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ICYMI: Qantas Dreamliner completes longest ever commercial flight

 

They did the Macarena 10,972 metres above Las Vegas, dined on chilli- and lime-poached prawns and spicy “Jiangxi-style” cod and watched a fair few movies, including the Elton John biopic, Rocketman. Well, they had enough time: 19 hours and 16 minutes to be precise.

Aviation history was made at 7.43am on Sunday when Qantas flight QF7879 touched down at Sydney airport, completing the world’s longest ever commercial flight. It had taken off from New York’s JFK airport at 9.27pm on Friday night. Along the way, it produced the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of burning more than 700 barrels of oil.

Just 49 people – including six pilots, six members of cabin crew including a chef, a handful of reporters, six frequent flyers and the airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce – were on board the Boeing Dreamliner flight, designed to test whether passengers can endure the physical and mental effects of extremely long aeroplane journeys.

The flight was restricted to such a small number of passengers in order to ensure that it was light enough to make it all the way to Australia on one tank of fuel. In order to reduce the weight, strict restrictions were put in place, including limiting passengers’ luggage and destocking most of the bar. All the passengers were in business class.

The plane was loaded with 101 tonnes of jet fuel, which made up almost half the total weight of the plane on takeoff. A Qantas spokesman was unable to explain how much carbon dioxide the flight created, but said all carbon emissions from the flight would be offset. The spokesman suggested that the carbon footprint of the direct flight would be less than that created by a two-leg journey because most energy used in flying is on takeoff.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, which is part of the United Nations, estimates that 3.15 grams of carbon dioxide are produced for every gram of jet fuel burned. This would suggest that the flight created about 310 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent to the CO2 emitted by the use of four full tankers of petrol or that of about 718 barrels of oil, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Britain’s Committee on Climate Change said any new flights that expanded the market for long-haul travel would hinder the legally binding commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The flight covered 16,200 kms (10,200 miles) – about 900km further than the current longest commercial flight between Singapore and New York.

In an onboard interview in his Qantas-branded grey pyjamas, Joyce said: “This is the last frontier in aviation, being able to fly from the east coast of the United States to the east coast of Australia.”

The flight, on a brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner named Kookaburra (a type of Australian kingfisher), was the first of three test flights exploring the practicalities of ultra-long -distance commercial aviation as part of Qantas’s Project Sunrise. Next month, Qantas will test a direct flight from Heathrow to Sydney, which will set a new distance record of 17,000km and take about 19.5 hours.

The Dreamliner has completed the non-stop test flight from New York to Sydney. The 10,066-mile (16,200km) journey lasted 19 hours and 16 minutes

New York

Los Angeles

Hawaii

Pacific Ocean

Fiji

Sydney

oyce said upon landing in Sydney: “This is a really significant first for aviation. Hopefully, it’s a preview of a regular service that will speed up how people travel from one side of the globe to the other.

“We know ultra-long-haul flights pose some extra challenges, but that’s been true every time technology has allowed us to fly further. The research we’re doing should give us better strategies for improving comfort and wellbeing along the way.”

The passengers boarding the flight at 9pm in New York were told to reset their watches to Sydney time as soon as they boarded, and were kept awake with the lights on for six hours and served a spicy soup and fish lunch designed to keep them up for longer to reduce jetlag. The chef said he had been preparing the meals on the flight for three days.

As the flight flew over Las Vegas, passengers were led from their business class seats to the empty economy cabin in a rendition of La Macarena designed to get the blood pumping around their bodies.

Pilots, passengers and crew were also subjected to a battery of health and wellbeing checks designed to test the effects of ultra-long-haul flying. All crew members wore activity monitors and completed sleep diaries and alertness logs during the flight, and in the two weeks leading up to it.

Cameras were mounted in the cockpit to “record alertness cues and operational activities” and the pilots wore EEG (electroencephalogram) brain monitoring equipment to monitor them for alertness and sleep.

