P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Aviation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:21:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Airbus Crashes In France With 148 On Board http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/24/airbus-crashes-in-france-with-148-on-board/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/24/airbus-crashes-in-france-with-148-on-board/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:16:42 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=234097 A German airliner crashed near a ski resort in the French Alps on Tuesday with all 148 people on board pronounced dead, in one of the worst ever plane disasters in the country.

France’s transport minister said there were “no survivors” from the crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320, reports AFP.

“The circumstances of the accident, that are not yet clear, make us think there are not thought to be any survivors,” President Francois Hollande told reporters.



The plane was travelling from the Spanish coastal city of Barcelona to the German city of Duesseldorf when it went down in the Barcelonnette area in southeastern France.

The airliner, which was carrying 142 passengers and six crew, issued a distress call at 10:47 am (0947 GMT), civil aviation authorities said.

“The debris of a passenger plane has been found in the region of Barcelonette,” said interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.

He said “major rescue efforts” had been mobilised.

The plane belonged to Germanwings, a low-cost affiliate of German airline Lufthansa based in Cologne which had no fatal accidents.

The single-aisle A320 typically seats 150 to 180 people.

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Arik Air Opens Abuja-Accra-Dakar Route http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/23/arik-air-opens-abuja-accra-dakar-route/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/23/arik-air-opens-abuja-accra-dakar-route/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 22:21:50 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=234031 By Simon Ateba

Arik Air

Nigeria’s carrier, Arik Air, said on Monday it is extending its Abuja-Accra service to Dakar, Senegal from 24 March.

Similarly, the Lagos-Dakar service will be strengthened to six weekly flights with a new thrice weekly Lagos-Accra-Dakar service.

The Abuja-Accra-Dakar service which was first introduced in February 2014 was suspended in the wake of the Ebola disease outbreak in July 2014. Though the Abuja-Accra service is a daily service, the extension to Dakar will operate thrice weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, said Banji Ola, Arik spokesperson.

As a result of these developments, Ola said, Arik Air will be creating a scissors hub in Accra where passengers from Lagos and Abuja can connect direct to Dakar.

“Also, Arik Air will be only carrier offering non-stop service to Dakar from Accra,” Ola said in a statement.

Arik Air quoted Deputy Managing Director/Senior Vice President, Operations, Captain Ado Sanusi as saying that “As the dominant commercial airline in West and Central Africa, Arik Air is always seeking to strengthen its services in the region to give guests comfort and value for money. We are ready to provide greater choice and a convenient, accessible network to our valued guests in the West Coast of Africa.”

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Arik Air raises N5m to fight Sickle Cell burden

 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/21/arik-air-raises-n5m-to-fight-sickle-cell-burden%e2%80%a8%e2%80%a8%e2%80%a8/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/21/arik-air-raises-n5m-to-fight-sickle-cell-burden%e2%80%a8%e2%80%a8%e2%80%a8/#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2015 09:22:40 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=233834 Oluremilekun Osobu-Asubiojo

Arik Air

Arik Air, West Africa’s largest commercial carrier, has partnered the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, SCFN to raise over N5million to fight the burden of the disorder in the country.

The support is in form of an In-Flight Donation Scheme to raise funds that will enable the foundation to provide necessary treatment, care and support for people with sickle cell disorder in Nigeria.

The scheme has been ongoing for almost five months now during which more than N5m has been raised.

Speaking at a media forum recently, the chairman of the foundation, Prof. Olu Akinyanju said, 
Nigeria has the highest burden of the Sickle Cell in the world because of our population, with over 150,000 children born with sickle cell disorder in Nigeria”.

Appreciating the management of Arik Air, Akinyanju said, “money for the health sector generally is low not to talk of sickle cell, so it is very important. We are very happy that Arik airlines now is supporting us, we are happy you are here to see what we are doing. There must be continuity and we hope we continue to get funds from not just Arik but from everyone.”

Speaking on behalf of the management of Arik Air, Siva Ramachandran said, sickle cell disorder is a serious condition needing urgent intervention like any other condition or disease.

”The disorder affects our children and we must find a way to control, if not, eradicate it and this can only be done by public awareness so that public can be aware of this condition and the requirements to work towards the control and eradication. 

