The inaugural training flight at the International Aviation College, Ilorin, took off last Monday. The second licensed aviation college in Nigeria opened its doors in October 2011. The first twelve students commenced flight training this week, but about 50 students will be admitted into the college later this year.
The Federal Government has decided to construct a second runway at Abuja Airport. The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, declared that the expansion of Abuja Airport is part of the ongoing renovation of airports across Nigeria. In 2010, a contract for the construction of a new runway awarded to Julius Berger for $423 million was revoked because of the high cost. Oduah listed her achievements and plans at a meeting marking the first anniversary of President Jonathan’s administration. The Aviation Minister is also criticised for the way her transformation agenda is being financed.
Renovation work at Enugu Airport is far from complete (this is how it looks from the outside), despite the airport being open again. Images of construction work at Port Harcourt Airport and Calabar Airport.
The Federal Government and Chinese investors have reached an agreement for the latter to build state-of-the-art terminals at four major airports in Nigeria, including Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
Air Nigeria, apparently, started with a daily service to London Gatwick and postponed the start of its Lagos-Johannesburg flights till 17 June 2012. Initially, the airline announced a three weekly service to both destinations, and the changes to these plans were not communicated by the airline to the public.
Air Nigeria completed its first revenue flight to London with a leased A332 yesterday. Air Nigeria thus offers 268 seats per day against Arik Air’s 237 seats. Daily schedule:
- VK293: LOS-LGW 23:50 → 06:50
- VK292: LGW-LOS 10:50 → 17:50
The second wet-leased A330-200 will arrive in mid-June, and apart from Johannesburg, the airline eyes Dubai, Paris and Rome as international destinations. The chairman of Air Nigeria disclosed that the company plans to go public in 2014 and to become listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Overland Airways announced it will commence an Abuja-Bauchi-Abuja service on weekdays per 23 May 2012. Bauchi Airport was recently re-opened after renovation works. Overland mainly flies from Abuja and Lagos to minor domestic airports, such as Ilorin, Ibadan and Asaba.
Schedule (flights on weekdays only):
- OJ1193 ABV-BCU 10:00-11:00
- OJ1194 BCU-ABV 11:30-12:30
The five-day Nigerian Air Force Air Expo kicked off at Kaduna Airport yesterday. President Goodluck Jonathan opened the air and static show, which started with an aerial display involving several NAF aircraft.
A nice series of pictures of this year’s show is made by Ken Iwelumo.
The Federal Government announced it approved the acquisition of a N1.73 billion Cessna Citation CJ4 surveillance aircraft for the Nigeria Customs Service.
Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, will be open again for commercial operations on 16 May 2012. The airport was shut down for almost eight weeks during which new runway lighting was installed. The airport was closed for almost a year in 2010 as the runway was completely refurbished.
Air Nigeria took delivery of its first A330-200 yesterday. The aircraft (SU-GCI) is wet-leased from EgyptAir and arrived at Lagos Airport from Cairo in the evening; a second aircraft will soon follow. Air Nigeria will resume a three weekly Lagos-London Gatwick service on Wednesday, and aims to start flights to Johannesburg this week too.
The Federal Government has concluded plans to build a new international terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja. The existing terminal will then be used for domestic operations, while the current domestic terminal will become a GAT and Hajj terminal.
The Minister of Aviation also disclosed that the first phase of the airport-remodelling exercise will be completed before the end of May; the second phase of renovations will start in June.
The MD of FAAN, George Uriesi, evaded arrest by the EFCC. The anti-graft agency wants to quiz him about alleged improper contract awards and the recent row between the FAAN and Maevis. The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, is also named in the in a string of scams, running into billions of Naira, at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
According to reports, Air Nigeria will order four B787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. The Boeing aircraft will be delivered by the third quarter of 2014. The acquisition will be financed by the US EXIM Bank and the final contract will be signed on May 22, 2012, in London. Air Nigeria will deploy the B787s on new routes from Lagos to London, Baltimore, Dubai and Beijing.
Meanwhile, Air Nigeria will receive the first of two wet-leased A330-200s from EgyptAir today. The aircraft will arrive at Lagos in the evening, as the airline will commence flights to London Gatwick and Johannesburg later this week.
Arik Air has increased its number of weekly flights to Gombe and Asaba. Gombe Airport is now served from Abuja on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, while Asaba Airport is served daily from Abuja and Lagos.
Yet another charter company opened its doors in Nigeria. Abuja-based Izy Air offers charter flights with a fleet consisting of a Citation X, Learjet 60 and Citation XLS (operated by JetAlliance and Air Quest) to customers throughout Africa. The company, managed by Alex Izinyon, has applied to the Federal Ministry of Air Transport for a license to operate in the country. The company probably owns the recent 5N-IZY registered Hawker 800XP.
- An interesting analysis of the aviation markets in Nigeria and Ghana. This is also a good commentary on the state of Nigerian aviation.
- The Nigerian Senate has ordered Lufthansa to pay N2.19 billion, being the amount of royalty accrued to the Federal Government from its flight operations from 2009 to October 2011.
- The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has called for an investigation by the EFCC into FAAN’s financial management.
- The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) may request assistance from the EFCC to recover about N22 billion in debts, owed by past and present domestic airlines.
- Harold Demuren has been reappointed as Director General of the NCAA.
- There were bomb scares at Lagos and Abuja Airports this week.
- Lagos State Government has commenced work on the development on the Lekki-Epe International Airport.
- Bayelsa State inaugurated an Airport Development Committee to speed up the construction of an airport in the state.
- The governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai, allegedly acquired a helicopter for himself. The governor already owns two light aircraft and plans to a construct an airstrip near his home village. Meanwhile, the Taraba State Government will soon launch a commercial airline, Air Taraba will have Jalingo Airport as its home base.
- SkyBird Air – a Dornier 328Jet operator – is still awaiting its AOC to commence operations. The airline is apparently owned by a former governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, of Borno State.
- A Dana Air aircraft (5N-SRI) coming from Uyo made an emergency landing at Lagos Airport on 10 May 2012, following a ‘loss of hydraulic pressure’.
- The Air Expo organised by the Nigerian Air Force to mark its 48th anniversary will start next week, 15 May 2012, at Kaduna Air Force Base.
- The Nigerian Navy plans to establish a Naval Aviation Training School in Ilorin Airport, Kwara State.
Apparently, a new aviation school was opened at Minna Airport in March 2012. EagleAir Flight Training Centre will provide various aviation training courses in collaboration with WillowAir, UK. It offers a ground school course for Private Pilot’s License and in the near future also for Commercial Pilot’s License and Instructors Rating.
The Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has put his Gulfstream II (5N-BGV) up for sale. The aircraft belonged to the Presidential Air Fleet as 5N-AGV, before being sold to Okorocha in 2009. The aircraft was then repainted and still bears the logo of the Rochas Foundation.
In February 2012, the Governor announced that Imo State will soon float its own airline, to be called Imo Air. His predecessor also launched a state airline, Air MidWest, in 2010, but the airline failed to operate a single commercial flight.