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FAAN extends freebies to passengers in Abuja new terminal

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured passengers of free trolley and wheel chair services at the new terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, FAAN Corporate Affairs, told News Agency of Nigeria this would cater for increased activities as more airlines relocate flight operations to the new terminal.

Yakubu also disclosed that a total of 1,000 trolleys were being expected to add to the existing number on ground.

“Apart from free trolley, we are also bringing in wheel chairs in the next few days, in addition to the ones being provided by the ground handler.

“We are expecting 1,000 trolleys and the Rotary Club of Falomo, also donated 18 wheel chairs for us and we will deploy some to Abuja terminal,” she said.

A traveler, Mr Julius Idegwu, commended the federal government for the completion and opening of the new terminal with the state of the art facilities.

Idegwu said that it was the first time he had experienced high level if comfort in any Nigerian airport, adding that he had always paid to use trolley in Lagos and Abuja airports.

“This is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria, as far as air travel is concerned and I must commend the government for this.

“I also discovered that you don’t have to pay to use trolley here, unlike the old terminal which is highly commendable.

“There is also free Wi-Fi network here and I want to urge FAAN, to ensure that this is maintained and also extend it to other parts of the airport,“ he said.

Also, Mrs Patricia Akuriene, said the new terminal had added glory to Nigerian Airport, urging the authority to maintain the standard.

On the trolley and WiFi services, Akuriene commended FAAN, urging that the same services be extended to the domestic terminal also.

“This is good but I want to urge that attention should not only be on international terminal but the domestic travel also,” she added.

The new terminal, which was inaugurated in December 2018, is equipped with free Wi-Fi with the capacity to process 15 million passengers annually.

It is one of the four terminal projects being funded under the 500 million dollars loan agreement between Nigerian government and Export-Import Bank of China.

The other three airports are: Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, which was inaugurated in October 2018, while those of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano are at various stages of completion.

Lufthansa moves operations to Abuja new terminal

Lufthansa Airlines has relocated its flight operations to the new terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

It is the first European airline to do so since the inauguration of the terminal in December 2018.

The flight, which landed at 5:30 p.m., had 110 passengers and 4 crew members on board the Air bus 300-200 series.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has issued a March 31 deadline to all foreign airlines to relocate their operations to the new terminal.

Mr Mahmud Sani, FAAN’s Regional General Manager, North Central and Abuja Airport Manager, said that it was in view of the ultimatum recently issued to airlines that made Lufthansa to move its operations to the terminal.

Sani said that other international carriers were already making preparations to relocate to the terminal before the expiration of the ultimatum.

“For now we have six international airlines here and the rest six are coming in between now and March 31.

“We have Lufthansa today, Ethiopian Airlines is on, we have Emirate, Air Côte d’viore, Asky and Air Peace.”

Sani disclosed that the authority had provided free trolley for passenger in the new terminal, adding that free wheel chairs would also be provided for passengers with disability.

He also gave the assurance that FAAN had a strong team in Abuja Airport that would ensure adequate maintenance of the new facility.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the new terminal was a manifestation of the government’s commitment to the development of the country.

Ngige, who was on the flight from Geneva, said he travelled to attend the International Labour Organization (ILO) Governing Board Meeting.

He urged FAAN to continue to maintain the standard and not relapse to what Nigerins use to know in the airports.

“We have done the needful and we have emulated the good part of the world, we have joined them because this is what we see in Geneva and Frankfurt and so on.

“We have it now in Nigeria and so it is for us to maintain it,” he said.

Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Service of the Federation, also said the new terminal showed what President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had been doing to bring Nigeria up to the level of developed nations.

She said the mode of operations on arrival at the terminal such as medical screening camera and immigration were impressive.

“In this age of Ebola and other viruses, the screening is very important to check those that are coming in to detect if they are carrying any virus.

“This is an international standard and I know that the airport authority is going to maintain it,” she said.

Mr Charles Okoh, another passenger on board from Vienna, Austria, commended FAAN and other agencies of government that provide services at the airport.

According to him, there is absolute professionalism in the way all the agencies handle things on arrivals.

“I am also impressed with the level of cleanliness because when I arrived, the first thing I did was to go into the convenience and it was clean.

“I am happy to know that our country has a worthy airport,” he said.

Boeing invites pilots, regulators for return of 737 MAX to service

Boeing Co said it invited more than 200 global airline pilots, technical leaders and regulators for an information session on Wednesday as it looks to return the 737 MAX to commercial service.

The meeting is a sign that Boeing’s planned software patch is nearing completion, though it will still need regulatory approval.

Over the weekend, Ethiopian Airlines executives had questioned whether Boeing had told pilots enough about “aggressive’’ software that pushes the plane’s nose down, a focus of investigation into a deadly crash in Ethiopia this month.

The crash had led to the global grounding of 737 MAX jets.

The informational session in Renton, Washington on Wednesday is part of a plan to reach all current and many future 737 MAX operators and their home regulators to discuss software and training updates to the jet, Boeing said in a statement.

