- 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.
The governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, was involved in an air crash near Yola Airport today. He was flying his own Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (5N-BMJ) and took-off from Jalingo Airport at 17:20 enroute to Yola. The six people onboard all survived the accident, but are hospitalised with various degrees of injuries. According to the Ministry of Aviation:
An aircraft, Cessna 208 with 6 souls on board including crew, operated by the Taraba State Government departed Jalingo, Taraba State for Yola this evening and reported contact with the Yola Control Tower (1720Z) and field in sight at 38 miles estimating landing at 1730Z. The pilot subsequently lost contact with Yola Control Tower and subsequent effort to raise the aircraft failed. Search & Rescue was immediately activated and site of incident located with all victims alive with various degrees of injuries. The victims have been evacuated to the hospital for treatment pending further investigation of the incident.
The governor is an aviation enthusiast who obtained his flying licence in 2010. Reportedly, he owns a private helicopter and two light aircraft for which he built an airstrip at his home village. Earlier this year, Taraba State acquired a ERJ145 to set up a state airline called Air Taraba.
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.
A fallout between the governor of Taraba State and his predecessor appears to be the reason for halting the completion of Jalingo Airport. The construction of the nearly completed airport was halted in March 2010 by the FAAN, citing technical reasons, and in August 2010 the Taraba State government announced the construction of a whole new airport. Nevertheless, the incomplete airport is capable of handling VIP movements, as the Nigerian president flew into Jalingo Airport recently.
The Taraba State government announced plans to construct a completely new airport (N10 billion) in the state. This entails that the current airport under construction in the state capital Jalingo will be abandoned. This project, started by the former administration, is in an advanced state, but allegedly there are technical difficulties in completing the runway.
On another note, governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State undertook his first solo flight as a pilot at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, last week.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) ordered the suspension of the construction work at the new Jalingo Airport. An inspection team reportedly discovered major ‘construction defects’. After consultation with FAAN experts, the state government will engage other consultants to work with the contractor to complete 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.