A couple of updates:
- Aero just announced that it will resume flight operations today. The airline’s management has promised to reinstate all the dismissed employees.
- The Federal Government will allow corporate and private jet owners to operate without an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).
- The Nigerian Air Force has acquired several B737s to set up a commerical airline named United Nigeria Airlines. The first aircraft, a B737-500 (NAF 916; ex-LN-BRV), will soon arrive in Nigeria.
- Dana Air’s MD-83 (5N-JAI) remains grounded, as the airline struggles to meet the directive of the Minister of Aviation that Boeing has to re-certify the aircraft.
- Arik Air’s B737-700 (5N-MJI), recently spotted without an engine at Abuja Airport, was ferried to Malta for maintenance.
- Aero’s second Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 (5N-BPT; ex-G-JEDN) has been sprayed in its new livery.
- A B737-800 of Royal Air Maroc made an emergency landing at Lagos yesterday, after hitting a bird during take-off.
- According to a state governor, the Federal Government plans to float a national airline through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
- The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will install toll gates at all airports to increase its revenues.
- Lagos’s Murtala Muhammed International Airport currently ranks as the fourth biggest in Africa, but its seat capacity declined with 13 per cent in the past year.
- Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) plans to build a chain of branded fixed-base operations (FBO) across Africa within the next seven years.
- Ethiopian Airlines has taken Chanchangi Airlines to court over a case of unpaid maintenance fees.
- Kenya Airways will increase its Nairobi-Lagos serice from five weekly to daily per 31 March 2013, while reducing its Nairobi-Lagos-Cotonou-Nairobi service from four to three weekly.
- Turkish Airlines will replace the B737-900ER on the Istanbul-Lagos route with A330 equipment per 21 May 2013.
The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology opened its campus at Minna Airport for flight training. The Niger State Government signed a deal with NCAT last year to establish a campus at Minna, where it would station four trainer aircraft.
A statement by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport Niger state Alhaji Abdullahi explained that the training commenced with ‘ground school studies’ last year adding that the students are now ready to start ‘flight training with small aircrafts’. Abdullahi explained that due to the nature of the exercise small aircrafts will hover around the state at a low level. He explained that the public should not panic at the sight of such aircrafts as they bear no security risks to anybody.
This week’s updates:
- Domestic airline are considering to stop flights to Kano, Maiduguri and Yola due to the insecurity in the northern regions of the country.
- Only two of IRS Airlines’ five F100s are operational at the moment. The airline now operates flights to Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos.
- ATR presented its turboprops to the Federal Government last week.
- New en route air traffic control radar for the Nigerian flight information region should be operational by April 12, according to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
- Nigeria is setting up an Air Disaster Assistance Scheme.
- The Federal Government has approved US-based company Associated Air Center (AAC) to become an authorized maintenance organisation for the Presidential Air Fleet.
- The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is going back to court hoping to terminate its agreement with the owners of Lagos MMA Terminal 2. Furthermore, FAAN cancelled the lease of two plots of land to Bi-Courtney on which a hotel and conference centre were to be constructed.
- A good commentary on the consequences of political interference in the Nigerian aviation sector.
- The NCAA is trying to resolve the labour conflict between Aero and its staff. Anyhow, the airline’s operational capability has to be re-validated by the NCAA before it can resume operations.
- Evergreen Apple will organise the first Nigerian Business Aviation Conference on 7 May 2013.
- Bristow Nigeria will soon take delivery of a Sikorsky S-76C (ex-G-CGRU), which left Norwich earlier this week for Lagos.
The renovated international terminal at Kano Airport was commissioned on Friday, 15 March 2013, by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. At the occasion, the Minister of Aviation announced that she granted Emirates and Turkish Airlines approval to commence flights to Kano, and that the airlines are expected to start operating into the airport before the end of the month. Asky Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines also expressed interest in serving Kano Airport in the past. Furthermore, the Federal Government will construct a cargo terminal at the airport.
- The renovated terminal at Kano Airport will be commissioned today.
- Aero is yet to resolve its conflict with the labour unions over recent cost cutting measures. Flight operations are still suspended.
- Fola Akinkuotu is nominated as new director-general of the NCAA by the presidency. Akinkuoto is currently the rector of the International Aviation College, Ilorin.
