P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Aviation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:07:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Virgin takes full control of Tigerair Australia for $1 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/17/virgin-takes-full-control-of-tigerair-australia-for-1/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/17/virgin-takes-full-control-of-tigerair-australia-for-1/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:01:32 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=216369 Tigerair Photo: James Morgan

Tigerair
Photo: James Morgan

Virgin on Friday took full control of budget carrier Tigerair Australia, buying the remaining 40 percent it did not already own for Aus$1 (88 US cents) from its Singapore-listed parent.

The deal was revealed as it was announced that Singapore Airlines (SIA) would take majority control of Tiger Airways — of which Tigerair Australia was a subsidiary — as part of a turnaround plan for the loss-making budget firm.

Virgin Australia purchased a 60 percent stake in Tigerair in mid-2013 for Aus$35 million and said agreement had been reached to buy the rest of the carrier, which has struggled to reach profitability, for the tiny sum.

Tiger will continue to license its brand to Virgin.

Virgin Australia chief John Borghetti said the acquisition would allow it to fly to a number of new short-haul international destinations, providing growth opportunities for the business, while accelerating Tigerair’s drive for profitability.

“Given the ongoing subdued consumer demand in the Australian domestic market, the growth of the Tigerair Australia domestic fleet is likely to be reduced,” he said.

“Under this proposed transaction, we will benefit from the economies of scale and achieve profitability ahead of schedule by the end of 2016, by leveraging the resources of the wider Virgin Australia Group.”

In Singapore, Tiger Airways said SIA would convert its “perpetual convertible capital securities holdings” in the carrier into shares, raising its stake to 55 percent from 40 percent.

It said the move would effectively make Tiger Airways a subsidiary of SIA, which also operates a long-haul budget unit called Scoot.

Tiger Airways also said it will separately raise Sg$234 million (US$184 million) in a rights issue that will be mostly subscribed by SIA. The rights issue will be carried out after SIA increases its stake.

Tiger has been struggling to make money owing to tough competition in the booming Southeast Asian budget carrier market, which is dominated by Malaysia’s AirAsia and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia.

Earlier this year, it sold its entire 40 percent stake in Tigerair Philippines to rival Cebu Pacific, and in July, its joint venture in Indonesia’s PT Mandala Airlines ceased operations owing to losses.

The Tigerair Australia move, which is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval, comes after a difficult 12 months for Australian airlines as intense battle for market share saw both Virgin and Qantas suffer heavy losses.

Virgin posted a full-year net loss of Aus$355 million, while Qantas suffered a record loss of Aus$2.8 billion.

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Etihad Airways sees 29% revenue surge in Q3 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/14/etihad-airways-sees-29-revenue-surge-in-q3/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/14/etihad-airways-sees-29-revenue-surge-in-q3/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 09:11:51 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=215924 Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said Tuesday it posted a 29 percent surge in revenue to $1.8 billion in the third quarter, thanks to rising numbers of passengers and cargo volume.

The fast-growing carrier said 3.9 million passengers flew with Etihad between July and September, a 30 percent increase on the same period in 2013.

Etihad cargo also transported 144,498 tonnes of freight and mail, a nine percent rise on last year’s third quarter last year.

The government-owned carrier did not say whether it registered any profits or losses.

“We are confident about sustaining our profitability in 2014,” Etihad chief James Hogan said in a statement.

Etihad Airline: 29% jump in Q3 income

Etihad Airline: 29% jump in Q3 income

He said the carrier’s codeshare partnerships and minority investments in other airlines have continued to produce strong results despite “industry challenges such as volatile oil prices, economic and political instability, overcapacity in the market, and access constraints”.

The company is turning Abu Dhabi into a major travel hub between the West and Asia and Australasia.

Etihad carried 11.5 million passengers last year, earning $6.1 billion in revenue, of which it kept $62 million as profit.

The company agreed in June to acquire 49 percent of Italy’s debt-laden Alitalia, widening its reach into the European market.

Launched in 2003, Etihad is expanding rapidly and has bought minor shares in several smaller carriers around the world as it competes with larger Gulf rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Etihad owns 29 percent of Air Berlin, 40 percent of Air Seychelles, 19.9 percent of Virgin Australia and three percent of Irish carrier Aer Lingus.

