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.
All Aero’s fixed-wing operations are still suspended.The airline’s Managing Director is hopeful that ‘Aero will fly again by Easter weekend‘, but earlier attempts to resume flight operations were blocked by protesting former staff members, the NCAA that wants to re-certify the airline’s operations and audit its financial books, and a court injunction from the National Industrial Court not to fire its striking workers.
Hopefully, the involved parties will soon find a resolution for the crisis. The Air Nigeria-saga should be a warning to all.
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.
Aero will resume flight operations on 20 March 2013, following talks between the airline’s management and the labour unions.
Update: the airline has now retracted its earlier statement that it will resume flying tomorrow. There are indications that the NCAA has banned Aero from flying for safety concerns, as the airline fired more than 600 of its staff in the past days.
Aero’s management decided to fire the airline’s complete workforce, except for its pilots and engineers. Some of the dismissed staff members are requested to re-apply to their positions under new conditions laid down by the airline, while disloyal employees will not be re-employed. The airline is also recruiting replacement personnel.
With the grounding of Aero and Dana Air, there is a huge shortage of seats on domestic routes and ticket prices have skyrocketed.
- 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.
Aero’s staff embarked upon a strike this morning, resulting in a suspension of all flight operations. The airline’s staff are worried about the appointment of a new human resource manager and a plan to outsource employees, while some workers complained about unpaid salaries and poor working conditions.
Aero’s Management apologised in a brief statement for ‘the inconvenience suffered by our highly esteemed customers due to an abrupt industrial action by our staff which has led to grounding of all our scheduled operations’. The airline said it is engaging with the unions to find a quick and amicable resolution.
Nigeria’s oldest airline is going through a turbulent time. Aero and its long-time Canadian partner CHC parted ways in 2010, shortly after which the airline’s owner, Cecilia Ibru, was arrested for financial fraud. Subsequently, Aero ran into financial difficulties and was rescued by AMCON, which acquired a 60 per cent stake in the airline in 2012. A new management took over, but apparently the airline is not yet back in calmer waters. An unfortunate decision by the new management was to scale down all online customer services; the airline no longer provides updates through its twitter and blog pages, nor does it respond to email enquiries.
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.
Aero’s first Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 (5N-BPU; ex-G-JEDO) emerged from the paint shop in Norwich. The ten year-old aircraft was previously operated by Flybe. Aero already operates a fixed-wing fleet of six B737-400s, six B737-500s and a single Dash 8-Q300.
- 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.
A couple of news bits:
- The House of Representatives insists on banning Dana Air and firing NCAA’s MD Harold Demuren, who defended the re-certification of the airline.
- The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will start scraping old airplanes that are abandoned at airports next week.
- The NCAA has expanded and revised a part of the civil aviation regulations.
- Some controversy over the acquisition of new trainer aircraft for the International Aviation College, Ilorin. It’s not clear whether the aircraft will be financed by the Federal Government of by the Kwara State Government.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria has increased the Airline Intervention Fund to give the sector a boost.
- The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has approved night flight operations at Uyo Airport. The expansion of the airport will be ready in 2015.
- The FAAN has yet another conflict with a concessionaire about a plot of land at Lagos Airport.
- Flights were delayed in the past week due to the Harmattan haze.
- Dana Air has added a fourth, early-morning flight between Lagos and Abuja on weekdays.
- The Nigerian Air Force took delivery of a Hawker 4000 (5N-FGX; ex-N466HB). The aircraft was acquired as part of the renewal of the Presidential Air Fleet; it replaces a Hawker 800 (ex-5N-AGZ; now 5N-BOO).
- Caverton Helicopter’s new Dash 6-400 Twin Otter (5N-SHE; ex-C-GUVA) is on its delivery flight from Canada to Nigeria.
- TopBrass Aviation will likely get a third Dash 8-Q300 (5N-TBA; ex-5N-BIA). The aircraft is currently stored at Maastricht, but flew in Nigeria in the past with Aero.
