Atlantic Aviation has been issued an air-operating certificate (AOC). Twin engine medium aircraft (Sikorsky S76C+ helicopters) are already in country, soon to be followed by several of the Agusta Westland AW139 helicopters. With this fleet of medium-lift helicopters, Atlantic Aviation is able to serve all of the offshore operators in Nigeria with more than sufficient range to access even deepwater rigs and installations. Atlantic Aviation has already established a permanent base on Snake Island. Atlantic Aviation is currently developing an operational hub in Port Harcourt.
CHC Helicopter was already active in Nigeria, but terminated its partnership with Aero Contractors in 2010.
This week’s round-up:
- Med-View Airline will commence domestic operations next month, as the airline was granted an AOC by the NCAA.
- CHC Nigeria has received an AOC too. The international company will serve the oil and gas industry in partnership with Jagal. CHC was already active on the Nigerian market, but their contract with Aero was terminated in 2010.
- MCM, Maintenance Centre Malta, has received approved maintenance organization (AMO) for their line and base maintenance facility in Malta from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
- The new domestic GAT Terminal at Lagos Airport will be opened on Monday, according to the Minister of Aviation. Arik Air and Overland Airways are the main carriers using the GAT Terminal, while Aero and IRS Airlines are operating from MMA Terminal 2.
- The Minister of Aviation also announced that the Federal Government will create a ‘pool of aircraft’, which can then be ‘hired’ by the domestic airlines.
- The Federal Government will purchase two more VIP helicopters for the Presidential Air Fleet in 2013. The president already has to VIP AW139s (NAF540 and NAF541) at his disposal. To accommodate the growing fleet, a new hangar will be built at Abuja Airport.
- The employees of Uyo Airport blocked access road to the airport on Friday, 19 October, protesting their labour conditions. All flights were cancelled.
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.
After ending its partnership with Aero Contractors in 2010, CHC Helicopters has now teamed up with the Lagos-based Jagal Group – a Lebanese-owned industrial conglomerate – to provide helicopter services in Nigeria. In 2011 CHC reported:
We’ve had our challenges in Nigeria in recent years. Last year we started reducing our fleet size in that country as part of our transition plan to reestablish a strong and sustainable presence there. (…) First we have signed an agreement with our existing local partner. Both parties agreed on a transition phase to exit our relationship in an orderly fashion. (…) Second, we have active discussions with another local operator on opportunities to put some of those aircrafts back to work. And lastly, we’ll work on identifying long-term partners and a new structure in Nigeria for CHC to operate successfully and profitably over the long term. It’ll take us some time to go through this transition, and we continue to – we’ll continue to update you on our progress. Overall though, we’re very excited about the potential in Nigeria and the impact it will have on our business.
Aero (Aero Contractors) announced that it has reached agreement to restructure its loans of about N33 billion ($220 million) with Oceanic Bank. The airline is now completely in hands of the Ibru Group as CHC Helicopter Corporation (CHC) ceded its 40% stake in the airline to the Ibru family. Aero and CHC will continue their technical relationship and concluded a new ten-year agreement.
- The CEO of Air Nigeria, Kinfe Kahssaye, announced that the carrier is in the process of leasing another three or four 737s – all older variants – which will bring its fleet to around 11 aircraft in three months’ time. Air Nigeria also intends to modernise by leasing ‘a number’ of modern-variant Boeing 737s ‘in the near future’. He says the airline plans to introduce them in the first half of 2011.
- The ERJ-145LR (5N-BJM) owned by the Bauchi State Government is now leased to Kabo Air and recently received the airline’s livery.
- Arik Air delayed the introduction of the A332 (5N-EIA) again; the aircraft is still at Châteauroux. The airline will now switch an A345 from the Lagos-London route to the Lagos-Johannesburg route to cope with the World Cup traffic. Flights to London will be operated with a B738.
- Media reports that CHC Helicopter and Aero Contractors had severed their business relationship are incorrect. Although Aero is facing challenging times, CHC Helicopter continues to support its business partner and to provide flying services for oil and gas industry.
Reportedly, CHC Helicopter decided to end its partnership with Aero Contractors Nigeria (ACN). CHC ceased its services as Aero was no longer able to pay them since last month, but the relations between both companies had already dampened over the past two years. CHC Helicopter entered Nigeria in 2004 when it purchased Schreiner Airways and inherited a 40% share in Aero Contractors.
Update: the above news report is incorrect, as CHC Helicopter will continue to support its business partner, Aero Contractors.