This week’s updates:
- Domestic airline are considering to stop flights to Kano, Maiduguri and Yola due to the insecurity in the northern regions of the country.
- Only two of IRS Airlines’ five F100s are operational at the moment. The airline now operates flights to Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos.
- ATR presented its turboprops to the Federal Government last week.
- New en route air traffic control radar for the Nigerian flight information region should be operational by April 12, according to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
- Nigeria is setting up an Air Disaster Assistance Scheme.
- The Federal Government has approved US-based company Associated Air Center (AAC) to become an authorized maintenance organisation for the Presidential Air Fleet.
- The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is going back to court hoping to terminate its agreement with the owners of Lagos MMA Terminal 2. Furthermore, FAAN cancelled the lease of two plots of land to Bi-Courtney on which a hotel and conference centre were to be constructed.
- A good commentary on the consequences of political interference in the Nigerian aviation sector.
- The NCAA is trying to resolve the labour conflict between Aero and its staff. Anyhow, the airline’s operational capability has to be re-validated by the NCAA before it can resume operations.
- Evergreen Apple will organise the first Nigerian Business Aviation Conference on 7 May 2013.
- Bristow Nigeria will soon take delivery of a Sikorsky S-76C (ex-G-CGRU), which left Norwich earlier this week for Lagos.
The renovated international terminal at Kano Airport was commissioned on Friday, 15 March 2013, by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. At the occasion, the Minister of Aviation announced that she granted Emirates and Turkish Airlines approval to commence flights to Kano, and that the airlines are expected to start operating into the airport before the end of the month. Asky Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines also expressed interest in serving Kano Airport in the past. Furthermore, the Federal Government will construct a cargo terminal at the airport.
- The renovated terminal at Kano Airport will be commissioned today.
- Aero is yet to resolve its conflict with the labour unions over recent cost cutting measures. Flight operations are still suspended.
- Fola Akinkuotu is nominated as new director-general of the NCAA by the presidency. Akinkuoto is currently the rector of the International Aviation College, Ilorin.
- The Senate is planning to review all Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) to put an end to ‘the ongoing rip-off of Nigerians by foreign airlines’.
- Nigeria will soon sign a BASA with Israel. Pilgrims travelling to Israel may be able to fly directly to Tel Aviv later this year.
- Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) signed a deal with a Chinese company to build new airport terminals at Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. Construction work will start in June this year.
- Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which holds stakes in Arik Air, Aero and Chanchangi Airlines, is hopeful it will recover its investments, and is willing to sale its interests in the airlines.
- The Presidential Amnesty Office announced that it is planing to train 200 aircraft and helicopter pilots under its youth empowerment programme.
- Kano State will train a 100 pilots at the Mideast Aviation Academy in Jordan.
- OAS Helicopters is planning to start serving the upstream oil and gas sector. It signed a deal with Gulf Helicopter Company from Qatar to provide suitable helicopters and technical expertise.
Arik Air announced it will lease two B737-300s under an ACMI-agreement to a Kano-based cargo airline, Emirate Touch Aviation Services (future website). The two aircraft (5N-MJA and 5N-MJB) are currently stored in the United Kingdom and will be converted to freighters. Apparently, Emirate Touch Aviation also operates a B727F (5N-BNQ), formerly operated by Millennium Air.
A couple of early and unique images (click here to see the whole set) of Kano and Lagos airports emerged on the net. The images are part of a collection formed by a former Nigeria Airways’ station manager at Lagos and Kano (1957-1968). The third picture shows Friendship 7, the capsule in which the first American, John Glenn, orbited the earth in 1962. The spacecraft was also displayed at Lagos during a global tour, called the ‘fourth orbit of Friendship 7’.
Med-View Airline has uploaded schedules for its new daily Abuja-Yola and Lagos-Owerri service:
- LOS-QOW VL2110 07:30-08:45
- QOW-LOS VL2111 09:30-10:45
- ABV-YOL VL2102 10:30-11:40 (Weekdays)
- ABV-YOL VL2102 11:00-12:10 (Saturday)
- ABV-YOL VL2104 13:55-15:05 (Sunday)
- YOL-ABV VL2103 12:30-13:40 (Weekdays)
- YOL-ABV VL2103 13:00-14:10 (Saturday)
- YOL-ABV VL2105 15:45-16:55 (Sunday)
The flights to Yola originate from Lagos, meaning that passengers can travel from Lagos to Yola with a stopover in Abuja.