With demand for air travel rapidly growing and aircraft performance improving, carriers are increasingly looking into ultra-long-haul travel. The International Air Transport Association expects the worldwide number of annual passengers to increase from 4.6 billion this year to 8.2 billion by 2037.

Qantas captain Sean Golding said flying the plane was the highlight of his career. “The flight was very successful from two components,” he said. “The first one was research. And also the feat of distance – that flight last night was 16,200 kilometres. We were airborne for 19 hours and 16 minutes, and we landed here in Sydney with a comfortable 70 minutes of fuel.”

The QF7879 flight landed in Sydney a few minutes before the airline’s regular New York to Sydney service QF12, which stops in Los Angeles. QF12 had taken off from New York three hours before QF7879.

Passengers scared as Boeing wants 737 Max back flying

On September 12, Boeing started putting out 30-second videos in which employees tout its planes’ safety, hoping to reassure travelers about the 737 MAX that was grounded after two fatal crashes.

“Safety is at the core of our business. We have put hundreds of engineers to work to ensure that this airplane is 100 percent ready,” says Jennifer Henderson, chief test pilot for the 737, in one of the clips.

“When the 737 MAX returns to service I will absolutely put my family on this airplane,” she stressed. But on a Facebook page for Boeing enthusiasts where the clip was posted, the response is negative.

“Well, I think she could not say it would be unsafe,” one member quipped, as Boeing faces the Herculean task of trying to regain the confidence of civil aviation authorities and the public, seven months after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines MAX that killed 157 people.

That came after the downing of a Lion Air MAX in Indonesia in October 2018, killing 189, with the plane’s MCAS anti-stall system being blamed in both accidents.

It’s not known when the MAX will return to service. Boeing, which still has not submitted a modified version of the MCAS system to regulators, hopes it will be before the end of the year.

“The 737 Max is, for now, an ‘airplane non grata’ — a plane passengers do not want to fly,” said Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco.

“Travelers aren’t merely scared of the 737 MAX, they’re terrified of it.”

Just 19 percent of business travellers and 14 percent of leisure travellers would willingly take the 737 MAX within six months of returning to the sky, according to an Atmosphere survey.

Nearly half of the 2,000 respondents said they would pay more to avoid the MAX.

Faced with this distrust, airlines are adapting.

“We will be transparent — and communicate in advance — with our customers who are booked to fly on a MAX aircraft, will rebook those who do not want to fly on a MAX at no charge, and for some time will not swap aircraft to a MAX if a change of aircraft is required,” said a spokesperson at United Airlines, which owns 14 MAX aircraft.

American Airlines, which has 24 MAX planes, has said its company brass and employees will be the first to fly on the aircraft once it’s cleared to return to the sky.

The MAX’s setbacks have cast a shadow over a century of history at Boeing, a highlight of which was the success of its 747 jumbo jet, nicknamed the “Queen of the skies.”

According to Harteveldt, half of business passengers and 55 percent of leisure passengers consider Boeing to be “irresponsible,” “arrogant” and “unsafe.”

Boeing’s management has addressed the trust issue.

“We know that trust has been damaged over the last few months and we own that and we are working hard to re-earn that trust going forward,” CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in August.

The trust may have been tested again on Friday, when it emerged that some potentially significant documents at Boeing were held back from investigators for months.

Boeing says it has conducted 1,447 flight test hours as of October 13 with the modified MCAS, and Muilenburg personally took part in two tests.

From late September to mid-October, the company also invited airline pilots to simulator training and information sessions in Miami, London, Istanbul, Shanghai and Singapore.

 

Again, Royal Air Maroc plane suffers cargo door incident in Lagos

Less than two weeks after an aircraft used by Air Maroc to operate a flight inward Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos had problem with the door of its cargo compartment, another aircraft used by the same airline to operate an outward flight from the same airport experienced similar incident on Sunday.

Confirming the incident, the management of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in a release by its spokesperson, Mrs Yakubu Henrientta noted the pilot of the aircraft discovered the the light of the cargo door flickered on after it has been visually certified locked and cleared for take off by concerned security operatives at the airport.
Not ready to take any risk, the pilot alerted the control tower to request return to the apron.