Garuda Indonesia, which on Friday said it planned to cancel its order for 49 737 MAX jets citing a loss of passenger trust after the crashes, was invited to the briefing, CEO Ari Askhara said on Monday.

”We were informed on Friday, but because it is short notice we can’t send a pilot there,” he said, adding the airline had requested a webinar with Boeing but that idea had been rejected.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the Wednesday event was one of a series of in-person information sessions.

”We have been scheduling and will continue to arrange additional meetings to communicate with all current and many future MAX customers and operators,” she said.

Garuda has only one 737 MAX and had been reconsidering its order before the Ethiopian crash, as has fellow Indonesian carrier Lion Air, which experienced a deadly crash in October.

Lion Air Managing Director, Daniel Putut, said Boeing had informed the airline of the Wednesday meeting but it might not attend.

He declined to provide further comment.

Singapore Airlines Ltd said on Monday its offshoot SilkAir, which operates the 737 MAX, had received the invitation to the Wednesday event and would send representatives.

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore representatives will also attend, a spokeswoman for the regulator said.
Korean Air Lines Co Ltd, which before the grounding had been due to receive its first 737 MAX in April, said it planned to send pilots to Renton.

A spokesman said South Korean low-cost carrier Eastar Jet will send two pilots.

Ethiopian Airlines did not respond immediately to a request for comment about the meeting.

The 737 MAX is Boeing’s best-selling plane, with orders worth more than 500 billion dollars at list prices.

Teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets participated in a session in Renton reviewing a planned software upgrade on Saturday.

A U.S. official briefed on the matter Saturday said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not yet signed off on the software upgrade and training but the goal is to review them in coming weeks and approve them by April.

It remained unclear whether the software upgrade, called “design changes” by the FAA, will resolve concerns stemming from the ongoing investigation into the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all 157 on board.

”After the crash it came to our attention that the system is aggressive,” Yohannes Hailemariam, Vice President for Flight Operations at Ethiopian, said.

”It gives a message of stalling and it takes immediate action which is faster than the action which pilots were briefed to take by Boeing,” said Yohannes, himself a pilot with over 30 years of experience, including flying Boeing’s 777 and 787.

The U.S. official said planned changes included 15 minutes of training to help pilots deactivate the anti-stall system known as MCAS in the event of faulty sensor data or other issues.

It also included some self-guided instruction, the official added.

American Airlines said on Sunday it will extend flight cancellations through April 24 because of the grounding of the 737 MAX and cut some additional flights.

Pilot of ill-fated Boeing 737 plane well trained – Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines has debunked reports by the foreign media that the pilot of the ill fated ET 302 flight, Yared Getachew was not well trained.

The New York Times quoting anonymous sources claimed that the captain of the doomed Flight 302 never trained on the simulator installed by the airline to teach pilots, although it reported that the airlines surpassed many carriers by becoming one of the first to install a simulator to teach pilots how to fly the new Boeing 737 Max 8.

The Washington Post similarly reported that the pilot was not well trained.

Reuters quoting a colleague of the 29 year old pilot said he was due for a refresher training at the end of March on the stimulator, two months after Ethiopian Airlines had received one of the first such simulators being distributed.

But the Ethiopian Airlines said the reports were baseless and factually incorrect.

In one of the tweets, the airline set the record straight:

“Ethiopian Airlines pilots completed the Boeing recommended and FAA approved differences training from the B-737 NG aircraft to the B-737 MAX aircraft before the phase in of the B-737-8 MAX fleet to the Ethiopian operation and before they start flying the B-737-8 MAX”.

Revealed: Captain of crashed 737 Max 8 plane untrained

The captain of a doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight did not practise on a new simulator for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 before he died in a crash with 157 others, a pilot colleague said.

Yared Getachew, 29, was due for refresher training at the end of March, his colleague told Reuters, two months after Ethiopian Airlines had received one of the first such simulators being distributed.

The March 10 disaster, following another MAX 8 crash in Indonesia in October, has set off one of the biggest inquiries in aviation history, focused on the safety of a new automated system and whether crews understood it properly.

In both cases, the pilots lost control soon after take-off and fought a losing battle to stop their jets plunging down.

The MAX, which came into service two years ago, has a new automated system called MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System). It is meant to prevent loss of lift which can cause an aerodynamic stall sending the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way.

“Boeing did not send manuals on MCAS,” the Ethiopian Airlines pilot told Reuters in a hotel lobby, declining to give his name as staff have been told not to speak in public.

“Actually we know more about the MCAS system from the media than from Boeing.”

Under unprecedented scrutiny and with its MAX fleet grounded worldwide, the world’s largest planemaker has said airlines were given guidance on how to respond to the activation of MCAS software. It is also promising a swift update.

Ethiopian Airlines said on Thursday its pilots had completed training recommended by Boeing and approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on differences between the previous 737 NG aircraft and the 737 MAX version.

