A man crashed his car through two security gates and into a parked Arik Air B737-700 (5N-MJJ) at Calabar airport on Wednesday afternoon at 2:45pm. No one was hurt in the incident, but the aircraft was seriously damaged. The driver of the car is arrested. The man, who carried a huge bible and a cross and who claimed that he is Jesus Christ (click to see a picture from another angle), declared that he had made the desperate move to save the aircraft from an impending crash. According to a news report:
The man, whose identity could not be ascertained, boasted in an Akwa Ibom dialect that, “I am launching a war against the ungodly persons in Nigeria, and the war has just started. Until Nigerians give their lives to God the war will not stop. “I am not afraid of anything. Jesus was not afraid. Where is (President Umaru) Yar’Adua? Where is (Cross River State Governor Liyel) Imoke? There he is with his black cap,” shouted the suspect, who appeared to be mentally unstable.
Engineers of Arik Air arrived at the airport for an on-the-spot assessment yesterday. They jacked up the plane in order to remove the car. Passengers were flown to Abuja with another aircraft. The two gates of the Air Force station have partially collapsed.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) ordered the suspension of the construction work at the new Jalingo Airport. An inspection team reportedly discovered major ‘construction defects’. After consultation with FAAN experts, the state government will engage other consultants to work with the contractor to complete the airport.
Overland Airways made some changes to its flight schedule:
- The Jos-Kano service has been dropped; Abuja-Jos-Abuja reduced to two weekly flights;
- Frequencies from Abuja to Katsina and Minna and from Lagos to Minna reduced from five to three weekly flights;
- New hub at Ilorin with five weekly flights to Abuja, Ibadan, Lagos and Minna.
This small airline seems to be stable and doing well compared to other Nigerian carriers.
Even before Bellview Airlines could operate its newly acquired B767-300ER (5N-BVA), the aircraft has been repossessed by the lessor (Automatic Leasing) and ferried to Miami. The aircraft was painted at Shannon last year but stored since. It’s now even more unlikely that Bellview Airlines will resume flights in May, as is stated on the airline’s website.
Many flights were cancelled in the past few days because of bad weather conditions. Flight operations were halted for hours because of the low visibility caused by the Harmattan, a dry and dusty West African trade wind that brings a heavy amount of dust in the air.
A Nigerian Aeritalia G.222 (NAF 950) skidded off the runway at Port Harcourt Airport on Friday, 12 March 2010, during a mock rescue excercise. There were 52 passengers onboard the aircraft. Ten of them were injured and the aircraft was badly damaged.
Here is some more information about the Nigerian G.222s.
The Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Babatunde Omotoba, reportedly decided to build a new airport in his hometown Iyin-Ekiti rather than at the earlier proposed site at Ado-Ekiti, the nearby capital of Ekiti State.
The Nigerian airlines are all heavily indebted and have severe financial problems. Read an update on the situation here.
Three short news bits:
- The claimed deal between Nigerian Eagle Airlines (formerly Virgin Nigeria) and Jimoh Ibrahim didn’t work out.
- Air MidWest uploaded its flight schedule (serving Abuja, Lagos and Owerri). It is not clear when the first flight of this new airline will take place.
- The restart of Bellview Airlines has been postponed again till 1 May 2010.
Arik Air decided to relocate Mr. Jason Holt and his team back to Arik International, UK, from April 19th 2010. Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue will oversee the airline’s day-to-day operations under the aegis of Group CEO, Dr Michael Arumemi-Ikhide untill a new Managing Director is appointed. Arik Air labels the news as ‘the restructuring of its management team to improve efficiencies and for better service delivery as the airline strives to consolidate its position as Africa’s fastest growing carrier.’
The former MD of Arik Air, Michael McTighe, left the airline in September 2009, after allegations that a girl was stabbed in his apartment.
Earlier this week, Arik Air announced it will reduce its Lagos-Freetown-Dakar-Banjul service from four to three weekly flights.
The new Asaba Airport will open its doors for commercial operations in May 2010, according to the deputy governor of Delta State.
The construction of a second runway at Abuja Airport has been halted by the House of Representatives, after complaints about the way the contract was awarded to Julius Berger and the contract cost of N63 billion.
The Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) requested the Federal Government to construct a second runway at Enugu Airport rather than to close the whole airport for a year in order to renovate the old runway.
Nigerian Eagle (formerly Virgin Nigeria) dropped two domestic destinations from its schedule. Kano and Owerri are no longer served by the airline, reducing the number of domestic destinations to four.
Nigerian Eagle Airlines also made changes to its regional flight schedule, but maintained its eight destinations for now.
Nigerian Eagle Airlines also swapped its order for seven EMB-170s for seven EMB-190s recently. It’s uncertain if the airline will ever take delivery of the aircraft.
IRS Airlines took delivery of a third F100. The aircraft is registered 5N-SMR (ex-PH-MJN).