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Aviation

Int’l Flights Resumption: FG Approves 14 Airlines, Restricts Air France, Etihad Airways, Others

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Ahead of the planned resumption of international flights into Nigeria, the Nigerian government has given approval to 14 airlines to fly into the country’s airspace.

The approved airlines include; Middle East Airlines, Lebanon; British Airways; United Kingdom; Delta Airlines, USA; Qatar Airways, Qatar; Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia; Egypt Air, Egypt; Air Peace, Nigeria.

Others are; Virgin Atlantic, United Kingdom; Asky Airlines, Togo; Africa World Airways, Ghana; Air Cote d’ivoire, Cote d’ivoire; Kenya Airways, Kenya; Emirates Airlines, UAE; and Turkish Airlines, Turkey.
The Nigerian Aviation Minister, Sen. Hadi Sirika who disclosed this while speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Media briefing, said the approved airlines can fly into Nigeria airspace effective September 5, 2020.

Giving reason for the restricted airlines, the minister said for Air France, KLM and Lufthansa, tourists business holders are not allowed entry while Etihad Airways is open to citizens and residents only.
Restriction to Royal Air Maroc, TAAG Angola and Air Namibia is due to non-resumption of international flights to the countries while Rwanda Air was due to non-compliance with Foreign Carrier Operating Permit (FCOP), and South African is not applicable as COVID-19 Health Protocols yet to be released.

Sirika while speaking on the two approved airports for the international flights, said, “The two airports, Abuja and Lagos will be open for operations on the 5th of this month (September).

“We are satisfied with the preparations so far, we don’t anticipate any hitches. Before we go over the procedures on what has changed, I would quickly go over the airlines and the timetable.

“Saturday, for Lagos there will be BA, Delta, Emirates, Qatar, AWA, Kenya Airways and Middle East airlines while for Abuja there will be BA, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, AWA, Middle East Airlines and Turkish. And then we will release to you the time table for the remaining days as we go, to save time.” Sirika remarked.

Recall that the Nigerian government had moved the date for international flights resumption from August 29 to September 5, 2020.

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Aviation

Aviation Ministry Secures N4.045billion for AIB to Acquire Office, Web Base Equipment

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Accident Investigation Bureau Lagos office already pulled down.

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, at this week’s meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved a total sum of N4,045,197,340 billion for the Aviation Ministry to help acquire for the use of Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, a highbrow property in Abuja, that will serve as office accommodation and a laboratory.

According to the statement by the Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, part of the approved sum would also be used for the procurement of specialized equipment to aid the AIB to perform its job with the use of 21st-century technology to be hosted in Canada.

The Information Minister announced that “the council approved a memo from the Honorable Minister of Aviation for the award of contract for the establishment and deployment of Advanced Report Generation Utility Engine, web-based reporting tools in favour of Messers Sinecon Limited in the total sum of N553, 575, 000, inclusive of 7.5% with a delivery period of 12 months”. This technology will aid the Accident Investigation Bureau to be able to establish and develop the advanced reports generation system”.

Senator Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister

Lai Mohammed explained that the web-based Advanced Reporting Generation Utility Engine, “has tremendous benefits to both authorities and recipients of the information. It will be hosted on a common database, which reduces the agency’s cost of production, and provides technical means for users to search across agencies of government to communicate findings of accident investigations in a modern web-based format, as opposed to the current traditional written format published on the web”.

Speaking further on the benefits according to the brief from the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, Information Minister said, “the web reporting tool will motivate investigators overtime to create more visual contents that will have an integrated option to develop 3D flight animation to communicate the history of flights that will be hosted on plane sciences services in Ottawa, Canada”.

The Information Minister also made public the second approved memo by FEC was the sum of N3,491,622,340 to enable the Ministry of Aviation to purchase a choice property at Plot 426, Cadastral Zone, opposite the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Lai Mohammed said of the decision that, “this property will enable the ministry to be in the same building with many of its agencies. As of now, many of the agencies operate from rented properties and this is a drain on the government apart from the fact that it does not allow for good coordination of activities”.

On the genuineness of the property, as regards its status with the Federal Capital Territory Administration nay its technical and physical fitness, the Information Minister affirmed that “necessary checks and legal searches have been made and the council approved the purchase.”

This measure may have put paid to the hues and cries about the erstwhile AIB Lagos office ignominiously pulled down by the government for its error in the construction of the second international terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, without consideration for safe maneuvering of aircraft at the taxiway and the apron for parking.