”As a caring airline, we thought we have to support this course to contribute to the success and expansion of the projects with the control and probably, eradication of the disorder.”

He noted that sustaining this course, the centre in controlling this condition require fund.

Ramachandran also appealed to the general public to support this course whenever they travel on the  airlines with their contribution from their hearts. 

The In-Flight Scheme is in the form of charitable donations from passengers on board Arik flights. He added that the contribution on the part of the passengers create an avenue to also spread, educate and create awareness on sickle cell on a regular basis.

The airline has commenced the initiative on the Lagos-Abuja-Lagos and Lagos-Port Harcourt–Lagos routes. It plans to expand to other routes in the future.

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Passengers Stranded In Kaduna As Arik Air Plane Breaks Down http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/20/passengers-stranded-in-kaduna-as-arik-air-plane-breaks-down/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/20/passengers-stranded-in-kaduna-as-arik-air-plane-breaks-down/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 21:37:42 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=233775 By Simon Ateba

FILE PHOTO: Passengers waiting to board an Arik Air flight

FILE PHOTO: Passengers waiting to board an Arik Air flight

An Arik Air plane from Jos broke down after landing safely in Kaduna on Friday, leaving 136 passengers and seven crew members stranded at the airport, sources said.

The Boeing 737 with registration number 5N-MJC landed safely in Kaduna at 6:23 p.m. but at 7:13 p.m., the pilot declared technical fault.

The plane was meant to continue its journey to Lagos but as at 9:00 pm, the passengers remained stranded at the Kaduna airport.

Unconfirmed report said Arik Air was about sending another plane to bring the passengers to Lagos.

Banji Ola, Arik Air spokesperson did not return our text message to him.

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Suspected stowaway dies on Arik Flight http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/14/suspected-stowaway-dies-on-arik-flight/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/14/suspected-stowaway-dies-on-arik-flight/#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2015 22:22:42 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=233296 By Simon Ateba

Arik Air

Men of the Airport Police Command have evacuated the remains of a suspected stowaway discovered in the undercarriage compartment of an Arik Air aircraft, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, said on Saturday.

FAAN said the body was evacuated from an Arik Airbus A345 aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

The corpse, whose identity is yet to be ascertained, has been deposited at an undisclosed mortuary, following due diligence by the relevant Aviation and Security agencies, said Yarbubu Dati, FAAN spokesman.

“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is currently reviewing footages of the CCTV system and airside security operations with a view to identifying the gaps and personnel failure, if any, in order to take remedial actions.

“The Authority had intensified efforts at improving security and safety at both land and airside through the installation of high tech screening machines, CCTV surveillance cameras and patrol teams.

“The Authority is assuring all travelling passengers of safety of lives and property throughout the nation’s airport,” Dati said in a statement.

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Private jet owners get Aviation Ministry ultimatum http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/09/private-jet-owners-get-aviation-ministry-ultimatum/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/09/private-jet-owners-get-aviation-ministry-ultimatum/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 07:55:26 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=232592 Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

The Ministry of Aviation, on Sunday issued a 90-day ultimatum to owners of private jets in the country to regularize their documentation to specify their choice of operation.

Mr Mohammed Abass, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, gave the ultimatum in a statement issued in Lagos after a meeting which lasted for several hours in Abuja.

He said the ultimatum was issued at the conclusion of the meeting between officials of the ministry and other stakeholders in the aviation sector including owners and operators of private jets.

“As part of the unanimous decisions reached at the meeting, the blanket ban on operators of foreign registered privately operated aircrafts in the country has been lifted with conditions attached.

“As earlier indicated, a 90-day ultimatum is one of the conditions, during which it is expected that all operators would have regularised their documentation to specify their choice of operation,” he said.

Abass, however, warned that during the moratorium, owners of private jets would not be allowed to secretly use their aircrafts for commercial purposes.

“Participants at the meeting agreed that anybody who violate the ultimatum will be visited with more stiffer penalties than earlier earmarked,” Abass said.

