Archive | October 2012

Arik Air celebrates sixth anniversary

Arik Air celebrated that it commenced commercial operations on 30 October 2006. Some of the airline’s achievements and goals were presented by the airline during a press conference:

  • The airline carried 10,2 million passengers in the past six years, obtaining a 65 per cent share of the domestic market. Arik has already carried 1,849,436 passengers in 2012.
  • The airline plans to build a flight academy in Benin City as well as a maintenance hangar in Lagos in cooperation with Lufthansa Technik.
  • Arik Air urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the policy of withholding loans to heavily indebted domestic carriers.
  • The airline intends to go public in the near future.
  • The Savannah Express service from Lagos to Cotonou, Ouagadougou and Bamako has been suspended due to the unrest in Mali.
  • Arik Air will further expand its network next year, including the launch of new direct flights from Accra and Freetown to London. Other cities on the radar are Abidjan, Conakry, Kinshasa, Malabo and Libreville. With regard to long-haul operations, the airline is still looking at the earlier announced Abuja-Kano-Jeddah and Lagos-Houston routes.
  • Finally, Arik Air’s chairman shed some light on the acquisition and financing of the two A345s:

Let me give an example, when we were to get the A340-500, the French Finance Minister when we met she said she would give me Airbus aircraft and asked why was I buying Boeing and I said because the Americans give me money and she said we will give you in Europe too and I said okay and she said, I have three Airbus aircraft and I said I will take them. She said you are not up to five years old, why don’t you get the Nigerian banks to give you the guaranty.

Second Do328 for Prime Air Services

The Abuja-based charter operator Prime Air Services acquired a second Dornier 328-300 Jet (M-BETY). The leased aircraft will soon be ferried from Germany to Nigeria. The airline already operates a Do 328-100 (D-CIRJ), which is leased from MHS Aviation.

Prime Air Services – Dornier 328-300 Jet – M-BETY (copyright Ian Lienhard – il-photography.ch)

Overland takes delivery of the first of six ATR 72s

Overland Airways accepted its first ATR 72-200 (5N-BPE; ex-FWNUA); the aircraft arrived at Lagos Airport on 27 October 2012. The turboprop aircraft is configured to carry 70 passengers, and the airline announced it has five more ATR 72s on order. Overland already has three ATR 42-300 and two Beech 1900Ds in its fleet. The airline mainly serves thin domestic routes from Abuja and Lagos to Asaba, Bauchi, Ibadan and Ilorin.

Overland Airways – ATR 72-200 – 5N-BPE (copyright Toulouse-31)

This week’s update

This week’s round-up:

  • The Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) contracted an A330-200 (N772RD) for this year’s pilgrimage. The aircraft is operated by Ryan International on behalf of Atlasjet Airlines.
  • Camair-Co now serves the Douala-Lagos route three times a week.
  • A new Kano-based airline, Azman Air, hopes to obtain an AOC soon in order to commence domestic flights.
  • The onwer of Millennium Air disclosed that the cargo airline has the intention to commence scheduled passenger services in the near future. Millennium Air now operates a single B727F (5N-BNQ).
  • One of Pan African Airlines Bell 206L4, based at Escravos, with two crew and two passengers ran into trouble after taking of from an offshore platform on 27 October 2012. The helicopter successfully ditched into the sea and the occupants were picked up by a rescue boat.
  • Delta State Government approved a sum of N37.3 billion to upgrade Osubi Airstrip, Warri, to the status of international airport.
  • Aero will lease a B737-400 (N605SC) from Gecas. The fourteen-year-old aircraft is still stored in China; it will be the sixth B737-400 in the airline’s fleet.
  • Aero supended its Abuja-Enugu service, but reinstated the flights from Port Harcourt NAF Base to Warri and Lagos.
  • A body was found in the undercarriage of one of Arik Air’s A345s today. The plane came in from New York, so it’s likely that it was there already for some time.
  • A passenger caused a bomb scare on an Arik Air flight from Maiduguri to Abuja on 24 October 2012.
  • One of Arik Air’s CRJ900s (5N-JEA) has been parked at Cologne since this summer.
  • Dana Air has contracted FLYHT to install the AFIRS 228 on its five MD-83 aircraft. The airline will use AFIRS to provide real-time flight data monitoring and to assist in achieving maintenance and operational efficiencies.
  • One of Kabo Air’s B747-200s (5N-MAD) rejoined the fleet again after maitenance in Indonesia.
  • The FAAN has increased security measures at four major airports.
  • A Hawker 4000 (N412TF) is also owned by a Nigerian, and registered to Skypower Express Airways.
  • The Nigerian Air Forces has acquired two Robinson R66s (N7033V and N804SF) for the Helicopter Flying School at Enugu Airport.
  • It appears that Prince Arthur Eze is reviving Triax Airlines. The airline operates two GIVs (5N-PZE and M-PZPZ), but was active as an commercial airline in the 1990s with three B727-100s.
  • SkyBird Air’s third Do328Jet (5N-SPM) is still awaiting its delivery flight from Germany to Nigeria. Two other aircraft (5N-SPE and 5N-BMH) are already based at Lagos Airport.