They were also briefed on an emergency directive after the Indonesia crash, which was incorporated into manuals and procedures, it said in a tweet. The 737 MAX simulator was not designed to replicate the MCAS system problems, it added.

“We urge all concerned to refrain from making such uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation,” it said.

TRAINING QUESTIONS

Globally, most commercial airline pilots refresh training in simulators every six months. In the Ethiopian crash, it was not clear if Yared’s colleague – First Officer Ahmednur Mohammed, 25, who also died in the crash – had used the new simulator.

It was also not clear if Yared or Ahmednur would have been trained on that simulator or an older one for 737s that their airline also owned.

“I think that the differences between the 737 NG and the MAX were underplayed by Boeing,” said John Cox, an aviation safety consultant, former U.S. Airways pilot and former air safety chairman of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association.

“Consequently the simulator manufacturers were not pushing it either. The operators didn’t realize the magnitude of the differences,” he told Reuters in a communication over the Ethiopian pilot’s remarks.

The 737 MAX 8 was introduced into commercial service in 2017, but pilots of older 737s were only required to have computer-based training to switch, according to Boeing, airlines, unions and regulators.

By December, two months after the Lion Air crash that killed 189 people off Jakarta, the main simulator producer CAE Inc of Canada said it had delivered just four MAX simulators to airlines.

At that time, CAE had orders from airlines globally for 30 MAX simulators, which cost between $6 million and $15 million each depending on customization.

The world’s largest 737 operator, Southwest Airlines Co, will not have its first MAX simulator ready for use until October, its pilot union said on Wednesday.

“It is still very disturbing to us that Boeing did not disclose MCAS to the operators and pilots,” the association told members in a memo seen by Reuters.

Reuters

Ethiopian Airlines crash: Victims families to get 1kg of charred sand to bury in place of bodies

Ethiopian Airlines has offered the relatives of 157 victims of last Sunday’s Boeing 737 Max plane crash bags of scorched earth to bury in place of their loved ones, reports say.

Earth from the crash site is being made available for a planned service in Addis Ababa on Sunday, Reuters reports.

Families have been told it could take up to six months to identify remains.

Countries across the world grounded the 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft after flight 302 crashed on 10 March.

Ethiopia’s transport minister said on Saturday it may take “considerable time” for investigators to find the cause of the crash involving the new aeroplane.‌

An investigation of such magnitude requires a careful analysis and considerable time to come up with something concrete,” Dagmawit Moges told a press conference.

Relatives of the passengers killed in the incident are being encouraged to provide DNA samples either in Addis Ababa or at any overseas offices of Ethiopian Airlines.

Death certificates are expected to be issued in two weeks.

Families mourning the victims are being offered a 1kg (2.2lbs) bag of charred soil to bury as part of Sunday’s service in the Ethiopian capital, AP news agency reports.

“The soil came as it became impossible to identify bodies and hand over remains to family members,” one family member reportedly said, adding: “We will not rest until we are given the real body or body parts of our loved ones.”

Passengers from more than 30 countries were on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.

The Ethiopian investigation into the crash is being assisted by teams from around the world, including the US and France.

The aircraft’s flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR), or black boxes as they are often called, have been recovered and investigators are hoping they will shed light on the tragedy.

Boeing shares fall again as U.S. grounds 737 MAX jets

United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued an emergency order to ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft after a crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people.

“We are going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 and planes associated with that line,” Trump told newsmen at the White House.

According to him, the FAA is prepared to make an announcement very shortly regarding the new information and physical evidence received from the site, and from other locations and through a couple of other complaints.

Boeing shares, which were up earlier in the session, fell two per cent to 367.70 dollars.
The shares have fallen about 13 per cent since the crash, losing more than 25 billion dollars of market value.

Meanwhile, Germany’s federal agency responsible for investigating air accidents will not analyse the black box from the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday, casting uncertainty over the process of finding out what may have caused the disaster.

“This is a new type of aircraft with a new black box, with new software. We can’t do it,” said Germout Freitag, a spokesman for Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU).

The move leaves unclear the destination of the black box, which may yield vital details of what caused the Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 to plunge to the ground, killing 157 people.

A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines had said earlier that the black boxes recovered from the crashed plane would be sent to Germany for analysis.
Canada also grounded 737 MAX jets, saying satellite data suggested similarities to a previous crash involving the same plane model.

Countries around the world have grounded the 737 MAX jets or banned them from flying over their airspace since the Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The still unexplained crash followed another involving a Boeing 737 MAX in Indonesia five months ago that killed 189 people.

Although there is no proof of any link, the twin disasters have spooked passengers, led to the grounding of most of Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet and hammered shares in the U.S. plane maker, the world’s largest.

FAAN gives foreign airlines March 31 deadline to move to new Abuja terminal

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has directed all foreign airlines operating at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja to move to the new international terminal on or before March 31.

Mr Sani Mahmud, FAAN’s Regional General Manager, North Central, disclosed this on Wednesday, when Emirates Airlines commenced flight operations at the new terminal.