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Lagos Court Frees Babalakin over N4.7bn Fraud http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/23/lagos-court-frees-babalakin-over-n4-7bn-fraud/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/23/lagos-court-frees-babalakin-over-n4-7bn-fraud/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:08:16 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=230956 Dr Wale Babalakin: freed of N4.7bn fraud

Dr Wale Babalakin: freed of N4.7bn fraud

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of the Lagos High Court today discharged the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Ltd, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) over a N4.7billion fraud charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court also absolved Babalakin’s companies Stabilini Visioni Ltd., Bi-Courtney Ltd, Renix Nigeria Ltd and Alex Okoh who were charged along with him.

The EFCC had charged Babalakin and his co-defendants to court on a 27-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct and corruptly conferring benefit on account of public action.

The anti-graft agency alleged that Babalakin and his co-defendants fraudulently assisted convicted former Delta state governor, James Ibori to transfer huge sums of money through various parties to Erin Aviation account in Mauritius for the purchase of a plane.

But Babalakin alongside his co-defendants through their lawyers filed separate applications, praying Justice Lawal-Akapo to quash the N4.7bn charges, with a position that the EFCC, as a federal agency, lacked valid fiat to prosecute them in a state high court.

The defendants through their counsel, Dr. Biodun Layonu (SAN), Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Mr. Roland Otaru (SAN), Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) and Mr. Oladapo Akinosun had also argued that the state High Court has no jurisdiction to hear offences brought under the EFCC Act.

The lawyers posited that all the charges against the defendant were predicated on repealed laws of Lagos State and urged the court to quash same.

They also submitted that the defendants were not properly informed of the details they were charged for as stated in the Constitution, adding that count 2 to 13 of the charge did not inform the defendant the details of the offence, neither did they constitute an offence under any written law in the country.

EFCC through its lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), while opposing the applications of the defendants told the court it has constitutional right to prosecute the defendants before a state high court.

Jacob also contended that Section 286 of the constitution permits state high court to entertain federal offences.

On the issue of general fiat issued by the Attorney General of the Federation, Jacob said the only person who can complain about not getting the said fiat is the Lagos State Attorney General himself and not any of the party before the court.

The EFCC counsel said both EFCC and the Attorney General of the Federation are authorised by Law to initiate criminal proceeding, adding that the fact that both bodies jointly initiated the charges against the defendants does not make it illegal.

Ruling on the application today, the trial Judge, formulated four issues to determination; Whether the EFCC can prosecute a defendants without fait, whether James Ibori is a public officer, whether two prosecuting authorities can jointly sign a charge and whether the charge on the surface contains sufficient information.

The judge resolved three of the issues in favour of Babalakin and his co defendant and only upheld that the EFCC had the power to prosecute an matter in court without fiat.

Justice Lawal-Akapo ruled that the EFCC had not disclosed enough information to sustain the allegation made against Babalakin and his co-defendants.

The judge held that the EFCC for instance did not disclose the particulars of the offences allegedly committed, when the offences took place etc.

Consequently Justice Lawal-Akapo said “the amended information filed May 7, 2013 is incurably bad and ineffective.”

The judge also held that James Ibori who was alleged to have corruptly conferred the N4.7billion on Babalakin is not a public office as stated in the charge.

On the issue of prosecuting authorities jointly signing a charge, the judge agreed with the defendants that the trial was a joint prosecution between the EFCC and the Attorney General of Lagos State.

He subsequently discharged the defendants.

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Arik Air Staff Caught Siphoning Fuel From Aircraft http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/16/arik-air-staff-caught-siphoning-fuel-from-aircraft/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/16/arik-air-staff-caught-siphoning-fuel-from-aircraft/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 12:08:47 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=230141 By Simon Ateba

Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

An Arik Air staff have been arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, western Nigeria, siphoning fuel from an aircraft, Osita Chidoka, the Minister of Aviation said on Monday.

“In the continued bid to fight corruption and security breaches at the nation’s airport results are beginning to emerge my daily security report revealed the following:

“On 15th February, 2015, at about 0255hrs at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport,(MMIA), Lagos, the sustained security patrol and surveillance operations across the nation’s airports, by the aviation security staff, yielded a good result that led to the apprehension of the following three Arik staff namely; Blessing DUGBE, Samuel ASUQUO and Isaac AJAKAIYE siphoning jet A1 fuel from Arik airplane, registration number 5N-MID, into six(6) jerrycans for possible sales, at cheaper price to other airlines,” Chidoka said.

The Theft, he said, threatens safety and security of airplanes.

