Three new helicopters arrived at Lagos Airport this week. A Bell 429 EMS (5N-NEM) for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), as well as a Bell 206L-4 (5N-BZC) for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, where she will join her sistership 5N-BZB. The third, hidden chopper, a Bell 429 (5N-MDA), is the first of five helicopters of this type for the Police Air Wing.
In general, air safety in Nigeria has improved since the major crashes in 2005-2006, but still a number of serious incidents in which lives are lost and/or an aircraft is written off occur every year. Not all of them are reported in the press, and only three (the Sosoliso, Wings Aviation and Dana Air crashes) are mentioned on the website of the Accident Investigation Bureau.
- 27 OCT 2012 – 5N-??? – Bell 206L4 – Pan African Airlines – offshore
- 25 OCT 2012 – 5N-BMJ – Cessna 208B Grand Caravan – Private owner – Yola
- 03 JUN 2012 – 5N-RAM – McDonnell Douglas MD-83 – Dana Air – Lagos*
- ?? ??? 2012 – 5N-CAG – Beech 58 Baron – NCAT – Zaria
- ?? ??? 2011 – 5N-BMM – Cessna 560XLS Citation Excel – Pan African Airlines – Port Harcourt
- 28 JUL 2011 – 5N-BKA – AS 350B2 Ecureuil – OAS Helicopters – Ikonifin
- 24 MAY 2011 – N364UZ – Beechcraft King Air C90 – Shawa Engineering – Kaduna
- 11 DEC 2009 – 5N-BKJ – Aerospatiale AS 332L1 Super Puma – Bristow Nigeria – offshore
- 09 OCT 2009 – 5N-BIC – Bell 407 – Gitto Construction – Uyo
- 22 JUL 2008 – 5N-CAV – Socata TB9 Tampico – NCAT – Zaria
- 15 MAR 2008 – 5N-JAH – Beechcraft 1900D – Wings Aviation – Besi*
- 03 AUG 2007 – 5N-BIQ – Bell 412EP – Bristow Nigeria – Eket
- 10 NOV 2006 – 5N-BHU – AS 350B2 Ecureuil – OAS Helicopters – Warri
- 29 OCT 2006 – 5N-BFK – Boeing 737-200 – ADC Airlines – Abuja
- 10 DEC 2005 – 5N-BFD – Douglas DC-9 – Sosoliso Airlines – Port Harcourt*
- 28 NOV 2005 – N73MW – Beechcraft Super King Air 200 – Oriental Energy Resources – Kaduna
- 22 OCT 2005 – 5N-BFN – Boeing 737-200 – Bellview Airlines – Lagos
Incidents involving security agencies:
- 05 JUL 2012 – 5N-BKS – Diamond DA42MPP – PICOMSS – Benin
- 02 MAY 2012 – NAF??? – Chengdu F-7Ni – Nigerian Air Force – Kaduna
- 14 MAR 2012 – 5N-POL – Bell 427 – Nigerian Police – Jos
- 28 OCT 2011 – NAF??? – Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros – Nigerian Air Force – Uyo
- 11 MAY 2011 – NAF??? – Chengdu FT-7Ni – Nigerian Air Force – Gboko
- 22 MAR 2011 – NAF??? – Chengdu F-7Ni – Nigerian Air Force – Kano
- 12 MAR 2010 – NAF950 – Aeritalia G.222 – Nigerian Air Force – Port Harcourt
- 26 JAN 2010 – NN06 – Agusta A109E Power – Nigerian Navy – Port Harcourt
- 28 MAY 2009 – NAF054 – Van’s RV-6A – Nigerian Air Force – Jaji
- 20 APR 2007 – NN?? – Agusta A109E Power – Nigerian Navy – Owerri
- 17 SEP 2006 – NAF033 – Dornier Do228 – Nigerian Air Force – Vende Ikya
Two Bell 412EP’s for the Air Wing of the Nigeria Police arrived at Lagos Airport this week. The helicopters will join the four other Bell 412s already in the fleet of the Police.
The first of two Bell 206 L4 helicopters for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology at Zaria was also spotted at Lagos. The College intends to set up a helicopter flying school.
The Nigeria Police recently acquired a Cessna 560XLS Citation Excel + (5N-HAR). In the 1990s the Police already operated a Cessna Citation I (5N-APN), a Cessna Conquest II (5N-APZ), both stored at Lagos Airport, and a Cessna Citation II (5N-NPF). The latter aircraft was later transferred to the Nigerian Air Force and re-registered 5N-AYA.
After retiring at two Bell 47Gs, two Bell 412s, and Bell 222s in the 1990s, the Police Air Wing now operates the following fleet of helicopters:
A fourth Bell 427 (5N-POL) crashed at Rukuba near Jos on 14 March 2012.
In 2005, the Federal Capital Authority also donated a Robinson R44 (5N-BKF) to the Nigeria Police, but the chopper never entered service because there was no pilot nor suitable fuel. In November 2007, two Mi-17 aircraft were acquired from/donated by Ukraine for the Police Air Wing, but the two helicopters mysteriously went missing as part of the Police Equipment Fund-fraud, led by Kenny Martins. The Police Force was attempting to sell a Schweizer 269C (5N-BAD) and a Bell 47G (5N-APF) in February 2012. Both choppers are stored at Lagos and haven’t flown since 1991.
In October 2010, the Federal Government announced that it would acquire five Bell 429 helicopters for the Police Force, and the President declared the intention to purchase a police helicopter for each state. It is interesting to know that all recent acquisitions for the Police Air Wing were conducted by Manyatta Engineering Services, a company owned by the former Kaduna State governor and present Vice-President Namadi Sambo. This company also acquired two Bell 427s for the Nigeria Customs Service, which were accepted in April 2012 (one is registered 5N-NCS).
Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has acquired two Bell 412s in 2009 for security operations, even though the helicopters are now operated by Caverton Helicopters for the oil and gas industry. In September 2011, Ondo State Government also announced the acquisition of helicopters for surveillance tasks. It plans to establish a helicopter company at Lagos Airport in cooperation with an ex-Caverton staff member.
- 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).