Mahmud said that the deadline given in order to enable the authority carryout repairs and renovations on the old Terminal C, where foreign airlines had been operating.

He said that Emirates was the fifth international carrier to move operations to the new terminal in addition to Ethiopian Airlines, Air Côte d’Ivoire, Asky and Air Peace.

“The Emirates Airline arrived with 176 passengers and 16 cabin crew on board at exactly 3:00 pm with a Boeing 777 aircraft and it is expected to depart with 222 passengers on the same flight at 6:00 pm.

“This is the fifth international airline to relocate operations into the new terminal out of 14.

“We have met with the remaining airlines and gave them up to March 31, to move into the new terminal that was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Dec. 20, 2018.

“We believed that they have ample time to have moved into the new terminal and the old terminal is due for renovation.

“As such, we have given them up to 31st of this month to move into the new facility and we will commence renovation of the old terminal.

“We are confident that they will all move because we have given them offices and the connectivity is in place,” he said.

The former Inspector- General of Police (I-G), Ibrahim Idris, who was one of the passengers on board the Emirates flight, said he was impressed with the comfort at the new terminal.

Idris said that the facilities at the new terminal were of world class standard, urging the management of the airport to ensure that the standard was maintained.

“This is obviously a world class airport like you see in Dubai and elsewhere and it is impressive.

“It shows that Nigeria is moving forward because it is a dramatic change and I want to urge FAAN to ensure that this facility is properly and adequately maintained.”

Another passenger, Joyce Mekebo, said she could not believe that Nigerian government could build such a standard airport facility, adding that it was the first time she had tasted comfort in a Nigerian airport.

“When I arrived, I said so the government could do something this amazing all these years and they denied us.

“So for the first time I am landing in Nigeria and I am not sweating, everything seem standard and international and the airport is really beautiful.

“I hope they will maintain the stand because it is one thing to build a structure and it is another thing to maintain it, but let see how it goes in the next couple of years.

“Other than that, this airport is amazing, everything is standard, it is working,” she said.

Another passenger, Alhaji Wahab Adeniran, said that the facility and the quality of services rendered at the new terminal was impressive, saying that he could not differentiate the airport from that of Dubai.

Adeniran said that proper maintenance was key to sustaining the current standard, and that maintenance culture in Nigeria had been an issue.

“Actually, I am just coming from Dubai and when I entered this airport, I thought I was still in Dubai because this kind of facility and the treatment that we got here today is beyond expectations.

“We have seen that the government is actually working, the president is doing pretty well and I hope we sustain this.

“I don’t think I spent more than three minutes at the immigration point because the system is working perfectly.

“What we need now is to sustain this service because Nigeria is very good at starting thing on a good note but sustaining that standard is always a problem.

“We are happy that things are now working in the present day Nigeria,” he said.

Asky Airlines was the first to start flight operations at the terminal on Jan. 6.

The remaining airlines that were yet to relocate their operations include: the British Airways, Lufthansa, Turkish, Air France, African World Airline, Egypt, Rwanda Air, Arik and Medview that suspended operations at present. (NAN)

Norwegian Air seeks compensation from Boeing for MAX groundings

Norwegian Air on Wednesday said it would seek compensation from plane maker Boeing for lost revenue and extra costs after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX 8 aircraft in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

“We expect Boeing to take this bill,” Norwegian Air said in an emailed statement.

The Oslo-based airline has 18 ‘MAX’ passenger jets in its 163-aircraft fleet.

European regulators on Tuesday grounded the aircraft following Sunday’s crash of a similar plane in Ethiopia, which killed 157 people and was the second crash involving that type of plane since October.

Boeing Chief Executive, Dennis Muilenburg, told employees on Monday that he was confident in the safety of the 737 MAX in an email to employees.

Industry sources, however, said the plane maker faces big claims after the crash.

Norwegian has bet heavily on the ‘MAX’ to become its aircraft of choice for short and medium-range flights in coming years as the low-cost carrier seeks to boost its fuel efficiency and thus cut the cost of flying.

The airline was maintaining its order for more aircraft of the same type from Boeing, spokesman, Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, said.

Norwegian is expected to take delivery of dozens more of the ‘MAX’ in coming years, raising the overall number to more than 70 by year-end 2021, according to recent company announcements.

Norwegian cancelled some flights on Tuesday and on Wednesday, it canceled at least three dozen departures, its website showed most of which were due to fly from airports in Oslo, Stockholm and other Nordic cities.

The company said it aimed to minimise the impact on passengers by booking them on to other flights and utilising other types of planes from its fleet to help fill the gaps.

“We are able to accommodate most intra-European passengers by these efforts but are still working on other options for our passengers travelling between Ireland and the U.S.,” Norwegian said.

Similarly, more countries have joined the ranks grounding Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft amid mounting safety concerns after the second crash of the same model in less than five months.

After assessing information related to operations of 737 Max, “to ensure flight safety,” Vietnam decided to close its air space to 737 Max on Wednesday, Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority announced on its website.