“Considering the magnitude of this crime and the attendant consequences, the act is likely to portend to safety and security of Arik airplanes and other aircrafts parked at the MMIA apron, the Chief Security Officer(CSO), MMIA, Lagos, had been requested to ensure that the suspects are handed over to the airport police for adequate prosecution, to serve as a deterrent to others,” Chidoka said.

The three suspects have been handed over to the Crime Investigation Bureau(CIB), AVSEC MMIA for further action.

The minister said other Chief Security Officers and Heads of Aviation Security at the nation’s airports, had been alerted and directed to intensify patrol and surveillance operations at their areas of responsibilities.

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Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Call Off Strike Action http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/20/nigerian-air-traffic-controllers-call-off-strike-action/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/20/nigerian-air-traffic-controllers-call-off-strike-action/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 23:01:19 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=227025 By Simon Ateba

Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos

Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos

The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers under the aegis of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) have called off their intended industrial action which was to begin today, the association said in a statement.

“The decision to shelve the planned strike followed a series of negotiations between NATCA/ATSSSAN and the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and a communique signed at the end of the negotiations on Sunday, 18th January, 2015,” said NATCA in a statement signed by Olajumoke Adetona.

As part of the communique, the management of NAMA agreed to address most of the issues which bordered on review of ATC rating allowances and general welfare, the statement read.

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Months After Ebola, Arik resumes flights to Cameroun, Benin http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/14/months-after-ebola-arik-resumes-flights-to-cameroun-benin/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/14/months-after-ebola-arik-resumes-flights-to-cameroun-benin/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 10:06:45 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=226191 By Simon Ateba/Ouagadougou

Arik Air

‎Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air, said on Wednesday that it is resuming flights to Cameroun and ‎Benin Republic, months after they were suspended, following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Even after Nigeria defeated the disease last year, flights to Douala and Cotonou International Airports in Cameroun and Benin Republic remained suspended.

The flight operations will now resume on Monday, 19 January, said ‎Arik Air’s spokesperson, Banji Ola.

He said Arik Air will be operating four weekly flights from Lagos to Cotonou and Douala on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“Outbound flight departs Lagos at 11:15 am (local time) and arrives in Cotonou at 11:45 am (local time). The flight leaves Cotonou later at 12:30 pm (local time) to arrive in Douala at 2:00 pm (local time),” Ola said in a statement from Lagos.

“From Douala, the inbound flight departs at 2:45 pm (local time) and arrives in Cotonou at 4:15 pm. The flight thereafter leaves Cotonou at 5:00 pm and arrives in Lagos at 5:30 pm,” he added.

Arik Air’s Managing Director, Chris Ndulue, said he was pleased to begin operations again in both West and Central African countries.

“We are pleased to return to Cotonou and Douala after the brief period of suspension of flights. We thank our guests for their loyalty and promise that we shall not renege on our pledge to provide world-class experiences and services which are safe, reliable and continually contribute towards the quality of life in the region,”‎ Ndulue said.

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Ethiopian Airlines Cargo plane glides off Ghana runway http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/10/ethiopian-airlines-cargo-plane-glides-off-ghana-runway/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/10/ethiopian-airlines-cargo-plane-glides-off-ghana-runway/#comments Sat, 10 Jan 2015 16:48:35 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=225818 Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane

An Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane skidded off the tarmac on landing in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on Saturday, the airports authority said.

The Ghana Airports Company Ltd (GACL) said in a statement that plane, a Boeing 737 en route from the Togolese capital, Lome, and operated by Asky Airlines came off the runway at 11:05 am (1105 GMT).

“The aircraft was carrying general cargo. The accident scene has been secured and cordoned off. The only three crew members on board have been treated and discharged,” it added.

Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane2

Operations at the airport were unaffected and flights were operating on schedule, the statement said.

Emergency teams including the fire service, police, military and civil aviation authority were sent to the scene.

“The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority has commenced initial investigation into the cause of the accident,” it added.

Local media reports said there was bad weather at the time caused by seasonal winds, which may have restricted visibility.

Photographs on social media showed the jet with damage to its nose section, while the landing gear appeared to have buckled and at least one engine sheared off.

