There are very few aviation photographers in Nigeria. Some excellent series of pictures were made by Ken Iwelumo (click here and here) and Akinwale Makinde (click here and here) over the past years, despite the restrictions on photographing at Nigerian airports. Hopefully, more aviation enthusiasts will be able to share the Nigerian aviation scene with the wider world in the near future.
Blogger Chippla Vandu wrote a nice piece on spotting at Lagos in the 1990s a couple of years ago.
Following the acquisition of a majority stake in Nigerian Eagle Airlines (formerly Virgin Nigeria Airways), the new owner, Jimoh Ibrahim, renamed the airline ‘Air Nigeria‘. This is the second rebranding of the airline within a year’s time. The colours and tail logo remain the same as the Nigerian Eagle brand. Air Nigeria’s first B737-300 (5N-VND) was pictured with the new titles at Shannon.
A few updates:
- Arik Air silently accepted a new A330-200 (5N-EIA) this week, but the introduction of the aircraft on the LOS-JNB route is delayed till June 7.
- Virgin Nigeria/Nigerian Eagle Airlines will increase its daily number of flights between Lagos to Abuja from four to seven, effective June 14. One of its three B733s (5N-VND) was ferried to Shannon, perhaps for a new coat of paint.
- Shell Nigeria signed a $630 million aviation logistics deal with Caverton Helicopters, partly because of the new Nigerian Content Development Act. Caverton and its technical partner DanCopter from Denmark will replace Bristow Helicopters.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria extended a N500 billion fund meant to stimulate credit to the power and manufacturing sectors to support the aviation industry. Airlines can now partake from the fund and those that are indebted to banks can refinance their loans and amortise them over a period of ten to fifteen years.
- Delta Air Lines will commence its seasonal direct Abuja – New York JFK service on the 3rd of June, substituting the flights via Dakar. The three weekly flights will be operated with a B763. This means direct competition for Arik Air’s three weekly Lagos – New York JFK service.
- Delta Air Lines and Virgin Nigeria are still working on a codeshare agreement.
- The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is set to award a contract for the expansion of both the arrival and departure halls of Benin Airport.
- The opening of the new Asaba Airport is delayed till December 2010.
Some bits of news over the past week:
- The Bauchi State Government owned EMB145 (5N-BJM) was ferried back to Nigeria. It is unclear if the aircraft will return into service with IRS Airlines or will be leased to Kabo Air.
- Virgin Nigeria is in fresh problems as the GTB Bank tries to recover a $15 million loan. Mud is already being slung to the former CEO Dapo Olumide.
- The Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, announced the State Government will build its own airport to boost trade and other economic activities.
- The Ekiti State Government inaugurated a committee responsible for the implementation of the proposed Ado-Ekiti Airport.
- The Federal Government announced that Katsina Airport will be named in honour of the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
- The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) asked the Federal Government to allow regional flights from the MMA2 Domestic Terminal as the MMA International Terminal is often marred by power cuts.
- The Star Alliance CEO, Jaan Albrecht, said in an interview that the alliance is looking for a partner in West-Africa, especially in Nigeria.
- The websites of Bellview Airlines and Chanchangi Airlines are deactivated.
Some bits of news over the past week:
- Arik Air will operate a B737-800 on the Lagos-London route till 25 May 2010, due to maintenance on the A345.
- After the rift with the Akwa Ibom State Government, Arik Air now angered the River State Government, after the airline published a negative report about security in Port Harcourt in its in-house magazine The Winds, calling it an unsafe destination. Arik Air terminated its flights to Port Harcourt NAF Base earlier this year, but still flies to Port Harcourt International Airport.
- The Minister of Aviation organised a meeting between Aero and Oceanic Bank to find an amicable solution for the debt issue. In the meantime, Aero is operating all its (helicopter) flights according to schedule again.
- The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) reached an agreement with the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) about the payment of debts by the airlines to the agency. Arik Air reportedly paid N50 million as part of a payment plan.
- Virgin Nigeria (briefly known as Nigerian Eagle Airlines) issued a statement, but no further comments were made on the announced name change of the airline.
- VistaJet is expanding in Nigeria. It already has two aircraft based in Lagos and concluded a three-year agreement with Nigerian businessman Kola Aluko.
- The Nigerian Air Force will build a new aircraft maintenance hangar at Ilorin Airport.
- Keep an eye on the website of the NAF for updates on the Air Expo that will be held next week at Kaduna.
- The Senate Committee on Aviation has called for a review of the N64 billion ($426 million) contract for a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The price is ‘far too high, way too expensive and outrageous’, according to the lawmakers.
Nigerian Eagle Airlines (formerly Virgin Nigeria Airways) is planning to raise at least $185 million over the next six months. A private placement memorandum has been issued through Nigerian bank UBA Capital. Consultancy Ernst & Young has meanwhile been brought in to seek out potential equity partners. A potential private buyer would want a controlling stake of 51% or more, comprising Virgin Atlantic’s 49% and some of the shares held by Nigerian institutional investors.
Around $50 million would be used to pay back part of a $100 million convertible bond held by UBA. The remainder would be used for capital projects. The airline is looking to convert the order to a lease arrangement, and if unsuccessful may tap rock-bottom prices to grow its Boeing 737-300 fleet.
Full article here.