“The pilot flying a B737-700 belonging to Royal Air Maroc with registration number CN-RNQ discovered that the cargo door light was flickering on, despite the Aviation security escort visual observation that the Cargo door was closed. he alerted the control tower, requesting to return back to the apron, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, at about 05.30 hours today, October 20, 2019,” FAAN said.

According to the statement, “The Aviation Security escort team remained with the aircraft as it taxied back to the apron. At the apron, all concerned officers of FAAN and other agencies were on ground for thorough inspection.

“In line with standard and recommended practices, all parties concerned supervised the offloading and the re-screening of all the luggage belonging to all passengers on board the aircraft”.

Yakubu cleared that, every luggage on board the flight was certified intact in the presence of the airport manager and other top brass security personnel at the Lagos airport before the aircraft departed later this morning to Morocco.

“All the luggage belonging to the passengers were intact as certified by the team on ground before the flight eventually took-off at 10.06 hours in the presence of the Airport Manager and Chief Security Officer of the Airport.,” she said.

BA cancels flight to Lagos over IT glitch

British Airways, on Wednesday, cancelled and delayed a total of 127 flights out of Gatwick and Heathrow airports in London after its systems suffered a partial crash.

It is estimated that a total of 117 flights connected to Heathrow Aiport in London were cancelled while 10 flights connected to Gatwick Airport were also affected.

Flights scheduled to depart Heathrow Airport for Lagos have been delayed overnight with arrival delayed while departure for a flight to Abuja was delayed with arrival still on time.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the airline said it was experiencing a systems issue that affected check-in and flight departures from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City affected.

British Airways
British Airways

It, however, said it was not a global IT outage adding that it used manual systems to cope with the issues.

“We are working as quickly as possible to resolve a systems issue which has resulted in some short-haul cancellations and delays from London airports,” it said.

“A number of flights continue to operate but we are advising customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information before coming to the airport.

“We are offering customers booked on short-haul services departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City today, the opportunity to rebook to another day.

“We are encouraging customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information, and to allow additional time at the airport.”

Flights into Heathrow from Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Nashville, and Miami were reported to have been the worst hit.

Nigerian airline operators protest more frequencies granted Emirates

Local carriers under the aegis of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has called on the Federal Government to immediately withdraw the new frequency granted Emirates Airlines to operate out of the Federal capital, Abuja.

AON, in a statement made available to the media on Monday said granting such a right to a foreign airline at a time when a fully Nigerian owned airline just started a direct operation to the home base of the foreign airline would lead to job loss, capital flight and direct plundering of an already battered economy.

The airline operators who claimed it is unfair for Emirates to be allowed such increase in frequency, insisted that the move effectively at a massive disadvantage, the Nigerian economy and the jobs of our youths and huge capital flight places our indigenous carriers.

“The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) hereby cries foul against the recent commencement by Emirates Airline of an additional flight, now increasing its frequency to four (4) flights daily into Nigeria on the eve of when a Nigerian Carrier began flights to United Arabs Emirates  (UAE) operated with 100% Nigerian Pilots, Cabin Crew, Engineers and Dispatchers.

“It is very unfair for Emirates to be allowed such increase barely two (2) weeks after the launch of flights on July 5, 2019 to Sharjah, UAE by Air Peace, our very own Nigerian airline. The move is effectively at a massive disadvantage, the Nigerian economy and the jobs of our youths and huge capital flight places our indigenous carriers,” the  group said.

Stating reasons why the Federal Government needs to rescind the decision, AON said, “Government must stand tall to play the role of aeropolitics to support Air Peace, otherwise it will end up the same way as others such as Bellview, Arik Air and Medview that went before it; as they were unable to play in the wild and aggressive field of international aeropolitics.

“Emirates Airlines as at today, operates two daily flights out of Lagos and two daily flights out of Abuja. Also, Etihad, from the same Arab country, operates daily flights out of Lagos as well.