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Nigeria’s Aviation Portal Is Up And Running, Says FAAN http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/07/nigerias-aviation-portal-is-up-and-running-says-faan/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/07/nigerias-aviation-portal-is-up-and-running-says-faan/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 11:25:02 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=225380 Simon Ateba

Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

The Nigerian aviation portal, where real time information about airlines’ operations and services in the country can be found, is up and running and Nigerians should start using it to plan their trips, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, said on Wednesday.

FAAN said the Aviation Passenger Service (APS) portal launched last month by the Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, is designed as a one-stop platform for air travellers.

“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria is calling on all intending air travellers to visit the Aviation Passenger Service Portal as a first step in planning their journeys, especially in this harmattan season.

“This is especially so as passengers will experience flight delays and cancellations due to bad weather,” said Yakubu Dati, FAAN spokesperson.

FAAN said the platform, which can be accessed on www.aviationportal.com.ng, is “a reliable source for verified information purposely designed to empower passengers travelling by air from within and outside Nigeria with accurate data with which they can make informed decisions and plan their journey.”

The portal, FAAN added, also serves as a channel to create positive passenger experience even after the trip.

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Flight cancellations and delays caused by bad weather, says NCAA http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/06/flight-cancellations-and-delays-caused-by-bad-weather-says-ncaa/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/06/flight-cancellations-and-delays-caused-by-bad-weather-says-ncaa/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 22:47:11 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=225305 By Simon Ateba/Lagos

Passengers stranded at Lagos airport

Passengers stranded at Lagos airport

The avalanche of flight delays and cancellations at Nigerian airports in recent weeks is due to bad weather, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, said on Tuesday.

The agency advised passengers, in the interest of safety‎, to show understanding and exercise caution when flights are delayed or cancelled.

NCAA said the airlines are “strictly adhering to the regulatory guidelines enshrined by the Authority to conduct airline operations in Nigeria in the interest of safety.”

Weeks ago, NCAA had issued a weather alert to sensitise all pilots on the hazards associated with Harmattan dust haze in flight operations at this time of the year.

The alert also served as a warning to aircraft captains to be aware of the obvious threat harmattan dust haze pose to aircraft particularly in the areas of low visibility.

Harmattan which is prevalent at the cessation of rainy season leads to heavy fog hence air – to – ground visibility is considerably reduced. As a result, this makes airline operations unsafe and dangerous if not adequately put into consideration, the agency said.

“The Authority is therefore reiterating its earlier advice to airline Pilots to exercise maximum restraint when there is adverse weather forecast.

“In similar vein, passengers are enjoined to bear with the airlines during this period as the Authority will not compromise safety and security of air transportation in Nigeria,” NCAA said.

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AirAsia search: 34 bodies recovered so far http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/05/airasia-search-34-bodies-recovered-so-far/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/05/airasia-search-34-bodies-recovered-so-far/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 04:38:21 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=225061 Members of an Indonesian search and rescue team carry items for investigation

Members of an Indonesian search and rescue team carry items for investigation

Recovery teams expanded their search in the Java Sea on Monday as they raced to find bodies and wreckage from AirAsia Flight 8501, which they fear have drifted in rough weather that has hampered operations over the past week.

As the massive relief operation entered its ninth day, officials were hopeful for a break in poor conditions to send divers down to the area where large parts of the crashed Airbus A320-200 have been found.

Only 34 bodies have so far been recovered from the disaster scene. A total of 162 people were onboard when the plane crashed into the sea during on a storm on December 28, en route from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

“Hopefully the weather is good today so that the ROVs (remotely-operated underwater vehicles) and other instruments can be used and our divers can go to the seabed again,” search and rescue official S.B. Supriyadi told AFP.

He said he was hopeful they would find “all the parts” of the aircraft Monday and get its exact coordinates underwater.

“Yesterday when our divers went down, the visibility was very bad,” Supriyadi added.

Indonesian officers carry coffins with the remains of passengers of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 before they are sent to Surabaya

Indonesian officers carry coffins with the remains of passengers of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 before they are sent to Surabaya

Recovery crews nonetheless made some progress on Sunday, retrieving four more bodies and locating a fifth large chunk of the plane.

The discoveries came after Indonesia’s meterological agency said ice likely caused the plane’s engine to stall, and as the pilot’s daughter urged the public not to blame her father.