It also has a 24-percent stake in India’s Jet Airways.

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Associated Airline crash survivor cries out for compensation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/03/associated-airline-crash-survivor-cries-out-for-compensation/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/03/associated-airline-crash-survivor-cries-out-for-compensation/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 05:33:45 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214404 Associated Airlines crashed plane Photo Simon Ateba

Associated Airlines crashed plane
Photo Simon Ateba

Ms. Oluwatoyin Samson, cabin crew with Associated Airlines, who survived the 3 October, 2013 crash of one of the planes operated by company, has decried the treatment meted to her by the management.

NAN recalls that the Embracer 120 aircraft operated by the airline took-off from Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja at 9:32 a.m. and crashed less than a minute after take-off.

The plane was conveying the remains the former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Agagu to Akure, Ondo state for burial.

Sixteen persons lost their lives in the incident while four other survived with injuries.

Samson told NAN on Thursday in Lagos in a telephone interview that she fractured her pelvic during the crash. She alleged that the management of the airline abandoned her after she returned from treatment in South Africa.

“I was discharged from surgery unit, Folatend Physiotherapy Practice Hospital in South Africa and moved to orthopedic unit where I spent two weeks.

“The airline management paid me one and half months’ salary arrears and claimed that I was not their staff,” she said.

Reacting to the allegation, Mr Alex Emode, the airline’s spokesperson, who quoted the Geneva Convention, said compensation are only paid to families of the dead or survivors who suffer permanent body injuries.

He said that Samson had been sacked before the incident, adding that she pleaded with the airline’s Chief Operation Officer to be on board the ill-fated flight.

Emode also alleged that Samson left behind some medical devices given to her by the hospital in South Africa.

NAN recalled that the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) earlier this year released the preliminary report of the crash; the full report was yet to be released.

The preliminary report attributed the cause of the crash to human and technical error.

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FG to privatise airports http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/02/fg-to-privatise-airports/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/02/fg-to-privatise-airports/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:40:19 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214354 Director General BPE, Benjamin Dikki

Director General BPE, Benjamin Dikki

The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Mr Benjamin Dikki, on Thursday in Abuja said the privatization of federal airports in the country would commence soon.

Dikki made this known in his presentation on “Reforms and Privatisation Opportunities in Nigeria” at the ongoing 9th Abuja International Trade Fair.

He said that although the Federal Government had made substantial investment in the aviation sector, a lot still remained to be done, adding that it was the reason why the government was considering privatising the airports.

“We are planning to commence the privatisation of airports; the airports will be more efficient if the private sector is running them.

“Very soon, we will engage the Minister of Aviation and we will start a new process of privatising or concession of airports just like we have done with the seaports.

“We are likely to grant concession of maybe 15 to 20 years, according to the business model agreed on, so that investors can make a reasonable return on the investment during the concession period,” he said.

Dikki also disclosed that BPE was working on the process of privatising some coal blocs and sale of non-core assets of Nigeria Coal Corporation (NCC) and Nigeria Mining Corporation.

He said that the National Council on Privatisation had already approved the sale of residential houses and lands of NCC, Naraguta and Maiduguri Bricks, non-core assets of Makeri, and the Ogwashi-Azagba Coal Bloc.

He said that the bureau was currently working to hasten the passage of some bills, including the Railway Bill, Inland Waterways Bill, Federal Road Authority Bill, Ports and Harbour Reform Bill and Postal Reform Bill.

He explained that the bills, when passed, would eliminate monopoly in all key sectors of the economy, create more jobs and deepen economic growth.

In his speech, the President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ABUCCIMA), Mr Solomon Nyagba, said that the association was ready to partner BPE to make the Abuja Trade Fair Centre better.

“ABUCCIMA wants to make this trade fair ground the most organised in Africa.

“We want to partner BPE to get investors to help us in building the largest shopping centre in Africa and bigger exhibition facilities and a five-star hotel.

“We want to create conducive place for investors and consumers to mingle,” he said.

Nyagba urged BPE to resume the process of privatizing the oil and gas sector to improve the power supply situation in the country.

