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.
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.
- Dominion Air, which became a charter operator in March 2012, still has no website, although it seems the airline is fully operational. Often spotted at the Dominion Aviation Hangar at Lagos airport are a Challenger 600 (N664D) in new colours and registered to World Mission Agency, as well as a B1900D (5N-WCI; ex-5N-PTL).
- Is Gyro Air, another Lagos-based charter operator, still active? The airline’s website went off-line recently.
- So far, no more information is available about the four ERJ145s, which would be leased by Associated Aviation this month.
- Nigeria suspended all Haji flights, as Saudi Arabia refused entrance to female pilgrims travelling without male guardians.
- The Federal Government has again expressed the intention to financially assist existing airlines to lease newer aircraft and confirmed that a new national airline will be floated before the end of the year in partnership with a major European carrier.
- The Kano State Government has requested the Federal Government to grant Turkish Airlines access to Kano Airport.
- After a report that the number of private aircraft in Nigeria skyrocketed in the past years, the NCAA claimed that there are only ten private jets on the Nigerian register. However, this number doesn’t seem to include the locally registered jets of corporations and charter operators.
- Fly540 failed to commence flights between Accra and Lagos on 24 September 2012.
- RwandAir will introduce its new CRJ900 on the Kigali-Lagos route in October 2012, but the service will be five-weekly rather than daily.
- Air Côte d’Ivoire, which will launch operations in November 2012, plans to serve Lagos from Abidjan. There are no direct flights between the two cities since the demise of Air Nigeria.
Associated Aviation announced that it will replace its four EMB120s turbo props with four EMB145s in the coming months. The airline already operates one 50-seat Embraer 145 (5N-BJM), leased from Bauchi State. Associated’s current fleet is not fully operational, according to the airline’s Managing Director, Mrs Cordelia Ekwueme, as two aircraft are abroad for maintenance checks. Associated usually operates thinner domestic routes from Abuja and Lagos to Akure, Benin, Gombe, Ibadan and Sokoto. It plans to add Asaba in the near future. The airline also operates two B727Fs and a couple of business jets. Reportedly, Associated Aviation was acquired by TaK Group in 2011.
- Air Nigeria will use an A330-200 (24/244 configuration) for its three weekly service to London Gatwick and Johannesburg in May. Service to London will become daily in June after the arrival of a second aircraft. The schedules are now available and flights can be booked online.
- CAPA made an analysis of the available seats from Lagos to London and Johannesburg.
- Maintenance Centre Malta now offers EASA line maintenance capabilities for Bombardier, Dornier, and Cessna products at Lagos Airport with its partner Evergreen Apple (EAN).
- AeroMechanical Services has signed a contract with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to provide a Safety Management System Dashboard.The SMS Dashboard will expand the current tracking and real-time alerts for the NCAA to monitor all Nigerian registered aircraft equipped with satellite based tracking solutions and data collection hardware.
- Benin Airport recorded 348,906 passengers in 2010 and 323,545 passengers in 2011. The number of aircraft movements also fell from 7,081 to 6,791 in this period, after Air Nigeria cancelled its flights to Benin and Associated Aviation and Aero decreased their frequencies.
- British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were questioned by the Nigerian House of Representatives about the ‘regional price disparity‘ and alleged tax evasion. The Punch had an excellent commentary on the ‘Controversy over foreign airlines’ excessive charges‘.
- The Airlines Operators of Nigeria have asked the Federal Government to investigate how aviation agencies spent their Internally Generated Revenue. They argue that the various airport taxes being charged at the local and international airports are not justifiable and that the charges are high compared to the services the agencies are offering.
- The Saab 340 (N340SS) previously operated for Fresh Air and Overland Airways is now stored at Rand Airport.
- Enugu Airport is currently closed for reparation works.
- Arik Air will suspend its Abuja-London service again per 25 March. Apparently the slot issue at London Heathrow has not been resolved.
- Arik Air has ferried one of its CRJ900 aircraft (5N-JEC) to Arkansas for maintenance recently.
- SkyBird Air will soon take delivery of its first Dornier 328Jet (5N-BMH).
- DANA will also accept a new Dornier 328 aircraft (5N-DOW / ex-D-CASI) soon, after selling some of its aircraft last year.
- Air Taraba’s EMB145 has received its livery (without titles yet) at Bournemouth; the aircraft will be registered 5N-BOZ.
- A police helicopter (a Bell 427 that joined the fleet last year; 5N-POL) crashed near Jos on 14 March. The Airwing of the Nigerian Police also acquired a Cessna Citation XLS (5N-HAR) new last year.
- Shell has given Caverton Helicopters a loan of $85 million to upgrade its fleet with six AW139s. Caverton will from next month expand its operations to Cameroon, signing a five-year contract with the Cameroon Oil Transportation Company.
- Air France will resume flights from Lagos to Abuja from June 2012. It will be the airline’s third destination in Nigeria.
- Enugu Airport will be closed for traffic for three weeks from 18 March (now postponed to April), to enable the installation of runway lighting.
- Bauchi Airport has re-opened after a year of renovation works.
- Kano State Government has appealed to KLM to shelve plans to suspend operations at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport.
- FirstNation Airways have commenced a daily Abuja-Port Harcourt service from 14 March.
- Allied Air Cargo continues to lease two MD11Fs from World Airways along its own four B727Fs.
