The Nigerian Airspace Management Authorithy (NAMA) completed the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project. The project, which was conceived seven years ago, has nine locations with major stations in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. It will be co-fixed with primary and secondary surveillance systems that will have ranges of 65 and 256 nautical miles, respectively. The radar project will have five relay stations located at Ilorin, Maiduguri, Obubra, Numan and Talata-Mafara. It will include a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) network to connect the various radar sites and allow the two area control centres in Lagos and Kano to receive radar inputs from the secondary radar site.
Air Nigeria will commence daily flights from Lagos to Benin City on the 1st of July 2010. Schedule:
- LOS-BNI VK103 14:40-15:50 (Weekdays)
- LOS-BNI VK101 08:00-09:10 (Saturdays)
- LOS-BNI VK103 15:20-16:30 (Sundays)
- BNI-LOS VK103 16:25-17:40 (Weekdays)
- BNI-LOS VK101 09:45-11:00 (Saturdays)
- BNI-LOS VK103 17:05-18:20 (Sundays)
The new web address of Air Nigeria will be http://www.myairnigeria.com.
The Ghanaian government announced it will review a proposal submitted by the management of Arik Air, soliciting assistance to revive Ghana Airways. Under the proposal, Arik Air, based in Nigeria, will partner Royal Ghanaian Airlines, a fast-growing local airline, to use Ghana as a hub for its flight operations. With the aim of becoming a pan-African airline, Arik Air proposes to use Ghana ’s national colours on its aircraft to promote the country to the outside world. The Arik Air chairman said the group plans to establish an Aviation school in Ghana to train pilots and other airline staff for the aviation industry in Africa.
Ghana International Airways ceased operations in May 2010.
Chanchangi Airlines temporarily suspended its operations following a bird strike suffered by one of its B732s (5N-BIF). The airline has only one operational aircraft left, meaning that they are not allowed to operate commercial flights by the NCAA. Chanchangi intends to resume flights as soon as other aircraft return from maintenance.
- IRS Airlines has a booking website again.
- Arik Air postponed the introduction of the A332 due to regulatory issues.
- Air Nigeria’s first newly branded aircraft (5N-VND) returned to Lagos last week. Jimoh Ibrahim declared that in a few weeks, the airline would have liquidated all its debts. Air Nigeria also announced it will add five aircraft to its fleet before October.
- The Bangladesh Ministry of Aviation blocked the extension of the lease of a Kabo Air B747-200 by Biman.
- A Max Air B747-300 carrying Ghanaian football fans was grounded at Johannesburg after it entered South African airspace without approval.
Continental Airlines announced plans to launch daily nonstop flights between Houston and Lagos with a B787. The route is scheduled to begin in November 2011, pending government approval. In the winter, a 3:45 p.m. flight from Houston will arrive at 9:40 a.m. the next day, and an 11:10 a.m. flight from Lagos will arrive at 4:40 p.m. the same day. In the summer, flights would depart five minutes later from Houston and 25 minutes earlier from Lagos.
The International Aviation College, Ilorin, Kwara State, will open its doors in October 2010. For a start 20 students will be admitted – application process to start in the near future – and within the next three years the number should rise to a 100 students. Ten instructors are currently under training in South Africa and the school acquired four Diamond training aircraft.
Arik Air finally accepted its A330-200 (5N-EIA); it was ferried from Chateauroux to London today and may enter service next week. The airline has a second A330 on order. Arik Air’s third Dash 8-Q400 (C-FXAW / 5N-BKW) was also pictured recently, this aircraft is awaiting delivery at Toronto since last year.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) grounded the flights of Arik Air and IRS Airlines yesterday morning, following their outstanding debts to the aviation agencies. The action was also intended as a signal to other airlines that are not paying the ticket sales tax. Flights resumed in the afternoon after intervention of the Minister of Aviation, and the issue will be further discussed today in Abuja.
- The CEO of Air Nigeria, Kinfe Kahssaye, announced that the carrier is in the process of leasing another three or four 737s – all older variants – which will bring its fleet to around 11 aircraft in three months’ time. Air Nigeria also intends to modernise by leasing ‘a number’ of modern-variant Boeing 737s ‘in the near future’. He says the airline plans to introduce them in the first half of 2011.
- The ERJ-145LR (5N-BJM) owned by the Bauchi State Government is now leased to Kabo Air and recently received the airline’s livery.
- Arik Air delayed the introduction of the A332 (5N-EIA) again; the aircraft is still at Châteauroux. The airline will now switch an A345 from the Lagos-London route to the Lagos-Johannesburg route to cope with the World Cup traffic. Flights to London will be operated with a B738.
- Media reports that CHC Helicopter and Aero Contractors had severed their business relationship are incorrect. Although Aero is facing challenging times, CHC Helicopter continues to support its business partner and to provide flying services for oil and gas industry.
Reportedly, CHC Helicopter decided to end its partnership with Aero Contractors Nigeria (ACN). CHC ceased its services as Aero was no longer able to pay them since last month, but the relations between both companies had already dampened over the past two years. CHC Helicopter entered Nigeria in 2004 when it purchased Schreiner Airways and inherited a 40% share in Aero Contractors.
Update: the above news report is incorrect, as CHC Helicopter will continue to support its business partner, Aero Contractors.
Following the acquisition of a majority stake in Nigerian Eagle Airlines (formerly Virgin Nigeria Airways), the new owner, Jimoh Ibrahim, renamed the airline ‘Air Nigeria‘. This is the second rebranding of the airline within a year’s time. The colours and tail logo remain the same as the Nigerian Eagle brand. Air Nigeria’s first B737-300 (5N-VND) was pictured with the new titles at Shannon.
A few updates:
- Arik Air silently accepted a new A330-200 (5N-EIA) this week, but the introduction of the aircraft on the LOS-JNB route is delayed till June 7.
- Virgin Nigeria/Nigerian Eagle Airlines will increase its daily number of flights between Lagos to Abuja from four to seven, effective June 14. One of its three B733s (5N-VND) was ferried to Shannon, perhaps for a new coat of paint.
- Shell Nigeria signed a $630 million aviation logistics deal with Caverton Helicopters, partly because of the new Nigerian Content Development Act. Caverton and its technical partner DanCopter from Denmark will replace Bristow Helicopters.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria extended a N500 billion fund meant to stimulate credit to the power and manufacturing sectors to support the aviation industry. Airlines can now partake from the fund and those that are indebted to banks can refinance their loans and amortise them over a period of ten to fifteen years.
- Delta Air Lines will commence its seasonal direct Abuja – New York JFK service on the 3rd of June, substituting the flights via Dakar. The three weekly flights will be operated with a B763. This means direct competition for Arik Air’s three weekly Lagos – New York JFK service.
- Delta Air Lines and Virgin Nigeria are still working on a codeshare agreement.
- The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is set to award a contract for the expansion of both the arrival and departure halls of Benin Airport.
- The opening of the new Asaba Airport is delayed till December 2010.