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Lufthansa pilots’ strike grounds around 20,000 passengers http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/30/lufthansa-pilots-strike-grounds-around-20000-passengers/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/30/lufthansa-pilots-strike-grounds-around-20000-passengers/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:51:28 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214008 Passengers walk in front of counters of German airline Lufthansa at the airport in Frankfurt am Main

Passengers walk in front of counters of German airline Lufthansa at the airport in Frankfurt am Main

A new walkout by Lufthansa pilots on Tuesday forced the cancellation of 50 flights in Frankfurt, Germany’s busiest airport, affecting roughly 20,000 passengers, the airline said.

Flights in and out of the hub were being affected but a company spokesman said the situation was calm and that Lufthansa was confident it would operate all 32 flights it had promised would take off.

In its fourth labour action in recent weeks, the pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit called on its members to strike on long-haul flights departing from the airport between 8:00 am and 11:00 pm (0600-2100 GMT).

Affected were flights operated on Airbus A380, A330 and A340 aircraft, as well as Boeing 747 jets.

“The situation in Frankfurt is calm. It seems like a normal day,” the spokesman told AFP.

Lufthansa’s pilots are striking over changes to their retirement benefits being introdcued as part of deep restructuring in recent years to bring down the German carrier’s costs.

Pilots can currently take paid early retirement from the age of 55. They are fighting a plan by the airline to raise the minimum age and to involve pilots in the financing of their pensions.

Tuesday’s work stoppage was the fourth by the pilots’ union in recent series of bottom-line-hitting operations.

The first strike at the end of August hit Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary Germanwings. The second walkout hit from Frankfurt and the third stoppage targeted Munich airport, Germany’s second-busiest air hub.

Vereinigung Cockpit already grounded thousands of Lufthansa flights during three days of strikes in March and April, costing the airline around 60 million euros ($76 million).

Many of Europe’s older airlines are running into opposition from powerful unions as they try to cut costs to compete with budget rivals.

On Sunday, Air France’s main pilots’ union ended the longest strike in the carrier’s history to allow “calmer” talks to go ahead over the contentious issue of the airline’s low-cost subsidiary Transavia.

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Bi-Courtney floors AMCON in court http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/29/bi-courtney-floors-amcon-in-court/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/29/bi-courtney-floors-amcon-in-court/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:12:32 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213919 By Simon Ateba

Dr Wale Babalakin: Bi-Courtney wins court verdict

Dr Wale Babalakin: Bi-Courtney wins court verdict

A Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out an order obtained ‎by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to take over the assets of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, managers of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 because of debts to creditors.

Bi-Courtney had asked the court to strike out the order, alleging that it was obtained fraudulently.

The order was obtained by AMCON counsel, Olisa Agbakoba.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Muhammed Buba struck out the ‎order on the ground that it was an abuse of court processes. He declared it null and void.

Reacting to the judgment at a press conference in Lagos, ‎Bi-Courtney described it as victory to the rule of law.

The company said the ruling had strengthened its confidence in the rule of law.

“We are happy to report that consistent with our position all along, the court today decided that Mr. Olisa Agbakoba is not a receiver of MMA2 nor Bi-Courtney or any other company related to Bi-Courtney,” the company said in a statement read by its Chief Operations Officer, Adebisi Awoniyi.

“The court categorically confirmed that the order obtained by Mr. Olisa Agbakoba on behalf of AMCON constitutes a gross abuse of the process of court and was designed to ridicule the legal system,” she said.

The company said it is not indebted to AMCON or any other person.

“On the contrary it is AMCON and the Federal Government of Nigeria that owe Bi-Courtney N132 billion which has remained unpaid till date,” the company said.

Bi-Courtney said it will continue to provide “exceptional services to Nigerians as demonstrated by its airport terminal‎ which has been acclaimed by the best run in the country”.

As how much does Bi-Courtney owe the banks or other ‎creditors, Bi- Courtney Lawyer said “nothing”.

Bi-Courtney had collected loans from banks ‎to build the modern MMA2 and five star hotel at the airport but could not pay back as agreed in various agreements.