- The Senate is planning to review all Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) to put an end to ‘the ongoing rip-off of Nigerians by foreign airlines’.
- Nigeria will soon sign a BASA with Israel. Pilgrims travelling to Israel may be able to fly directly to Tel Aviv later this year.
- Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) signed a deal with a Chinese company to build new airport terminals at Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. Construction work will start in June this year.
- Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which holds stakes in Arik Air, Aero and Chanchangi Airlines, is hopeful it will recover its investments, and is willing to sale its interests in the airlines.
- The Presidential Amnesty Office announced that it is planing to train 200 aircraft and helicopter pilots under its youth empowerment programme.
- Kano State will train a 100 pilots at the Mideast Aviation Academy in Jordan.
- OAS Helicopters is planning to start serving the upstream oil and gas sector. It signed a deal with Gulf Helicopter Company from Qatar to provide suitable helicopters and technical expertise.
Arik Air announced it will lease two B737-300s under an ACMI-agreement to a Kano-based cargo airline, Emirate Touch Aviation Services (future website). The two aircraft (5N-MJA and 5N-MJB) are currently stored in the United Kingdom and will be converted to freighters. Apparently, Emirate Touch Aviation also operates a B727F (5N-BNQ), formerly operated by Millennium Air.
- The renovated terminal of Benin Airport will be commissioned today.
- A power outage at Lagos Airport last Monday during a rainstorm forced an Emirates aircraft to divert to Lomé.
- Ibadan Airport was closed last Saturday, after a Caverton helicopter blocked the runway with a burst tire.
- After dismantling about fifteen aircraft at Lagos, the FAAN has now started clearing abandoned aircraft at Abuja Airport.
- CAPA made an analysis of the number of seats offered on the domestic and Nigeria-Europe routes.
- According to some insiders, the Federal Government favours Embraer as provider of new aircraft to the domestic carriers.
- Arik Air has expressed interested in acquiring Q400s, CRJ1000s and even the C Series from Bombardier.
- PHCN’s last two MBB Bo-105s (5N-EPA and 5N-BCJ) have been grounded over the past years.
- An enquiry by the Navy revealed that the crash of the A109 helicopter on 15 December last year ‘might have been caused by human error or material failure or both‘.
- Caverton Helicopters has ordered three additional AW139s. The company already operates six helicopters of this type.
- Med-View Airline announced it will soon launch a Abuja-Port Harcourt service. The airline is expecting two B737-800s to join its fleet this month.
- SkyBird Air’s third and last Do-328Jet (5N-BMH, 5N-SPE, 5N-SPM) was ferried from Germany to Nigeria this week.
- Hak Air’s first of four B737-400s (5N-BOT, 5N-BOU, 5N-BOV, 5N-BOW was ferried from Indonesia to Nigeria this week.
- DANA no longer operates a Do 328 (5N-DOW) for Punto Azul.
- Air Zimbabwe plans to start a three-weekly Harare-Accra-Lagos-Harare service, operated by an A320, per 2 April 2013.
The hangar would not only carry out major repairs of Arik aircraft, but other new generation aircraft in the fleet of other domestic airlines in the country. He called on the Federal Government to consider acquiring the Bombardier aircraft type for domestic operators in lieu of its proposal to acquire new aircraft for domestic operations in the country.
Arik Air has been planning to develop a super hangar since its inception in 2006.
A couple of early and unique images (click here to see the whole set) of Kano and Lagos airports emerged on the net. The images are part of a collection formed by a former Nigeria Airways’ station manager at Lagos and Kano (1957-1968). The third picture shows Friendship 7, the capsule in which the first American, John Glenn, orbited the earth in 1962. The spacecraft was also displayed at Lagos during a global tour, called the ‘fourth orbit of Friendship 7’.
A few things worth mentioning:
- A group of investors plans to construct a business aircraft maintenance base at the Ido-Osun Airport this year. The State Government began building the new airport last year.
- The renovation of the airport terminals at Benin and Kano will be ready this month, while those at Enugu, Jos, Kaduna and Port Harcourt should be delivered in April 2013.
- SkyBird Air is in the final stage of obtaining its AOC for commercial flight services.
- Dana Air added a sixth return flight from Lagos to Abuja on Thursdays and Fridays and a fifth flight on Sundays. The airline also announced it will start flying to Port Harcourt again ‘very soon’.
