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.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) experienced a major setback in its legal battle with Bi-Courtney, the company operating MMA Terminal 2, about the ownership of/right of operation from the General Aviation Terminal at Lagos Airport. The High Court in Abuja ruled that
They [FAAN] are therefore restrained, prevented or prohibited from operating scheduled flights in and out of Lagos State from any airport terminal other than MMA2 or an airport terminal owned/operated by the plaintiff [Bi-Courtney] during the concession period as stipulated in the Agreement.
Bi-Courtney said it is ready to take over the recently renovated General Aviation Terminal from FAAN, since GAT ‘was declared an integral part of the MMA2 concession by the decision of the Federal High Court in 2009’.
Initially, FAAN’s spokesman said he was not aware of the ruling, but the agency later stated that the court order referred to is not existent and that FAAN will continue to run the domestic GA Terminal (now called Domestic Terminal 1) at Lagos.
Meanwhile, FAAN announced that the renovated terminal at Benin Airport will be ready for commissioning soon, the terminals at Enugu and Port Harcourt will follow later. The Port Harcourt project is handled by Inter-Bau Construction.
- 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.
- Chanchangi’s second B737-300 (5N-BMC) will re-join the airline’s fleet shortly. The airlines also hopes to add two more B737 Classics before the summer.
- The Minister of Aviation disclosed that the launch of a new national carrier is in its final stage of approval.
- FAAN has begun to dismantle derelict aircraft at Lagos Airport, meanwhile an entrepreneur wants to collect abandoned aircraft to set up an Aviation Museum in Nigeria.
- The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced it will enforce the new Passenger Bill of Rights to make sure that all airlines comply to the new rules protecting air travellers.
- Gombe State Government has struck a new deal with Arik Air to increase the current five-weekly service between Gombe and Abuja to a daily service.
- Med-View Airline has suspended its Lagos-Owerri service after just one month.
- AirFrance will offer more seats on its daily flights from Paris to Abuja and Port Harcourt per 31 March 2013, changing from A332 to B772 equipment. The airline also serves Lagos daily from Paris with an A332.
- The Nigerian Air Force has acquired a former SAS B737-505 (to be registered NAF 916; ex-LN-BRV). The aircraft is currently at Istanbul for maintenance.
- PICOMMS lost the feud with NIMASA and will be disolved by the Federal Government. The Nigerian Navy will take over the assets of PICOMMS, including a B350, DA42 and Cessna 206.
- An article on the Biafran Air Force (shared by Alaba).
- Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers in the US for further training.
- The foundation of the new airport in Bauchi State was laid by the State Governor on 25 January 2013. The second airport in the state should be ready before the end of the year.
- A couple of pictures showing the ongoing renovation work on the Owerri Airport terminal emerged on the net. Apparently all the domestic airports – Benin, Port Harcourt and Enugu – are getting a very similar look.
On Monday, 21 January 2012, the renovated General Aviation Terminal at Abuja Airport was inaugurated by the Deputy Speaker of the Senate. The old domestic terminal will now be used for unscheduled flights, as well as the annual Hajj flights. According to the Minister of Aviation:
It was not only that the old domestic terminal at this airport did not meet acceptable international standard, it was also not befitting of an airport in the country’s capital city, which has been described as the fastest growing capital city in the world. The airport also did not have general aviation and cargo terminals irrespective of the fact that it had long become the second busiest airport in the country, after the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja. All these inadequacies have now been addressed, under the airport remodeling project. Work on the remodeling of this terminal, which started in October 2010, entailed the expansion and modernization of the old domestic terminal. This GAT, which will handle all non-scheduled flights at this airport, has a full complement of such modern facilities as lounges, including one for pilots, offices, duty rooms, private airline offices, a conference room, dining hall, shops and a game room, for recreation.