“This translates to five flights daily and a total of 150 flights per month from UAE; as against a Nigerian carrier that only just started operating three flights weekly (12 flights monthly into UAE). This is a colossal plundering of the Nigerian economy through capital flight and a huge loss of Nigerian jobs,” AON posited..

While the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based airlines enjoy unrestricted economic support in Nigeria with more frequencies, AON regretted that Air Peace is still waiting to be allocated a dedicated Lounge or departure wing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport to signify that this is a Nigerian airline; as against the case with Emirates that has a huge lounge at the Dubai International Airport that is heavily branded in the airline’s colours. The same goes with Etihad in Abu Dhabi, British Airways in London, Lufthansa in Frankfurt and Air France in Paris  to mention but a few.

The AON  pointed out that despite the support of government of United States of America for Open Skies Policy, the three major airlines in the U.S are crying against  its  implementation.

“It is little wonder that the three major carriers in the United States (United, American and Delta) cried out against the same open skies and anti-competitive behavior.

“The US airlines accused them of being funded by their government to the tune of over $50 billion and undercutting US carriers by offering below-market fares on flights that go to other destinations beyond the Middle East, at the expense of American jobs and the American Economy,” AON noted.

The 2017, the economic policy of the Trump administration to protect the American economy, jobs and the airlines subsequently forced the Emirati airlines to reduce their flights by about 30 per cent.

This, AON said, is a classic example of domestic airlines crying out against unfair competition and having their government standing behind them with full support to effect change and ensure that domestic airlines with private funds get “A Fair Deal” against foreign competition from state-owned airlines.

According to Megisson, “It is unfair to unleash a band of ravenous and voracious wolves against a harmless and privately funded puppy that is still trying to find its feet and doing all it can to survive, create economic impact and jobs for our youths. It is the role of Government therefore to protect our very own Nigerian carriers and preserve the Nigerian economy and the jobs of our unemployed youths.

“The additional double daily flights given to Emirates, a highly subsidized airline is not necessary at this time as statistics show that half of the flights out of Abuja are half empty and the fact that the Emirati airlines already have an unfair trade advantage of 150 flights monthly out of Nigeria; as against 12 monthly flights for Nigerian airlines that should have been allowed to stabilize and grow its operations into the UAE to a level where the airline can compete favourably on the route.

“We would therefore like to use this medium to call on the government to review all existing BASAs to readdress the unfair trade advantage given to foreign airlines against Nigerian airlines.

“This will go a long way to safeguard the Nigerian economy from continued plundering of our resources, preserve the lively hood of workers in the aviation sector, create jobs for our many unemployed youths, promote technology transfer, and significantly reduce capital flight in line with the vision of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.”

NCAA certifies Air Peace planes airworthy

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said it has completed a thorough and comprehensive technical audit of all operational aircraft in the fleet of Air Peace airline and found them airworthy.

This was made known in a statement today by the spokesperson at NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye who said the regulatory authority carried out the audit to ensure that the airline is in compliance with the extant civil aviation regulations in the country and to prevent the reoccurrence of the incident.

“NCAA has just concluded has just completed a thorough technical audit of the airline and its fleet of aircraft with a view to ensuring the airline is in compliance with extant Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), and to mitigate the re-occurrence of the incident,” NCAA said.

The agency added that the technical audit was not limited to this recent incident involving a B737-300 aircraft with Registration Marks 5N- BQO which crash landed on the runway R 18 at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The regulatory authority which affirmed that all the operational aircraft on the fleet of Air Peace Limited are airworthy, said,” This technical audit was not limited to this recent incident. The airline operational, technical and safety performance in the last twelve months were also scrutinised” added, “It revealed that all the operational aircraft on the fleet of Air Peace Limited are airworthy”.

It would be recalled that on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, at about 10.28 am an Air Peace B737-300 aircraft with Registration Marks 5N- BQO crash landed on the runway R 18 at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is, however currently carrying out an indepth investigation into the incident to determine the immediate and remote causes responsible for this particular incident as required by International Standards stipulated in International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13. The Authority awaits the conclusion and report of the AIB.