Oman “is temporarily suspending operations of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of all Omani airports until further notice,” the country’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation tweeted on Tuesday.

Due to the grounding, the national airline Oman Air said on its website that it will cancel a number of flights on March 12 to March 19.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), another key market for aircraft on the Arabian Peninsula, also banned the operation of all 737 Max 8 models “to ensure the safety of the UAE’s civil aviation industry and the public,” Emirates News Agency said on Tuesday.

Countries that have ordered similar grounding include India, Poland, New Zealand, Fiji, Italy, Turkey, France, Germany, Britain, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, and China among others.

Roughly two-thirds of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft in the world have been pulled from use by airlines and aviation regulators, according to a The New York Times article on Tuesday.

In October 2018, a Lion Air plane, also a 737 MAX 8, crashed into the sea off the Indonesian capital Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

In spite the two crashes, Boeing said in a statement on Tuesday that it had “full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX,” adding that “safety is Boeing’s number one priority.”

On the same day it ruled out any new guidance for 737 Max operators, though concerns of some customers and air carriers spread.

The aerospace company has the backing of U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which on Tuesday said it saw “no basis” to ground Boeing 737 Max planes.

The U.S., nevertheless, saw uproar domestically. In Chicago, roughly three dozen lawsuits have been filed against Boeing.

FG bans Boeing 737 Max planes from Nigeria’s airspace

The federal government has banned Boeing 737 Max airplanes from flying into Nigeria’s airspace following a fatal crash in Ethiopia over the weekend.

Hadi Sirika, minister of state, aviation, disclosed this to state house correspondents at the end of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Regarding Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9, that has been in the news recently, there is no cause for alarm as there is no operator in Nigeria that is using that type of airplane,” he said.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, whose mandate it is to issue advisory, has already issued advisory that nobody should fly into Nigeria or out of Nigeria using Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9, pending the determination of the actual cause of the crash in Ethiopia and also pending the outcome of the response of the manufacturer, which is Messers Boeing.

“Regardless of the enormous safety records of this plane 737, it has caused concern in the world of aviation and you know aviation is universal, whatever affects one affects the other because aircraft will be flying in and out. So, we have issued directive that no operator with Boeing 737 Max 8 or Max 9 should operate into and outside our airports and this is being carried out.

“Regarding Air Peace and Arik orders, whether those orders were confirmed or intent, it is to our knowledge in the ministry that they won’t be in the country until the next two years or so. And this is enough period to sort out whatever problem it is with that plane. The world of aviation will not be sleeping just as we in Nigeria will not be sleeping.

“And it is normal standard practice that once a particular aircraft type is involved in accident back to back, it is withdrawn from the market and see if there is something they are doing wrong. And if it is confirmed that a particular problem, say, for instance, landing gear, they will issue an instruction to ground such plane worldwide until the problem is fix.”

The 157 persons on board the ill-fated aircraft were killed. Two Nigerians: Pius Adesanmi, a professor, and Abiodun Bashua, an ex-diplomat, lost their lives in the incident.

BREAKING: Crashed Ethiopian Airlines black box recovered —report

Investigators have recovered one of two black box recorders on the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 that crashed just outside Addis Ababa Sunday, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew, Ethiopian state media reported.

“#BreakingNews: The black box voice recorder from Ethiopian Airlines aircraft which crashed yesterday has been recovered: #Ethiopia,” FANA Broadcasting Corporate said on its Twitter page.

(AFP)

Ethiopian Airlines grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet over crash …As authorities begin investigations

Ethiopian Airlines has announced the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet, over yesterday’s crash of its Flight ET302 from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Nairobi, Kenya, about six minutes after takeoff, in which 149 passengers and eight crew members on board perished.

The Ethiopian and Kenyan authorities have also launched investigations in line with international standards to ascertain possible causes of crash, which has put the global aviation community into a state of mourning.

According to a CNN report, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Transport James Macharia and Ethiopian Airlines’ Kenya country manager, Yilma Goshu, held a press conference at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi.

Goshu said that Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet, “as a precautionary safety measure. He however noted that the decision to “suspend the planes from service” did not mean that the incident was related to “defects with (this) specific fleet.”

The two officials also said that the focus now would be on conducting the “investigation in line with international standards” and on “comforting and counselling relatives, friends and family” of passengers on board the flight. So far they managed to contact 25 families, they confirmed.

Goshu also said that relatives of the victims who wished to travel to Addis would be assisted, and the government would provide accommodation and updates to the investigation.

It was gathered that the 157 dead were of 35 different nationalities, including eight Americans and two Nigerians.

The Nigerian victims were identified as a popular Nigerian-born Canadian professor and writer, Pius Adesanmi, and Ambassador Abiodun Bashua, a former Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, Sudan.

Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where Adesanmi was a lecturer, said in a statement on its website, “The contributions of Pius Adesnami to Carleton are immeasurable…He was a scholar and teacher of the highest calibre who left a deep imprint on Carleton.”

