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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.

 

Arik Air notifies passengers of flight disruptions

The management of Arik Air says there will be slight disruption of flights during the Yuletide, due to  operational issues and adverse weather conditions.

In a statement signed by the airline’s media consultant, Mr Simon Tumba on Thursday in Lagos, the airline said the adverse weather would affect coastal areas, especially Benin, Enugu, Asaba and Warri.

“Therefore some flights may either be rescheduled or cancelled, subject to aircraft and airport closure time constraints.

“We regret the inconveniences this disruption will cause our customers and want to assure them of our sincere efforts to reducing the impact to the barest minimum.

“Our staff shall contact customers affected by this disruption, making alternative arrangements for them or refunds as the case may be,” Tumba said.
He assured passengers that the airline considered their safety and that of its crew as paramount, adding that the airline would only operate safe and secure flights.

Tumba said all hands are also on deck to make all flight experiences pleasurable.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had on Nov. 25 issued an Advisory Circular to all pilots and airline operators to take certain precautions, due to the adverse weather conditions.

The circular, signed by the Director General of the NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, urged them to adhere to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) during flight operations in adverse weather conditions.

FAAN withdraws services from MMA2, Gombe, Warri airports

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has notified airlines of the withdrawal of its services to Osubi Airport, Warri, Gombe Airport and Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) over alleged indebtedness.

Henrietta Yakubu, FAAN’s general manager for corporate communications, said the agency had given notices to the operators of the airports and affected state governments before the decision was reached.

The notice is effective from midnight Sunday, December 9.

“We gave them one month notice to pay up their debts; we even advertised in newspapers informing them about the debts but they failed to comply. So, we are withdrawing security and fire service from the airports, without which planes cannot operate,” she said.

Confirming the incident, Adebanjo Ola, Arik Air’s communications manager, said the airline has suspended flights to Gombe and Warri airports.

“Consequently, Arik Air will be suspending its flights to Osubi Airport, Gombe Airport and move Port Harcourt flights out of MMA2 from Dec. 10, until further notice,” he said.

Ola advised Warri passengers to use Benin Airport as alternate while Gombe passengers are to use Bauchi Airport as alternate.

“All Arik Air flights to Port Harcourt Airport, Omagwa, will as from the same date operate from Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal One otherwise known as General Aviation Terminal (GAT).”

MMA2 is being operated by BiCourtney  Aviation Services Limited, owned by Wale Babalakin.

Medview relaunches flights to Yola, Maiduguri

MedView Airline has announced plans to resume flights to Yola and Maiduguri on Dec. 18.

The airline’s Head of Commercial, Mr Henry Trevor, made the announcement in Lagos on Saturday.

Trevor explained that the airline would also increase flight frequency on the Lagos-Abuja route, using the B737-800 NG aircraft.

He said: “The relaunch of its traditional routes is anchored on the re-fleeting programme of the airline.

“More also, the number of flights on the Lagos-Abuja route will increase to three daily round trips on weekdays to offer better departure timings throughout the day.

“Trevor commended the the airline’s passengers for their continued patronage and assured them of better customer service and reliability.
He said Med-View’s management wishes all its loyal passengers a Happy Festive Season and a prosperous New Year in advance.

Airline delays flight as pilot too drunk to fly

Japan Airlines apologised on Thursday after one of its co-pilots was arrested in London for being drunk, delaying its Tokyo-bound flight, a day after another Japanese carrier reported delays blamed on a hung-over pilot.

JAL executives told reporters that the co-pilot cleared an in-house breath test but aroused the suspicion of a bus driver taking him to the plane from Heathrow airport on Sunday.

After a second breath test before takeoff showed that he had consumed “excessive alcohol,” the co-pilot was arrested by British police and required to undergo a blood test which confirmed those results, the company said in a press release.

“We are certain (the in-house breath test) wasn’t conducted properly,” Muneaki Kitahara, JAL’s head of communications, told a press conference.

The plane departed London after a delay of one hour and nine minutes.

“The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee’s actions,” JAL said in the press release.

