- The Senate has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to recover a loan of N35.5 billion from Jimoh Ibrahim. The sum came from the Aviation Intervention Fund and was intended for Air Nigeria.
- The Senate again asked the Federal Government to revoke Dana Air’s AOC and to fire the DG of the NCAA for negligence of duty.
- A few images of the clearing of stored aircraft at Lagos Airport. A DHL B727F and NICON Airways B727 are the first aircraft to be dismantled.
- FAAN announced that it will construct twelve cargo terminals across the country to boost the export of perishable goods.
- FAAN has accepted six refurbished fire tenders. Jalingo Airport is currently the only airport in Nigeria without a fire tender.
- Runway lighting will be installed at Enugu, Yola and Owerri, and these airports will be open for night operations from 24 March 2013 onwards.
- The promised duty waiver on aircraft and aircraft parts is yet to be implemented by the Federal Government.
- Ticket prices have dropped on domestic routes in the recent weeks, because of increased supply.
- Arik Air quit its Abuja-Katsina route.
- Arik Air issued a RFP to finance four Bombardier jets.
- ExecuJet Nigeria in Lagos has been named a Line Maintenance Facility (LMF) for Bombardier business jets.
- VistaJet asked the support of the Federal Government to expand its activities in Nigeria. Apparently, the charter airline currently operates on the AOC of SkyPower Express.
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.
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
Air Nigeria suspended all its operations today. According to some reports, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is considering to take over Air Nigeria’s debts and to merge the airline with Aero. AMCON was already approached by United Bank for Africa to take over Air Nigeria’s non-performing loans estimated to exceed N35 billion. UBA owns the two E190s operated by Air Nigeria. Another, rather unlikely, scenario is that the airline will be sold to new investors for a sum of $200 million.
Air Nigeria will cease all operations after 10 September 2012. The decision was taken, according to the management, because of staff disloyalty and environmental tension, ‘which are not conducive for business in the aviation sector’. All but 50 employees were fired by the chairman of the Air Nigeria, who expressed the intention to relaunch the airline next year.
Air Nigeria was founded in 2004 as Virgin Nigeria. The airline was renamed Nigerian Eagle Airlines in 2009, after Virgin withdrew itself from the partnership. Jimoh Ibrahim acquired the airline in 2010 and rebranded it Air Nigeria. The airline was grounded in June 2012 due to financial mismanagement, after which it lost most of its B737 fleet. Air Nigeria continued to serve the Lagos-London Gatwick route four times a week, operating the route with a wet-lease EgyptAir A330. The airline advises passengers to contact the agents from whom they have purchased tickets for a refund.
Ethiopian Airlines first B787-8 Dreamliner touched down at Lagos Airport yesterday as part of its African introduction tour. The aircraft will also operate today’s return flight between Addis Ababa and Lagos and tomorrow’s return flight between Addis Ababa and Abuja.
Earlier this week, United Airlines announced that it will operate its five-weekly Houston-Lagos service with a B787 per 7 January 2012.
Arik Air has seven B787-9s on order from Boeing, but it will take a couple of years before they will be built. Some months ago, Air Nigeria announced it would purchase four B787-8s, but it’s highly unlikely that the airline will realise this acquisition.
A couple of short updates:
- Nigeria and India are planning to renegotiate their bilateral air service agreement, while Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago may also enter into a BASA.
- Air Algerie wants to start flights from Algiers to Lagos.
- Bombardier as well as Boeing are considering to help Nigeria develop a MRO facility.
- Air Nigeria’s repossessed B737s have been flown out of Lagos.
- The Imo State Government intends to build a new airport terminal at Owerri Airport through a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) agreement.
- Taraba State is planning to build an airstrip on the Mambilla plateau. It would be the second airstrip to be constructed by the State Governor, who also has an airstrip in his home village of Suntai. The state capital’s Jalingo Airport, however, is not yet operational for commercial flights nor has Air Taraba taken of yet.
- The presentation given by the SG of the NCAA at the International Helicopter Safety Symposium 2011.
- Does anyone know more about Private Flyers International? It’s a private flying club, based at Kaduna, operating a fleet consisting of a Cessna 172, a Cessna 206, a Piper PA-23 Aztec (5N-BKE), a Jabiru 430, and a Cessna Caravan.
- The airlines are expected to raise their domestic air fares.
- The Minister of Aviation wants to invite foreign companies to audit the domestic airlines. Experts complain that the Ministry is neglecting the air safety projects.
- FAAN has announced that it will remove 65 unserviceable aircraft from various airports in the country.
- Aero finally took delivery of its fourth B737-400 (5N-BOB).
- Earlier, it was reported that Aero acquired four B737-400s from Garuda, but these aircraft now seem to be destined for a company called Hak Air. Is Capt. Adekunle Kuti reviving his old charter airline Hak Air? Or is he setting up a national carrier for Niger Republic?
