P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Aviation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:32:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 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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Passengers stranded at Lagos domestic airports http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/25/passengers-stranded-at-lagos-domestic-airports/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/25/passengers-stranded-at-lagos-domestic-airports/#comments Thu, 25 Dec 2014 18:36:17 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=223968 Passengers stranded at Lagos airport

Passengers stranded at Lagos airport

Hundreds of intending passengers were on Thursday stranded at the two domestic Lagos airports over hike in fares by airline operators. The operators capitalised on the Christmas rush to increase their fares.

NAN reports that the air ticket for an hour flight currently ranged from N30, 000 to N43, 000, depending on the carrier.

This was against N18,000 to N30,000 a few days ago. Officials of some of the airlines said the rush for tickets was more pronounced on Lagos, Enugu, Abuja, Owerri, Calabar and Port Harcourt routes.

The carriers currently operating commercial services in the country are Arik Air, Aero Contractors, IRS Airlines, Med-View Air and Overland.

Findings at the Lagos airports as well as enquiries from airline representatives showed that the average fare on the Lagos-Enugu route, which was less than 45 minutes, was N35, 000 as against N20, 000 about two months ago.

Similarly, the Lagos-Abuja route attracted an average ticket price of N40, 000. This was against an average of N24, 000 recorded some weeks ago.

On the Lagos-Port Harcourt and Lagos-Owerri routes, it costs between N38, 000 and N45,000.

NAN recalls that, Mr Yakubu Dati, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), had on Dec. 11 advised Nigerians to make use of passenger service portals.

Dati said that this was to help them plan their trips ahead in order to avoid last-minute stress.

He said the platforms empower passengers with tools to make the traveling experience seamless for them during periods when there is an upsurge in demand for air transports

Some of the passengers who spoke to NAN wondered why fares were always hiked during the festive periods. Mr Olumide Faleti, a traveler who was heading to Enugu from Abuja said: “it is funny how things operate here. This is a time to share and not to exploit your passengers.”

According to him, domestic airlines should learn to introduce low cost promotional fares to attract travelers instead of exploiting passengers as a result of the season.

He regretted the dearth of local carriers in the sector, adding that, the few in the business were cashing on the development at the detriment of their customers.

Another passenger, Dr Mayowa Olawale, said before now he had been searching for low cost fares online but could not get any. “I’m on my way to Abuja where my parents reside. I searched on the Internet for promotional fares but was disappointed when I found out that all the carriers going my way had their ticket prices above N35, 000,” he said.

Meanwhile, some ticketing officers, who pleaded anonymity said that the difference in airfares when compared to what they used to be was normal at this period.

“It is normal for airfares to rise, especially during Christmas and as the year comes to an end. It is not only our airline that has increased fares,” he said.

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Cargo Flights Suspended To Lagos Airport http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/19/cargo-flights-suspended-to-lagos-airport/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/19/cargo-flights-suspended-to-lagos-airport/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:05:45 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=223447 Simon Ateba

FILE PHOTO: An Air Nigeria Airline

FILE PHOTO: An Air Nigeria Airline

All ‎cargo flights have been suspended at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria , FAAN, said on Friday.

FAAN advised operators of all cargo flights to find alternative entry points for their cargo from today, said Yakubu Dati, the agency’s spokesperson.

FAAN said it has already advised the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency to issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to this effect.

“This has become imperative due to the congestion created by the backlog of cargo created following the two-week closure of the terminal by the Nigerian Customs Service.

“The Authority has initiated measures to accelerate the clearance of these goods and return the situation to normalcy. Airlines and importers are advised to make use of alternative airports,” Dati said.

He said ‎FAAN is constrained to take this measure at this time for the safety and security of all concerned.

The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, and the clearing and ‎forwarding agents have been st loggerheads for months over what the latter described as the collection of illegal charges from the by the NCS.

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Chidoka says Jonathan will transform Aviation College http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/13/chidoka-says-jonathan-will-transform-aviation-college/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/13/chidoka-says-jonathan-will-transform-aviation-college/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 19:13:05 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=222827 Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, said transforming Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria to meet 21st century aviation challenges, was one of the topmost priorities of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Chidoka spoke to newsmen on Saturday in Zaria, after inaugurating projects in the college, as part of the activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the school.