The regulatory authority said, “This is to assure the flying public that all the aircraft on the fleet of NCAA authorised Air Operators Certificate (AOC) holders operating in Nigeria are airworthy,” even as it vowed to continue to ensure only airworthy aircraft are permitted to operate.

Air Peace assigned national carrier status on Lagos-Dubai route

Nigeria’s Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recognises Air Peace as Nigeria’s flag carrier on the lucrative Lagos-Dubai air route, a Nigerian envoy has announced in Dubai on Sunday.

“Air Peace is now recognised as a national carrier, based on the BASA and whatever the airline is doing will be linked to Nigeria,’’ Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UAE, Mr Mohammed Rimi, announced at a ceremony to formally welcome Air Peace to the Arab nation.

He, however, warned the airline to avoid anything that could tarnish the image of Nigeria, while servicing the route, advising the company to ensure on-time flight services to sustain confidence and patronage.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Air Peace commenced flight operations from Lagos to Dubai en route the Sharjah International Airport in Dubai on July 5.

The ambassador recalled that some Nigerian carriers had previously serviced the Dubai route but could not sustain their operations, due to competition and other factors.

Rimi assured that Nigeria was keen to meet the terms of its BASA deal with the UAE, pointing out however, that Nigeria had yet to service four slots in the air services agreement with the Middle East nation.

The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, said the airline’s foray into long-haul flights was aimed at connecting Nigeria to the world and creating jobs for its teeming populace.

“In less than four years, Air Peace has created 3,000 direct jobs and over 9,000 ancillary jobs for Nigerians and that is what is driving us.

“We believe that if more Nigerians are meaningfully engaged, the problem of kidnapping, militancy and ethnic violent clashes will reduce in our country.”

According to Onyema, the airline is targeting to increase its B777 aircraft being deployed for long-haul flights to six before the end of the year to accommodate more routes.

He said that flights from Lagos to Johannesburg would come before the end of August while Guangzhou, Mumbai, London and Houston routes were also being planned.

Onyema said that Nigeria’s BASA with UAE and other countries were one-sided and had left Nigeria open to exploitation by foreign airlines.

He said the Federal Government should protect domestic carriers by halting the granting of multiple entry points for foreign airlines.

The Air Peace boss commended the Federal Government for the support being given to the airlines, citing the removal of value-added tax and waivers on aircraft spares.

He also thanked Nigerians for their support to the airline, which had seen it emerge as the biggest airline in West Africa.

Air Peace begins flights on Lagos-Dubai route

Air Peace has expanded its flight operations to include the Lagos-Sharjah-Dubai route.

The airline’s first long-haul flight was scheduled to depart Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja at 8.00p.m. to arrive in Dubai at 5.00a.m. on Saturday.

Sabiu Zakari, permanent secretary in the federal ministry of transportation (aviation), commended the airline for its expansion efforts.

Zakari, who was represented by Hassan Musa, director of air transport management, said the government would continue to support Nigerian airlines for them to sustain their operations.

“We are proud of you. The government on its own will continue to assist domestic airlines,” he said.

“We have gotten waivers on aircraft spares and also opened a special foreign exchange window for them which shows the commitment of the government to our carriers.”

According to Musa, the government is ready to approve new international routes for domestic airlines and assist them in liaising with foreign governments through the ministry of foreign affairs.

Speaking at an event to commemorate the inaugural flight, Allen Onyema, Air Peace chairman, thanked Nigerians for their patronage, which he said, had made the company the largest airline in West Africa within four years of operations.

Onyema noted that the entry of the airline into long-haul services would end the exploitation and short-changing of Nigerians by foreign airlines.

“A six-hour flight from Lagos to Europe costs more than an 11-hour trip from Johannesburg to the same destination,” he said.

“So, we want to put an end to the exploitation of our people. We want Nigerians to know that patronising us instead of our competitors will put back their money into the country’s economy.

“We are optimistic that even if our competitors begin to drop their fares that Nigerians will be wise to stick with us.”