Searchers are hunting for the “black box” flight data recorders to determine the cause of the crash.

Supriyadi said the search, which is being assisted by several countries including the United States and Russia, would expand eastwards Monday on suspicions that strong currents have caused parts of the plane to drift.

Several aircraft were making their way from Pangkalan Bun, a town on the island of Borneo with the nearest airstrip to the wreckage, to scour the sea’s surface. Speed boats were sweeping the coastline for signs of bodies that may have drifted to shore.

– Hope to find black boxes –

Supriyadi said the team was assessing whether to lift the discovered plane parts off the seabed or just find the “black box” flight data recorders.

“We hope to find the black boxes as soon as possible,” he said.

“If the tail is upside down and the door to the black box is in the mud, we need to dig the seafloor and that’s difficult. We are hoping the door to the black box is facing upwards so it is easier for us to fetch it.”

An initial report by Indonesia’s meteorological agency BMKG suggested the weather was the “triggering factor” behind the accident.

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Ice may have caused AirAsia crash: weather agency http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/04/ice-may-have-caused-airasia-crash-weather-agency/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/04/ice-may-have-caused-airasia-crash-weather-agency/#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2015 07:21:18 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224962 AirAsia plane

AirAsia plane

Weather was the “triggering factor” in the fatal crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 a week ago, with icing likely causing engine damage, according to Indonesia’s meteorological agency.

The Airbus A320-200 crashed during a storm en route from Indonesia’s second city Surabaya to Singapore, and relief workers are hunting for flight data recorders to determine the cause of the crash.

But an initial report on the website of BMKG, Indonesia’s meteorological agency, suggests the weather at the time the plane went down sparked the disaster after it appeared to fly into storm clouds.

“Based on the available data received on the location of the aircraft’s last contact, the weather was the triggering factor behind the accident,” said the report.

“The most probable weather phenomenon was icing which can cause engine damage due to a cooling process. This is just one of the possibilities that occurred based on the analysis of existing meteorological data,” it said.

Before take-off, the pilot of Flight 8501 had asked for permission to fly at a higher altitude to avoid the storm, but the request was not approved due to other planes above him on the popular route, according to AirNav, Indonesia’s air traffic control.

In his last communication, Captain Iriyanto, an experienced former air force pilot, said he wanted to change course to avoid the menacing storm system. Then all contact was lost, about 40 minutes after the plane had taken off.

Major parts of the Airbus A320-200 were found in the sea off the island of Borneo late Friday and Saturday, raising hopes that the remaining bodies and the crucial “black box” recorders would soon be located. So far 30 bodies have been found.

High seas throughout the week have hampered the relief process, a huge operation assisted by several countries including the United States and Russia, but divers were preparing to go down to the wreckage Sunday as the weather cleared.

“The waves are calmer, only one to two metres (three to seven feet) high,” search and rescue official S.B Supriyadi told AFP, adding that 95 divers were on standby on various ships.

“We’ll be concentrating on the underwater search, hopefully we’ll be able to evacuate more bodies. We want to speed up the evacuation of bodies which might be stuck inside the plane’s body,” he said.

He said they would be using sonar equipment in their underwater searches, while aircraft would continue to scour the sea and coastline.

Indonesia has pledged to investigate flight violations by AirAsia, saying the ill-fated aircraft had been flying on an unauthorised schedule when it crashed. The airline has now been suspended from flying the Surabaya-Singapore route.

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Lantern causes Bangkok Airways flight cancellation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/02/lantern-causes-bangkok-airways-flight-cancellation/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/02/lantern-causes-bangkok-airways-flight-cancellation/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 13:51:14 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224813 Bangkok Airways

Bangkok Airways was forced to cancel a flight over the new year period after a traditional fire lantern was found stuck to the plane’s engine, the airline said Friday.

The Airbus A320 had flown into Chiang Mai airport in the country’s north on Thursday night from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport and was due to return to the capital.

As the plane taxied to its stand, lanterns were spotted floating over the airport and one was apparently sucked into the engine.

“After the aircraft parked at the gate, technicians found a lantern stuck to engine number two and the airline decided to cancel” Flight PG906, an airline statement said.

The incident comes at a time of heightened concern over fire lanterns — small paper balloons usually powered by a candle which are traditionally released by Thais during festivals and celebrations.

