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INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS RESUMPTION: NIGERIA COMMENCES PREPARATION OF PROTOCOLS

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Nigeria has commenced work on the protocols for a safe resumption of international flight operations in order to get it ready for when it becomes possible and appropriate.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu disclosed this at Tuesday’s aviation stakeholders webinar he convened ahead of Wednesday’s resumption of domestic flights across the country.

Reacting to a comment in respect of the commencement of international flights, said that it will ‘start when it will start‘, noting that ongoing preparations were strictly on local flights, as protocols for international flight operations are significantly different from those of domestic flights.

He noted also that even if international flights open, it doesnt make sense as nobody is coming in and nobody is going out.

Capt Musa Nuhu
DG, NCAA

He called the attention of participants to the fact that Nigeria wasn’t among the countries whose citizens were allowed to fly into European countries at the moment, so any talk about reopening international airports at the moment is preposterous.

On the level of preparedness and plans that have been put in place to ensure hitch free flights in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols, it was disclosed that airlines are 94.44% prepared; Domestic airports are 87 %; Ground Handlers 75%; Aviation Security >75%; while Air Traffic Organisations(ATOs) and Approved Maintenance Organisations(AMOs) are both above average.

Speaking further, Nuhu noted that the NCAA will do its best to control the crowds at the terminals especially the Lagos airport, and urged airlines to provide their schedule to NAMA to avoid delays in landing.

On plans to enfore COVID-19 guidelines inside the aircraft cabin, he said that it is the duty of the airlines, as NCAA is only there to monitor.

“One can be denied entry into the the airport terminal or ejected from the flight and so on, we will monitor and anywhere we see gaps, we will take actions. NCAA will not accept impunity and disregard for regulations. It is a collective responsibility and everybody must stand up and play their roles , NCAA cannot do everyone’s job”.

“A lot of people are watching Nigeria’s effort ahead of this reopening and we did our work in-house. if we work as a team and get our acts together, we will take the industry to a greater height. There is a huge potential in the aviation industry but we need to wake up. Yes, NCAA is at the centre but we need to work together to ensure that Nigeria benefits from the potential in the industry”, he said.

Responding to a comment on flight delays, he noted that flight delays are inevitable, as no operator wants to delay flights, adding that they always work to minimize delays.

Addressing the issue of post COVID-19 usage of ICT, he said that NCAA will start leveraging on technology for its duties internally, before it will go trickle down to third parties. “We will change internal policy on technology and anybody that will want to do business will have to adapt. Hopefully, in two years, there will be significant changes in NCAA operations. It will be a paradigm shift from the way we do business”, he said.

In his presentation, the NCAA General Manager, Air Operators Certification and Surveillance, Engr. Godwin Balang noted that Air Navigation Service Provider, the Nigerian AirspaceManagementAgency (NAMA) The NCAA on his part, noted that the Authority will do its best to control the crowds at the terminals especially the Lagos airport, and urged airlines to provide their schedule to NAMA to avoid delays in landing.

Speaking on enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines inside the aircraft, he stated that it is the duty of the airlines, as NCAA is only there to monitor.

According to him, “One can be denied entry into the the airport terminal or ejected from the flight and so on, we will monitor and anywhere we see gaps, we will take actions. NCAA will not accept impunity and disregard for regulations. It is a collective responsibility and everybody must stand up and play their roles , NCAA cannot do everyone’s job.

“A lot of people are watching Nigeria’s effort ahead of this reopening and we did our work in-house. if we work as a team and get our acts together, we will take the industry to a greater height. There is a huge potential in the aviation industry but we need to wake up. Yes, NCAA is at the centre but we need to work together to ensure that Nigeria benefits from the potential in the industry”, he said.

Responding to a comment on flight delays, he noted that flight delays are inevitable, as no operator wants to delay a flight, adding that they work to minimize delays.

On the use of ICT post COVID-19, he said that NCAA will start leveraging on technology for its duties internally, before it will go trickle down to third parties. “We will change internal policy on technology and anybody that will want to do business will have to adapt. Hopefully, in two years, there will be significant changes in NCAA operations. It will be a paradigm shift from the way we do business”, he said.

Speaking on aviation industry preparedess, NCAA’s General Manager Air Operator Certification and Surveillance, Engr. Godwin Balang, noted that Air Navigation Service Provider the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency(NAMA) was 91% prepared in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port-Harcourt, Owerri and Uyo Airports; while the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) was 93% prepared at the six airports.