Governor of Taraba State involved in air accident

The governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, was involved in an air crash near Yola Airport today. He was flying his own Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (5N-BMJ) and took-off from Jalingo Airport at 17:20 enroute to Yola. The six people onboard all survived the accident, but are hospitalised with various degrees of injuries. According to the Ministry of Aviation:

An aircraft, Cessna 208 with 6 souls on board including crew, operated by the Taraba State Government departed Jalingo, Taraba State for Yola this evening and reported contact with the Yola Control Tower (1720Z) and field in sight at 38 miles estimating landing at 1730Z. The pilot subsequently lost contact with Yola Control Tower and subsequent effort to raise the aircraft failed. Search & Rescue was immediately activated and site of incident located with all victims alive with various degrees of injuries. The victims have been evacuated to the hospital for treatment pending further investigation of the incident.

The governor is an aviation enthusiast who obtained his flying licence in 2010. Reportedly, he owns a private helicopter and two light aircraft for which he built an airstrip at his home village. Earlier this year, Taraba State acquired a ERJ145 to set up a state airline called Air Taraba.

FirstNation Airways loses aircraft to lessor

FirstNation Airways lost its fleet of three A320s to the lessor, Aviation Capital Group. The aircraft (5N-FNA, -FNB and -FNC) are likely repossessed; they were re-registered to the US FAA register as N409AG, N466AG and N997AG earlier this month. FirstNation Airways suspended its flight operations in June 2012, and ferried at least two A320s to Istanbul for maintenance.

New General Aviation Terminal at Lagos commissioned

The Federal Government commissioned the new General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on 22 October 2012. The terminal has been built at the cost of N648 million. Air travellers and airlines are supposed to use the terminal from 4 November onwards. GAT can handle twelve flights at once (or 1500 passengers per hour), and 2,8 million domestic passengers are expected to travel through the terminal yearly.

Allegedly, the construction of the new terminal violates the agreement made between the Federal Government and Bi-Courtney, the owners of the domestic MMA2 Terminal:

In the agreement signed between Bi-Courtney and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in 2004, it was agreed that the firm should build a new domestic terminal and that no other domestic terminal should be built at the airport and that all scheduled domestic operations should emanate from the new facility, which started operation in May 2007. By rebuilding and unveiling the GAT for service, government has dishonoured that agreement just as it had earlier defied the condition that all domestic operations must emanate from the MMA2 as other airlines have been using the GAT to run their scheduled domestic services.