- Associated Aviation still operates an ERJ-145 (5N-BJM) leased from the Bauchi State government.
- MaxAir has acquired a Embraer Legacy 600 (M-ANGA) for its charter operations. The airline also operates a Learjet 45 (5N-LDM).
This is the last update to be posted on this blog.
- Arik Air lost the impounded A330-200 (5N-EIA) for good. The owner, Amentum Capital, is offering the aircraft for lease again.
- Arik Air formally withdrew the B737-300s (5N-MJA/MJB) from its fleet. One of the B737-700s (5N-MJF) is also taped up and stored at Norwich. A Dash 8-Q400 is currently at Maastricht for maintenance.
- This is the design for the proposed Arik Air Aviation Centre, Lagos. It is unlikely that the terminal/hangar will be built soon, as Arik Air is in financial dire straits and because of the ongoing struggle over the ownership of the GA Terminal at Lagos Airport. Click here for more information and images on the Neumann website.
- Arik Air got approval from the US authorities to start services to Houston. The airline announced an non-stop Houston-Lagos route on its Facebook page. The new routing of its US flight will probably become LOS-JFK-IAH-LOS.
- Air Nigeria will lease a seventeen year old B737-400 from ILFC. The aircraft (5N-VNM), still stored at Istanbul, has slightly smaller titles than the other Air Nigeria aircraft. One of Air Nigeria’s B733s (5N-VNC) has been stored at Shannon for months.
- FirstNation Airways took delivery of three A320s (5N-FNA/5N-FNB/5N-FNC), which are now stored at Lagos Airport. The successor of Bellview Airlines aims to start scheduled services this month between Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. However, the airline might be forced to delay the start of its operations, because it still has to obtain an AOC and its aircraft may be grounded for outstanding debts from Bellview Airlines era.
- This is the first picture of the G550 (5N-FGW) that will soon join the Presidential Air Fleet of the NAF. A second Dassault Falcon 7X (5N-FGV) will follow later this year.
- One of DANA’s Do328s (5N-IEP) was spotted in Bournemouth with an all-white livery.
- This is an election promise made by the governor of Imo State: a new Owerri Airport. The State Government financed the failed Air Midwest project in the past.
- Hangar8, a UK charter company, opened a fixed-base operation (FBO) in Lagos and Abuja.
- The NCAA has inspected all classic B737s in Nigeria. Initially, the B737-300 freighter (5N-BMA) of Axiom Air, operated on Skypower Express’ AOC, was grounded.
- An untitled Nigerian registered B727 freighter (5N-BNQ) was spotted in Poland, probably to pick up election material. The aircraft, registered 5N-BNQ, is owned by Millennium Travel & Tours Ltd, but was operated under Associated Aviation flight code.
- A Hawker 800XP was registered 5N-BNM in Lanseria and is operated by SkyJet Aviation (Barbedos Group).
- Chanchangi Airlines announced that its B737-300s (5N-BMB/BMC) are undergoing heavy maintenance in Belgrade and Johannesburg and may return into service soon. The airline now operates two B733s wet-leased from Jordan Aviation.
- The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority officially commissioned the new Flight Tracking Operations Command Centre in Lagos last month.
- The Federal Government plans to build a new domestic terminal at Abuja.
- IRS Airlines hopes to add more F100s to its fleet this year.
- SkyBird Air took delivery of its first Dornier 328DBJ in February 2011.
- One of the NAF G222s carrying election material made a hard landing at Abuja Airport on Friday, 8 April 2011. Meanwhile, a Mi35 helicopter also deployed for the election made an emergency landing in Bayelsa State.
- The Nigerian Air Force inaugurated two Augusta A109 helicopters at the 305 Flying Training School in Enugu. The helicopters are meant for the training of military and civilian pilots.
- The Nigerian Air Force announced it will organise an Air Expo in 2012.
A few short updates:
- Aero has postponed plans to operate commercial flights from its Lagos private terminal, after protests from Bi-Courtney, the owner of MMA2.
- Air Nigeria will commence flights from Lagos to Kano via Abuja on 2 November 2010.
- The Nigerian Police took delivery of a new Bell 412 helicopter (5N-LEH) this week. It also operates 5N-KSH.
- The Bauchi State Embraer 145 (5N-BJM) is now leased to Associated Aviation.
- Biman Bangladesh was barred by its government from leasing a 26-year-old B742 from Kabo Air for the Hajj flights.
- A Gabon based airline called RegionAir now offers flights from Port Harcourt to Douala, Port Gentil, Pointe Noire and Luanda. The airline intends to add Calabar and Malabo to its network shortly.
- Reportedly, permission was granted to Asky Airlines to start flights from/to Lagos per 31 October 2010.
There are reports that Makurdi Airport will be opened for civil operations. The military will soon conclude an agreement with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). This news is confusing though, as Sosoliso Airlines operated flights to Makurdi in the recent past and Associated Aviation currently does.
Associated Aviation is on the brink of collapse. Its owner Tunde Oremule sold the airline to new investors led by the Ayeni brothers, but repossessed the airline a few months later after the new investors failed to mee their financial obligations. Oremule put some of his aircraft on sale in September to pay the airline’s staff and repay his loans to various banks.
Associated operates four EMB-120s, two B727s and a couple of bizjets. According to its website, the airline operates flights to Abuja, Benin Calabar, Ibadan, Lagos, and Markudi.