- Arik Air will soon receive an ex-Kingfisher Airlines A330-200 (EI-EWH; 5N-)
- One of DANA’s Dornier 328s (5N-DOW) was flown to Bournemouth, likely for maintenance or sale.
- It seems that SkyBird Air will finally accept its first Do 328Jet on 14 August 2012.
- An interesting interview with Akin Oni, Managing Director at Bristow Helicopters, about the Nigerian Content Act, training of aviation personnel, import duties on aircraft, and other challenges in the aviation industry.
We are talking about a maintenance hangar for Nigeria, has anyone asked where we would get the engineers from? We are struggling today looking for Nigerian engineers. We don’t have engineers.
- The Minister of Aviation launched her Nigeria Aerotropolis-programme aiming at a transformation of the Nigerian aviation industry. See for more information: www.nigeriaaerotropolis.com.
- How far is the FG’s plan for a new national carrier – Nigeria Airlines – developed?
- According to the Wall Street Journal, Air Nigeria hopes to restart its operations by obtaining loans to finance the eight Embraer jets the airline still has on order. The Federal Government might be willing to help the airline, but wants a merger between Arik Air and Air Nigeria.
Nigeria’s government may offer the company another “substantial” low-interest rate loan, said aviation ministry spokesman Joe Obi. But it is also pushing Air Nigeria and Arik Air to merge — a prospect neither airline has embraced. “We are talking to them, but you know it’s like a marriage, and you cannot force a marriage,” said Mr. Obi. “It’s an ego thing. Somebody wants to say, I own this airline… That is the major problem.”
A couple of short updates:
- Are the following aviation companies really existing: Pete Ground Services, Lewis Cooper Aviation, Easy Jet Integrated Services, Ideal Aviation Support Services, AirFirst Nigeria, Mainstream Aviation Services, Omni Air, Iolair Nigeria, Skyrouting Aviation Services, Sublime Aviation and eliteJets?
- An interesting cable with information on the original financing of Arik Air via Wikileaks.
- Air Nigeria has been suspended from IATA Clearing House.
- Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad grow in sub-Saharan Africa, while European carriers make changes within their African networks.
- Last week’s report on the Dana Air crash has been critically received by the media and aviation experts.
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).
- 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.
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.
A couple of updates:
- Air Nigeria will not commence its new route to Johannesburg tomorrow. The embattled airline has difficulty to honour its agreement with EgyptAir, which would provide a second A330-200 for the route. The aircraft (SU-GCJ) is still parked at Cairo. Earlier this week, Air Nigeria fired twelve pilots and engineers who were involved in the strike action of three weeks ago. If Air Nigeria doesn’t return back into the skies soon, it may well be the end of the road for the airline. With the exposed mismanagement and lack of political support, it’s difficult to see a way back for the airline.
- Apparently, Arik Air had to do some overdue maintenance on its CRJ900 fleet. 5N-JEA, -JEB, -JEC and -JED were all flown to Cologne for maintenance by Lufthansa Technik this month.
- A good report on the efforts of the Federal Government to get back control over Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2.
- Nasarawa State is also planning a cargo airport in Karu near Abuja; the State earlier began work on a passenger airport near Lafia.
- Two aviation associations worth mentioning: APWEN and Women in Aviation – Nigeria Chapter.
- Enough is Enough started a website called AirWatchNigeria, where air travellers can record their experiences in the Nigerian aviation sector.
Air Nigeria has reduced its frequency on the Lagos-London Gatwick route from daily to four-weekly. Outbound flights are now on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The airline will soon accept a second wet-leased A330-200 (SU-GCJ) from EgyptAir; the aircraft is already painted in Air Nigeria colours. Air Nigeria is planning to commence flights to Johannesburg on 1 July 2012.
The airline’s domestic and regional operations are still suspended due to a financial audit by the aviation authorities. Local newspaper reports suggest that GECAS considers repossessing five B737-300s, which it leased to Air Nigeria at a monthly rate of $120000.
Air Nigeria’s flight operations are suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the second time in two weeks time. Last week the airline was grounded for safety inspections after a strike action. Today, the NCAA decided to ground the airline with immediate effect over indications that the airline is in financial distress. Air Nigeria’s Managing Director was arrested last Monday by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over the airline’s failure to pay taxes amounting to N4.86 billion over five years and for forging a Tax Clearance Certificate. Air Nigeria’s chairman, Jimoh Ibrahim, is also accused of misusing money from the Aviation Intervention Fund to support his other businesses.
Air Nigeria operates eleven aircraft and operates mainly domestic and regional flights from Lagos. It’s the third airline to shut down this month: Dana Air was grounded after a crash of one of its aircraft and FirstNation Airways had to stop all its operations as its whole fleet requires mandatory maintenance checks.