The bad loans were then transfered to AMCON as a way of bailing out the banks following the financial meltdown of 2008 – 2009.

Bi-Courtney was meant to pay back AMCON but began losing revenues following the Federal government’s failure to abide by the terms of the concession agreement.

In the agreement, all Nigerian airlines were meant to operate from MMA2, but Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest airline kicked against it and continued to operate from the old domestic terminal in Lagos.

Bi-Courtney Approached the courts to compel Arik to relocate to MMA2 ‎but despite several victories, Arik has refused to relocate and the Federal Government has been unable to intervene.

It is because of such failures that Bi-Courtney lawyer, Oshobi and the company’s Chief Executive officer, Christophe Penninck have continued to claim ‎that Bi-Courtney is not indebted to the government.

Bi-Courtney is owned by Barrister Wale Babalakin.

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Arik Air Resumes Flights To Banjul After Ebola http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/29/arik-air-resumes-flights-to-banjul-after-ebola/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/29/arik-air-resumes-flights-to-banjul-after-ebola/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:48:35 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213847 Simon Ateba/Lagos

Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest commercial carrier is resuming flight services to Banjul, Gambia, the airline said in a statement on Monday, following annoucement last week that Ebola has been contained in Nigeria.

Arik Air will be operating three weekly flights from both Lagos and Abuja to Banjul via Accra (Ghana) on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, said Banji Ola, Arik Air spokesman.

Ola said Arik is resuming flights to Banjul on Wednesday 1 October.‎

“We are pleased to resume flight operations into Banjul after the brief period of suspension due to the Ebola Virus Disease episode,” said Arik Air’s Managing Director, Mr Chris Ndulue.

Ndulue said the safety and security of Arik passengers and crew are always the airline’s top priority.

“As such, we are working with local and international health authorities to safeguard the health and well-being of our guests and staff as we resume operations into The Gambia”.

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Nigeria passes test to continue ‎US flights http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/26/nigeria-passes-test-to-continue-%e2%80%8eus-flights/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/26/nigeria-passes-test-to-continue-%e2%80%8eus-flights/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 06:07:42 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213453 By Simon Ateba

Arik Air

Nigerian planes are safe and will continue ‎to fly directly to the United States, the American Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, has said.

FAA said Nigeria has retained its Category 1 Safety rating which has allowed Nigerian airlines to operate direct flights to America with Nigerian crew.

The certificate has been handed over to Chidoka Osita, the Minister of Aviation.

Reports quoted Osita as saying that he would reform the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, and continue to improve the safety of the Nigerian skies.

Following the Dana and Associated airlines plane crashes in 2012 and 2013 that killed almost 200 people, many people expressed fears that Nigeria might lose its highest safety rating.

Without that rating, Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air, would be unable to fly from Lagos to New York with Nigerian owned planes and Nigerian crew.

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FirstNation Airline confirms lease pact with Skypower Catering http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/20/firstnation-airline-confirms-lease-pact-with-skypower-catering/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/20/firstnation-airline-confirms-lease-pact-with-skypower-catering/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:12:43 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=212575 FirstNation Airline

The FirstNation Airline on Friday confirmed it had subsisting and valid lease with the Skypower Catering Ltd. located at the Muritala Muhammed International Airports (MMA), Lagos.

This was contained in a press release by the airline’s Head, Public Affairs, Mr Luke Terver-Uzer in Ikeja.

NAN reports that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Friday sealed off the premises over unauthorised leasing of its facility to one of the domestic airlines.

The closure took place barely 24 hours after the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Mr Yemi Adelakun, queried the company for leasing out the facility to some airlines without the ministry’s approval.

The statement said that following the closure of the premises, the airline had made representation to the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the FAAN to find resolution on the issue.

“We are confident of the Federal Ministry of Aviation have good intention and will not pursue policies that is detrimental to growth and development of the industry,” it said.

The statement said that the airline would continue to work with the ministry and FAAN in good faith.

It added that this was to ensure the maintenance of the support services provided at the premises, which was vital to the airline.

