Archive | July 2012

Panel faults Dana Air’s maintenance practices and NCAA oversight

The Technical and Administrative Review Panel (TARPDA) set up by the Federal Government to investigate the Dana Air crash blames both the airline and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority:

The panel found that certain maintenance practices by Dana Airline, particularly the use of Technical Logbook were not in conformity with standard and recommended practices. It was also found that in some instances, the surveillance by Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) inspectors on the airlines’ maintenance practices were below expectation.

The panel made a couple of recommendations to strengthen Nigeria’s aviation industry:

  • A quick implementation of an Aviation Sector Emergency Programme (ASEP).
  • Better training of NCAA staff and inspectors.
  • NCAA should ensure that airline operators are put to closer surveillance.
  • The Federal Government (FG) should intensify efforts to complete the ongoing reconstruction and remodelling of the terminal buildings and structures.
  • The Central Bank of Nigeria should empower commercial banks to create a window for a long-term low-interest funding for direct lending to aviation.
  • An aircraft leasing company with an initial investment of $10 billion should be setup by the FG to acquire modern aircraft directly from major manufacturers and lease to qualified Nigerian air operators at preferential rates.
  • Greater emphasis should be placed  on proper and adequate maintenance of aircraft, rather than age restriction.
  • The FG should review downwards, all taxes and charges relating to airline operation, as well as take measures to reduce the cost of jet fuel.
  • The FG should facilitate the formation of a local aviation insurance pool.
  • The FG should take urgent steps to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities.

This week’s update

Short updates:

  • The NCAA has closed down Port Harcourt NAF Base for fixed-wing operations, as the airstrip requires an upgrade of its fire cover.
  • The lack of runway lighting at Lagos airport (runway 18L) and other domestic airports cost the airlines N1,5billion annually.
  • The Minister of Aviation has opened the rehabilitated runway at Abuja Airport. The runway lighting has been restored. The Minister also commissioned six fire tenders, which are donated to the airport by SO Aviation, a fuel provider.
  • The Minister defended the financing of her airport rehabilitation programme from the BASA Fund. So far, $60 million out of the $74 million Fund has been spent by the current minister. Formally, she wouldn’t be allowed to access the fund without prior authorisation of the National Assembly. The proposed 2012 budget of the Ministry of Aviation can be found here.
  • The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have pleaded with the aviation authorities to lift the ban on Dana Air. They also rejected the proposal to limit the age of aircraft in Nigeria to fifteen years.
  • Dana Air has acquired another MD83 (N935JM, to be re-registered 5N-JOY), probably already before last month’s crash. The aircraft is stored at Miami.
  • The Kano State Government will fund the training of a hundred youths as pilots and engineers.
  • Eleven companies have entered a bid to build an airport at Dutse for the Jigawa State Government.
  • 3B-NGT is a Challenger 300 operated for a Nigerian owner (probably Femi Otedola), although the aircraft is registered in Mauritius by a company named OSA Aviation. The aircraft was put up for sale in 2012.
  • A background article on the Nigerian who bought Gatwick Airport.
  • Arik Air will introduce a new system of shuttle flights from Lagos to Abuja and Port Harcourt on 30 July 2012. The introduction of the shuttle will make it possible for passengers to connect a flight between the two city pairs every one or two hours.
  • For those interested: the Lagos Airport Forum gathers interesting papers on airport operations in Nigeria and abroad. For example, this paper on the development of air transportation in Nigeria is an interesting read.

Aero to provide third-party maintenance

Aero announced that it plans to expand its aircraft maintenance services. The airline intends to provide A-, B- and C-checks on Boeing aircraft in western Africa. However, according to the airline, the financial benefits of having these checks in Nigeria are limited:

Nigeria has relatively high import duties on aircraft parts. Airlines typically fly their aircraft to, say, Turkey to have them serviced and relevant parts replaced. Once that aircraft flies back to Nigeria, the new parts are not subject to import duties as they are already installed on the plane. This puts any Nigerian maintenance provider in a big disadvantage against foreign players. A Nigerian maintenance provider would need to import all spares used in maintenance and thus incur the import duties that those maintaining their aircraft abroad avoid completely.