- Overland Airways’ second ATR 72-200 (5N-BPF; ex-F-WNUF) was spotted in Toulouse. The B737-800, reportedly, destined for Overland is still stored at Shannon.
- No date has been set for the delivery of Arik Air’s A330s.
- Kabo Air was to get a B747-400 (N135KB), an ex-Corsair aircraft, but is unable to finance the necessary maintenance checks.
- Serious complaints were made about the management and solvency of Kabo Air and MaxAir on a pilots’ forum.
- No news about the start-up airlines Azman Air, Discovery Air, and Hak Air. Discovery Air is set up by First Deepwater Discovery, of which Babatunde Babalola is the MD/CEO. Discovery Air is sourcing B737-300s.
- The B737-200F (5N-BMS) operated on Wings Aviation’s AOC belongs to the former MD of Wings, Nogie Megginson. He also intends to set up a new commercial airline called Jedidiah Air (Jed Air).
- The Nigerian Air Force is sending Alpha Jets (NAF 452 and NAF 455) and MI-35s to Mali, while a C130H and G222 are used for transporting troops.
Aero will later this month commence flight from Lagos to Sokoto via Abuja. Flights are available from 28 January 2013 onwards, and will be operated on weekdays and Sundays. Schedule:
- ABV-SKO AJ251 08:00-09:15
- SKO-ABV AJ252 10:00-11:15
The airline has suspended its Lagos-Warri-Port Harcourt NAF Base-route again.
A few updates:
- Dana Air has sent its employees on compulsory leave, since the airline’s intentions to resume services have met with political resistance.
- Med-View Airlines currently wet-leases a B737-800 (CS-TQU) from EuroAtlantic Airways.
- A second A319 (5N-FNE; ex-EI-DVU) has been painted in FirstNation Airways’ colours. The airline aims to resume commercial operations next year.
- Overland Airways has resumed its daily Abuja-Asaba service.
- Four suspects were arrested near Enugu Airport, with two boxes of fireworks in their car.
- The Aviation Investigation Bureau will soon get its own accident investigation laboratory in Abuja at a cost of US$5.5 million.
- Aero has been awarded a Best Domestic Airline of the year 2012 prize.
- The FG is planning to impose stricter rules on the operation of private, corporate and charter aircraft in Nigeria.
- Niger State has allocated N80 million for the training of ten pilots by NCAT at Zaria and Minna.
- FirstNation Airways intends to lease an A319 (5N-FND; ex-EI-DVD) from ILFC. The aircraft is being prepared for painting at Dublin.
- Allied Air Cargo, reportedly, has acquired a B734F (5N-OTT; ex-N737WF).
- NAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules (NAF 917) has been repaired and is back in service. The aircraft’s wing was hit by an Arik Air B737 on 14 July at Jos Airport.
- United Airlines has postponed the start of its five weekly B787 service to Lagos till the end of January 2013. The flights from Houston to Lagos are currently operated with a B777.
- The Federal Government has designated Kano Airport as cargo airport.
- The authorities also announced that mobile airfield lighting will soon be installed at Lagos Airport runway 18L, serving the domestic terminals.
- The House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for the dismissal of the NCAA’s DG, Harold Demuren, as well as the withdrawal of Dana Air’s AOC.
- The Federal Ministry of Aviation admits that the Nigeria’s radar and airport security systems are not functioning properly, contrary to claims made by NAMA.
- There was a minor fire incident at a construction site beside the D-wing extension of the international terminal at Lagos Airport, on 20 December 2012. On Wednesday, part of the roof of a building – most likely the E-wing of the international terminal – was blown off by a Avient Aviation MD11F taking off.
- About 300 christian pilgrims are stranded at Tel Aviv airport, as KS Travels/Empire Aviation Services failed to arrange a charter flight back to Nigeria.
- To emergency landings this week: an Overland Airways ATR42 from Ilorin to Lagos developed issues with its landing gear last Sunday, while an Aero B737 on its way from Lagos to Enugu experienced an engine failure on Tuesday.
