Anambra Airport Records Maiden Commercial Flight

Maiden flight on Friday landed at the newly constructed Anambra International Cargo Airport , Umueri, done by the Anambra State Government.

The  two aircrafts; Boeing 737 mark N5,-BUJ and Embraer 145 both owned by Air Peace Airline landed by 2.26pm and 2.46 pm respectively.

Gov. Willie Obiano of the state, who addressed excited Anambra people at the airport, said the state did not borrow a Kobo to construct the airport.

He said that the project began in December 2020, and the landing and other facilities was achieved within 15 months.

“We began this project in January 2020 when COVID-19 was adversely affecting economies of every state, nation and the world over.

“We were able to start and by the grace of God we are here to witness this historic event.” he said.

Obiano who listed facilities already completed, said the airport has the best and longest runway, control tower and lightening system in Africa.

Mr Allen Onyema, Chief Executive Officer, Air Peace Airline, said he was overwhelmed at the standard of the project.

“This Anambra airport is about the best in Africa in terms of the facilities we have here,” he said.

Chief Neville Uchendu, a contractor handling some construction works in the state, said the quality of work done at the airport would stand the test of time.

Mr Lawrence Anikpe, Senior Special Adviser to Obiano on Internally Generated Revenue, said the time the governor started the project was sign that the state was blessed with a prudent manager.

Omicron: NCAA List New Boarding Rules, Airlines Risk Ban

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority says international airlines will be made to pay $3500 fine on each passenger flown into the country not complying with the Federal Government’s Revised COVID-19 Provisional Quarantine protocol.

The NCAA said non-compliance with the COVID-19 protocol requirements could also lead to an outright ban of the non-compliant airline.

In an All-Operators Letter with reference NCAA/DG/AIR/16/327 issued to all accountable managers and signed by the Director-General NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, international airlines were reminded that the protocols for international flight operations and quarantine protocols for travellers arriving Nigeria issued on July 1, 2021 still hold sway.

The NCAA said, “Inbound passengers: Airlines are only to board passengers travelling to Nigeria who are in possession of a paid permit to travel with a QR Code and a result of a negative COVID-19 test done not later than 48 hours from time of boarding.

“For any inbound passenger who is unable to either make payment for his/her repeat PCR test(s) or generate a paid permit to travel via the Nigeria International Travel Portal, airlines are to send an email to directorporthealthfmoh@gmail.com and copy travelportal@ncdc.gov.ng; ictservicedesk@ncdc.gov.ng;  ilfred.haggai@ncaa.gov.gn for necessary assistance.”

According to the agency, outbound passengers are to only board with evidence of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.

The AOL read in part, “Airlines are only to board passengers out of Nigeria with evidence of either full vaccination for COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test done at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control accredited laboratories not later than 48hours from time of boarding.

“Non-compliance to these pre-boarding requirements by any airline will attract a penalty of $3,500 per passenger. Airlines who consistently fail to comply with these requirements may be banned from coming to Nigeria.”

Ibom Air Signs An Agreement With Air Bus For The Supply Of 10 New Aircrafts.

According to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, ‘ I am pleased to witness the signing of the agreement between Ibom Air and Air Bus to order ten (10) A220 aircraft at the ongoing Dubai Air show, taking place at the purpose built DWC event arena in Dubai.

The order of the ten (10) Airbus A220 is in line with our aggressive growth plan, which will see Ibom Air expanding its footprint into new domestic routes as well as regional routes covering West and Central Africa in the immediate future. The first phase of this expansion is set to cover cities like Malabo, Douala, Libreville, Kinshasa, Accra, Abidjan, Freetown, Banjul and Dakar. Ultimately the airline intends to operate throughout the continent of Africa.

After test running the initial two A220 aircraft, we can say the all-new A220 is suitable for the expansion, it is purpose built for efficiency, targeting the 100-150 seat market. It burns 20% lower fuel per seat compared to previous generation aircraft and flies to a range of up to 3,400 nm (6,297 km), offering performance similar to larger, single-aisle aircraft. The A220s combination of a superior cabin product and low operating costs are a perfect fit for the airline’s network growth strategy and will help Ibom Air offer its customers an unrivaled value proposition

Ibom Air’s giant leap in just two (2) years and five (5) months since we commenced operations is a validation of our aviation development pillar of our completion agenda which is on course. I have said and will reiterate that, till the very last day, I will keep working for and in the interest of Akwa Ibom people.