Other victims include 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Chinese, eight Italians, eight Americans, and seven people each from France and United Kingdom. There were also six Egyptians, five Germans, four people each from Slovakia and India, three people each from Austria, Russia, Sweden, and two people from Spain, Israel, Morrocco and Poland.

Recall that the aircraft, a Boeing 737 MAX with registration number ET- AVJ, took off at 08.38am local time on Sunday from Addis Ababa and lost contact at 08.44am. Search and rescue operations began soon after, where it was discovered that there were no survivors, a statement by the airline had said.

It was gathered that the weather in the capital was clear when the brand-new Boeing plane, delivered to Ethiopia last year, took off. The Boeing came down near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu.

The African Union Commission chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he learnt of the crash “with utter shock and immense sadness.”

“Our prayers are with the families of the passengers and the crew as authorities search for survivors. I also express our full solidarity with the governments and people of Ethiopia,” he said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s leader,President Muhammadu Buhari, has condoled with the families of the victims of the accident both in Nigeria and abroad. In a condolence message to the government and people of Ethiopia, the President however said the high casualty figure was disturbing.

China grounds all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Civil Aviation Administration of China grounds all Boeing 737MAX aircraft as a precautionary safety measure, following a deadly Ethiopian Airline 737 MAX 8 crash that killed all onboard.

The airlines in China have grounded MAX aircraft after a notice they received from CAAC this Monday morning. The CAAC said it would issue a statement on its website regarding the 737 MAX soon.

Airlines in China operates more than 90 Boeing MAX aircraft and on FlightRadar24, there are no MAX flights are flying over

Cayman Airways said “In the wake of the tragic loss of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, which was being operated by a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft,…”we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, effective from Monday March 11, 2019, until more information is received,”

One Nigerian on board crashed Ethiopian Airlines jetliner

At least one Nigerian has been reported to be on board the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed  in Ethiopia this morning.

According to a tweet by MarthaLeah Nangalama (@mlnangalama)  on the manifest of the passengers on board the crash Kenya, Canada, Ethiopia, USA and China have the highest numbers of their nationals on board the ill-fated flight.

MarthaLeah Nangalama (@mlnangalama) Tweeted:
Ethiopian Airlines – list of the dead per country that was on board the plane. https://t.co/gZLHoJ5ZvMhttps://twitter.com/mlnangalama/status/1104734918280507392?s=17

Kenyan 32, Canadians 18, Ethiopians 9, USA 8, Chinese 8 Nigerian 1

Meanwhile, the nationalities of two passengers on board the flight are yet to be identified.

 

Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi crashes, killing 157

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet to Nairobi crashed early on Sunday with 149 passengers and eight crew members aboard, the airline said, and there were no survivors, according to the state broadcaster.

The flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8.38 am local time, before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8.44 am.

“There are no survivors onboard the flight, which carried passengers from 33 countries,” said state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, quoting an unidentified source at the airline.

Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, the airline said, adding that the plane was a Boeing 737-800 MAX, registration number ET-AVJ.

That model number does not exist however and multiple aviation websites later identified the plane as a new 737 MAX 8, the same plane that crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189.

“Search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties,” the airline said in a statement.

The flight had unstable vertical speed after take off, said flight tracking website Flightradar24 on its Twitter feed.

At Nairobi airport, many relatives of passengers were waiting at the gate, with no information from airport authorities.

“We’re just waiting for my mum. We’re just hoping she took a different flight or was delayed. She’s not picking up her phone,” said Wendy Otieno, clutching her phone and weeping.

Robert Mutanda, 46, was waiting for his brother-in-law coming from Canada.

“No, we haven’t seen anyone from the airline or the airport,” he told Reuters at 1pm, more than three hours after the flight was lost. “Nobody has told us anything, we are just standing here hoping for the best.”

The Ethiopian prime minister’s office sent condolences via Twitter to the families of those lost in the crash.

On Oct. 29, a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

The plane is the latest version of the 737 family, the world’s best selling modern passenger aircraft and one of the industry’s most reliable.

State-owned Ethiopian is one of the biggest carriers on the continent by fleet size. It said previously that it expected to carry 10.6 million passengers last year.

Tributes pour in for first Nigerian pilot at Qatar Airways

Adeola Sowemimo, a Nigerian, has become the First female African to work as a pilot for luxury airline, Qatar Airways and fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Sowemimo, an indigene of Ogbomosho, Oyo state, took to her Facebook page to share a throwback photo of herself as a student of US-based Sunrise Aviation Academy in 2011.

“Days of little beginning… God be praised #ihavedominion,” the post read.

Announcing the news on Twitter, African Facts Zone wrote: “Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.”

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Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

5,975 people are talking about this

A wave of positive acknowledgement, praises and congratulatory messages trailed the announcement.

Here are some reactions:

Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Chimaroke Ufomadu@ufomadu_chima

She’s written her name in Gold.