Scores of flights from Chiang Mai had to be cancelled in October during a festival because lanterns drifted into the airport’s airspace and aviation chiefs have previously warned that lamps could be hazardous to aircraft.

New Year celebrations have seen no let up in stray lanterns despite the warnings.

“We have collected 200 lanterns inside Chiang Mai airport over New Year’s Eve,” Visutr Chantana, the airport’s director, told AFP.

In the latest incident no damage was caused to the aircraft which was later flown without passengers back to Bangkok for further testing.

“Today our technicians checked the aircraft and found that the engine was fine and safe,” Bangkok Airways said.

The incident comes after an AirAsia jet flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore crashed into the sea on Sunday during a storm with 162 people aboard.

On Tuesday another AirAsia jet — this time in the Philippines — skidded off the runway on arrival at a popular resort island, causing no injuries but shutting the small airport.

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Items resembling slide, plane door seen in AirAsia search http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/30/items-resembling-slide-plane-door-seen-in-airasia-search/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/30/items-resembling-slide-plane-door-seen-in-airasia-search/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 06:08:50 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224452 This aerial view taken from an Indonesian search and rescue aircraft over the Java Sea shows floating debris spotted in the same area as other items being investigated by Indonesian authorities

This aerial view taken from an Indonesian search and rescue aircraft over the Java Sea shows floating debris spotted in the same area as other items being investigated by Indonesian authorities

Items resembling an emergency slide, plane door and other objects were spotted in the sea during an aerial search Tuesday for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, Indonesian officials said.

An AFP photographer on the search flight that spotted the possible debris said he had seen objects in the sea resembling a life raft, life jackets and long orange tubes.

Indonesian air force official Agus Dwi Putranto told reporters: “We spotted about 10 big objects and many more small white-coloured objects which we could not photograph.”

“The position is 10 kilometres (six miles) from the location the plane was last captured by radar,” he said.

Family members of passengers onboard missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 hold hands as they pray together while waiting for a briefing inside the crisis-centre

Family members of passengers onboard missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 hold hands as they pray together while waiting for a briefing inside the crisis-centre

Putranto displayed 10 photos of objects resembling a plane door, emergency slide, and a square box-like object.

“It is not really clear… it could be the wall of the plane or the door of the plane,” he said.

“Let’s pray that those objects are what we are really trying to find,” he said in Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

AirAsia flight QZ8501 disappeared Sunday morning over the Java Sea with 162 people on board.

The search is focused on waters around the islands of Bangka and Belitung in the Java Sea, across from Kalimantan.

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Missing AirAsia jet may be at sea bottom, says Indonesia searcher http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/29/missing-airasia-jet-may-be-at-sea-bottom-says-indonesia-searcher/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/29/missing-airasia-jet-may-be-at-sea-bottom-says-indonesia-searcher/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 05:47:38 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224323 Multinational search teams hunted Monday for any sign of an AirAsia plane missing off Indonesia with 162 people on board, but one top official warned it was likely at the bottom of the sea.

Australia, Singapore and Malaysia deployed planes and ships to assist in the search as anguished relatives anxiously waited for news of their loved ones more than a day after Flight QZ8501 disappeared over the Java Sea.

The Airbus A320-200 lost contact en route from Surabaya in Indonesia’s east Java to Singapore on Sunday after the crew requested a change of flight plan due to stormy weather, in the third crisis for a Malaysian carrier this year.

AirAsia plane

AirAsia plane

“Based on the coordinates given to us and evaluation that the estimated crash position is in the sea, the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea,” National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo told journalists.

“That’s the preliminary suspicion and it can develop based on the evaluation of the result of our search,” he said.

Currently search teams are scouring an area where the sea is 40-50 metres (130-160 feet) deep, he said, adding that Indonesia was coordinating with other countries to access any equipment that may be needed to scour the sea bed.

“Due to the lack of technology that we have, I have coordinated with our foreign minister so we will borrow from other countries which have offered. They are the UK, France and US,” he said.

“It is not easy to look for something underwater…. That will not break our spirit to continue searching, no way.”

– Hoping for news –

Distraught relatives spent the night in Surabaya hoping for news of their loved ones as international teams expanded their search area for the lost plane.

