- 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.
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.
The Federal Government has concluded the arrangements with Chinese investors and construction companies for the construction of five new passenger terminals and six new cargo terminals. The deal is part of the second phase of the Aviation Road Map of the Ministry of Aviation. New international terminals as well as cargo terminals will be built at Abuja, Enugu, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt, while Asaba is the sixth airport to get a cargo terminal. Work on the new terminals will commence in December 2012 and should be completed within nineteen months.
Jos Airport has also been designated as a cargo airport by the Federal Government. The airport is currently being refurbished as part of the first phase of the airport remodelling exercise.
Meanwhile, travellers are complaining about the new GA terminal at Lagos Airport. The terminal was inaugurated before being completed and delivered by the contractor, ArchiVisual Solutions. For example, the air conditioning and conveyor belts are not yet functional.
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.
The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, announced that the Federal Government has approved a sum of N106 billion for the construction of eleven new airport terminals. Five new international terminals will be build at Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Kano and Port Harcourt, while six new cargo terminals will be erected at the same airports as well as at Asaba. The new terminals are part of the second phase of the aviation road map, and follows the current remodelling process of several domestic airport terminals.
The minister said that the first phase of the remodeling and construction of 11 airports would be completed in the next 90 days, while the contract for the second phase of another 11 airports would take two years before completion. She explained that the projects were to be executed with a concessionary loan from China Nexim Bank in 22 years with 5 years moratorium at an interest rate of 2 per cent. Oduah added that mobilisation to site by the contractors was expected to commence in the next 90 days.
Meanwhile, the governor of Nasarawa State confirmed his plan to construct two new airports:
He said that the State Government would build a cargo airport in Karshi in the Karu Local Government Area of the state and an aerodrome in Lafia, the capital of the state. Al-Makura explained that the cargo airport would serve as the second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.
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.
Arik Air has increased its number of weekly flights to Gombe and Asaba. Gombe Airport is now served from Abuja on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, while Asaba Airport is served daily from Abuja and Lagos.
Large aircraft can still not land safely at Asaba Airport, despite the fact that Delta State awarded a N7.4 billion project to demolish the hills surrounding the runway. This means that the Nigerian president cannot use his BBJ (NAF 001) to visit the state this week. The hill demolition project has been criticised from various quarters:
“From the outset, that airport has been a problem in terms of funding…. It started with N12 billion to N17 billion to N24 billion. As I am talking to you now, over N40 billion has gone into that airport. (…) Now the issues that are there is that the viability of the airport is still under contention…. Talking about whether there are rocks or hills around the airport requires a lot of experts to determine. Flights have been coming and going out of the airport but the issue of hills disturbing flight did not come up until at a time the President is coming, that means the project is meant to satisfy the president. We are talking about N7.4 billion even when there are countries in the West African sub-region like Gambia, Sierra-Leone and Liberia that the GNP (Gross National Product) in a year within that range they are talking about. So, why should a state government earmark N7.4 billion to demolish a hill? Which hill and what is in that hill? You said you were at the airport, did you see any hill? I think that amount is outrageous.”
Asaba Airport still has to pass an airport safety certification process.
Update: clarification from the State Governor.
- The Nigerian Air Force inaugurated a helicopter maintenance hangar for its fleet at Lagos Airport.
- Nigeria has successfully concluded a pilot project to change to satellite based navigation system.
- A ring road and an additional car park will be constructed at Abuja Airport.
- Akwa Ibom State Government has awarded a contract worth about N12 billion for the construction of a taxiway at Uyo Airport.
- Delta State Government has approved a N7.4 billion contract for the demolition of hills surrounding Asaba Airport to allow for bigger aircraft to land. The airport has still to pass the necessary safety audits.
- Kebbi State Government has disclosed that it will upgrade the Ambursa Airstrip to an international airport.
- Nasarawa State approved a N1 billion budget to carry forward with plans to build an cargo airport at Kwandere, near the state capital Lafia.
- A nice report on the numerous unused state airports in Nigeria can be found here, but it seems that Zamfara State and Ogun State abandoned plans to construct cargo airports.
- The Nigerian-owned Challenger 300 (ex 3B-SSD) has been repainted and is now registered VQ-BMJ. Officially, the aircraft is owned by Churchill Finance Services, but it was put up for sale in 2012.
- Air Nigeria signed a deal with EgyptAir to train its A330 crews, so it seems the airline is still planning to introduce two A330-200s to its fleet this year.
- The January 2012 Nigeria Aviation Fact Sheet of the US Embassy in Nigeria.
- The NCAA has published its Passengers’s Bill of Rights aimed at protecting airline customers in Nigeria.
- Reportedly, Prince Arthur Ikpechukwu Eze acquired a second GIV (M-PZPZ); he already owns 5N-PZE.
The first aircraft ever landed at Asaba Airport on 23 March 2011. Overland Airways’ ATR42 (5N-BND) was chartered by the Delta State Government for the flight and carried the governor and other state officials. The visit to the airport was an election stunt. The airport terminal building is still far from complete and it will take at least a couple of months before commercial operations can commence at Asaba Airport.