See Chimaroke Ufomadu’s other Tweets

Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Olufunmilayo O. Ale@LayoofBrent

Highly impressive! Great feat

See Olufunmilayo O. Ale’s other Tweets

For others, Sowemimo’s accomplishment is an inspiration to both young and old.

Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

kaima chichika@johnkay70

My daughter watch this 😬😬😬 no more excuses 😟

See kaima chichika’s other Tweets

Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Moses Zangar, Jr.@mzangar

Excellent! What a man can do, a woman can also do – and do even better.

See Moses Zangar, Jr.’s other Tweets

airborne_lisa✈️🇳🇬@pilotfaith

Wetin concern me. They should fire on

Danymation👽@danyphonia

Tell them the sky is big to accommodate all the lords and ladies of the sky

See Danymation👽‘s other Tweets

Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Neat Logistics Naija@NeatLogisticsNG

It’s not about background, color, where you are from…the heights you desire and reach for will not elude you if you believe and set your mind to achieve it. Success beckons, search for opportunities and you will find that they exists.

See Neat Logistics Naija’s other Tweets

Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Alagbe Olusegun@AlagbeOlusegun

Congratulations sweet Angel and lovely sister more to your cap ooooo. I wish you all the best and safe flight all through. Amen

See Alagbe Olusegun’s other Tweets

Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Dr Juliet Emudianugh@JulietEmudianug

Wow! Congratulations to Adeola. Proud of her, keep the flag flying.

See Dr Juliet Emudianugh’s other Tweets

Africa Facts Zone@AfricaFactsZone

Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo has become the first Nigerian female Pilot to work for Qatar Airways, and also the first to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

mooketsi sere@ketsiboy

Now this is something to marvel over. We’ll done!! 👏👏👏👏👏👏@ketsmansere

See mooketsi sere’s other Tweets

Sowemimo with husband

Even though the Middle East is home to some of the world’s biggest and most recognisable airlines like Emirates and Etihad, it’s an extremely challenging region for women hoping to get into the cockpit.

Qatar Airways is one of the first in the region to introduce female pilots with women accounting for 44 percent of the airline’s workforce as at 2018, Akbar Al Baker, its chief executive officer told UK’s The Independent.

 

Interim manager says investors are showing keen interest in Arik as performance improves

Oluseye Opasanya (SAN), the receiver-manager of Arik Air, says local and foreign investors are showing a keen interest in the airline.

Arik Air, which was taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in February 2017, has been in search for new investors to clear its debts and buy the airline from the federal government.

While there have been many investment discussions about the airline locally and internationally, no investor has put  money on the table.

Opasanya said the receiver/manager and AMCON have done so much to turn around the fortunes of the airline, which was embroiled in over N300 billion debt in 2017.

“The former management found it extremely difficult to pay for fuel and as a result flight cancellations we’re  rife, on-time performance (OTP), which is a measure of an airline’s ability to meet scheduled flight time plummeted leading to significant customer attrition and loss of confidence,” Opasanya said.

“Regulatory agencies were owed incredulous amounts of money and by way of example, passenger service charges impressed with trust collected on behalf of the government had not been remitted for several years.

“So also were huge sums of money deducted from workers’ salaries over many years which were not remitted to Pension companies. The flying public was equally owed several millions of Naira and foreign currencies on account of unflown tickets and cancelled flights.”

He added that “consequent upon measures taken post-receivership, OTP, which had fallen abysmally to 19% a month before AMCON’s intervention, climbed up steadily and currently averages 63.5%”.

“Cancellations, which were as high as 40% as at January 2017, has been significantly reduced to less than 4%. Average load factor is currently over 73% whilst aircraft utilization has also increased by about 50%”.

“Without the benefit of maintenance reserves, Arik was inevitably confronted with a financial storm, which would have sunk the airline but for the help of AMCON and prudent management by the Receivership team.

“There has been a gradual increase in the number of serviceable aircraft as a result of huge investments in fleet maintenance. In the first and second quarter of 2018, the fleet serviceable planes increased to 13.

“The management team has therefore ensured that staff undergo mandatory training, locally and internationally. Furthermore, all unpaid salary obligations have been paid while current salaries and pensions are paid/remitted as at when due.

“Critical vendor relationships have been revamped and trade lines restored. Arik now enjoys the confidence of partners.”

He reassured the public that “the airline is being run under unique governance arrangements that has ensured that costs are prudently optimized and that all departments of the company function in an orderly and professional manner”.

“It is gratifying to report that the airline’s Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) was negative in 2017 but in 2018 was significantly positive.”

Arik was being speculated to be the foundation for the Nigerian national carrier — a claim, which has been discarded by the receiver-manager, time and again.

United Airlines fires pilots for engaging in cockpit sex mid-flight

United Airlines has fired two of its pilots after they allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse in midflight while the plane’s internal communication system was on.

Forty nine-year old Jordan McPhee and 38-year old Bayani Ceniza were operating a Boeing 747 carrying 412 passengers from Manilla to Los Angeles when the speakers in the plane’s passenger area started emitting strange noises.