Arik Suspends Staff Arrested For Alleged Extortion In Lagos Airport.

Arik Airlines has reportedly suspended one of its staff members caught by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for allegedly soliciting a bribe from a traveller in Lagos.

This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement from the management of the airline.

Arik AircraftArik Airline

The airline management also said it would also conduct an internal investigation and cooperate with FAAN on the matter.

“The management of Arik Air (in Receivership) has suspended with immediate effect one of its staff caught by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for soliciting bribe at the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed International, Ikeja, Lagos, pending further investigations.

“While the management conducts its own internal investigation, we wish to reassure FAAN of our cooperation on this matter if further investigation is required. We fully support what FAAN is doing to rid our airports of this menace of corruption,” the organisation said.

Recall that some days ago, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) warned that bribe-seeking workers at Nigeria’s airports will be barred for life from working at airport terminals across the country if caught.

The FAAN Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, said this while addressing newsmen in Abuja after an emergency meeting with FAAN’s management over rising cases of bribery at airports.

The development trailed a viral video shared by an American vlogger, Sabbatical, as he called out airport officials for requesting money at different points.

N1bn fraud: Aviation firm accuses SFU CP of cover-up, petitions IGP.

An aviation fuelling company, Star Orient Nigeria Limited, has accused the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Special Fraud Unit in Lagos State, Anderson Bankole, of stopping investigation into a N1bn fraud case.

The case, involving the company and some financial institutions, was reportedly discontinued based on a petition by one Babatunde Babalola.

Star Orient had conducted an audit of its operational and accounting systems and discovered secret bank accounts opened in its name.

The bank accounts were said to have been used to launder the company’s funds estimated at about N1bn.

To prosecute the suspects and institutions linked to the accounts, the company petitioned the Zone 2 Police Command.

Indicted in the investigation report of the command were the erstwhile Managing Director of the company, Dare Osamo, some members of staff of two banks, among others.

The company further petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Usman, who instructed the SFU to investigate the matter.

The SFU’s Bank and Informal Financial Fraud Unit was said to have advanced investigation to the stage of inviting the principal actors, including Babalola.

However, the SFU police commissioner, Bankole, allegedly stopped the process, saying he received a new petition from Babalola, who claimed ownership of Star Orient and alleged that its current directors, Olanrewaju Bamgbose and Isaac Adewole, obtained N500m loan from one of the banks indicted in the case.

Following the development, the company alleged that the SFU under Bankole had become an advocate for suspects linked to the fraud; it subsequently re-petitioned the IG.

The petition, dated Wednesday, August 4, 2021, read in part, “We indeed acknowledge with enthusiasm and hope for justice the initial focus and genuine attempt at investigating the reported crimes by the Bank and Informal Financial Fraud Unit of the SFU.

“But the CP at the SFU instructively halted the investigation on the basis that he had another petition from the same Babatunde Babalola that was invited by the bank and financial fraud unit.

“We were served a petition by Mr Babatunde Babalola, claiming ownership of the company and alleging that our directors obtained a loan of N500m from FCMB.

“We could not understand how Mr Babalola would be concerned with a loan from FCMB where he is neither a director nor that of Star Orient.”

Babalola was said to have submitted a similar petition at Zone 2 against the directors of the company at the time, Osamo and Bamgbose.

The company said, “Persons found culpable in the investigation he (Babalola) sought to subvert, including the former manager of the company, Mr Dare Osamo, had been arraigned in court by the command and the Director of Public Prosecutions of Lagos State.

“While his petition was expressly handled by Zone 2 and not used to sidestep the main crime reported at the time, the CP, SFU, is now indulging him (Babalola) and other collaborators by buying time for them to stash away their loot, and make recovery difficult if not impossible, albeit using delay tactics to cover the crimes and protect the perpetrators.”

The petition further stated, “Now, it is becoming clearer that the reason for the abrupt directive to remove the case from the bank fraud unit, is to compromise investigation and subvert justice, using the cover of the phantom petition.

“As it is becoming clearer that we cannot get justice under the commissioner’s watch, we therefore request sir, that you cause the retrieval of our petition case file from the SFU in Ikoyi, Lagos.