Aero also disclosed that from next month it will start to renew its fleet with B737-400s, B737-700s and Dash 8-Q400s.

The airline has temporarily suspended its service from Lagos to Warri and Port Harcourt NAF Base

Turkish Airlines requests approval for Abuja and Kano

Turkish Airlines has applied for approval to start daily flights to Abuja and Kano.

Turkish Airlines sees Nigeria as a growing market for the company’s strategic focus destinations and the additional flights into the two cities as very lucrative, with potentials to strengthen the economic ties between Nigeria and Turkey.

If the Federal Government approves the request, the airline will operate the two cities alongside its daily Istanbul-Lagos service.

Air Nigeria ‘to resume services soon’

Air Nigeria announced that it has sorted out its problems and will recommence domestic and regional services soon:

Following series of meetings between board, management & employees over the last few weeks, employees of Air Nigeria have reaffirmed their loyalty to safeguard the airline from external forces that have been trying to sabotage the airline’s achievements of the last two years. (…) The employees council will regularly meet with the top management to discuss plans and performance of the airline as well as follow-up of issues that have been raised by staff. Employees have also assured their readiness for the immediate start of domestic and regional operations. Air Nigeria has currently finalized its revival and growth plans to immediately recommence regional and domestic operations and the resumption of services will be announced soon.

Apart from the four B737-300s that have been repossessed by GECAS, Air Nigeria also lost its sole B737-400 (5N-VNM).

This week’s update

Short updates:

  • Arik Air took the blame for the incident at Jos Airport last week, when one of its B737s clipped wings with a Nigerian Air Force aircraft.
  • President Goodluck Jonathan announced that the Federal Government is close to setting up ‘a new national carrier largely driven by the private sector but with substantial public ownership’. His administration is working towards the construction of a Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) hangar too.
  • The Federal Government also considers to make the International Airline Transport Association Safety Audit (IOSA) mandatory for Nigerian airlines.
  • The National Assembly has proposed a ban on aircraft older than twenty years in Nigeria, but the Minister of Aviation seeks to limit the age of aircraft to fifteen years. A ban on aircraft older than twenty years was already announced by the Federal Government in 2010.
  • Fire destroyed one of the gates of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Thursday, 19 April 2012.
  • The Federal Government has approved Atlas Jet and KS Travel/Empire Aviation as carriers for this year’s Christian pilgrimage.

This week’s update

A quiet week:

  • On Saturday, 14 July, a taxiing Arik Air B737-700 (5N-MJI) lost its left winglet as it hit the wing of a parked Nigerian Air Force C130 Hercules aircraft at Jos Airport. According to a NAF spokesman:

An Arik Airline Boeing 737-700 with registration No 5N-MJI on a routine flight to Lagos brushed the wing of a parked Nigerian Air Force C-130 (NAF 917) at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Heipang Jos. he incident happened at about 1345hrs today when the Arik aircraft was taxiing at the airport tarmac in preparation for take-off. The tank 1 wing tip of the NAF C-130 was damaged while the wing of the Arik aircraft was dismembered and hung on the NAF aircraft. There was no casualty recorded during the incident, however, the 2 aircraft had to abort their missions. The NAF C-130 was in Jos to airlift students of the Air Force Military School and Air Force Girls Military School. Meanwhile, a joint investigation by the Nigerian Air Force and Arik Airline management has commenced.

    Arik Air blames FAAN for the incident:

The markings on the tarmac of the Jos Airport are old markings which did not take into cognizance the use of bigger aircraft like Boeing 737-700 or 737-800 which we have in our fleet and are capable of misleading pilots during taxing. We hope this incident will make FAAN to re-do those markings.

  • Caverton Helicopters has been appointed an AgustaWestland authorised service centre for the AW139 helicopter in Nigeria.
  • A Nigerian helicopter flying school – the recently opened international helicopter flying school of the Nigerian Air Force at the 305 Flying Training School, Enugu – is planning to operate Robinson R66 training helicopters. Other aviation schools that are planning to offer helicopter training are NCAT, Kaduna, and IAC, Ilorin.
  • The completion of the remodeling of eleven domestic airports is delayed according to the Ministry of Aviation.