The incident comes only a day after All Nippon Airways revealed a hung-over pilot had caused multiple flight delays.

The male pilot in his 40s called in sick after a night of drinking on the remote resort island of Ishigaki in southern Okinawa prefecture, the company said.

The last-minute sickie forced the airline to delay five flights linking Okinawa island and smaller regional islands, affecting 619 passengers.

Following the two incidents, the transport ministry urged airline companies to strictly comply with rules on drinking.

(AFP)

Affordable air travel, key to our devt plan, says President Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Port Harcourt, River State, said the Federal Government’s removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from domestic air travels will reduce air fares, enable speedy movement of more people and spur business activities that will stimulate the economy.

Speaking at the commissioning of the new terminal of Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, President Buhari said the decision by the Federal Government to remove VAT from domestic air transportation was in line with global best practices of making air transportation affordable, which will subsequently lead to the creation of more jobs by the air transport service value chain.

He said the removal of VAT will also increase revenue for the government with more traffic at the airports.

The President noted that the increase in national population with consequent surge in air passenger traffic necessitated upgrading and construction of new airports across the country.

“I am very pleased to formally commission the new International Terminal of the Port Harcourt airport, Omagwa, today. This ceremony represents a significant landmark for international air travellers, particularly from the South-South region and the entire country.

“You will recall that after opening the major airport terminals in the country in the late 70s and early 80s, not much was added to increase the passenger handling capacity of these facilities by successive administrations.

“Following the large increase in national population with consequent surge in air passenger traffic, the capacity of the airport terminals became woefully inadequate to cater for the increase in passenger traffic,’’ he added.

The President said decisive actions had to be taken by the Federal Government to ensure that terminals meet minimum international standards for the travelling public.

“The Federal Government responded to a global trend in which aviation became a catalyst for economic growth as a result of massive and speedy movement of persons, goods and services in a safe and secure manner.

“As part of the infrastructure renewal program, the construction of four new international terminals at Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano airports was embarked upon by the Federal Government with a view to modernising the aging airport infrastructure to meet global aviation standards and improved service delivery in tandem with best international practices,’’ he said.

President Buhari said at the presentation of the 2017 Budget to the National Assembly he promised to upgrade and develop Nigeria’s transport, power and health infrastructure, and complete a number of stalled infrastructure projects, which includes major airports, roads and power projects, and the  completion of the Kaduna–Abuja as well as Itakpe to Warri Railway lines.

The President said Nigeria, having an advantageous central location within the sub-region with a desire to develop into a regional air transportation hub, must upgrade its facilities to take advantage of its assets.

In his remarks, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said the state was safe for visitors and investments, commending the Federal Government for its intervention in ensuring a better airport for the people, which will attract more investments.

Wike also said the state government will revamp the road leading to the international terminal for ease of access for the public.

In his remarks, the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said the Federal government injected $461 million into the airport projects to enable construction.

The new terminal of Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa completely alters the poor rating by Sleep in Airports in 2017, which listed the airport as the third worst in the world.

18 hours in the air: World’s longest flight lands in New York from Singapore

 

The world’s longest commercial flight landed in New York from Singapore on Friday, surpassing the previous record by 12 minutes.

Singapore Airlines premiered the non-stop flight from Singapore to New York that covers 16,700 kilometres and lasted a whopping 17 hours 52 minutes.
The flight unseated Qatar Airways from the current record for the world’s longest flight, a 17-hour 40-minute marathon journey from Doha to Auckland.

The plane took off on Thursday at 11.37 p.m. (1537 GMT) on an Airbus A350-900ULR and landed at Newark airport the following day at 5.29 a.m. (0929 GMT).

The plane was designed with a two-class layout that features 67 business class and 94 premium economy class seats, so no passengers would be stuck in cramped economy seats during the ultra-long-haul flight.

According to the airline’s website, one-way tickets from Singapore to Newark will set customers back around 3,500 Singapore dollars (around $2,500) for premium economy, or 7,500 Singapore dollars for business class.

The route will initially be served three times a week, with daily operations expected to begin from October 18 onwards.