“In your wisdom, constitute a committee to include the initial bank fraud investigation team from SFU who have historical facts of the matter to ensure diligent investigation of our petition with direct reporting to your office or the AIG, FCID, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos.”

The SFU police commissioner, Bankole, denied receiving any petition to recuse himself from the case.

National Aviation Services (NAS) Partners with Abbott to Facilitate Cross-Border Travel.

Leading airport services provider, National Aviation Services (NAS) (www.NAS.aero) signed an agreement to partner with global healthcare company, Abbott, to drive the implementation of Covid-19 rapid testing solutions at major airports and trans border lounges across the African continent and the Middle East. This partnership aims to aid the recovery of safe inter-country travel and passenger confidence.

Using its global network, local relationships and industry expertise, NAS will work with local authorities to deploy Abbott’s Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device and the ID NOW™ molecular point-of-care test system. Both these solutions offer quick testing for Covid-19, thus encouraging and facilitating safer cross-border travel. With the global aviation industry working hard to take off following the pandemic, solutions such as these will go a long way in helping fuel economies as more people resume international commerce and travel.

NAS has a presence in more than 50 airports, collectively managing over 100 airlines and 50 airport lounges in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Since the beginning of the pandemic, NAS has been driving efforts to implement digital solutions to help restart travel globally – especially collecting and verifying health data and ensuring authenticity of PCR test certificates of travelers.

Hassan El-Houry, Group CEO said: “During the pandemic, NAS has continued to partner with local authorities to utilize our airport expertise in passenger handling and technology to develop digital solutions that offer peace of mind for travelers, airline employees, airport authorities and the local government. Our collaboration in purchasing and deploying the Abbott’s Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device and the ID NOW™ molecular point-of-care system at airports across our network is aimed at continuing these efforts and helping restore passenger confidence to aid further recovery of international travel.”

Abbott’s Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device is a highly reliable, portable and affordable rapid antigen test, which has received CE Mark and WHO EUL and has been deployed in dozens of countries across the world. It delivers results in as early as 15-20 minutes with no instrumentation, providing a scalable and cost-effective solution for governments and private industry in efforts to restart international commerce.

ID NOW COVID-19 assay is performed on the ID NOW Instrument, which is a rapid molecular test that uses isothermal nucleic acid amplification to detect SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in direct nasal, nasopharyngeal or throat swabs. It provides results in 13 minutes or less. The ID NOW Instrument has a small footprint and easy to use graphical user interface for convenience within busy environments.

Both solutions can help save passengers and airport authorities or airlines considerable time and effort to get test results prior to departure or on arrival. They will also help curb the transmission of the coronavirus among passengers travelling together or through passengers arriving into the destination country. Passengers can thus travel with more peace of mind when on aircrafts or at crowded airports.

Media Contact:
Nita Bhatkar – nbhatkar@nas.aero
+965 97223703

About National Aviation Services (NAS):
National Aviation Services (NAS) is the fastest growing aviation services provider in the emerging markets. Established in 2003, NAS quickly transformed from a Kuwait based ground-handling company into an emerging markets leader in the industry. NAS is present in over 50 airports across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, handling seven of the world’s top 10 airlines and managing more than 50 airport lounges.

With an employee base of over 8,000 capable and experienced employees at the core of its worldwide network, NAS is committed to providing aviation services that benchmark to the best in the world.

The NAS portfolio of services includes ramp and passenger services, cargo management, engineering and line maintenance, airport technologies, fixed base operations, terminal management, aviation training, travel solutions, lounge management and meet-and-assist packages.

Affiliated with leading industry organizations, NAS follows international aviation standards with certifications from ISO, EMS, RA3 and OHSAS practices. NAS is one of the first ground handlers in the world to obtain the IATA’s Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) certification illustrating the company’s commitment to providing high quality services, with a focus on safety and security.

COAS flags off Welfare Flight for Troops.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, in a bid to ensure the welfare of Nigerian troops, has flagged off flight for troops of Joint Task Force Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK).

This was disclosed in a statement on Tuesday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General, Onyema Nwachukwu.

According to the statement, the COAS who performed the symbolic ceremony on Monday at the Nigerian Air Force Base Maiduguri, Borno State, said the effort was to boost the morale of the troops as battle against insurgency continues across the country.