Dana Air crash: preliminary report

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has submitted a preliminary report on the crash of Dana Air’s MD83 (5N-RAM) near Lagos, on June 3, 2012. The report determines the main facts about flight 992; it concludes that:

  • At 1542:10, Dana 992 radioed an emergency distress call indicating “dual engine failure … negative response from throttle.”
  • The solid state based memory in the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) was in good condition and retained 31 minutes of audio information.  The digital tape based memory in the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) succumbed to the post crash fire and melted, consequently no data could be recovered.
  • Fueling records indicated the airplane was uplifted with 8000 lbs of fuel before departure from Abuja. The flight crew reported to ATC they had 26,000 lbs of total fuel.  Preliminary analysis of fuel samples from the refueling truck and the supply tank at Abuja were negative for contamination.

The full report can be found here in PDF.

Overland adds flights to Asaba and Ilorin

Overland Airways announced it has doubled its frequency from Lagos to Asaba. The airline now offers morning and afternoon flights on weekdays.

  • OJ1172 LOS-ABB 08:00-09:00
  • OJ1171 ABB-LOS 09:30-10:30

In addition to its service on weekdays, the airline also introduced new flights from Abuja and Lagos to Ilorin on Sundays.

This week’s update

Short updates:

  • The chairman of Air Nigeria blames the grounding of the airline on its disloyal staff rather than on financial problems.
  • In the past two years, AMCON has taken over non-performing loans worth N135 billion from Nigerian airlines, while the CBN has lent the airlines N86 billion through the Aviation Intervention Fund. Arik Air is the major beneficiary of both funds.
  • British Airways considers to start flights to Port Harcourt.
  • Foreign airline crews shun Abuja due to security concerns. Delta Air Lines is considering to quit flying from New York to Abuja per 1 September, because of security reasons and low traffic on the route.
  • Dana Air has paid out the first compensations to families of the victims of last month’s crash.
  • Members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANCLA, at Lagos Airport have gone on strike. Earlier this week, they clashed with security agents sent by FAAN to evict them from the cargo village.

DA42 MPP makes belly-landing at Benin Airport

A Diamond Twin Star (DA42 MPP, registered 5N-BKS), operating as a light surveillance aircraft for PICOMSS, made a gear-up landing at its base, Benin Airport, this morning around 11 o’clock. The two occupants were unhurt. The airport was closed for some time after the incident, but is now back open.

DA42 MPP – 5N-BKS (Copyright Ken Iwelumo)

Air Nigeria loses aircraft to lessor

Air Nigeria confirmed that GECAS has repossessed four B737-300s (5N-VNC, 5N-VND, 5N-VNE and 5N-VNJ, but not 5N-VNG) it leased to the airline. Also, the airline’s website went offline earlier this week. Air Nigeria continues to operate its four-weekly Lagos-London service.

Air Nigeria’s press statement:

Subsequent to the temporary suspension of Air Nigeria’s regional and domestic flight operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), our lessors have been requesting to repossess some of the aircraft in our fleet and we are fully cooperating to return their aircraft. GECAS, one of our lessors, is already in the process of calling back four of their Boeing 737-300 aircraft and Air Nigeria is fully cooperating in line with the Cape Town Convention to expedite the repossession process. Air Nigeria plans to acquire state-of-the-art aircraft to fill the reduction in capacity and is currently finalizing plans to resume normal flight operations across the regional and domestic routes as soon as possible. We would also like to inform that the scheduled Lagos – London – Lagos flight operation is not affected by the temporary suspension directive of the NCAA and passengers are therefore encouraged to proceed with their confirmed itinerary while intending customers can make their reservations.

Nigerian King Air 350

Abuja-based company ACE (Africa Contracts and Equipment) operates a King Air 350, equipped with the Pro Line 21 avionics system, for the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS). The aircraft is registered 5N-BMP and was delivered in January 2010.

King Air 350 – Nigerian Air Force – 5N-BMP (Copyright Mebewale)

Other King Air 350 operators in Nigeria are Julius Berger (5N-FLS and 5N-FLY), Exxon-Mobil (5N-MPB), and TaK Aviation (N455SE).