Overland Airways plane catches fire at Lagos airport

An aircraft  operated by Overland Airways this morning caught fire at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MM1), Lagos.

The fire reportedly started at about 10.30 am this morning. A witness said the plane was been serviced when it went up in flames.

Half of the plane was allegedly burnt, while some private jets being repaired were also torched.

Fire-fighters are currently trying to put out the fire.

The spokesperson for Accident Investigations Bureau (AIB), Tunji Oketunbi confirmed the incident.

“Investigators have already gone to the scene. When they come back, we will be in a better position to know what happens”, he said.

Overland operates a fleet of ATR 42 turboprop regional aircraft

Med-View Airline blames harsh economy for staff rationalisation

The management of Med-View Airline Plc has explained that it has been compelled to send over sixty of its workers home because of the realities of prevailing economic situation in the country and the need to reposition for optimal performance.

In a statement signed by the airline’s Executive Director, Business Development, Alhaji Isiaq Na-Allah said the airline has to take the decision to fully maximize its operation and prepare adequately for the challenges ahead.

Na-Allah however said the airline has genuine intention to recall the sacked workers  back as soon as situation improves.

“Going by the realities of the prevailing economic situation, Med-View Airline is currently restructuring in order to fully maximize its operation and prepare adequately for the challenges ahead.

“In the course of this exercise, some staff, about 60 in numbers, were required to step aside as a result of downsizing with a genuine intention to recall them back as soon as situation improves as stated in our letter to the affected staff,” he said.

Noting that the decision to lay off the workers was not a pleasant one, the Executive Director said the need to achieve the best result with a minimum but adequate work force necessitated the move.

“The decision by management on this exercise though tough is predicated on the need to achieve the best result with a minimum but adequate work force. All the Staff affected have been adequately communicated,” Na-Allah said.

 

Airport workers’ strike bites harder

The strike at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2), Lagos, enters its second day and the bite has forced airline operators to make alternative arrangements to fly passengers.

Aviation unions continued their picketing of the terminal on Thursday.

The airlines have moved their passenger boarding and processing to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The striking unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

They are protesting over the alleged sack of 24 employees who indicated interest to unionise by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the MMA2.

Despite a subsisting court order issued by Justice I. N Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos restraining them from the action, the unions continued to shutdown flights and business activities at the MMA2.

Airlines affected by the action included Arik Air, Medview Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractors who operate flights from the terminal.

However, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, Corporate Communications Manager, Dana Air, said on Thursday that the arrangement to move the airline’s passengers to GAT was reached on Wednesday after they were prevented from entering MMA2.

”We have made an alternative arrangement since yesterday and at the moment, the strike is still ongoing but we are hoping that everything will be resolved as soon as possible.

“First, we are apologising to our guests for any inconveniences caused by this development.

” It is so unfortunate that those who actually have no business with what is happening are the ones suffering in the battle between these two organisations.

“So, we are appealing that they resolve it as soon as possible because passengers come first. Without the passengers there is no airline. There is no industry and we need to start considering them before taking any decision. ”

He said the airlines operating in the MMA2 had incurred losses amounting to millions of naira since the strike began, adding that they still had to pay FAAN to process their passengers at the GAT.

Also, Mr Adebanji Ola, spokesman for Arik Air, said the airline, which operates its Port Harcourt flights out of MMA2 had temporary move it back to its hub at the GAT due to the strike.

“We informed our Port Harcourt passengers since yesterday to go to our counter at GAT for boarding, pending when the strike will be called off, ” he said.

Mr Frances Akinjole, General Secretary, ATSSSAN, said that the unions would continue to picket the terminal until the sacked workers were reinstated and the BASL management recognises the unions in the sector.

Akinjole also confirmed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and security agencies including the Assistant Inspector General, Lagos Airport Police Command, Mr Aminchi Baraya, had tried to intervene on the issue.

“We will continue to barricade MMA2 until the management accede to our demands because what we are doing here is lawful, ” he said.

The spokesperson for BASL, Mr Steve Omolale, however flayed the unions for the continued disruption of business activities and flights at the terminal despite being aware of the interim court order.