It’s the third concession contract broken by the Minister of Aviation this year, although she claims that:

Information at our disposal indicates that Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd, the Concessionaire to MM2, apparently threatened by the imminent opening of the newly reconstructed and remodelled GAT, Lagos is mounting a media campaign in an attempt to blur or diminish the unprecedented achievement of Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah in giving Nigerian airports a major face-lift and dignified ambience. To be sure, the area where GAT is located has never been part of the area concessioned to Bi-Courtney Ltd. The agreement with Bi-courtney has a Survey Plan clearly marked in Square metres and the area of the GAT was never contemplated to be part of the area leased to Bi-Courtney. (…) It is inconceivable that anyone would not only contemplate, but also hold fast to the jaundiced belief that a nation as big and great as Nigeria ought not to progress beyond having a terminal like MM2.

The Minister of Aviation argues that the cancellation of previous contracts are done in the interest of the public. The parties involved will continue to challenge each other in court.

Exterior of the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos

Interior of the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos

This week’s update

This week’s round-up:

  • Med-View Airline will commence domestic operations next month, as the airline was granted an AOC by the NCAA.
  • CHC Nigeria has received an AOC too. The international company will serve the oil and gas industry in partnership with Jagal. CHC was already active on the Nigerian market, but their contract with Aero was terminated in 2010.
  • MCM, Maintenance Centre Malta, has received approved maintenance organization (AMO) for their line and base maintenance facility in Malta from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
  • The new domestic GAT Terminal at Lagos Airport will be opened on Monday, according to the Minister of Aviation. Arik Air and Overland Airways are the main carriers using the GAT Terminal, while Aero and IRS Airlines are operating from MMA Terminal 2.
  • The Minister of Aviation also announced that the Federal Government will create a ‘pool of aircraft’, which can then be ‘hired’ by the domestic airlines.
  • The Federal Government will purchase two more VIP helicopters for the Presidential Air Fleet in 2013. The president already has to VIP AW139s (NAF540 and NAF541) at his disposal. To accommodate the growing fleet, a new hangar will be built at Abuja Airport.
  • The employees of Uyo Airport blocked access road to the airport on Friday, 19 October, protesting their labour conditions. All flights were cancelled.

This week’s update

Some news bits:

  • An IRS Airlines F100 (5N-SAT) brushed a sewage truck stuck along the taxiway with its wingtip at Lagos Airport on Wednesday, 10 October. No one was hurt in this minor incident and the damage to the aircraft was minimal.
  • The Federal Government plans to abolish all duties and taxes on the import of aircraft and aircraft spares in 2013. The proposed 2013 Federal Ministry of Aviation Budget can be found online here.
  • Four new airlines will commence domestic operations in Nigeria in the coming months with the support of the Ministry of Aviation, which intends to break the virtual duopoly of Arik Air and Aero.
  • Dana Air is ready to recommence commercial flights next week if all the necessary approvals are obtained in time.
  • According to the owners, the MMA Terminal 2 doesn’t generate enough income to maintain the terminal.
  • Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporations has donated 300 seats for the departure hall of Benin Airport.
  • The MD of Air Nigeria has resigned from his position, as it’s unlikely that the airline will ever resume operations.
  • Two new companies are based at the EAN Hangar at Lagos: AeroFleet and Esperanza Air Services.
  • Anyone an idea who owns this Challenger 300 (VP-BJT)? The jet has been based at Lagos for a while.
  • The DA42, with a camera mounted on its nose and green/grey cheatlines, on the image below (click to enlarge) is registered 9H-AEV, and operated from Abuja Airport by AeroPrecisa

General Aviation Ramp – Abuja Airport (copyright olivewitch)

Two new Gulfstreams in Nigeria

Two new Gulfstream jets are based in Nigeria:

  • A GIV (N990EA) owned by Ernest and Nnenna Azudialu-Obiejesi of Nestoil. The aircraft sports the logo of their charity, the Obi-Jackson Foundation, with the motto ‘Chi na-enye’ (god gives).
  • A G450 (N224BH) belonging to Akwa Ibom State. It’s rumoured that the state government has a second jet on order.