Med-View Airline carried 32,956 passengers in the first two months of its operations. A B737-800 (CS-TQU) is wet-leased from EuroAtlantic Airways, and a second B737-800 will join the airline’s fleet in March 2013. Med-View will then commence flights to Kano and Sokoto.
- 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.
A few bits of news:
- An interesting read: ‘Benefits of Air Transport in Nigeria‘.
- The NCAA has directed the domestic airlines to install the AFIRS system on their aircraft within six months, meanwhile almost all airports, including runway at Lagos Airport used for domestic flights, lack functional runway lighting.
- NAMA has ordered a Beechcraft King Air 350 for its Navigational Aids Flight Inspection and Surveillance (NAFIS), as the HS 125-700 (5N-AVK) caliberation aircraft inherited from the NCAA is “too fast”.
- The House of Representatives has summoned Emirates, Asky, Turkish and Ethiopian to determine whether the Minister of Aviation denied these airlines landing rights at Kano Airport.
- From 1 December 2012, Emirates will operate its two daily Dubai-Lagos flights with B77W equipment, which means a 48 per cent increase in capacity. After replacing the current A345 on the route, the airline will offer 10.000 seats from and to Lagos every week.
- Dana Air is set to resume flights between Lagos and Abuja with two MD83s. The airline is considering the B737 and A319 as replacement aircraft.
- Aero announced it added two B737-400s to its fleet.
- Overland Airways’ B737-800 (EI-EZB; ex-OE-LNJ) will be leased from Austrian Airlines.
- Azikel Air acquired an Agusta A109S Grand (M-AZKL). It’s probably the fifth private helicopter that has been imported to Nigeria this year.
- Dangote Group acquired a Learjet 45 (N104DN).
- Kabo Air has leased a B747-400 (TF-AMY) from Air Atlanta for the remaining Hajj period.
- Regina Air is a possible new Abuja-based start-up airline.
- Air Nigeria’s AOC expired last week.
- The blog is now supported by a twitter account; double entries will be kept at a minimum.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Med-View Airline, reportedly, will use two B737-400s (5N-BPA and 5N-BPB), configured with 12 business and 132 economy seats, for its planned domestic operations. The 21-year-old Boeings were formerly operated by Olympic Airways. The aircraft will be ferried from Romania to Nigeria this week. The airline intends to fly to Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt and Yola, as soon as it gets permission from the NCAA to commence commercial scheduled operations. Various flight tests will take place as part of the NCAA certification process in the coming weeks.
Currently, Med-View Airline has also wet-leased a B747-300 and a B767 for the forthcoming Haji operation.
Two other airlines – likely TopBrass Aviation and Hak Air – are also hopeful to receive their Air Operator Certificate shortly.
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.
Turkish Airlines has applied for approval to start daily flights to Abuja and Kano.
Turkish Airlines sees Nigeria as a growing market for the company’s strategic focus destinations and the additional flights into the two cities as very lucrative, with potentials to strengthen the economic ties between Nigeria and Turkey.
If the Federal Government approves the request, the airline will operate the two cities alongside its daily Istanbul-Lagos service.
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.
- Aero has doubled its daily flights from Lagos to Calabar, Kano and Uyo (schedules).
- Aero’s fourth B737-400 (5N-BOB) was ferried to Lasham for painting.
- Arik Air will end its lease and lease back construction with HiFly soon. The two A345s will be transferred to the Nigerian registry and operated on Arik’s own AOC. CS-TFX will become 5N-JIA and CS-TFW will be re-registered 5N-JIB.
- Intrepid Aviation has denied that it will be leasing (up to) four A330s to Arik Air.
- Arik Air’s B738 (5N-MJP) returned into service after maintenance work at Smith Reynolds Airport.
- EgyptAir is reported to have agreed a one-year wet-lease of two of its A330-200 aircraft to Air Nigeria from May and June 2012.
- FirstNation Airways has temporarily suspended its daily Lagos-Port Harcourt flight due to the lack of operational aircraft.
- Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates have signed an air services Memorandum of Understanding, which allows an increase in all-cargo frequency entitlements for the designated carriers of the two countries.
- A new start-up, Gambia Birds, is planning to commence flights between Banjul and Lagos.