- The latest issue of Arik Wings is online.
- New reports on the fraudulent origins of Arik Air’s start-up capital circulated in the media this week.
- Aero will add a second Dash 8-Q400 (ex-G-JEDN) to its fleet; the aircraft is stored at Exeter.
- The BAe 125-800B (5N-BOO; ex-5N-AGZ) which formerly belonged to the Presidential Air Fleet has been resprayed at Lanseria. The aircraft is registered to Gyro Air.
- Wings Aviation’s Beech 200 King Air (5N-IHS) has been parked at Lanseria for years now. Perhaps it will be operated again by JedAir.
- Four ex-Sonair S76 helicopters are parked at Lagos. The Angolan registered helicopters are apparently acquired by Hak Air.
- The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) informs air passengers that they are entitled to compensation from airlines for flight cancellations.
- Saudia Cargo will increase its weekly frequency from Hongkong to Lagos.
- Since December 2012, Airstream Cargo has been operating a B737-400F (S5-ABV), leased from Solinair, out of Lagos, using Axiom Air’s call sign.
Lagos-based start-up airline Discovery Air intends to launch commercial flight services with a fleet of B737-300s and CRJ-200s. The airline plans to serve several domestic and regional destinations from Lagos Airport, but no date has been given yet for the start of operations (likely to Abuja and Port Harcourt). The new airline is part of the First Deepwater Discovery group of companies, led by Babatunde Babalola.
Overland Airways introduced a new six-weekly flight service between Abuja and Akure, the capital of Ondo State. Schedule:
- OJ1198 Abuja-Akure 09:45-10:45 (Weekdays)
- OJ1199 Akure-Abuja 11:15-12:15 (Weekdays)
- OJ1198 Abuja-Akure 12:00-13:00 (Sundays)
- OJ1199 Akure-Abuja 13:30-14:30 (Sundays)
Akure Airport was left without any scheduled commercial flights, after Arik Air and Associated Aviation abandoned the airport last year.
The Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at Uyo Airport, Akwa Ibom, is nearing its completion. On request of the State Government, the Federal Government pledged support for the project, and the facility will become a national hangar. However, a nice and large hangar does not necessarily mean that the technical knowledge and man power will be available to run the facility and provide high-quality maintenance services. Who will become responsible for operating the facility and provide maintenance services? Will domestic and foreign airlines be interested in using the facility? Recently, the NCAA stated that there is a need for a major maintenance hangar at Lagos. The major airlines, Arik Air and Aero, already have their own facilities in place, while new hangars have been built at Lagos for private and corporate jet owners, which already harbour a number of Approved Maintenance Organisations (AMO). For unknown reasons, the authorities are reluctant to allow the construction of private hangars at Abuja Airport, meaning that all but the presidential jets are always exposed to outside weather conditions.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria is delaying the acquisition of 30 aircraft for domestic airlines, according to the Minister of Aviation.
- Apparently, the interior of Asaba Airport is yet to be completed two years after the airport was commissioned; the airport is also not yet certified by FAAN. The Delta State Government plans to concession the airport as soon as it is completed.
- The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has validated the Bell 429 for operation in the country. NEMA recently received its first helicopter (5N-NEM) of this type.
- The NCAA repeated its order to all airlines to install an Automated Flight Information Reporting System (AFIRS) on their aircraft.
- Nigeria risks losing its FAA Category 1 status, as the Ministry of Aviation is attempting to review the autonomy of the NCAA.
Cargo airline Cargolux announced it will commence freighter flights to Port Harcourt on 5 March 2013. The new service will be operated with B747F equipment; it also connects Lagos, Kinshasa and Nairobi with Europe and offers onward connections to and from all Cargolux destinations worldwide.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) experienced a major setback in its legal battle with Bi-Courtney, the company operating MMA Terminal 2, about the ownership of/right of operation from the General Aviation Terminal at Lagos Airport. The High Court in Abuja ruled that
They [FAAN] are therefore restrained, prevented or prohibited from operating scheduled flights in and out of Lagos State from any airport terminal other than MMA2 or an airport terminal owned/operated by the plaintiff [Bi-Courtney] during the concession period as stipulated in the Agreement.