GIV – N990EA (copyright Bob Holland)

G450 – Akwa Ibom State Government – N224BH (copyright Bob Holland)

Rivers State’s new Global 5000

Rivers State Government has acquired a new Bombardier Global 5000 (N565RS). The brand new jet, which has a price tag of $45.7 million, will arrive at Port Harcourt Airport on 7 October 2012. The new jet will replace the state’s current Embraer Legacy 600 (5N-RSG) of the state governor, which has become too expensive to maintain according to government officials. Rivers State also owns an AW139 helicopter (5N-RSN), which is now leased to Aero. In exchange, however, Aero operates a Sikorsky S76C+ (5N-VIP) in VIP configuration for the Rivers State Government. A Bombardier Dash 8-Q200 (5N-GRS) was sold by Rivers State to Cross River State for $6 million. Aero will operate this turboprop for the Cross River State Government on the Calabar-Bebi (Obudu Ranch) route.

Rivers State Government – Bombardier Global 5000 – N565RS (copyright J. Chevrier)

First picture of Hak Air B737-400

Hak Air’s first B737-400 (5N-BOV) was spotted at Jakarta Airport, Indonesia. The airline is a new entrant on the domestic market and acquired four nineteen-year-old B734s (to be registered 5N-BOT, 5N-BOU, 5N-BOV, 5N-BOW) from Garuda Citylink last year. The livery of the airline is not very exciting.

Hak Air – B737-400 – 5N-BOV (copyright Skyliner Aviation)

Hak Air was incorporated in 1990 to provide Aircraft for passenger and cargo on schedule and charter flights, wet and dry lease operations. Its owner, Harry Kuti, was prosecuted for his involvement in the demise of Nigeria Airways in 2003. He charged prolonged rentals and overpriced maintenance expenses, according to an investigation.

This week’s update

A quiet week:

  • The Abuja Gateway Consortium filed a suit against the Federal Government. The consortium won a bid in 2006 to develop Abuja Airport, but the contract was annulled and is now awarded to Chinese investors.
  • Kebbi State has approved a sum of N13.6 billion to upgrade the state-owned airstrip at Ambursa to the status of international airport. The expansion of the runway and construction of a new terminal will be done by CGC and should be ready in March 2013.
  • A Qatar Airways A330 coming from Doha made an emergency landing at Lagos Airport on 29 September, after discovering a minor landing gear problem.
  • Hawker Beechcraft sold 26 aircraft in Nigeria between 2007 and 2011 (11 percent of their African market).
  • The Nigerian Navy acquired a Bell 206 Jet Ranger (NN 10) for training purposes.
  • CHC is planning to re-enter the Nigerian market. It will operate AW139/S76 helicopters in partnership with Jagal.
  • SkyBird Air is not only operating three Do328Jets but also a Gulfstream GIV (probably 5N-BOD; ex-5N-FGP).
  • Dana Air has begun test flights ahead of their resumption of commercial services. It seems the airline will retain its corporate identity.
  • FirstNation Airways appears to have resumed flights between Lagos and Abuja with one A320, although flights cannot be booked through their website. Associated Aviation also continues to operate scheduled flights to Akure and Benin. This article analysing the decrease of capacity and increase of air fares over the past months, however, claims that both airlines are currently not operating any flights.
  • The Federal Government has replaced the top management of various aviation agencies.
  • Overall, the volume of air cargo traffic in Nigeria grew in 2011, but designated cargo airports such as Ilorin and Owerri didn’t record a single cargo flight last year.
  • A new issue of Arik Wings is available online.

NEMA rescue helicopters

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) utilises one of the Bell 427s recently acquired for the Nigeria Customs Service for the ongoing rescue operation in the flooded states. The seasonal floods in Nigeria due to excessive rainfall have been described as the worst in decades. NEMA owns an old Mil 17 for search and rescue operations, but the agency will soon receive a new Bell 429.

NEMA DG Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi in front of a Bell 427 (5N-NCS) at Kaduna Airport

NEMA – Mil 17 – 5N-BGY