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IIorin Aviation College produces 18 pilots http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/12/iiorin-aviation-college-produces-18-pilots/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/12/iiorin-aviation-college-produces-18-pilots/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 05:52:15 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=211273 Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State

The International Aviation College, Ilorin, on Thursday, said it had achieved another milestone in the aviation industry in Nigeria by producing a new set of 18 pilots.

The Rector of the institution, Capt. AbdulMumeen AbdulRahim, made the disclosure in llorin at a news conference.

He said the 18 new pilots had undergone intensive training for 18 months.

He added that the new pilots comprised of five commercial pilot holders with instrument and multi-engine rating and 13 private pilot licenced holders.

AbdulRahim said that the college recently completed a foundation course training for nine cadet helicopter pilots for Bristow Helicopter.

NAN recalls that the college graduated its first set of nine pilots in December 2013.

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Air Controller cautions on Nigerian airspace privatisation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/08/air-controller-cautions-on-nigerian-airspace-privatisation/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/08/air-controller-cautions-on-nigerian-airspace-privatisation/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 06:05:01 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=210652 Air Nigeria

Air Nigeria

The Federal Government has been advised to rule out the privatisation of Air Traffic Control (ATC) due to safety issues of the airspace in the country.

This was contained in a statement issued by Mr Marcel Onwuakpa, Airspace Manager, Port Harcourt International Airport, to aviation correspondents on Sunday in Lagos.

Onwuakpa said that it might be impossible to privatise the ATC in Nigeria because it is more of a safety and security job.

“We the controllers did not subscribe to the privatisation of ATC in the country as a result of safety concern.

“It is more of a security job which should not be left in the hand of the private sector,” he said.

He said that the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) system was working perfectly capable of capturing aircraft from 150 nautical miles on a secondary target.

The airspace manager explained that with the TRACON on board, air traffic control had become seamless with targets getting easier to identify.

According to him, aircraft separation has become very easy, congestions reduced while it has also become economical to airlines as it saves time and money for them.

He urged the Federal Government to address the shortage of ATC manpower in the system, adding that they were grossly inadequate to cope with the system.

Onwuakpa decried the frequent power outage at the airport in the past three months, saying that it had become the major problem that had affected their equipment.

He commended the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) management for providing alternative power.

He advised airlines to contribute to NAMA’s seamless air traffic control by acquiring aircraft that were standard fitted with gadgets.

Also, the Airspace Manager, Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Mr Igwebuike Denwigwe, said that it would be tedious for the ATC to cope with its job when the airport begins a 24-hour operation.

Denwigwe noted that the challenges facing the Owerri airport included the shortage of manpower, regular supply of electricity and lack of accommodation for staff within the airport.

He urged airspace users to pay for services provided for them by NAMA to enable the agency render more services to them.

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Emergency landing shuts Abuja Airport http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/05/emergency-landing-shuts-abuja-airport/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/05/emergency-landing-shuts-abuja-airport/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 17:23:30 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=210321 By Simon Ateba

File photo: Abuja Airport

File photo: Abuja Airport

The Abuja international airport has been shut following an emergency landing on the runway, airports sources said on Friday.

‎Authorities were not available for comments but a source at the airport said a small aircraft, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, made an emergency landing on the runway and was yet to be towed for other planes to take off or land.

The airport in the Nigerian capital has only one runway. It has been shut several times in recent months due to similar incidents.

A source said many passengers were stranded at the airport and several places had to divert to Kano and Kaduna airports.

Activists had urged the government in the past to build a second runway in Abuja.

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Malaysia Airlines loss nearly doubles on MH370 impact http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/28/malaysia-airlines-loss-nearly-doubles-on-mh370-impact/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/28/malaysia-airlines-loss-nearly-doubles-on-mh370-impact/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:25:23 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=209054 File Photo: Malaysia Airlines crash

File Photo: Malaysia Airlines crash

Crisis-stricken Malaysia Airlines said Thursday its second-quarter loss nearly doubled as the loss of flight MH370 spurred a decline in bookings, warning the red ink would accelerate as the year wears on.

The flag carrier said it posted a 305.7 million ringgit ($97.2 million) loss in the April-June quarter, which followed the March 8 disappearance of flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew aboard.

That compared to a 175 million ringgit loss in the same period of last year.