- The governor of the Central Bank, L. Sanusi, has advised the Federal Government against the idea of floating a government-owned national airline
- It appears that the recent proliferation of charter airlines in Nigeria also resulted in many ‘paper’ airlines: Fly Jets, Ferry Aviation, and Ed Air.
Captain Akin George has resigned as Managing Director of Aero, while Obaro Ibru has been appointed as acting MD. According to the airline:
Following the commencement of a restructuring exercise initiated by the AMCON with the support of the board of Aero, the Managing Director of Aero, Capt. Akin George, has resigned. This is the beginning of a restructuring exercise that will make the airline slimmer and stronger, with the aim of making it more competitive. George has served Aero for 24 years in various capacities.
Aero owes N32 billion to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which has as a consequence obtained a majority stake in the airline. The Ibru family still has a stake in Aero as legacy shareholder.
Last month, the airline was awarded the title of Best West African Airline of the Year, 2012.
A couple of updates:
- Aero took delivery of its sixth B737-400 (5N-BPQ; ex-N605SC) this week.
- One of Dana Air’s MD83s (5N-SRI) was ferried back to Abuja, after maintenance checks in Istanbul.
- Reportedly, Arik Air will get a second A332 (5N-JID/EI-EWG; ex-Kingfisher). But the first A332, ‘The Lady of Grace’, is still stored at Bordeaux for unknown reasons, so it will take a while before the aircraft will enter service, if it ever does.
- IRS Airlines signed an agreement with Turkish Airlines to cooperate with regard to staff training and aircraft maintenance.
- The two VVIP-helicopters ordered for the Presidential Air Fleet have been identified as AW101s. It seems that the order for a Hawker 4000 has been cancelled, since the aircraft manufacture entered bankruptcy.
- Delta Air Lines celebrates five years of service to Nigeria: ‘More than 570,000 passengers have flown on Delta’s flights between Nigeria and the United States since 2007 and this year Delta has seen strong load factors of over 80%. Additionally, over the last 5 years, Delta has transported around 6,500 tons of cargo between Nigeria and the U.S., facilitating trade and commerce between the two nations.’
- EgyptAir will increase its capacity on the Cairo-Abuja route in December 2012 and January 2013, as A330-200 is to operate on selected periods instead of Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
- The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) will divide the Lagos Area Control Centre into two sectors per 17 December 2012, meaning that an additional radio frequency (120.9 MHz) will be created to relieve the heavily congested existing radio frequency (127.3 MHz). Meanwhile, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) warns that air safety is under threat due to the bad state of communication facilities.
- None of the airports in Nigeria are ICAO approved.
- Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) has announced that it achieved approved maintenance organisation (AMO) certification from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
- There is a new issue of Arik Wings out.
A few bits of news:
- An interesting read: ‘Benefits of Air Transport in Nigeria‘.
- The NCAA has directed the domestic airlines to install the AFIRS system on their aircraft within six months, meanwhile almost all airports, including runway at Lagos Airport used for domestic flights, lack functional runway lighting.
- NAMA has ordered a Beechcraft King Air 350 for its Navigational Aids Flight Inspection and Surveillance (NAFIS), as the HS 125-700 (5N-AVK) caliberation aircraft inherited from the NCAA is “too fast”.
- The House of Representatives has summoned Emirates, Asky, Turkish and Ethiopian to determine whether the Minister of Aviation denied these airlines landing rights at Kano Airport.
- From 1 December 2012, Emirates will operate its two daily Dubai-Lagos flights with B77W equipment, which means a 48 per cent increase in capacity. After replacing the current A345 on the route, the airline will offer 10.000 seats from and to Lagos every week.
- Dana Air is set to resume flights between Lagos and Abuja with two MD83s. The airline is considering the B737 and A319 as replacement aircraft.
- Aero announced it added two B737-400s to its fleet.
- Overland Airways’ B737-800 (EI-EZB; ex-OE-LNJ) will be leased from Austrian Airlines.
- Azikel Air acquired an Agusta A109S Grand (M-AZKL). It’s probably the fifth private helicopter that has been imported to Nigeria this year.
- Dangote Group acquired a Learjet 45 (N104DN).