“As you can see, it is part of the present administration’s giant stride to reposition the college that we commissioned three projects today.

“We have commissioned Visual Tower Simulator for the training of Air Traffic Controllers and Pilots, Aslim Simulator and two new Helicopters Bell 206 and many more are on the way.

“I believe that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has shown foresight and trust in the capabilities of the people managing aviation sector,” he said.

Chidoka said that currently, 22 airports owned by the Federal Government were at various stages of becoming world class airport terminals, with the state-of-art equipment and infrastructure.

“The Federal Government has made tremendous progress in repositioning the country’s aviation sector with completion of the first phase of airport rehabilitation project.

“he N38 billion worth of projects, which involves remodeling of 11 airports are nearing completion and the second phase has progressed very swiftly,” he said.

The Rector of the College, Capt. Samuel Caulcrick, said it was the desire of the founding fathers, for the college to be a famous aviation institute in Africa and among the best in the world.

He said in the last 50 years the college had worked tirelessly to achieve its mandate by significantly improvement to become a centre of excellence.

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Customs denies molestation of FAAN manager http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/13/customs-denies-molestation-of-faan-manager/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/13/customs-denies-molestation-of-faan-manager/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 18:32:43 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=222822 Custom boss, Dikko Abdullahi

Custom boss, Dikko Abdullahi

The Nigeria Customs Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Command, on Saturday said that its personnel were not involved in the molestation of an official of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Thursday.

An official of FAAN had on Thursday been beaten up over parking fees at the cargo section of the MMIA.

Mrs Thelma Williams, Public Relations Officer, Airport Customs Command, told newsmen in Ikeja that the allegation that the official was beaten up by a Customs officer was untrue.

She said that Customs had investigated the incident and found that its officers did not molest the FAAN official.

According to her, the officers around the car park resumed work in the early hours and attempted to park at the facility, when a misunderstanding ensued over the conditions attached to the facility.

She said that the officers, however, did not molest the FAAN officials.

“The officials only drove into the car park, arising from failure of FAAN officials to grant them access, having introduced themselves and displayed their identity cards,” she said

Williams said that the Customs had engaged the management of FAAN on its mode of operations at the airport as it affects the use of public facilities, such as car parks.

She said that the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Mr Folorunsho Adegoke, had in a letter dated Dec. 5, communicated to the airport manager the position of the command on FAAN’s request for toll payment.

According to her, the Controller had explained to FAAN that the entire airport area, from the end of the tarmac, apron, cargo section and the airside was designated in the Customs Excise Management Act.

She said the same legal document required FAAN to provide accommodation for the Customs Service at the airport, which included accessibility to offices for its officers.

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75% of cargoes still uncleared at MMIA Cargo Terminal http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/12/75-of-cargoes-still-uncleared-at-mmia-cargo-terminal/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/12/75-of-cargoes-still-uncleared-at-mmia-cargo-terminal/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 04:55:07 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=222594 Airport Terminal

Airport Terminal

The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on Thursday said 75 per cent of the cargoes at the Cargo Terminal of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) were still uncleared.

The association’s President, Mr Aloysius Igwe, told aviation correspondents in Lagos that the two ground handlers were claiming demurrages for the goods not cleared within the period of the terminal’s closure.

NAN reports that the terminal was reopened on Dec. 4, following an order given by the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr Abdullahi Dikko.

NAN also reports that the two handlers are the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) and the Skyway Aviation Handling Ltd. (SAHCOL).

Igwe said that only 25 per cent of goods had been cleared so far by the companies, stressing that the stringent measures put in place by the customs was slowing down progress at the terminal.

“Unlike in the past where these goods would have been cleared almost immediately with assistance from clearing agents, it is no longer the same.

“In fact, some goods now spend extra days in the warehouses of the ground handlers due to insufficient personnel and the new measures put in place by the customs.

“Also, just few days ago, the management of the two ground handling companies threatened to impose additional charges on goods not cleared within a specific period.

“How can we clear the goods when the personnel on ground are not capable of discharging their duties as expected?”

However, NAHCO’s General Manager, Corporate Communications and Branding, Mr Tayo Ajakaye, denied any planned increase in fees on the cargoes by the ground handling company.