He disclosed that the average level of preparedness of the eight (8) scheduled operators namely; Aero Contractors ; Air Peace Limited; Arik Air Limited, Azman Air, Dana Airlines, Ibom Air, Max Air Limited, and Overland’s Airways Limited was 94.44%.

On Domestic Airports preparedness, he said that Lagos (MMIA GAT & MM2) are both 92.85%, Kano 89%, Port-Harcourt 85%, Abuja, 89%, Uyo 82% while Owerri is the weakest link with 78% readiness.

According to Balang, the idea of the protocols is to ensure safe travels, physically and health wise, and urged Nigerians to ensure that the processes which took a lot of efforts to develop, be put into practice.

“Airlines should be deliberate on how it will manage risk in this period, it should not be reactive but proactive. Risk assessment should be based on actual content and I implore all to use the guidelines as reality and put them into practice”.

“We should get our minds ready for the worst tomorrow, we have issued guidelines but we should go with the mind that it will be rowdy tomorrow so that we do our risk mitigation around that”, he said.

On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Captain Fola Akinkuotu, revealed that the Agency wrote to all airlines to submit possible schedule but only Azman,Arik and Max Air responded, noting that the low response makes it difficult to plan on flight sequencing and frequency.

“We plan to discuss everything with FAAN to know how much space are in the departure and arrival terminal. We will ensure that nobody is disadvantaged, and if need be, we will draw straws on who goes first but we can’t make scientific decisions with the kind of data we have. NAMA can only work with airlines that have complied”, he remarked.

He assured that there will be no chaos Wednesday and it will be in the interest of the airlines to submit their schedule to ensure proper planning.

Speaking on the use of technology for NAMA’s operations going forward, he stated that the Agency intends to aggressively address the issues of dealing with some of the constraints they had in the past using technology.

“We are in the process of deploying on our clearance portal and to link our clients on a payment platform to reduce physical contact. We will leverage on technology as much as possible to make it easier for our clients to get services”, he ended.

In his contribution, the Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadudu, noted that the Authority doesn’t intend to have its lounges filled up, adding that they are trying to maintain a capacity that will be 100 percent in the terminal.

“We are working to expand the Lagos airport, to fix issues there and we will ensure that there is no issues in Lagos”, he stated.

Captain Roy Ilegbodu, Managing Director, Arik Air while commending the efforts of the Aviation Minister and his team in preparing the airports and the airlines for the resumption, noted that COVID-19 has impacted the aviation industry on a scale it has not seen before, and urged everyone to remain prepared to continue to learn and adapt as they go.

In his contribution, Dr.Samson Fatokun- of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) noted that many nations were watching Nigeria to see how the country would fare with this reopening, adding that compliance of all stakeholders to protocols was important.

He restated IATA’s support to Nigeria to realize an error free industry restart and recovery from the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Aviation

Private Jets Operating Commercial Services to Lose Licences – NCAA DG

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The Acting Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Chris Najomo has warned that all private jet operators operating commercial charter services risks loosing their licenses.

He gave the warning in Lagos on Friday during the media unveiling of his vision board for year 2024 tagged NCAA Project 2024.

The Ag.DG, who expressed concern over the illicit activities of illegal private jet operators in the country, said if private jets wants to operate as commercial or charter operators, they should apply for the commercial licences.

Highlighting the regulatory provisions, Najomo noted that only holders of Air Transport Licence (ATL) and Airline Operating Permit (AOP) with a valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC) are authorized to conduct charter operations.

He also stated that NCAA will cease offering services to all debtors, who have refused to payment the NCAA and federal government monies owed them, noting that almost all airlines are guilty of this.
Nigerian airlines are currently indeed to NCAA in billions of naira.

He also said the NCAA is committed towards simplified certification and licensing processes as this will ensure ease of doing business.

Najomo further stated that one of his 2024 projects is to Ensure improved staff welfare, training, retraining and reorientation of staff.

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Aviation

NDLEA Arraigns SAHCO Manager, 7 Staff For Aiding Drug Trafficking

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An Assistant General Manager of Skyway Handling Company (SAHCO), Olajide Ahmed Kafidipe, and seven other staff of the company, were today, arraigned before a Lagos Federal High Court, on charges bordering of conspiracy, unlawful importation and possession of 1, 440.90 kilograms of Tramadol.

Olajide and others were arraigned before the court presided over by Justice Deinde Isaac Dipeolu, by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The seven staff of the company arraigned alongside Olajide were; Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele; Musa Mutalib Opeyemi; Sanamo Alla Daniel; Anuge Evans Isibor; Mahmud Agboola Musa; Udeh Felix and Obinna Henry.

The prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, while arraigning the SAHCO staff, told the court that all the defendants conspired with the trio of Mubarak Sarki Salami, Abdullahi Aliyu a.k.a Aboki and Anwal Monday, who also staff of the company but now at large, to commit the offences on or about October 25, 2023.

The prosecutor, Mr. Ibrahim further told the court that the Assistant General Manager of SAHCO, Olajide and other staff of the company, conspired amongst yourself to transport 1, 440.90 kilograms of Tramadol 225mg, a Narcotic, from SAHCO Import Shed.

The prosecutor also told the court that the SAHCO’s Assistant General Manager, Olajide, conspired with Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele, and procured one Lawal Itunu Temitope, to transport the prohibited substance from SAHCO Import Shed in a Mercedes Benz Bus with Registration Number LAGOS MUS 269 YC, belonging to Platinum Pacific International Limited.

He further informed the court that another staff of SAHCO, Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele, unlawfully possessed the said 1, 440. 90 kilograms of Tramadol 225mg, a Narcotic Analgesic.

The prosecutor told the court that the offences committed by the defendants, contravened sections 14 (b), 21 (2)(d) and 20 (1)(c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. And punishable under sections 11 (b) and 20 (2)(b) of the same Act.

All the defendants denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecutor asked the court for a trial date and also urged the court to remand them in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the hearing and determination of the charge.

However, lawyers to the defendants, told the court that they have filed their clients’ bail application except that of the Assistant General Manager, Kafidipe Ahmed Olajide and Obinna Henry.

The lawyer therefore asked the court for a short date, to enable them file the bail applications for the duo.

With the development, the prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, urged the court to remand all the defendants in NCoS’ custody till when the court will hear their bail applications.

But the trial judge, Justice Dipeolu, in his reasoning, order the operatives of the NDLEA to call their Airport Commander, to allow the defendants to be remanded in their custody till tomorrow, January 17, when their bail applications will be heard and determined.

Upon the complied with the court’s directive, which was granted by the Commander, the court ordered the remand of all the defendants in NDLEA till tomorrow, while adjourned to January 24, 2024, for the commencement of their trial.
Source: Ontimenews.com

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Tinubu Sacks Heads of Aviation Agencies, Asks EFCC to Investigate NCAA’s Financial Transactions

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In a move that has caught stakeholders in the Aviation sector unawares, President Bola Tinubu has approved the suspension, removal, and replacement of Chief Executive Officers under the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development

The Special Adviser to the President Media & Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale who made this known in a statement on Wednesday, said the leadership change is in line with the President’s determination to bring world class standards to Nigerian Civil Aviation in consumer protection and the promotion of the wellbeing of Nigerian passengers and other sectoral stakeholders.

Ngelale announced that the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Kabir Yusuf Mohammed has been removed from office and replaced with Mrs. Olubunmi Oluwaseun Kuku as the substantive Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

Also, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr. Tayib Adetunji Odunowo has been removed from office and replaced with Engr. Umar Ahmed Farouk as the substantive Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Engr. Akinola Olateru has been removed from office and replaced with Mr. Alex Badeh Jr. as the substantive Director-General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu has been removed from office and replaced with Prof. Charles Anosike as the substantive Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.

He further noted that the Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Capt. Alkali Mahmud Modibbo has been removed from office and replaced with Mr. Joseph Shaka Imalighwe as the Acting Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), pending the appointment of a substantive Rector, in accordance with Section 13(2) of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act, 2022.

Meanwhile, Ngelale announced that the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Shuaibu Nuhu has been suspended from office to enable the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct an unfettered investigation into the activities of the suspended Director-General and other senior officials in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, adding that Capt. Chris Najomo assumes office as the Acting Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority immediately.

“Furthermore, President Bola Tinubu approves the commencement of a diligent process to be conducted by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development to recruit a substantive Vice-Chancellor and other principal officers of the African Aviation and Aerospace University (AAAU).

“The President anticipates that the new leadership across this critical sector will uphold the safety, convenience, and comfort of the Nigerian people as primary and sacrosanct in all of their administrative activities.

“Due to the high cost of underperformance in the sector, the President demands the immediate establishment of world-class policy design, implementation, and regulatory frameworks to reposition the sector in alignment with his Renewed Hope Agenda.

“All of the above-mentioned directives of the President take immediate effect”, he concluded

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