Omolale said BASL would not join issues with the unions since the matter was already before a competent court of jurisdiction in suit number FHC/L/CS/16412/18.

Just In: Aviation unions shut down MMA2, flights grounded

Hundreds of passengers are reportedly stranded at the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2(MMA2) on Wednesday,  as aviation unions carried out their shutdown threat over the sack of workers  by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited.

The unions involved in the shutdown are Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

They  disregarded  a Federal High Court  order granted Tuesday restraining them from disrupting the operations of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2).

The court granted the order  in the suit filed by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2.

The unions had given notice that they would disrupt operations at MMA2 from today over the disengagement of 20 workers of BASL who they said were disengaged for their alleged attempt to join them, but who the company said had attained retirement age or were found not to be diligent in their duties.

As early as 6am, on Wednesday, the union members who defied the rains and an “alleged court order” restraining them from embarking on the protest, barricaded the entrance to the MMA2.

The unionists, who chanted various solidarity songs, accused BASL management of violating extant labour laws by not recognising the unions and preventing staff from joining unions in the sector.

They prevented passengers going to catch their early morning flights, airline officials and people with businesses inside the terminal from gaining access to the premises.

The protest also caused heavy vehicular traffic around the airport environment, Ikeja and the Agege Motor Road.

Airlines affected by the action included Arik Air, Medview Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractors who operate flights from the terminal.

There was heavy presence of security operatives including the Police and officers of the Nigeria Air Force during the protest.

Mr Frances Akinjole, General Secretary, ATSSSAN, told NAN that the unions were compelled to carry out the action following the refusal of the BASL management to accede to their demands.

Akinjole said:”This issue started since May when these workers were laid off for indicating interest to belong to unions.

“We met the management asking them to reinstate these workers and recognise their rights to join unions but they refused.

The regulator of the industry, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as well as aviation security agencies have intervened in series of meetings but BASL management has refused to do the needful to avert this crisis. ”

Akinjole also denied knowledge of any court order restraining the unions from carrying out the action, stressing that what the unions were doing was had legal backings.

Also, Mr Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE, said the unions had issued the notice of strike to the public to afford travelers the opportunity of making alternative traveling arrangements.

Abioye urged the union members to remain calm and refuse any form of provocation by security agencies deployed to quell the protest.

However, Bi-Courtney in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr Steve Omolale, said the company had obtained a court order from the Federal High Court, Lagos restraining the unions from shutting down Nigeria’s only privately owned terminal.

“We will like to bring it to the attention of the entire public that the Federal High Court in Lagos in suit number FHC/L/CS/16412/18 has granted an order restraining the unions from carrying out their threats of disrupting the activities of the terminal.

“Pursuit to this order, members if the unions found in the premises of MMA2 would be liable to trespass. We reserve our right under the law of Nigeria to deal with such person as a trespasser,” he said.

Passengers stranded as plane overshoots runway at Abuja airport

Many air travellers were stranded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Thursday morning after an aircraft overshot the runway of the NAIA and disrupted flight operations on the facility.

It was gathered that the aircraft, a Gulfstream 4 belonging to Skybird, overshot the runway on Wednesday night and got stuck on the runway.

Impeccable sources at the NAIA told our correspondent that the aircraft landed through Runway 22 and was stuck on the Runway Safety Area.

“The RESA is about 30 meters from Runway 22 end, and the incident happened at about 10.20pm local time yesterday (Wednesday),” one of the sources, who pleaded not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the matter, said.

“The runway surface was wet at the time of the incident,” another source stated.

The incident disrupted flight operations at the NAIA, a development that made a lot of passengers to be stranded at the Abuja airport on Thursday.

The spokesperson for the NAIA, Voke Ivbaze, said the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria was aware of the development.

“FAAN will officially react to it in due course. Please hold on,” she told our correspondent.

Meanwhile, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, has announced the reopening of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, following an incident involving a Gulfstream four aircraft being operated by Skybird on Wednesday night.