The latest results mark the sixth straight quarterly loss for Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which has struggled to stay competitive and is now in dire financial straits following MH370 and the July 18 shooting down over Ukraine of flight MH17, which killed all 298 aboard that plane.

“The impact of the MH370 incident and intensified competition resulted in” a 6.7 percent drop in bookings, it said in a statement to the Malaysian stock exchange.

But the airline — which is in the process of being taken over by Malaysia’s state investment fund as part of a bid to restructure and rescue the company — warned that second-half results will be even worse.

“The full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 is expected to hit Malaysia Airlines in the second half of the year, where we saw a sharp decline in average weekly bookings by 33 percent immediately after the MH17 incident, with numerous flights cancelled,” it said.

MAS has bled money for years, losing a combined $1.3 billion over the past three calendar years before 2014, as intensifying competition from more nimble rivals like Malaysia’s fast-growing budget carrier AirAsia have lured away travellers with their rock-bottom pricing.

But the sudden association with tragedy for an airline that previously had a solid safety record has pushed it the financial precipice.

MH370 inexplicably diverted from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing course, and the Malaysian government says it is believed to have gone down far to the south in the Indian Ocean.

MH17 went down over a region of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels.

It is believed to have been shot down by a missile but investigators still don’t know who was responsible.

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Ebola: BA stops flights to Liberia, Sierra Leone until 2015 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/26/ebola-ba-stops-flights-to-liberia-sierra-leone-until-2015/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/26/ebola-ba-stops-flights-to-liberia-sierra-leone-until-2015/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:49:05 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=208832 British Airways

British Airways

British Airways extended to 2015 its suspension of flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone due to concerns about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus it announced on Tuesday.

“British Airways has suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 December 2014 due to concerns about the public health situation in both countries,” the airline said in a statement.

“The safety of our customers, crew and ground teams is always our top priority and we will keep the routes under constant review in the coming weeks.”

The airline had previously suspended its flights until September.

Normally, the carrier operates a route four times a week between London’s Heathrow airport and Freetown in Sierra Leone, with a connection to the Liberian capital Monrovia.

The airline said customers with tickets booked on those routes could have a refund, rebook for a later date, or rearrange to fly out of Ghana, Kenya or Nigeria.

Over 1,400 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the start of the year in the worst ever outbreak of the virus.

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Passengers Queue For Ebola Check At Abuja Airport http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/11/passengers-queue-for-ebola-check-at-abuja-airport/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/11/passengers-queue-for-ebola-check-at-abuja-airport/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:18:17 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=206576 Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

Passengers arriving from domestic and international flights into Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, are now being subjected to intense screening at the Abuja airport as part of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

P.M.NEWS gathered that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Port Health Services, a division of the Ministry of Health, started the exercise at the airport last Friday with passengers arriving from the Emirates Airlines being the first to be screened.

It was gathered that another 200 passengers who arrived on board Ethiopian Airline Flight- 911 in the afternoon were also screened.

The passengers comprised nationalities of Sudan, China, Zimbabwe, UAE, among other African and European nationals. An official told reporters that the exercise was now a daily routine at the international and domestic arrivals of the airport.

A quarantine team for Ebola

A quarantine team for Ebola

The exercise, just like in other airports in the country, is being carried out with the use of a special thermometer pointed towards the passengers to take their temperature.

According to a port health official, “if your temperature is normal, usually below 37 (degrees centigrade), you will be allowed to go but anything beyond 37 you will be asked to step aside and you will be checked more closely.”

Some passengers who spoke to our correspondent said there was nothing wrong with the screening.

Some of them said the screening should have been done inside the plane or targeted at passengers coming from the West African sub-region where the virus is rampant.

A Liberian, Patrick Sawyer was the first person to test positive for Ebola Virus in Nigeria.

The man was taken from the airport and put in isolation in a local hospital, were he died on July 25.

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Nigeria suspends Gambian national airline over Ebola http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/10/nigeria-suspends-gambian-national-airline-over-ebola/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/10/nigeria-suspends-gambian-national-airline-over-ebola/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 15:26:48 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=206492 Gambia Bird Airlines aircraft

Gambia Bird Airlines aircraft

Nigeria has suspended the Gambian national airline from flying into the country, alleging “unsatisfactory” measures by the airline to contain the spread of Ebola virus, officials said on Sunday.