The opening of Asaba Airport is further delayed and the airport in Delta State will not open its doors in 2010. A test flight was made at the airport in mid-November, but the project is now more than a year behind schedule and beset with negative news reports. A protest of sub-contractors over non-payment by the main contractor ULO Constructions turned violent in October for instance. It is also worrisome that the projected cost of the airport is suddenly raised from N7 Billion to N40 Billion by the State Government and the contractor.
A few updates:
- Arik Air silently accepted a new A330-200 (5N-EIA) this week, but the introduction of the aircraft on the LOS-JNB route is delayed till June 7.
- Virgin Nigeria/Nigerian Eagle Airlines will increase its daily number of flights between Lagos to Abuja from four to seven, effective June 14. One of its three B733s (5N-VND) was ferried to Shannon, perhaps for a new coat of paint.
- Shell Nigeria signed a $630 million aviation logistics deal with Caverton Helicopters, partly because of the new Nigerian Content Development Act. Caverton and its technical partner DanCopter from Denmark will replace Bristow Helicopters.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria extended a N500 billion fund meant to stimulate credit to the power and manufacturing sectors to support the aviation industry. Airlines can now partake from the fund and those that are indebted to banks can refinance their loans and amortise them over a period of ten to fifteen years.
- Delta Air Lines will commence its seasonal direct Abuja – New York JFK service on the 3rd of June, substituting the flights via Dakar. The three weekly flights will be operated with a B763. This means direct competition for Arik Air’s three weekly Lagos – New York JFK service.
- Delta Air Lines and Virgin Nigeria are still working on a codeshare agreement.
- The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is set to award a contract for the expansion of both the arrival and departure halls of Benin Airport.
- The opening of the new Asaba Airport is delayed till December 2010.
The new Asaba Airport will open its doors for commercial operations in May 2010, according to the deputy governor of Delta State.
The construction of a second runway at Abuja Airport has been halted by the House of Representatives, after complaints about the way the contract was awarded to Julius Berger and the contract cost of N63 billion.
The Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) requested the Federal Government to construct a second runway at Enugu Airport rather than to close the whole airport for a year in order to renovate the old runway.
Just a few minor reports:
Chanchangi Airlines reduced its daily flights between Lagos and Abuja from five to three. The schedule on their website has not been updated however. Reportedly, the airline has serious financial problems.
Bellview Airlines has postponed the re-start of its Lagos-London service to 1 March, 2010. Again, the airline has sold tickets without being able to provide any flights.
An EMB-170 (PT-TQE) destined for Nigerian Eagle Airlines as 5N-VNJ has been ferried from Brazil to Casablanca. It’s unlikely Nigerian Eagle Airlines will take delivery of the aircraft though, as it wil reportedly be leased to Gulf Air.
Nigerian Eagle Airlines introduced special onboard envelopes on flights across its route network this week to raise funds to support the ongoing humanitarian and rescue activities in Haiti.
The governor of Gombe State announced that a second airline will start daily services to Gombe Airport this year. Arik Air currently has a four weekly service from Abuja to Gombe.
The World Bank financed ten fire trucks for Port Harcourt Airport, but overall the Nigerian agencies are slow in implementing other aviation infrastructure projects.
The new Asaba Airport, Delta State, will be ready for operations in April 2010.
Jos Airport was closed this week due to civil unrest. Aero, Arik Air and Overland Airways cancelled their flights to the airport.
While the Federal Government aims at privatising the airports under FAAN management, several state governments are currently building their own airports. Here is a list of state airports currently under construction or proposed in Nigeria:
- Akwa Ibom Airport, Uyo: partly completed
- Anambra State Airport, Umueri: proposed
- Bayelsa Airport, Yenagoa: proposed
- Asaba Airport, Delta State: under construction
- Ekiti State Airport: proposed
- Lagos State, Lekki International Airport: proposed
- Minna Cargo Airport, Niger State, reconstruction proposed
- Ogun State Cargo Airport: proposed
- Osun State Airport, Ido-Osun, under construction
- Jalingo Airport, Taraba State, under construction
- Zamfara Cargo Airport, Gusau: proposed
Time will tell whether all proposed airports will be built eventually. However, a national master plan should be developed to ensure the economic viability of the existing and new airports. Building an airport seems to be one of the most popular prestige projects a Nigerian state governor can think of nowadays.
The Federal Government plans to privatize the four major Nigerian airports together with the surrounding minor airports.
Update: Apparently none of the aircraft was removed.
The new Asaba Airport, Delta State, will not be completed before the end of the year as was planned.
The Federal Government approved the construction of a new cargo airport at Umuleri by the Anambra State government.
It is unlikely that the plan will be ever put into effect. The state has already abandoned the airport that was being constructed at Oba a few years ago. Secondly, Asaba airport – just a few kilometres away over the river Niger – will open its doors next year.