He also insisted that the ground handler had enough personnel to accelerate cargo clearance within its warehouse.

Ajakaye explained that NAHCO, about a few weeks ago, employed 40 additional staff who were on training during the period of the closure and have now resumed work in cargo services.

The general manager said that 30 of the new workers were deployed to China Bulk Breaking; five to General Bulk Breaking and another five to Export Warehouse.

He added that these were in addition to the members of staff who work in those units before the closure.

On the dumurrage claim, Ajakaye denied additional fee by NAHCO, saying that for all shipments still in the terminal there was no demurrage paid.

He added: “These shipments are not in our cargo warehouse yet. For shipments that have been tallied and are in our warehouse before the closure, there would be no demurrage charged.

“For shipments whose documentation was completed and who have customs exit paper before the closure, no demurrage is charged.

“Only those shipments that have entered our warehouse and not yet tallied at the time of the closure would attract payment of demurrage.

“Even at that, of the total 16 days, eight days would be waived. However the waiver would only be given on the review of the cases on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

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Arik Air Adds 20 Flights For Yuletide http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/11/arik-air-adds-20-flights-for-yuletide/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/11/arik-air-adds-20-flights-for-yuletide/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:24:48 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=222550 Simon Ateba

Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air, said on Thursday that it will provide additional 20 flights to cater for the huge number of air travellers during the festive period.

“The additional flights will cover the period from December 19 -24, 2014. Instead of the average 120 daily flights normally operated by Arik Air, the airline will during the festive period increase its daily flights to an average of 140,” said Banji Ola, Arik Air spokesman.

He said the key domestic routes that will be affected during the festive season are Enugu, Owerri, Calabar, Lagos, Abuja and Asaba.

“On the mentioned days, Arik Air will increase the frequency on the Lagos-Owerri route from twice to thrice daily while Abuja-Owerri will increase from one to twice daily.

“Similarly, the frequency on the Abuja-Enugu route will increase to twice daily, Abuja-Calabar to twice daily and Lagos-Asaba to twice daily,” Ola said.

Arik Air had last month increased the frequencies on some other key domestic routes like Lagos-Calabar, Lagos-Enugu, Lagos-Benin, Abuja-Benin, Lagos-Kano, Abuja-Kano, Abuja-Asaba and Abuja-Ibadan.

Ola quoted Arik Air Managing Director/Executive Vice President, Mr. Chris Ndulue as saying that the additional flights would allow many Nigerians to have the opportunity of sharing the joy of the season with those closest to them.

“For many of our guests, the Christmas and New Year period is a time when families wish to be reunited at the end of a busy year. Arik Air is, therefore, very pleased to announce that on many of our domestic routes, the airline will be scheduling additional flights and operating larger aircraft to cater for the expected increase in demand,”  Ndulue said.

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Hacking threatens airline safety, says aviation chiefs http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/11/hacking-threatens-airline-safety-says-aviation-chiefs/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/11/hacking-threatens-airline-safety-says-aviation-chiefs/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 00:22:27 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=222504 plane

Cyber crime is a serious threat to safety in the skies, aviation industry heavyweights said Wednesday, vowing to fight the growing scourge before it causes a catastrophic incident.

Hackers, cyber criminals and other “terrorists” are stealing information but in a worst-case scenario could endanger lives by tampering with airline systems.

Among the five organizations getting together to take action against hacking are the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other bodies that signed a new cyber security agreement late last week, formalizing their front against cyber crime.

“Our common goal in developing this agreement is to work more effectively together to establish and promote a robust cyber security culture and strategy for the benefit of all actors in our industry,” said Raymond Benjamin, secretary general of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He added: “As technologies rapidly evolve and become more readily accessible to all, cyber threats cannot be ignored.

“This is an important new area of aviation security concern and our global community will ensure that it is met with a strong level of commitment and response.”

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Chidoka vows to end corruption in aviation sector by 2015 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/09/chidoka-vows-to-end-corruption-in-aviation-sector-by-2015/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/09/chidoka-vows-to-end-corruption-in-aviation-sector-by-2015/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 19:12:12 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=222362 Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka

The Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, on Tuesday said that the ministry would not relent in its effort to break the corruption chain in the aviation sector by 2015.

