Archive | December 2009

Full-Body Scanners To Be Installed At Nigerian Airports

Nigerian airports will buy full-body scanners to boost security. The FAAN took delivery of 14 walk-through metal detectors to improve security and 8 more are expected in January 2010. Passengers will be stopped from boarding flights if they refuse the 3-D scans, according to the NCAA. The scanners will be installed at Nigeria’s four international airports (Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt) next year.

From The Olden Days: Zenith Air, Triax Airlines and Sosoliso Airlines

Nigerian airlines mostly have their maintenance base in Abuja, Kano or Lagos, the major airports in the country. Exceptions in the past were Okada Air that was based in Benin City and Oriental Airlines in Owerri. City Link Airlines (1993-1996) was the only airline to operate from Port Harcourt with an EMB-110 Bandeirante. Kaduna is still the home base of Chanchangi Airlines, although the airline plans to build a new hangar at Abuja.

Some of the airlines that were established in the early nineties, after the airline deregulation in Nigeria, Zenith Air (1992), Triax Airlines (1992), and Sosoliso Airlines (1994) had Enugu Airport as home base. Zenith Air was a short-lived carrier and operated two DC-9s. The former director of Zenith Air is now the CEO of the announced low-cost carrier Red 1 Xpress. Triax Airlines operated three B727s until the late nineties, while Sosoliso Airlines commenced scheduled operations in 2000 with a B727 wet-leased from JAT Airways. The airline subsequently flew with two DC-9s and two MD-80s. The last airline was grounded in December 2005, after a crash landing at Port Harcourt in which 110 passengers and crew were killed.

Nigerian Tries To Blow Up Aircraft

A Nigerian man believed to be linked to al Qaeda militants is in custody after he tried to ignite an explosive device on a U.S. passenger plane as it approached Detroit on 25 December 2009. The man originated from Lagos and changed planes in Amsterdam.

A local website identifies the man as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab.

Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the country’s security agencies to investigate the apparent attempted attack on a U.S. passenger plane.

Arik Air To Get A330s

Arik Air will soon operate A330-200s on the Lagos-Johannesburg route, according to Rodger Whittle, the airline’s country manager for South Africa. However, the new aircraft are delayed and Arik Air currently deploys a B738 on the route as interim solution.

Earlier this year, Arik Air was in discussion with Kingfisher Airlines to wet-lease two A330s. It seems an agreement has been reached.

Update: The A330s should be delivered in January 2010. Arik may also wet-lease B777s from Jet Airways next year and start flights to Houston, Paris and Beijing. All to be confirmed.

Picture Of Axiom Air B733F

Here is a picture of Axiom Air’s sole B737-300 freighter (5N-BMA). The aircraft was acquired earlier this year, but has yet to enter service. Axiom Air is a new Nigerian company to provide executive charter services, cargo operations, helicopter services and aircraft management solutions.

Bellview Airlines Postpones London Flights Again…

Bellview Airlines will not resume its flights from Lagos to London before 28 January, 2010. The airline is still waiting for its new aircraft to be delivered. The airline also failed to meet its obligations to customers travelling from Jeddah to Lagos. Bellview still sells tickets for flights to domestic and regional destinations.

Nigerian Eagle Still Seeking Funds

Nigerian Eagle Airlines (formerly Virgin Nigeria Airways) is planning to raise at least $185 million over the next six months. A private placement memorandum has been issued through Nigerian bank UBA Capital. Consultancy Ernst & Young has meanwhile been brought in to seek out potential equity partners. A potential private buyer would want a controlling stake of 51% or more, comprising Virgin Atlantic’s 49% and some of the shares held by Nigerian institutional investors.

Around $50 million would be used to pay back part of a $100 million convertible bond held by UBA. The remainder would be used for capital projects. The airline is looking to convert the order to a lease arrangement, and if unsuccessful may tap rock-bottom prices to grow its Boeing 737-300 fleet.

Full article here.

Asky Airlines (Lomé) To Fly To Lagos

Asky Airlines, a new West African regional airline supported by Ethiopian Airlines, will start services on 15 January, 2009. It will operate three weekly flights from its hub Lomé to Kinshasa via Lagos with a B737-700.

Schedules are:

  • ET023 LFW 13:00 – 14:45 LOS 15:30 – 18:15 FIH (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays)
  • ET022 FIH 08:15 – 11:00 LOS 11:45 – 1:130 LFW (on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays)

Asky will be the only airline to connect Lagos with Kinshasa and Lomé by air.

Nigerian Eagle Airlines Is IOSA Re-Certified

Nigerian Eagle Airlines passed the IOSA-audit again, as its first certification expired in November, 2009. Bellview Airlines’ registration will expire on Monday, December 21, 2009, leaving Nigerian Eagle Airlines the only IOSA certified airline in West and Central Africa. Arik Air and Chanchangi Airlines are currently undergoing an IOSA-audit.

The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program is an internationally recognized and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.

From The Olden Days: Okada Air

There is a picture of a Shorts SH-330 (5N-AOX) in the Okada Air colours, with additional ‘Niger Express’ titles. I cannot recall any sighting of this aircraft in Nigeria – just as of this DC-10 (5N-OGI) in Okada Air colours.

Okada Air - Shorts SH-330 - 5N-AOX (Copyright Michael coulson)

Okada Air was the biggest privately owned airline in Nigeria so far. It popularised air travel in the late eighties and early nineties of the 20th century, operating a huge fleet of BAC 1-11s and B727s. Most of the aircraft are still stored at Benin Airport today. Its owner wrote a short history about the airline.

Second Runway For Abuja Airport

The Federal Government approved a contract for the design and construction of the second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The project was awarded to Julius Berger for the sum of N63.5bn and should be completed in 24 months.

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja - click to enlarge (Copyright WhiskeyDelta)

A Step Closer to Arik Air’s First B787-9

After the successful first flight of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, it will still take at least six years before Arik Air receives its first B787-900. A long way to go, but nonetheless a moment worth commemorating.

Arik Air – Boeing 787-900

Arik Air has 7 B787-900s on order as well as 5 B777-300ERs (first delivery in 2011).

Unfortunately, the third A345 (F-WWTH; CS-TQL), acquired by the airline from Kingfisher Airlines, has been put in long term storage at LDE this week.

Bristow Super Puma Ditches Into The Ocean

An AS-332L Super Puma (5N-BKJ) belonging to Bristow Nigeria has ditched into the sea off the coast of Nigeria on Friday, 11 December 2009. It was only a few hundred meters from its destination, a seismic research vessel. No one was hurt and the helicopter has been recovered. For some pictures click here.

Arik Air Puts Dash 8-Q400s Into Service

Arik Air has announced the entry into commercial service of its two new Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft (5N-BKU and 5N-BKV), delivered to the airline in October. The two Q400s are the first of four ordered by the airline. A third one (5N-BKW) is awaiting delivery at Toronto.

Arik Air - Dash 8-Q400 - 5N-BKU (Copyright Hans-Werner Klein)

Arik Air’s fourth B738 (5N-MJQ; City of Calabar) performed test flights this week at Seattle. It may be delivered to Nigeria soon.

Will Arik Air commence flights to Lomé soon? If so, they would be to quick for ASKY Airlines, a new airline supported by Ethiopian Airlines, that announced starting flights in January 2010 with two B737-700s.