Vicky said he had not given up hope of finding his two siblings who were on the flight, and criticised an airline official who said he shared the families’ “sadness” at the plane’s disappearance.

“What he said was not appropriate at all. If they were sad it means there’s death. But the flight has not been found yet,” he told AFP.

AirAsia said 155 of those on board flight QZ8501 were Indonesian, with three South Koreans and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia, Britain and France. The Frenchman was the co-pilot.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the twin-engine aircraft around an hour after it left Surabaya’s Juanda international airport at about 5:35 am (2235 GMT Saturday).

Shortly before disappearing, the pilot asked to ascend by 6,000 feet to 38,000 feet to avoid heavy clouds, according to an Indonesian transport ministry official.

“But their request to fly to 38,000 feet from 32,000 feet could not be approved at that time due to traffic, there was a flight above, and five minutes later the flight disappeared from radar,” Djoko Murjatmodjo told a press conference Sunday.

The search is focused on waters around the islands of Bangka and Belitung in the Java Sea, across from Kalimantan on Borneo island, but the army has also been asked to carry out ground searches, including in mountainous areas.

Soelistyo said the search area had been expanded northwards in the waters between Sumatra and Kalimantan.

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Update: Missing AirAsia jet asked to deviate flight plan http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/28/update-missing-airasia-jet-asked-to-deviate-flight-plan/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/28/update-missing-airasia-jet-asked-to-deviate-flight-plan/#comments Sun, 28 Dec 2014 06:27:10 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224250 Air Asia said the pilot of flight QZ8501 that went missing between Indonesia and Singapore early Sunday had requested “deviation” from the its flight plan because of bad weather.

“The aircraft… was requesting deviation due to enroute weather,” the Malaysia-based carrier said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

AirAsia plane

AirAsia plane

“Communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control (ATC).”

The Airbus A320-200 with 162 people on board left Juanda international airport in Surabaya in east Java at 5:20 am Sunday and had been expected to arrive in Singapore at 8:30 am (0030 GMT).

Malaysia-based AirAsia said a search and rescue operation was underway.

Indonesia’s air transportation director general Djoko Murjatmodjo told AFP the plane was carrying seven crew and 155 passengers — 138 adults, 16 children and a baby.

Local broadcaster MetroTV reported that the passengers included 149 Indonesians, three South Koreans, including a baby, one Briton and one Malaysian and one Singaporean.

The Indonesian air force said two of its planes had been dispatched to scour an area of the Java Sea, southwest of Pangkalan Bun in Kalimantan province.

“The weather is cloudy and the area is surrounded by sea. We are still on our way so we won’t make an assumption on what happened to the plane,” said Indonesian air force spokesman Hadi Cahyanto.

The aircraft was operated by AirAsia Indonesia, a unit of Malaysian-based AirAsia which dominates Southeast Asia’s booming low cost airline market.

– Search and rescue –

An official from Indonesia’s transport ministry said the pilot asked to ascend 6,000 feet to 38,000 feet to avoid heavy clouds.

“The plane is in good condition but the weather is not so good,” Djoko Murjatmodjo told a press conference at Jakarta’s airport, addressing reports of severe storms in the area where the jet went missing.

Murjatmodjo said search efforts were being focused on an area between Belitung island and Kalimantan, on the western side of the island of Borneo, about halfway along the expected route of Flight QZ8501.

Singapore has offered help from its navy and air force in the hunt for the plane.

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Air Asia plane missing in transit http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/28/air-asia-plane-missing-in-transit/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/28/air-asia-plane-missing-in-transit/#comments Sun, 28 Dec 2014 03:47:36 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224235 Air Asia plane

Air Asia plane

An AirAsia plane with 161 people on board lost contact with air traffic control en route from Indonesia to Singapore Sunday morning, an official said.

“The AirAsia flight flying from Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with Jakarta at 7:55am (local time),” transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata told AFP.

The Airbus plane left Juanda international airport in Surabaya in east Java at 5:20am and was expected to arrive in Singapore at 8:30am (0030 GMT).

The plane was carrying six crew and 155 passengers — 138 adults, 16 children and a baby, Barata said.

AirAsia said search operation underway for missing flight QZ8501.

“At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available,” the airline said.

The missing plane was an Airbus A320-200, it said.

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