(Nigeriantransporthub)

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Aviation

Airline Operators Suspend Planned Withdrawal of Flights

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The body in two statements issued between Friday last week and today, hinged their decision on the high cost of aviation fuel popularly called Jet A1 at N700 per liter.

The decision to suspend the planned flight disruption according to the AON is government assurance to wade into the matter with a view to finding lasting solution.
“AON hereby wishes to notify the general public that the earlier announced shutdown of operations on May 9, 2022 is hereby suspended in good fate (sic) pending the outcome of hopefully fruitful engagement with government”.

Before the suspension over five airlines had renounced their participation in the planned disruption of flight operations tomorrow.

Reacting to AON’s suspension, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika in a statement applauded the body for heeding government’s call.
He says, the Ministry has always made conscious efforts to assist members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), some of which includes facilitating a meeting between the Association and Mr. President, during which the Association got several concessions, including duty-free importation of aircraft, engines, spare parts and components.
“It should also be recalled that members of the Association were also considered for, and given Bail-out funds to the tune of N4 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that they remained afloat.  This was without prejudice to the fact that most of them were heavily indebted to Aviation agencies (as they still are)”.

The statement which was signed by the Minister’s Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr James Odaudu added that, in the past efforts were made to ensure the operators get forex to cater to their operations from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN as well as on the vexed issue of aviation fuel.

“The Honourable Minister at various times personally took members of the Association to engage with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sort out issues of access to Foreign Exchange (FOREX) for their operations, and also the NNPC to exploit ways of ensuring the availability of Aviation fuel (JET A1) through importation or from the major Marketers”.

The Minister also assured foreign airlines operating in the country that all logistics and services for their operations remain in place as usual and that no disruptions whatsoever should be envisaged.
He added that, as a government, reiterated it commitment to the continued growth of the aviation industry where airlines and other service providers operate in a profitable and competitive environment.

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Flight Shutdown: We’ve Never Abandoned Airline Operators- Aviation Ministry

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…. Commends Some Airlines for Opting Out of Planned Action

In reaction to the insistence of the Airline Operators of Nigeria to carry out the threat to withdraw flight services from Monday, the Ministry of Aviation has explained that it has always acted to protect the interests of their members, even as it has clarified that the Association was not planning a strike against government.

The position of the Ministry was contained in a statement by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation, Dr James Odaudu released to newsmen Sunday evening.

Full text of the statement:

“From the time the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) issued notice of withdrawal of flight services as a result of rising cost of Jet A1 (Aviation fuel), and in spite of the initial statement by the Ministry detailing efforts to address the knotty issue while soliciting more understanding from AON, enquiries have continued to flood in with some under the erroneous impression that the planned withdrawal of flight services was directed against the government.

“We wish to state that the decision of the Association is purely a business one as they are private businesses reacting to market forces while appealing for government interventions to enable them carry on with their operations.

The Ministry has always made conscious efforts to assist and promote the operational interests of AON, some of which includes facilitating a meeting between the Association and Mr President, during which it got several concessions, including duty-free importation of aircraft, engines, spare parts and components.

“The Honourable Minister at various times personally took members of the Association to engage with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sort out issues of access to Foreign Exchange (FOREX) for their operations, and also the NNPC to explore ways of ensuring the availability of Aviation fuel (JET A1) through importation or from the major Marketers at affordable prices.

“It should also be recalled that members of the Association were also considered for, and given Bail-out funds to the tune of N4 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that they remained afloat. This was without prejudice to the fact that most of them were heavily indebted to Aviation agencies (as they still are).

We believe that members of the Association are patriots who have continued to bear the brunt of unfavourable global oil market dynamics for which we salute their doggedness.

“It is gratifying that members of the Association have started reviewing the decision to withdraw flight services from tomorrow, with Ibom Air, Green Africa Airlines, Arik, Dana and some others having given indications that they will carry on with their normal flight schedules. We hope and believe that a few hesitant members will consider the dire implications of the planned action for businesses and individuals and review their decision likewise.

We also wish to assure foreign airlines operating in the country that all the requisite logistics and services for their operations remain in place as usual and that no disruptions whatsoever should be envisaged.

“As a government we reiterate our commitment to the continued growth of the aviation industry where airlines and other service providers operate in a conducive, supportive and profitable business environment.

“We therefore, call on the members of AON to commit to undisrupted flight services nationwide while the Ministry of Aviation, with other relevant stakeholders, continue with ongoing efforts at finding a lasting solution to the perplexing issue of aviation fuel availability and affordability, in the overall interest of the industry and the economy at large” the statement concluded.

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