Bi-Courtney said it is ready to take over the recently renovated General Aviation Terminal from FAAN, since GAT ‘was declared an integral part of the MMA2 concession by the decision of the Federal High Court in 2009’.
Initially, FAAN’s spokesman said he was not aware of the ruling, but the agency later stated that the court order referred to is not existent and that FAAN will continue to run the domestic GA Terminal (now called Domestic Terminal 1) at Lagos.
Meanwhile, FAAN announced that the renovated terminal at Benin Airport will be ready for commissioning soon, the terminals at Enugu and Port Harcourt will follow later. The Port Harcourt project is handled by Inter-Bau Construction.
- The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) recorded 14,3 million air travellers in 2012, according to a press release. This is a decrease of four per cent in passengers compared to 2011, although the numbers given in the statement conflict with those on FAAN’s website.
- The Federal Government has implemented a duty waiver for the import of aircraft and spare parts. Foreign registered aircraft based in Nigeria are excluded from the waiver.
- TopBrass Aviation took delivery of its third Dash 8-Q300 (5N-TBA) last week, meanwhile another aircraft of the same airline (5N-TBB) was spotted at Maastricht for maintenance.
- Reportedly, Aero will soon accept its first Dash 8-Q400 (5N-???; ex-G-JEDO), which was ferried to Norwich for painting. One of Aero’s B737-400s (5N-BJA) is currently at Bournemouth for a new coat of paint.
- Overland Airways apparently accepted its second ATR 72-200 (5N-BPF; ex-F-WNUF). A third ATR 72 is being prepared for the airline at Toulouse. Meanwhile, Overland is recruiting pilots and mechanics for B737NG aircraft, meaning that the B737-800 (EI-EZB) may join its fleet after all.
- Dana Air added a fifth return flight between Lagos and Abuja on weekdays. The airline intends to re-start services to Port Harcourt before the end of February 2012.
- A Nigerian official blamed a pilot error for last year’s Dana Air crash, even though the official report is yet to be published.
- Cross River State announced that Bebi Airstrip, serving Obudu Mountain Resort, will get a regular commercial service in March 2013. The state government acquired an aircraft – probably the Dash 8-200 (5N-GRS) purchased from Rivers State, rather than the mentioned ATR 42 – to serve the airstrip.
- Cross River State also wants the runway of Calabar Airport extended. The airport recently got the status of cargo airport.
- A Hawker 4000 (5N-NOC) belonging to NNPC overran the runway at Warri on 6 February 2013.
- Omni Air’s Makurdi-based Air Tractor 502 (5N-BPV).
- Arik Air and IRS Airlines are no longer making night stops at Maiduguri for security reasons.
- The 2003 white paper on the mismanagement of Nigeria Airways has been dug up again by local media.
- The Nigerian Air Force has only one serviceable trainer aircraft at its Kaduna Base. Three Do 228s will be refurbished.
- The company responsible for the dismantling of derelict aircraft (video) in Nigeria paid N800,000 for each aircraft.
- The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is set to improve the nation’s radar control. However, pilots dispute the claim that the TRACON project resulted in a complete radar coverage of the Nigerian airspace.
Gambia Bird is planning to start a four-weekly flights from Banjul to Lagos in April 2013. However, it’s not clear whether the airline already obtained permission from the Nigerian authorities to launch this service. The route will be operated with A319 equipment. Schedule:
- 3G2256 Banjul-Lagos-Douala 09:40-14:40 / 15:25-16:25 (Tuesday)
- 3G2257 Douala-Lagos-Banjul 17:10-18:10 / 18:55-21:55 (Tuesday)
- 3G1420 Banjul-Freetown-Monrovia-Lagos 07:30-09:00 / 10:30-11:35 / 12:20-15:50 (Thursday)
- 3G1421 Lagos-Monrovia-Freetown-Banjul 16:50-18:20 / 19:05-20:10 / 20:55-22:25 (Thursday)
- 3G1574 Banjul-Lagos 09:40-14:20 (Friday)
- 3G1575 Lagos-Banjul 15:10-18:10 (Friday)
- 3G1772 Banjul-Dakar-Lagos 13:00-??:?? / ??:??-18:00 (Sunday)
- 3G1773 Lagos-Dakar-Banjul 19:00-22:30 / 23:15-00.05 (Sunday)