Chidoka said this at the inauguration of the anti-corruption intervention campaign in aviation sector in conjunction with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in Lagos.

NAN reports that the campaign was organised by ICPC to mark the United Nations Anti-Corruption Day.

He said the campaign became necessary because the industry was in a worrisome situation to corruption activities.

The minister said that as the country’s oil revenue began to deplete, Nigerians should begin to realise that there was more reasons for the country to build institutions that would sustain good governance.

He explained that reason the ministry was fighting corruption was because very few people in the industry always benefit at the expense of many. “The problem of corruption is that it does not spread the largesse to everybody while the few takes what is available for the many.

“It slows down the wind of progress, it can seals in a day what takes a life time to build. What our forefathers have suffered to build, corruption can destroy them in one day,” he said.

According to him, no matter all the efforts we put in, corruption has the propensity to swallow all our efforts.

He said that while the country was looking ahead, the industry must build today the organisation it wanted to see in the 20 years to come.

Chidoka disclosed that the South Africa Airport Authority had generated N21 million dollars with 2,225 employees, while Nigeria generated N28 million dollars with 5,255 employees.

“While South Africa industry contributes 2.1 per cent to the GDP which is about N5.1 billion a year, the giant of Africa, Nigeria contributes 0.4 per cent to the GDP.

“The Transparency International Corruption Perspective Index 2014, the top 10 countries are Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Netherland, Luxembourg and Canada,” he said.

Chidoka said that after the introduction of the system, whoever breaches it, the ICPC would be available to exact punishment.

“What we are launching today is not about arresting people or holding on to people, it is about creating an alignment for us to know that whatever we do at the airports impact a lot on the country.

“We are not using the strategy of catch the fish because we could have a plan with the ICPC to send their men to the airport to arrest people that are collecting bribe from passengers but we are not doing so.

“We want the process of engagement, dialogue, education and enforcement because education without enforcement becomes entertainment,” he said.

The commission’s Chairman, Mr Ekpo Nta, said that the initiative for the anti-corruption intervention arouse out of a convergence of concerns about the need to strengthen the ethical consciousness of the private and public officials who work in the nation’s airports.
Nta said that this was in furtherance of the ongoing repositioning of the industry for greater contribution to the economy.

“Worldwide, the air industry is recognised as a major driver of economic growth, providing connectivity within and beyond borders.

“That will facilitate trade, tourism and myriad economic activities,” he said.

Nta said that although the sector was a key sector player in the country’s economy as it was yet to tap into its enormous potential of being significant contributor to the nation’s GDP.

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Nigeria warns pilots of Harmattan haze http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/07/nigeria-warns-pilots-of-harmattan-haze/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/07/nigeria-warns-pilots-of-harmattan-haze/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 13:59:56 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=222007 By Simon Ateba‎

NCAA

Pilots flying over the Nigerian airspace between now and March next year should be wary of harmattan haze, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, warned on Sunday.

“This warning is important as Harmattan is known to pose an obvious threat to aircraft particularly in areas of challenging terrains due to low visibility,” the agency said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Fan Ndubuoke.

The alert is in line with the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) on the cessation of rainy season in 2014.

“The Harmattan is a dry and dusty wind that blows southwards from the Sahara across the country between the end of November to March, the following year.

“On its passage over the desert, it picks up large amount of fine dust particles (0.5 to 10 micrometers) which are transported hundreds of kilometres over the south.

“The effect of the dust and sand stirred by the wind is known as Harmattan Dust Haze,” NCAA said.

‎In addition, the consequence of the Harmattan is a heavy fog that causes air – to – ground visibility to be considerably reduced.

“Aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed minima and in severe conditions; dust haze can blot out runways, the markers and airfield lightings over wide areas.

“This makes visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible. Resultantly, where visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flight operations are likely to be delayed, diverted or outrightly cancelled,” the agency said.

NCAA called on all Pilots to obtain adequate departure, en route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET prior to flight operations at all the airports.

“Pilots are similarly advised to exercise maximum restraint when strong surface wind, fog or harmattan haze is observed or forecast.‎ All concerned are required to ensure compliance with this Circular,” NCAA said.

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