The “NCAA (Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority) has reviewed the measures put in place by your airline as contained in your letter of 30th July, 2014 and have found these measures unsatisfactory,” NCAA said in a letter to Gambia Bird Airlines.

“Consequently, your flights into Nigeria have been temporarily suspended with immediate effect until such a time that you are able to put in place acceptable and satisfactory measures,” said the letter, a copy of which was sent to AFP.

The contents of the airline’s letter to the NCAA were not disclosed.

NCAA is the government agency that serves as watchdog for all airlines operating in the country.

The Gambian national carrier flies to Lagos twice weekly. It also flies to other African countries in the region: Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Senegal.

NCAA said that part of its efforts to curb the spread of the virus was to to direct all airlines operating into Nigeria from Guinea, Freetown and Monrovia “to put in place adequate measures to ensure that passengers with this disease are not boarded and brought into the country.”

“Such measures may include suspension of flights into these countries,” NCAA added.

An American Liberian who arrived Lagos from Monrovia, capital of Liberia, via Lome (Togo), eventually died of Ebola virus in a Lagos hospital last July 25.

A Nigerian nurse who had contact with the Liberian also died last week while seven others have been confirmed to have the virus in Lagos.

Nigeria along with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the hardest hit countries by the epidemic, which the WHO has called the worst in four decades. Nearly 1,000 people have died of the virus in these four countries, WHO said.

Nigeria’s president on Friday declared a national emergency over the deadly Ebola virus.

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Aviation unions shelve August 4 strike http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/03/aviation-unions-shelve-august-4-strike/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/03/aviation-unions-shelve-august-4-strike/#comments Sun, 03 Aug 2014 13:14:03 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=205487 Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu

The three unions in the nation’s aviation industry say they have shelved their strike scheduled for 4 August.

The decision to stay action on the strike was reached at a meeting of the unions with the management of by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in Lagos on Saturday.

The unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

A statement by the unions said NAMA had agreed to meet their demands some of which border on welfare.

NAN reports that the unions had on July 31 served a strike notice in a statement signed by signed by Mr Abdulkareem Motajo, the General Secretary of NUATE.

The unions said the notice followed a breach of the resolution reached at the end of a conciliatory meeting with the management.

The meeting was held at the instance of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu.

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Ebola: ASKY resumes flight operations to Nigeria http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/02/ebola-asky-resumes-flight-operations-to-nigeria/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/02/ebola-asky-resumes-flight-operations-to-nigeria/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 19:15:06 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=205416 By Simon Ateba

ASky Airlines

ASky Airlines

ASKY airlines resumed flight operations to Nigeria on Saturday, after it was suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for flying a man infected by the deadly Ebola virus to Nigeria.

“After a series of meetings between top management of the airlines, health experts and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority – NCAA, ASKY’s daily flights are to resume successfully after a satisfactory report had been submitted with documentary evidence indicating a clear road map on all measures taken to prevent the spread of Ebola,” ASky said in a statement.

The company said the NCAA lifted the suspension after it satisfied some requirements. “Having carefully examined these measures put in place by your airline especially the suspension of flights into Ebola infected countries, the Management of NCAA has lifted the temporary suspension placed on your flight into and out of Nigeria”.

The Commercial Director of ASKY Airlines, Mr Nowel Ngala, who was present in Lagos, expressed great happiness and gratification that the airline was finally handed the right to continue to fly into Nigeria.

He said the Nigerian market is key to the airline as it operates daily services to Nigeria and also ensures that Nigeria is well connected to West and Central African markets and the rest of the world from Lome – Togo together with its strategic partner Ethiopian Airlines.

“We are very much aware of all the inconvenience this has caused to our dear customers and the travel public a large, especially those who had commenced their journey before the suspension was imposed. We continue to hold our numerous customers within and outside Nigeria in high esteem with products and services that are targeted to make their travel experience a memorable one,” he said.