A statement by Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, on Thursday disclosed that the aircraft overshot the runway while landing and consequently got stuck on the Runway End Safety Area.

Yakubu said that FAAN had reopened the Runway to take arrivals and departures, subject to a reduced threshold of 3000 metres.

She assured airlines and passengers that the airport was safe for normal operations, adding that FAAN was committed to her core values of safety, security and comfort.

“This is following the partial closure of Runway 22, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at about 2200hours, on Wednesday night.

The closure was due to an incident involving a Gulfstream four aircraft being operated by Skybird that overshot the Runway while landing and consequently got stuck on the Runway End Safety Area (RESA),” she said.

Air France leaves Nigerians stranded at Paris airport

Passengers including hundreds of Nigerian on board Air France operated commercial Aircraft from and to Lagos and Abuja have since Wednesday been stranded at Charles De Gaulle International Airport, Paris.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many of them have had to sleep at the airport from Wednesday owing to what the management of the airline claimed as malfunctioning of their planes and lack of aviation fuel.

Some of the passengers had left Lagos and Abuja for various destinations while many were returning to Lagos from various countries en route the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

Air France, which said their planes could not fly, were scrambling for hardly available seats in other airlines in alliance with them to fly the passengers to their destinations.

Many of the passengers, who in their bookings had about three to five hours layover in Paris were left stranded spending 17 to 48 hours at the airport.

Some, who were lucky to get the seats in the allied airlines were rerouted and had to spend additional several hours to get to their destinations.

Many of the passengers complained of ill treatment and alleged violation of standard aviation regulatory operations against the airline.

Olagunju Ojo and Afolake Arikewuyo, who are in their late 70s, said they left the U.S for Lagos en route Paris on Tuesday only to be left stranded at the airport.

The women, who could barely speak English and do not understand French, were in the long queue unassisted while struggling to get their cancelled flight to Lagos rerouted.

They said they had arrived the airport for over 12 hours only to be told that their flight to Lagos had been cancelled and there was no alternative arrangement for the day.

Mrs Ojo, who spoke in Yoruba language, said: “We cannot go to Lagos today and there is no Schengen visa to take us outside the airport to sleep.

“They said we will sleep at the airport here and there is no way to communicate with my people waiting for me at the airport at home and those I left in the U.S,” she said.

Another passenger, Theresa Fashida, also an elderly woman, said she left Ireland for Lagos en route Paris and had been at the airport for eight hours struggling to see how her cancelled flight could be rerouted.

Mrs Fashida said the airline later succeeded in rerouting her flight through Nairobi, Kenya from where she would travel to Lagos with Kenyan Airway the following day.

“The flight from Paris to Nairobi is tomorrow, that means I have to sleep at this airport because there is no hotel accommodation provision for me and I do not have Schengen visa.

“I did not book Nairobi flight; I don’t know why they should make me to pass through these pains with my age.

“You can see, this is the only pack of food given to me since I arrived at this airport and even their airline officials are not friendly at all,” she said.

Some other Lagos bound passengers were rerouted to South Africa to fly South Africa Air from Johannesburg.

NAN reports that some of the passengers, who left Lagos for official engagement in Washington DC, were also left stranded at the Charles De Gaulle Airport.

FG unveils new national carrier, Nigeria Air

Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, has unveiled the name and logo of the new national carrier, Nigeria Air.

Speaking on Wednesday in London at the ongoing Farnborough International Airshow, Sirika said the government will not own more than five per cent of the airline.

“This is an important day for Nigeria. The largest economy in Africa, largest population, GDP of around half a billion dollars, and the only true aviation player in West and Central Africa,” he said.

“Nigeria has unfortunately not been a serious player in Aviation for a long time. We used to be a dominant player, through Nigeria Airways, but sadly not anymore.

“This will be a national carrier that is private sector led and driven. It is a business, not a social service. The government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this.

“The Nigerian government will not own more than 5% (maximum) of the new national carrier. The government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it.

“New terminals in Lagos and Abuja Airports will add 11 million passenger capacity in each of the two airports.