The Minister of Aviation also disclosed that work will soon commence on a new international terminal at Abuja, until its completion the current international terminal will be used for both domestic and international flights. Overall, the first phase of airport re-modelling is nearing its completion, and eleven more airport terminals will be renovated during the second phase that will start later this year. Furthermore, the FAAN intends to build General Aviation Terminals for private and corporate jet owners at Enugu, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Yola.
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 first two Robinson R66 training helicopters have been assembled in Lagos, and delivered to the Nigerian Air Force. The 2011-build helicopters (NAF 577, ex-N804SF and NAF 576, ex-N7033V) will be based at the International Helicopter Flying School, Enugu. The Air Force will take delivery of several more Robinson R66s in the next few months.
- 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.
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.
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.
This week’s round-up:
- The Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) contracted an A330-200 (N772RD) for this year’s pilgrimage. The aircraft is operated by Ryan International on behalf of Atlasjet Airlines.
- Camair-Co now serves the Douala-Lagos route three times a week.
- A new Kano-based airline, Azman Air, hopes to obtain an AOC soon in order to commence domestic flights.
- The onwer of Millennium Air disclosed that the cargo airline has the intention to commence scheduled passenger services in the near future. Millennium Air now operates a single B727F (5N-BNQ).
- One of Pan African Airlines Bell 206L4, based at Escravos, with two crew and two passengers ran into trouble after taking of from an offshore platform on 27 October 2012. The helicopter successfully ditched into the sea and the occupants were picked up by a rescue boat.
- Delta State Government approved a sum of N37.3 billion to upgrade Osubi Airstrip, Warri, to the status of international airport.
- Aero will lease a B737-400 (N605SC) from Gecas. The fourteen-year-old aircraft is still stored in China; it will be the sixth B737-400 in the airline’s fleet.
- Aero supended its Abuja-Enugu service, but reinstated the flights from Port Harcourt NAF Base to Warri and Lagos.
- A body was found in the undercarriage of one of Arik Air’s A345s today. The plane came in from New York, so it’s likely that it was there already for some time.
- A passenger caused a bomb scare on an Arik Air flight from Maiduguri to Abuja on 24 October 2012.
- One of Arik Air’s CRJ900s (5N-JEA) has been parked at Cologne since this summer.
- Dana Air has contracted FLYHT to install the AFIRS 228 on its five MD-83 aircraft. The airline will use AFIRS to provide real-time flight data monitoring and to assist in achieving maintenance and operational efficiencies.
- One of Kabo Air’s B747-200s (5N-MAD) rejoined the fleet again after maitenance in Indonesia.
- The FAAN has increased security measures at four major airports.
- A Hawker 4000 (N412TF) is also owned by a Nigerian, and registered to Skypower Express Airways.
- The Nigerian Air Forces has acquired two Robinson R66s (N7033V and N804SF) for the Helicopter Flying School at Enugu Airport.
- It appears that Prince Arthur Eze is reviving Triax Airlines. The airline operates two GIVs (5N-PZE and M-PZPZ), but was active as an commercial airline in the 1990s with three B727-100s.
- SkyBird Air’s third Do328Jet (5N-SPM) is still awaiting its delivery flight from Germany to Nigeria. Two other aircraft (5N-SPE and 5N-BMH) are already based at Lagos Airport.
The renovation and expansion of the airport terminals at Enugu and Port Harcourt is steadily progressing.
Ethiopian Airlines has expressed the intention to commence scheduled flights to Enugu Airport. The service would herald the beginning of international operations at the airport. The airline attempts to expand its operations in Nigeria by adding flights to Port Harcourt and Kano too:
Tewolde Gebremariam CEO of the air carrier said Ethiopian also has plans to fly to the southern central port city and oil hub of Port Harcourt as well as Northern Nigeria’s largest city Kano, while increasing the number of flight trips to Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, Nigeria. “We want more flights to Abuja because now Abuja-Addis-Asia and Abuja-Addis-Dubai-Bangkok-China is the best flight option for Nigeria bound passengers,” said Tewolde adding that Ethiopian would be pleased to add flights to the country where it has been flying for more than 40 years.
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.