71-year old Betty Garrison who was aboard with her husband, says that both flight attendants and passengers were shocked when the unidentifiable sounds turned into “a gay porn soundtrack”.

At first, we heard strange sounds and thought someone had entered the cockpit and was wrestling the pilots. But then it became clearer and we heard stuff like “fuck me harder Daddy” and other disgusting things.”

According to Ms. Garrison, flight attendants rapidly ran to the cockpit to warn the pilots, but the two ignored them and continued for several minutes before finally answering the door.

“We could clearly hear the poor girls yelling and banging the door and the two men complaining about it while they continued having sex”, she added.

Over 30 passengers filed complaints with United Airlines upon their arrival in Los Angeles and the company decided to act swiftly.

In a brief press conference held in Chicago, the airline has announced that it had launched an investigation on the event and that both Mr. Mcphee and Mr. Ceniza had been fired.

United Airlines executive vice-president James Garreth said the company will investigate the incident thoroughly and do everything it can to prevent such a thing from happening again.

Over 300 incidents of sexual nature involving airplane pilots are reported every year in North America according to the FAA.

A vast majority of these cases involve pilots engaging in sexual intercourse with flight attendants or passengers, and cases involving both pilot and co-pilot are extremely rare.

In 2013, four employees of American Airlines had been fired after engaging in group sex with 17 passengers.

Nigeria’s Green Africa Airways orders 100 Boeing 737 MAX8 aircraft

Nigerian start-up Green Africa Airways has signed a commitment for up to 100 Boeing 737 MAX8 aircraft as the airline prepares to begin commercial operations.

The total deal carries a list-price of $11.7bn, the largest aircraft agreement from Africa, and is evenly split into 50 firm aircraft and 50 options.

Babawande Afolabi, the low-cost carrier’s founder and chief executive, said it was a “historic day for the Nigerian and African aviation industry”.

He added: “This landmark deal takes us much closer to our long-held dream of building a world-class airline that will unlock a new realm of positive possibilities for millions of customers.

“Broadly speaking, this deal is a bold symbol of the dynamism, resilience and soaring entrepreneurial drive of the next generation of Nigerians and Africans.”

Green Africa Airways, based in Lagos, has already received its Air Transport License from the Nigerian government.

It is backed by a group of senior industry leaders led by Tom Horton, former chairman and chief executive of American Airlines, William Shaw, founder and former chief executive of VivaColombia and Virasb Vahidi, former chief commercial officer of American Airlines.

Vahidi said Nigeria is “uniquely positioned to be the home of the next major value airline”. According to figures from OAG Schedules Analyser, the country’s low-cost market represents about 16 percent of total capacity.

“The strategic partnership with Boeing positions Green Africa Airways to expand and improve air travel for customers in Nigeria, and further strengthens the relationship between the United States, Nigeria and Africa,” Vahidi added.

Green Africa Airways initially plans to develop the Nigerian market and then build a pan-African network.

According to Boeing’s 20-year Commercial Market Outlook, airlines in Africa will require 1,190 new aircraft as the continent boosts both intra-continental and intercontinental connectivity over the next couple of decades.

Earlier this week, President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned a new terminal at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal in Abuja. It is the second major aviation infrastructure development to be opened in the country in as many months following the inauguration of Port Harcourt International Airport’s new $600m terminal.

Buhari said the government was “committed to developing Nigeria into regional air transportation hub and thereby assuming its leadership in the aviation sub sector in Africa”.

In July, aviation minister Hadi Sirika announced plans for the launch of a new flag carrier called Nigeria Air during a ceremony at the Farnborough International Airshow. He said the airline had identified 81 routes out of “more than a thousand considered”.

However, the project was suspended in September and means the country’s wait for a new national carrier goes on.

Speaking to Routesonline in December, Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam said the airline retains its ambition to create a new national carrier in Nigeria. But he admitted that further discussions would not take place until the country’s political future is resolved.

“There is no update because the country is going to election in February, so they are busy with the election process,” he said. “But maybe after the election.”

Nigeria’s first national air carrier Nigeria Airways closed in 2003, while Air Nigeria ceased operations in 2012. Arik Air is currently the dominant player in the country’s market with a 24.6 percent share of available departure seats in 2018, followed by Air Peace with 16.5 percent.

Capacity in the Nigerian market has returned to growth in 2018, OAG Schedules Analyser data shows, with a 4.2 percent rise in the number of departure seats compared with 2017. This year there will be approximately 10.1 million seats, up from 9.6 a year ago.

BREAKING: Gatwick airport flights halted again in new drone fears

Flights were suspended again Friday at London’s Gatwick Airport after another suspected drone sighting, following three days of Christmas getaway disruption at one of Europe’s busiest air hubs.

Flights had resumed earlier on Friday after military resources were brought in to deal with an earlier drone problem, but a spokeswoman said the runway had been brought to a standstill once more following a fresh “suspected drone sighting” at around 1710 GMT.