NAN reports that Air Peace has scheduled to operate flights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays to Dubai while Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays would be for flights back to Lagos.

The airline is currently the only Nigerian carrier operating on the route, after flights services by Medview Airlines were suspended in March 2018.

Ethiopian Airlines says it’ll be last to fly Boeing 737 Max 8 … after re-certification

Ethiopian Airlines says it will be the last airline to operate the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft after the model has been adjusted and re-certified by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), US.

Esayas Hailu, managing director, Ethiopian International Services, disclosed this while speaking with journalists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian capital, on Wednesday.

On March 10, an Ethiopian Airlines’ flight ET302  en route Nairobi from Addis Ababa crashed six minutes after take-off, killing all 157 persons on board.

The victims included two Nigerians– Pius Adesanmi, Canada-based professor of Literary Arts, Carleton university, and Biodun Bashua, a former UN and African Union (AU) deputy joint special representative in Darfur, Sudan.

The crash was the second involving Boeing 737 MAX 8 within five months – a Lion Air crashed in Indonesia in October 2018.

The March incident led to the grounding of aircraft model by airlines across the world.

Halilu said the airline will only fly the aircraft after it had been certified and flown by American and European airlines.

He added that Boeing would have to also train its pilots on the technicalities of the aircraft.

“Ethiopian Airlines has four grounded B737-Max-800 aircraft with an order for 27 more which will be determined after the adjustment by Boeing,” Hailu said.

“ET has vowed to be the last airline to fly that aircraft. We can only fly it after others in Europe, America and the Gulf States have and after it has been recertified by the FAA.

“Boeing will also come up with a list of other training for our pilots and crew because we have a B737-Max-800 Simulator in our facility.

“Everybody knew that it was the design of the aircraft that led to the crash and Boeing and the FAA have attested to that.

“Our commercial brand emerged stronger and the public’s confidence to travel with us have not been affected.”

AIB slams Air Peace for failure to report serious incidents

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has expressed its displeasure on the failure of Air Peace to report incidents that involved one of its aircraft

In a statement, the spokesman of AIB Tunji Oketunbi said the failure of the airline to report serious incidents involving two of its Boeing 737-300 aircraft with Registration Marks 5N-BUK and 5N-BUO to the Bureau as mandated by Law is not acceptable.

Accident Investigation Bureau wishes to express its displeasure over the persistent failure of some airlines to report accidents or serious incidents to the Bureau as mandated by Law.
“On the 5th of June 2019, the Bureau received notification about a serious incident involving a Boeing 737-300 aircraft with Registration Marks 5N-BUK, belonging to Air Peace Limited from a passenger onboard. It was reported that the said incident occurred on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, while the aircraft was on approach to Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from Port Harcourt.

The aircraft was said to have experienced a hard landing as it touched down on the runway (18R).
Upon receipt of the notification, the Bureau visited Air Peace Limited office and confirmed the said occurrence.

The Bureau further conducted a damage assessment on the aircraft, which revealed that the aircraft made contact on the runway with the starboard engine cowling as obvious from various scrapes, scratches and dents, an evidence of tyre scouring on the sidewalls of the No. 4 tyre as well as bottoming of the main landing gear oleo struts. There was also visible damage to the right-hand engine compressor blades.,” AIB affirmed.

The statement said further, “the aircraft has since been on ground, awaiting implementation of the hard landing inspections recommended by the aircraft manufacturer, the Boeing Company.

This includes an inspection of the right-hand engine pylons and the wing root, due to the heavy impact concerns.

It said further discussions with the Maintenance Personnel of Air Peace Limited revealed that CFM International, the engine manufacturer, has also been contacted with regard to necessary inspections, to ascertain the serviceability of the starboard engine.

