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FG Working On Stimulus Package For Airlines, Says DG NCAA, as Onyema, Irukera Canvass Elimination Of In-flight Catering, Staggered Debt Payment Post Covid19

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The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu on Thursday disclosed that the Federal government is currently working on how to bail out the sector post Covid-19, saying that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has presented a case for this with the Presidency some days ago.

While disclosing this at an Aviation Webinar on ‘Flying Into Turbulent Skies, Safely Navigating Covid-19 Headwinds: Survival Strategies For Nigerian Aviation’ , organised by AELEX, he said all the heads of aviation parastatals were summoned to a meeting some weeks ago to map out ways of developing economic stimulus package for the sector.

He said the package will not be limited to the airlines alone but the agencies and ground handling companies.

“We have made consultations and we are still consulting, we have consulted with airlines, we plan to have another consultation with them and the ground handlers, we are developing a programme for an economic stimulus package, all inclusive, all the heads of agencies were recently locked up in a hotel in Abuja including the Minister to map out ways of getting stimulus for the sector. The minister presented a very good case on this with the Vice President”, he said.

Hadi Sirika

He noted that air transportation is very critical to a nation, especially Nigeria that is dependent on oil, hence the sector cannot afford to be comatose.

He noted that the sector may not be the same many years to come, adding that two major issues the NCAA are looking at and will look at after resumption of flight are Airworthiness and Health Protocols.

He said there is need to ensure proper procedures are in place in Nigeria, and those that will be in tandem with global standards too.

“We need to ensure that we have procedures in place, we need to look at two major issues: Airworthiness and Health Protocols, we have developed some guidelines in conjunction with the Nigerian Control for Disease Control (NCDC), we still have some issues on crew quarantine, we have agreed on certain protocols for Nigerian airlines so that when they fly out and come back, the crew don’t have to be quarantined”.

“We have consulted with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) extensively to ensure that all we are doing is globally acceptable”, he said

Capt Musa Nuhu
DG, NCAA

He urged stakeholders to look at the period as an opportunity to re-invent the sector, adding that the aviation industry has changed forever.

“This opportunity provides an excellent period for cargo operations, the sector has changed forever and the NCAA has a significant role to play, the industry needs to think out of the box”, he added.

Earlier, Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema and the Director general of Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Tunde Irukera, canvassed for elimination of in-flight catering as one of the ways to reduce cost after resumption.

According to Onyema, Covid-19 pandemic is more devasting than 9/11, adding that a lot of measures have to come to place as a way of mitigating the effect on businesses.

He said for instance, Air Peace has decided to stop in-flight catering going forward and will not deploy all its aircraft for operations as it has also decided to downsize workforce by 60 percent.

He said his airline that was operating 110 flights per day had reduced to 42 flights in a day before the lockdown, adding that so many sacrifices would have to be made by employees and staff if the business must continue.

Air Peace boss, Allen Onyema

“This Covid-19 has brough a lot of new normal, it will affect the entire value chain, passenger figures are going to shrink, a new set of regulations will emerge. And this is not about individual airline, we need to shun unhealthy competition, airlines need to stop serving food onabord, Air Peace will not serve meals again. We are going to downsize because the passengers will no longer be there, we going to deploy four out of the 7 B737 aircraft and six out of the Embraer fleet.

“Lagos- Abuja is no longer going to be every hour, we are downsizing to about 60 percent and it advisable that every airline must operate according to its strength. The staff must understand that sacrifices must be made, it may not be total sack because as operation rebound, you bring them back gradually. Airlines can stagger the payment of debts in agreement with the company they are owing and NCAA has to be more proactive”, he added.

Also speaking, Captain Ado Sanusi, Managing director, Aero Contractors expressed confidence that the sector would rebound just as it did after 9/11 and Ebola virus sagas.

He however called for mergers and acquisitions, saying this is one of the way forward for the sector.

“There will be code-sharing, I believed that acquisition and merges will usher in an industry that will weather the storm. It may not be exactly the same as in the banking, but we may go this way. It is time for us to reflect. I am very confident that the sector will rebound, yes people  will lose their jobs, they would be put on redundancy but we need to forget about competition and think about a very robust aviation industry”, he said.

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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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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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