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.”

Aviation shutdown 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 some 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.

BASL  said Tuesday:  “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”

2017 Airlines Made N505bn Profit in Sales of Tickets

Nigeria’s domestic carriers and international airlines operating in the country recorded combined ticket sales of N505.2bn in 2017, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said. The NCAA noted on Thursday that the figure increased by 14.2 percent or N82.7bn compared to the N422.4bn sales made in 2016.

The Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, stated this at the Q2 2018 Business Breakfast Meeting of the Aviation Round Table in Lagos, with the theme, ‘Evaluation of safety and security performance of aviation agencies in the last four years.’ Usman, who was represented by the Director, Consumer Complaints Directorate, NCAA, Capt. Adamu Abdullahi, said domestic airlines sold tickets worth N93.6bn, while the international carriers sold N411.6bn worth of tickets last year. According to him, in 2016, international airlines sold tickets worth N342.9bn, while domestic carriers realized N79.5bn.

“The 2017 tickets sales are still higher despite low sales in January due to the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for six weeks to enable the government to rehabilitate its runway,” Usman added. The DG attributed the high sales volume to stable forex regime; effective implementation of the Executive Order on ease of doing business; and the resumption of flight activities to the Maiduguri airport, which was earlier closed due to insurgency in the North-East. In the period under review, the DG stated that domestic and international airlines made total cargo sales of N400m, while N285.2m was realised in 2016. This, he added, represented an increase of 40.2 per cent or N115.7m. According to Usman, about 25,528 passengers currently pass through all the airports in the country on 305 daily flights.

He noted that the agency was working to increase passenger confidence in the air transport sector and sustain the zero accident record. According to him, based on this, the agency has enforced 90 sanctions from October 2014 to December 2017. He said the NCAA would increase consultation with airline operators and other stakeholders to improve the industry.

The Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr Saleh Dunoma, stated that in order to improve safety, the agency had commenced the process of certifying the Kano and Port Harcourt airports, having earlier certified the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Dunoma, who was represented by the General Manager, Safety Services, FAAN, Mr Elikwe Agbi, said, “We are working with the Airports Council International and following the success we recorded in Lagos and Abuja, we have started the process of certifying Port Harcourt and Kano.

It will be followed by the Enugu and Kaduna airports.” The Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, Akin Olateru, who was represented by the agency’s spokesperson, Tunji Oketunbi, said the AIB was also working to improve its role of accident reporting, and had been improving on human capital development. The ART President, Mr Gbenga Olowo, urged aviation agencies to join the global movement towards getting a Key Performance Index to measure their performances. “It is not about talking; it is about measurable deliverables,” he said.

Pilot Killed As Plane Crashes In Melbourne, Barely Missing Houses

Melbourne: Authorities in Australia on Saturday began probing a fatal light airplane crash in the suburbs of Melbourne, in which one person was killed.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the single-engine Cessna 172 aircraft was involved in a “fatal collision with terrain” on Friday, Efe news reported.

The small airplane burst into flames upon impact, said the police, adding that “one person, who is yet to be formally identified and the sole occupant, was located deceased in the aircraft”.

Photos from the scene of the crash show the plane’s wreckage lying just metres from the houses.

Airplane hit by truck in Lagos airport

The management of Arik Air says operations were disrupted on Sunday after an aircraft was hit by a truck at the Lagos airport while another aircraft could not take off in Owerri.

Arik said it has since reported the incidents to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in line with standard operating procedure.

“Arik Air has reported incidents involving two of its aircraft on Sunday, March 18, 2018, to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). This is in line with the standard operating procedure and the airline’s high safety standards,” the statement read.

“The first incident involved a Boeing 737-700 marked 5N-MJJ which was bumped into by the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL) step on the ramp at MMA2.

“The aircraft, which was scheduled to operate W3 744 (Lagos-Port Harcourt), had its left side leading edge of horizontal stabilizer damaged. Another aircraft was provided immediately for the Port-Harcourt bound passengers. Our team of engineers later fixed the damaged aircraft which has since returned to service.”