The nature of the damage, according to AIB, “suggested that, there was a high probability of an accident as captured in the definition of Serious Incidents in the Bureau’s Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2016 viz:
‘An incident involving circumstances indicating that there was a high probability of an accident, and is associated with the operation of an aircraft …’
It added, “Of utmost concern is the fact that till date, the Accident Investigation Bureau has received no notification of the incident: three (3) weeks after the date of occurrence, contrary to ICAO Annex 13 which guides the operations of aircraft accident investigation procedures. Rather, the Bureau further to the occurrence, received a submission of a ‘Mandatory Occurrence Report’(MOR) subsequently filed at NCAA, on June 7, 2019, which filing was as a direct result of the Bureau’s visit to Air Peace office on the 6th day of June 2019”.

An MOR is a Mandatory Occurrence Report that an Operator files after an occurrence to NCAA and not a Notification to the Bureau as required by its Regulations.

Similarly, and in recent times, an aircraft belonging to Air Peace Limited was also involved in a serious incident and the airline willfully failed to comply with the provisions of the Bureau’s Regulations which provides that:
“Subject to paragraph (2) below and regulation 14 where an accident or a serious incident which results in the withdrawal from service of an aircraft occurs in or over Nigeria, no person, other than an authorised person, shall have access to the aircraft involved and neither the aircraft nor its contents shall, except under the authority of the Commissioner, be removed or otherwise interfered with. Where it is necessary to move aircraft wreckage, mail or cargo, sketches, descriptive notes, and photographs shall be made if possible, of the original positions and condition of the wreckage and any significant impact marks.’”

Precisely, on December 14, 2018, AIB alleged that a Boeing 737-300 belonging to the airline, with registration marks 5N-BUO, enroute Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from Lagos was involved in a serious incident at about 10:44hrs. The information only got to the Bureau through the social media.

It said that whist the Bureau was not notified of the occurrence until later in the evening, AIB investigators met the aircraft at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) apron in Lagos where it was parked with the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) affected, thereby posing an undesirable difficulty in the Bureau’s bid to successfully discharge its statutory mandate of investigating accidents and serious incidents.

It further alleged, “A careful investigation of the incident by the Bureau, revealed that the aircraft was relocated from Enugu where the incident occurred, back to Lagos: and all relevant information on the CVR was over written, thereby making it impossible for the Bureau to retrieve the actual data.”

It said the Accountable Manager and Chief Pilot of Air Peace Limited at the material time, were duly warned by the Bureau for non-compliance with the Regulations.
Based on all the foregoing, the AIB concluded, “it is obvious that Air Peace Management lacks the full understanding of the statutory mandates, functions and procedures of the Bureau”.‌

It is noteworthy that Air Accidents and Serious Incidents investigations are carried out in accordance with the relevant Laws and Regulations in force, in the interest of safety and with the aim of forestalling similar occurrences in the future.
Section 29 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006, which is the Act establishing the Bureau, confers the prerogative to determine the classification of an accident or serious incidents on the Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria. All Airlines are therefore enjoined to report these occurrences at all times.
The relevant statutory and regulatory provisions are reproduced here under for ease of reference:
Subsection 29 (11) (a) further provides;
‘… Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (10) of this section, the regulations made there under may in particular contain provisions:
(a) requiring notice to be given of any such accident or incident as aforesaid in such manner and by such persons as may be prescribed…’

Furthermore, Section 10 of the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2016 provides for Notification to the Bureau and Duty to furnish information relating to accidents or incidents as follows:

‘Where an accident or incident occurs in respect of which, by virtue of regulation 14(2), the Commissioner is required to carry out, or to cause an officer to carry out an investigation, the relevant person or any other person having knowledge of an accident or incident and in the case of an aerodrome accident or incident occurring on or adjacent to an aerodrome, the operator of the Airport shall forthwith give notice thereof, within twenty four hours, to the Bureau by the quickest means of communication available and in the case of an accident occurring in or over Nigeria, shall also notify forthwith a Police Officer of the area where the accident occurred …’

Section 10 (2) (a) also provides that the expression ‘Relevant Person’ means
‘in the case of an accident or serious incident occurring in or over Nigeria or occurring elsewhere, to an aircraft registered in Nigeria, the Pilot-in-Command of the aircraft involved at the time of the accident or serious incident or, if he or she is fatally injured or incapacitated, the quality assurance,/safety personnel, Owner or Operator of the aircraft…’
It is also worthy of note that the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) data are very crucial, as the data accessed from them provides relevant evidence which sustains the weight of air safety investigation.