- Kabo Air has leased a B747-400 (TF-AMY) from Air Atlanta for the remaining Hajj period.
- Regina Air is a possible new Abuja-based start-up airline.
- Air Nigeria’s AOC expired last week.
- The blog is now supported by a twitter account; double entries will be kept at a minimum.
This week’s round-up:
- Aviation in Nigeria Blog is now on twitter: twitter.com/avinngblog
- The Azikel Group has launched a charter airline called Azikel Air. The Bayelsa State-based company operates a Hawker 800XP (N500AZ; ex-N919RT), and plans to commence scheduled operations in the near future.
- A new Hawker 900XP (N638MA) is now based at Lagos. It appears to replace the Lagos-based Beechcraft B350 with the same registration. Both aircraft are operated by Midway Airlines, likely owned by Michael Ade-Ojo of Elizade Motors or Adesoye of by E.O. Adesoye Okin Holdings.
- It seems that apart from Executive Jets Services (Aliko Dangote) and Southern Air (Mike Adenuga), several other private aircraft owners in Nigeria have created charter airlines, such as Midway Airlines, AirFirst Nigeria, Gyro Air, Triax Airlines, et cetera.
- Ifeanyi Ubah has acquired an Embraer Legacy 650 according to the rumour mill. Has anyone spotted the aircraft yet?
- The Dantata family, however, has put its G550 (N169SD), which recently received a new paint job, up for sale.
- King Airline has launched a new website. The charter airline operates two Hawker 800As (5N-BMR – in new colours – and 5N-BNE).
- Taraba State has contracted OAS Helicopters to operate the EMB 145 (5N-BOZ) destined for Air Taraba. It seems the aircraft will be used for charter rather than scheduled operations to Jalingo.
- Associated Aviation have suspended all charter operations. The Learjet 45 (5N-BLW) is now operated by Hangar8.
- Overland Airways announced at the acceptance ceremony of its first ATR 72-200 that it has five more ATR 72s on order, of which one is being prepared for delivery in Toulouse. Reportedly, the airline is also expecting to lease B737-800 in order to expand its domestic operations.
- The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority will soon launch its Safety Management System Dashboard, which will enable the NCAA to monitor all Nigerian registered aircraft equipped with satellite based tracking solutions and data collection hardware.
- Airports across the country have been equipped with forty new fire trucks, but more than a 1000 firefighters are needed in the coming years.
- FAAN has concluded plans to expand the apron of the cargo terminal at Lagos Airport next year.
- The Nigerian Senate/House committee on aviation has passed several resolutions: it requested the EFCC to recover a fine of $235 million from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic for price-fixing, it advised against granting Arik Air the status of national carrier, it will investigate why Aero’s aircraft frequently have technical issues, and it ordered an investigation into why the Minister of Aviation has refused international airlines landing rights at Kano Airport and favours the southern regions of the country over the northern. The Minister has denied the last two allegations in a response; in fact, Turkish Airlines have been granted permission to operate into Kano.
- Dana Air has given an update on the measures it took to obtain a new AOC.
- Chanchangi Airlines is planning to make a re-start, as one of its B737-300s (5N-BMB) returned from maintenance in South Africa today. More details to follow soon.
- The Federal Government is still planning to create a pool of thirty aircraft for the domestic airlines before the end of the year, but it’s not realistic to expect the national carrier to be launched this year. Reportedly, the approached foreign carriers declined to enter into a deal with the Federal Government.
- A Reuters reporter wrote a background article on the financial problems in the Nigerian aviation industry. It’s worth reading although nothing new is in it.
Aero has resumed flight operations from Lagos to Warri (twice daily) and from Lagos to Port Harcourt NAF Base (thrice weekly) as well as between Warri and Port Harcourt NAF Base (daily). Click here for the airline’s full schedule, all flights are operated with a Dash 8-Q300. Aero is the only airline to serve Port Harcourt NAF Base at the moment.
Aero has recently suspended its Abuja-Enugu service, but still flies from the capital to Owerri, Port Harcourt and Uyo.