The airline, which recently moved its Port Harcourt operations to MMA2, had its first flight from the terminal on Saturday.

“In the second incident, the airline’s Bombardier CRJ900 marked 5N-JEB, operating Owerri-Lagos flight was grounded at the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri. This is as a result of a technical issue on the ground at the Sam Mbakwe airport in Owerri during the pre-departure procedure.

“A relief aircraft was immediately sent to Owerri to take the already checked in passengers to Lagos with minimum delay.

“We apologize to our customers on the flight for the inconveniences they might have experienced as a result of the incident. We remain committed to our safety policy, high operating standard and customer service.”

NAF trains over 500 special personnel in 6 months

The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) says it has trained more than 500 personnel of its special forces in asymmetric warfare in the past six months.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya, said this in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja.

He said that the trained personnel comprised airmen and airwomen from its Regiment Training Centre (RTC) in Kaduna.

Adesanya said that the eight weeks specialized training was facilitated by an Israeli Military Training Organisation, Four-Troop Limited, in conjunction with NAF instructors at RTC.

He said the training was designed to meet contemporary security challenges as well as add more value to the base defence architecture of the NAF toward enabling the continuous projection of air power.

The statement also quoted the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar as saying “the current NAF leadership has made deliberate efforts at repositioning the NAF into a highly professional fighting force’’.

“Several air and ground related capacity building initiatives have been conducted in recent times to enable the NAF to have depth, flexibility, and capability to operate either alone or in conjunction with other sister services.’’

According to him, the leadership of NAF will continue to build a highly sustainable and functional air force that will be highly responsive and decisive.

He said that through collaboration mechanisms with other organizations, NAF would continue to develop requisite capabilities and evolve new strategies for adequate response

According to him, NAF will also maintain proper force structure to counter challenges as they affect the well-being of the nation.

Robbers attack plane on runway

A gang of robbers on Thursday night swooped on an Air Peace plane while preparing for takeoff at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

The incident occurred at about 7.35 pm on Runway 18 Right (A1) of the airport, the airline said Friday.

It said suspected bandits opened the cargo hold of the aircraft.

A spokesman for the company, Chris Iwarah said the crew observed the development and insisted on the thorough security of the Abuja – bound flight after the incident.

Iwarah said the carrier’s crew acted in line with the high safety standards of the airline.

He expressed appreciation to “all our wonderful guests on board Flight 7138 for their support, patience, and cooperation throughout the precautionary security checks conducted by Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) squad, Federal Airport Authorities of Nigeria Aviation Security and our security team after suspected thieves opened the cargo hold of our aircraft.”

Pilot-in-Command, Capt. Adesola Arasi was said to have contacted the control tower “when he was alerted by the light that came on in the cockpit suggesting that the cargo hold was opened for about 15 seconds and immediately shut.”

He added: “In line with our high-security standards and the huge value we place on the lives of our guests and crew, Capt. Arasi insisted on having EOD squad check Flight APK 7138 before takeoff to be doubly sure nothing was deposited in the cargo hold by the suspected thieves to endanger the lives of our guests and crew.

“Our guests, who were fully briefed of the development by the pilot-in-command, were advised to disembark from the aircraft and board an Air Peace bus while the joint security operation by EOD, FAAN AVSEC and our security team lasted. The Lagos-Abuja flight was cleared by the security experts after an exhaustive screening of the aircraft lasting about 30 minutes.

“The flight eventually took off at 9.30pm and safely landed in Abuja at about 10.23pm. Our satisfied guests commended the professionalism of Capt. Arasi and his team as well as the high safety standards of Air Peace.

At least seven dead in Colombia military helicopter crash

At least seven people were killed when a military helicopter crashed in a rural area of northwestern Colombia on Tuesday, the military said.

Ten people were traveling aboard the helicopter when it came down, the military said in a statement.

“Unfortunately seven of the occupants have died, and the search for the other three continues,” it said.