The provisions of ICAO Annex 6 (Operation of Aircraft) to the Convention of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Section 11.6 (Flight Recorder Records) states:

“To preserve flight recorder records, flight recorders shall be deactivated upon completion of flight time following an accident or incident. The flight recorders shall not be reactivated before their disposition as determined in accordance with annex 13.”

“The operator shall ensure, to the extent possible, in the event the aeroplane becomes involved in an accident or incident, the preservation of all related flight recorder records and, if necessary, the associated flight recorders, and their retention in safe custody pending their disposition as determined in accordance with annex 13.”

We wish to reiterate that air accidents or serious incidents investigation is not for the purpose of apportioning blame or liability rather it is to uncover the causes of occurrence and to propose safety recommendations.

The responsibilities for reporting, collection and exchange of safety data and investigating of safety occurrences are established by ICAO annex 13 and amplified in the AIB Regulations. The Bureau will do anything within its mandate and the confines of Law to investigate accidents and serious incidents and promptly issue safety recommendations to prevent reoccurrences.

Consequently, all aviation service providers have a legal responsibility to report to the Accident investigation Bureau on all accidents and or serious incidents of which they become aware; so are all Pilots, Airline Operators and the general public enjoined to do, in compliance with the Laws and Regulations as it relates to accidents and serious incidents investigation.

The SAFETY of the flying public is of primary importance and on the scale of significance, supersedes the commercial consideration of any airline.

The Bureau has simplified its reporting systems to be user friendly and any accidents or occurrence should be reported via the following 24-hour accident reporting methods;
1. Emergency Mobile Lines (+234) 807 709 0909, 807 709 0908
2. Online Reporting Form via http://www.aib.gov.ng/report-an-accident/
3. Downloadable Accident Reporting Form 001
4. Send details to info@aib.gov.ng or commissioner@aib.gov.ng
5. Through the Bureau’s Mobile App.

Ibom Air makes inaugural flight to Lagos

Akwa Ibom-owned carrier, Ibom Air, on Friday began commercial flight operations with an inaugural flight from Uyo to Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the airline’s Bombardier CRJ-900LR aircraft landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2, Lagos at 1:15 p.m.

It was welcomed with water canon salutation by officers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Fire Services.

Speaking with newsmen, Mr George Uruesi, Chief Operating Officer, Ibom Air, said the airline was set up by the government as part of its vision to make Akwa Ibom a choice destination for people visiting Nigeria.

He said the state had invested so much in the aviation sector and currently had an airline, an airport and a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility that would soon be completed.

“We have started our operations today with flights on the Uyo-Abuja-Lagos-Uyo routes and gradually we will expand our services.

“Ibom Air is part of the vision of the government. It is designed to be a very well run organisation and would not be run as a parastatal, but like any private airline business.

“We have a robust business plan and even though we are starting with three, we plan to have 10 aircraft in operation within the next three years.

“Our fourth aircraft will arrive in August, while the fifth aircraft is being expected in the first quarter of 2020,” he said.

According to him, Ibom Air is in business to fill a seeming gap in the industry which are schedule reliability, on-time performance and superior customer services.

Uruesi, a former Managing Director of FAAN, said the airline chose the 90-seater Bombadier CRJ planes for their operations after a thorough feasibility study.

“I think investing in much newer aircraft is better for us. Our growth plan is to expand our operations within the African region.

“We don’t have plans for long-haul flights and that also influenced the choice of our equipment,” he said.

Also, Mr Lookman Animashaun, Director of Maintenance, Ibom Air, commended the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for doing a thorough job before issuing Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to the airline.

Animashaun said the airline management observed that there was a dearth of CRJ engineers in Nigeria and therefore, sent nine of its new personnel abroad to be type-rated on the aircraft.

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.