More bad news for Air Nigeria: its Managing Director, Knife Kahssaye, was arrested by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), as the airline is accused of not remitting taxes worth N4,8 billion.
The arrest was as a result of the tax enforcement drive by the Debt Enforcement and Special Prosecution Unit (DESPU) of the Service aimed at recovering arrears of taxes due to government from Withholding Tax (WHT) and Value Added Tax (VAT). Air Nigeria was also accused of failure to file its annual tax returns for 2011 as and when due, while the one for 2012 is still pending.
Air Nigeria agrees that it has outstanding tax liabilities to pay, but pleads for time to settle them. The airline released a statement denouncing the ‘military approach’ of FIRS, and it sees the invasion as part of a conspiracy:
It should be noted that since the commencement of international operations on the Lagos – London route, Air Nigeria has become the object of an orchestrated attacks that show clearly that this is a case of the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau. In following the external influence, local staff of the airline went on strike in May for May salary which the management has resolved amicably. As the airline was coming out of that, the news of it being grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) infiltrated town. Again, as the airline was coming out of this with a clean bill of health, barely two days after, the airline is yet invaded in a military manner. We suspect that one other line of action will be coming in the coming week to further attempt to damage us in the public eye; but we assure the instigator of such uncivilized approach that Air Nigeria will not compromise its corporate values and development strategy.
On another note, Air Nigeria has selected IFE Services as its in-flight entertainment (IFE) provider:
The agreement covers the provision of entertainment content across the airline’s fleet of A330s. Passengers in business class will be offered a complimentary iPad 3 on which to enjoy Nigerian, classic and latest release Hollywood movies as well as a broad selection of comedy, lifestyle, drama and kids TV shows. Air Nigeria is the first African carrier to offer the iPad 3 to passengers as an in-flight entertainment solution. In economy class, passengers can enjoy latest release Hollywood movies and a selection of TV shows on the airplanes’ digital mainscreen systems. IFE Services is also producing a new animated safety film for the airline.
A few updates:
- There is no new information on the Dana Air crash. According to a report, the crew requested to land on runway 18R rather than 18L about 20 minutes prior to the accident, meaning that a technical problem may have developed earlier during the flight.
- Dana Air hopes to resume operations as soon as it is cleared by the authorities.
- Air Nigeria’s regional and domestic operations were grounded for more than a week. After a strike by pilots and engineers, the NCAA decided to audit the airline’s fleet. Air Nigeria resumed operations on Thursday, 14 June 2012, although a couple of aircraft is abroad for maintenance checks.
- Air Nigeria postponed its Lagos-Johannesburg service until 1 July 2012. The second wet-leased A330 is yet to join the fleet. The Federal Government also approved Air Nigeria’s request to commence flights to Paris and Rome later this year.
- The NY Times published an article on air travel in Nigeria.
- Overland Airways’ ATR42 (5N-BCS) returned from France after overhaul.
- An Abuja Court of Appeal has ruled that the Federal Government cannot take control of the domestic terminal at Lagos Airport (MMA2).
- Three new business jets are based in Nigeria: a Falcon 2000LX (M-DARA), registered to Trident Investment but presumably operated for the Dangote Group or the Chagoury Group (the Chagoury brothers have a Falcon 7X (VP-BGG)), a G450 (N224BH) based at Abuja (may belong to Quantum Capital); and a EMB 135 (N357TE) operated for BUA Group.
- The Nigerian Air Force has completed the Helicopter Flying School in Enugu, which will be inaugurated in July 2012.
- The Oyo State Governor has revealed plans to transform Ibadan Airport into a cargo airport.
After six days, Air Nigeria has confirmed that its domestic and regional operations are being disrupted by an ongoing strike action by pilots and engineers. According to the airline’s management:
It is (…) illegal and criminal for NAAPE to allow itself to be used by competitors, who are envious of the giant steps already taken by Air Nigeria and Management is already working on a policy that will put a permanent stop to this cheap blackmail.
Air Nigeria’s flights to London are not affected by the strike and operate as normal.
- NAAPE has suspended the strike according to Air Nigeria. However, the airline remains grounded by the NCAA, whose officials will audit Air Nigeria before it can resume operations.
- On another note, the airline has postponed its inaugural flight from Lagos to Johannesburg from 17 June to 1 July 2012.
- Air Nigeria’s pilots and engineers are on strike since Friday, 1 June. The employees are aggrieved over ‘delayed [payment of] salaries of both local and foreign staff, pension deduction not remitted for over seven months, tax refund and tax clearance issues, co-operative deductions not yet remitted, staff travel unresolved and engineering tier system still pending’. The strike disrupted the airline’s domestic and regional operations.
- Aero resumed flights from Abuja and Lagos to Enugu (schedule).
- The US has donated a set of body scanners to Lagos Airport.
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.