The Minister of Aviation made a couple of statements this week:
- Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Etihad Airlines were denied landing rights at Abuja Airport and Kano Airport. Instead, the Minister requested these airlines to commence flights to Enugu Airport. This report was later denied by a spokesman of the Minister.
- The Minister of Aviation warned airlines not to make any air returns because of bad weather conditions:
…there is absolutely no reason and justification for an aircraft to make an air return on the basis of poor weather condition since initial weather report from the AIS would have been adequate to indicate the futility of an initial take-off under such harsh weather conditions. This recklessness on the part of airline operators and pilots, the minister warned, will no longer be tolerated and infractions would be met with serious sanctions as she noted that this has the potential of compromising the safety of the nation’s airspace.
- The Ministry of Aviation denies that it intends to privatise the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, rather it wants ‘to reposition’ the aviation college.
- No money was withdrawn from the BASA fund to finance the airport remodelling excercise in Nigeria, according to the Minister of Aviation.
Some pictures of the ongoing airport renovation programme can be found on the website of the FAAN: Calabar, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. They give a bit of an idea of what can be expected from the remodelling exercise. In the cases of smaller airports, it would have been a better and perhaps cheaper option to build complete new terminals and knock down the old ones altogether. All domestic operations at Lagos airport should have been moved to MMA2 until the completion of the new GA terminal, rather than continuing operations from this temporal terminal. Hopefully, the contractors will deliver a proper job, as they are being pressured to finish the work quickly.
A quiet week:
- On Saturday, 14 July, a taxiing Arik Air B737-700 (5N-MJI) lost its left winglet as it hit the wing of a parked Nigerian Air Force C130 Hercules aircraft at Jos Airport. According to a NAF spokesman:
An Arik Airline Boeing 737-700 with registration No 5N-MJI on a routine flight to Lagos brushed the wing of a parked Nigerian Air Force C-130 (NAF 917) at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Heipang Jos. he incident happened at about 1345hrs today when the Arik aircraft was taxiing at the airport tarmac in preparation for take-off. The tank 1 wing tip of the NAF C-130 was damaged while the wing of the Arik aircraft was dismembered and hung on the NAF aircraft. There was no casualty recorded during the incident, however, the 2 aircraft had to abort their missions. The NAF C-130 was in Jos to airlift students of the Air Force Military School and Air Force Girls Military School. Meanwhile, a joint investigation by the Nigerian Air Force and Arik Airline management has commenced.
- Arik Air blames FAAN for the incident:
The markings on the tarmac of the Jos Airport are old markings which did not take into cognizance the use of bigger aircraft like Boeing 737-700 or 737-800 which we have in our fleet and are capable of misleading pilots during taxing. We hope this incident will make FAAN to re-do those markings.
- Caverton Helicopters has been appointed an AgustaWestland authorised service centre for the AW139 helicopter in Nigeria.
- A Nigerian helicopter flying school – the recently opened international helicopter flying school of the Nigerian Air Force at the 305 Flying Training School, Enugu – is planning to operate Robinson R66 training helicopters. Other aviation schools that are planning to offer helicopter training are NCAT, Kaduna, and IAC, Ilorin.
- The completion of the remodeling of eleven domestic airports is delayed according to the Ministry of Aviation.
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.
- 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.
The Federal Government has decided to construct a second runway at Abuja Airport. The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, declared that the expansion of Abuja Airport is part of the ongoing renovation of airports across Nigeria. In 2010, a contract for the construction of a new runway awarded to Julius Berger for $423 million was revoked because of the high cost. Oduah listed her achievements and plans at a meeting marking the first anniversary of President Jonathan’s administration. The Aviation Minister is also criticised for the way her transformation agenda is being financed.
Renovation work at Enugu Airport is far from complete (this is how it looks from the outside), despite the airport being open again. Images of construction work at Port Harcourt Airport and Calabar Airport.
The Federal Government and Chinese investors have reached an agreement for the latter to build state-of-the-art terminals at four major airports in Nigeria, including Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.