s shining success stories and join the likes of Kenya Airways. Or will it become a victim of its own rapid growth?

Read the full article here.

Arik Air Launches Direct Abuja-London Services

Arik Air announced the launch of non-stop flights between Abuja and London Heathrow beginning on Thursday, 26 November 2009. Flights will operate five times per week, on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Schedule:

  • ABV-LHR 10:35-16:05
  • LHR-ABV 21:50-5.20 (next day)

Arik Air will deploy its recently delivered B737-800 (5N-MJP) on the route, with 20 business class and 126 economy class seats offering personal audio and video entertainment.

Arik Air - B738 - 5N-MJP - Sultan of Sokoto (Copyright Shanairpic)

Arik Air Deploys A B738 On The Lagos-Johannesburg Route

Arik Air‘s third A345-500 (CS-TQL; F-WWTH) will not be delivered before the end of the year. Therefore, the airline will deploy a B738 on the Lagos-Johannesburg route to free an A345 for the new Lagos-New York route.

The fares to Johannesburg have been lowered to a price of N65.000, but it will be difficult for Arik Air to compete with South African Airlines, which operates a B744 to Lagos. South African Airlines lost most of its business class travellers to Arik Air in the recent months, but may regain some customers in the coming period.

Air Ivoire To Lagos From December 2009

Air Ivoire will commence three weekly flights between Abidjan and Lagos in December 2009. Outbound flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays will be operated with a B737-500 and continue to Douala with a next day return flight DLA-LOS-ABJ.

Update: the service is postponed till January 6, 2010.

Nigerian Eagle Airlines is the only Nigerian carrier operating two weekly flights to Abidjan via Cotonou, as well as five weekly flights to Douala.

Bellview’s New B763 Painted

Bellview Airlines’ new B767-300 (5N-BVA; ex-N183AQ) is painted at Shannon. It wears a revised livery and is named ‘Faith’. It seems the airline will indeed resume flights between Lagos and London Heathrow on 1 December 2009.

Meanwhile, one of Bellview’s old B762s (N805MT; ex-5N-BGG) is ferried to Victorville for storage.