According to the minister, the airline will have flights on 81 domestic, regional and international routes.

Operations are scheduled to begin in December 2018.

 

Nigeria to receive first set of planes for national carrier on Dec 19 – Minister

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has revealed that the December take-off date for Nigeria’s national carrier is achievable, as the country is expected to receive the first set of airplanes on December 19.

On his Twitter handle, Sirika posted a copy of the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance for the National Carrier project from Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and wrote, “the December kick-off date of the project is slowly becoming reality.”

The Personal  Assistant toPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Bashir Ahmad, on Monday on his verified Twitter handle revealed that the name, logo, colour scheme, structure, and types of airplane of Nigeria’s national carrier will be unveiled at Farnborough International Public Airshow on July 18th, 2018 in London.

Ahmad added that Sirika also confirmed that “Nigeria will receive the first set of five airplanes for the airliner on 19 December. And Federal Government intends to get a 30 aircraft market in five years.”

Emirates flight attendant jumps off plane

In a sad turn of events an Emirates flight attendant opened the emergency exit door and jumped out of a plane at Entebbe International Airport (Uganda) on 14 March 2018.

The Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, reg A6-EGU, flight EK730, which was scheduled to depart Entebbe Airport to Dubai, was being prepared for departure, at 3:15 pm, local time, when one of the flight attendants opened the back door and jumped off the plane.

emirates
Picture blurred out of respect of the affected person and family.

An eye witness said that she placed a glass bottle under her neck to have her throat sliced on impact with the ground to kill herself. She was seriously injured and was taken to the hospital. There are conflicting reports as to whether the cabin crew member has died or remains in a critical condition in hospital.

” It is now understood that the crew member of Bulgarian descent had been working as a flight attendant with Emirates for a number of years and had been promoted to on-board cabin supervisor. We have decided not to share further personal details of the crew member to maintain her privacy.

Emirates has not yet publicly acknowledged the incident and the official UAE news agency hasn’t covered the story at all. We reached out to Emirates for further information and to find out what they were doing to support the crew member and her family but unfortunately, the airline blocked our communication.” – reads as article from the UK Daily Mail newspaper.

Arik Air plane makes emergency landing in Ghana after smoke oozes from cabin

An aircraft operated by Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air, made an emergency landing on Tuesday when the pilot detected smoke in the cabin.

The aircraft, travelling from Lagos to Accra, Ghana, had smoke coming from its cabin many miles away from its destination in Ghana.

A passenger had taken to the social media Thursday complaining about alleged ill treatment meted out to the affected passengers on the flight when the plane eventually landed in Ghana after the experience.

But the airline said in a statement on Thurday that there was no incident and that passengers disembarked without hitches.

The airline’s spokesperson, Adebanji Ola, said the captain briefed the passengers when the incident occurred.

“Arik Air flight W3 304 from Lagos to Accra on March 6, 2018 declared an emergency in line with standard operating procedures, when unknown source of smoke was detected in the cabin 81 miles from Accra,” the statement said.

“The captain of the flight briefed the passengers accordingly, assuring them that the aircraft was under control and safe for landing in Accra.

“The aircraft, a Dash 8 Q400, landed safely in Accra without further incident and all passengers disembarked normally.”

The incident occurred against the backdrop of series of near-mishaps recorded in the Nigerian aviation industry in recent weeks.

In February, two separate incidents involving Dana aircraft in Abuja and Port Harcourt dominated the media space, with many calling on the government to pay serious attention to the aviation sector.

Earlier, the runway of Akure airport was invaded by cows, delaying the landing of an aircraft for several minutes.

The Nigerian government had Wednesday reacted to the Dana incidents when it ordered a complete audit of the airline’s operations.

On Thursday, Arik airline said the malfunctioning aircraft is currently parked in Accra and its team of engineers were conducting comprehensive inspections on it.

The team would ascertain the cause of the smoke, it said, after which the aircraft would be flown without passengers to a maintenance facility for recertification and testing.

“The relevant aviation authorities in Ghana and Nigeria have been briefed appropriately on the incident,” the statement said.