In his remark during the ceremony Lieutenant General said welfare of troops is one of his cardinal focus for the Nigerian Army, stating that it was in that regard that the initiative for welfare flight was birthed.

Speaking earlier on the schedules of flight, the Chief of Operations (Army), Major General Olufemi Akinjobi stated that the flight has been scheduled to cover 3 main hubs, namely Lagos, Abuja and Maiduguri.

He noted that the troops from Lagos will be housed and managed at Ikeja Cantonment, while those in Abuja will be at the Nigerian Army Forward Operational Base and those in Maiduguri will be at the Headquarters Theatre Command respectively.

FG Didn’t Spend $8.8m On National Carrier – Sirika

The Minister of State Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has said the federal government neither spent $8.8m nor N1.2bn on the suspended National Carrier, Nigeria Air.

The Minister who addressed stakeholders yesterday in Abuja at the 5th Aviation Stakeholders Forum described the reports in some quarters that he spent those sums on the Nigeria Air project as baseless and malicious.

He said so far the commitment to contactors on the Nigeria Air project is less than N100 million adding that the commitments are for the Transaction advisers, branding and participation at the Farnborough Air Show in London, where the colour scheme, name and logo were revealed.

Recall the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had suspended the Nigeria Air project temporary but the Minister said the procurement stage of the airline will soon commence.

“There is a about N50 million and another N40 million expenditure. People have been saying that we spent $8.8m on the national carrier. Its unfounded, malicious, lazy work of some people who are not seeing anything good in what we are doing as government” he said.

“I have the duty to state the record straight. We have not spent N1.2bn. we have not spent $600,000 to create a logo” he said. He reiterated that the “national carrier is suspended, not killed and it’s ongoing. We will announce the next cause of action soon” he assured.

He said the entire process of the national carrier followed all due process. “The transaction adviser for National Carrier coordinated the campaign and provided the additional services that included the development of the brand strategy and the media activities relating to the unveiling of the Airline.

Due process was followed in the branding, which included obtaining “No Objection” Certificate” he said. He also explained that “Government was not to spend $300 million. However a Viability Gap Funding of $155 million was required in accordance with the outline business case.

This does not represent the proposed 5 percent equity holding”” he said. He explained further that the $300m funding requirements stipulated in the Outline Business Case was to be spent for a period of three years. These comprise $55m initial startup capital made up of $25m dollar for aircraft deployment and $30m for working capital from June to December 2018.

He added that another $100m was estimated to be spent in 2019 as a kind of slush fund to provide buffer for the investments if the private sector.

He noted that with the planned $25m deposit, aircraft manufacturers, Boeing, had indicated interest in providing 30 aircraft starting with 15.

Court restrains Aviation unions from disrupting MMA2 operations

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an order restraining the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, the National Union of Air Transport Employees and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers from disrupting the operations of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two.
The court on Tuesday granted the order restraining the three unions from carrying out their threats of disrupting the activities of the terminal from this morning in the suit filed by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, operators of MMA2.
The unions had given notice that they would disrupt operations at MMA2 from Wednesday over t

he disengagement of some workers of BASL, who they said were relieved of their employment 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.
A statement issued by BASL on Tuesday said: “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.”

BASL also assured customers and passengers of MMA2 that they will continue having seamless access to the facility.
The statement said: “BASL is fully aware of the plan by some unions in the aviation sector to disrupt the operations of MMA2 over our decision to disengage some employees. Disengaging the ex-employees had nothing to do with unionism, as we were not aware of this. In as much as we know that the unions have the right to protest without disturbing public peace and safety, we too reserve the right to ensure that our operations and services are not interrupted in any way whatsoever.

“Despite the fact that we have bent backwards, even beyond our contractual obligations, to resolve the matter of the ex-staff amicably, the unions are still adamant in their resolve to disrupt the operations of MMA2. Any attempt to carry out this lawless act despite the subsisting court order would be viewed seriously and considered as an act of economic sabotage targeting a concession which they constantly tried to truncate. And as a law-abiding corporate citizen, we will do everything possible within the ambit of the law to protect our facility.
“We wish to use this opportunity to assure our numerous customers, including all the airlines operating from our terminal, and the passengers that MMA2 will remain open for business, as every measure has been put in place to ensure that security and safety is maintained for the flying public.”