He urges customers to quickly get in touch with their local travel agencies and ASKY offices to reconfirm their tickets and/or get further information to reschedule their journey.

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Ebola Virus: NCAA suspends Asky operations to Nigeria http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/28/ebola-virus-ncaa-suspends-asky-operations-to-nigeria/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/28/ebola-virus-ncaa-suspends-asky-operations-to-nigeria/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:11:35 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=204916 By Simon Ateba

ASky Airlines

ASky Airlines

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, on Monday said it has suspended all operations to Nigeria by ASky Airline, the airline that flew the Liberian suspected to have died of the Ebola virus in Lagos Last week.

Engr. Benedict Adeyileka, acting Director General of the NCAA said the suspension takes place with immediate effect.

The acting DG said the regulatory authority has to take this action to protect Nigerians from the deadly Ebola virus which is ravaging some parts of East and Central Africa.

A-Sky Airline is an important player in the West, East and Central Africa operating 80 flights into Lagos and Abuja weekly.

“The Airline flew the Liberian who was obviously infected with the virus into Lagos, Nigeria which has created panic and diverted world attention to Nigeria.

“The passenger has since died and the Country Manager of the ASky invited to the Aviation House to offer explanation to the Authority on the incident and show evidence of actions taken by the airline since the pandemic in their core areas of operation and after.

“The Airline representative could not offer any conclusive or substantial evidence neither did he demonstrate any capacity to be able to prevent a reoccurrence or possibly ship loading Ebola victims to Nigeria,” NCAA said in a statement.

The agency added: ‎”This is contrary to the provision of Article 14 of the Chicago Convention,1944, which states that: “Each contracting State agrees to take effective measures to prevent the spread by means of air navigation, of cholera, typhus (epidemic),smallpox, yellow fever, plague and such other communicable diseases as the contracting state shall from time to time decide to designate…..”

It quoted the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as also prescribing measures (Standard Practices) in Annex 9 to the Convention which a state must take to prevent the spread of communicable disease in the event of an outbreak.

“Annex 11 (Air Traffic Services) and Annex 14 (Aerodromes, Volume 1-Aerodrome Design and Operations) require air traffic services and aerodromes to establish contingency planning or aerodrome emergency plans, respectively for public health emergencies of international concern.

“The Acting Director General and the top management of NCAA therefore decided that the lives of millions of Nigerians were too precious to be risked on a platter of negligence of an airline.”

Based on that, NCAA said, the Airline operations have suspended with immediate effect until it is able to sufficiently and evidently prove that adequate machinery is in place to provide adequate screening of passengers in all their points of operation including profiling of each passenger.

The agency said Adeyileka has directed the Directorate of Air Transport Regulation (DATR) to proceed to write a letter of investigation to the airline. In the same vein, Arik Air which had earlier suspended their flights to Monrovia and Freetown has been advised to maintain the cessation of flights until cleared by NCAA.

The Authority will also write to other airlines operating into and out of Nigeria to ensure they put in place all necessary preventive measures during screening of passengers which will include indicating countries earlier visited by the passengers.

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Air transport staff gives FG fresh 14-day ultimatum http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/28/air-transport-staff-gives-fg-fresh-14-day-ultimatum/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/28/air-transport-staff-gives-fg-fresh-14-day-ultimatum/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:35:05 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=204869 NCAA

The Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) has issued a fresh 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to appoint a substantive director-general for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The ultimatum was contained in a letter given to aviation correspondents on Sunday in Lagos by the Deputy National Secretary of the association, Captain Tarnongu.

The letter entitled: “Re-Demand for a Substantive Director-General for NCAA” and addressed to the Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Ayim Pius Ayim, dated 24 July.

Tarnongu said in the letter that the ultimatum was given, following the expiration of a previous one given to the government.

He said that the union was driven by deep patriotism and commitment to contribute their quota to the transformation agenda of Mr President in the aviation industry.

Tarnongu noted that the attention of the SFG was earlier drawn to the leadership vacuum existing in the NCAA in a letter dated June 18.

“As stakeholders in the industry, we are aware of the enormous responsibility of this authority as a chief regulator of standards and custodian of safety in the industry.

“Thus, we are justifiably disturbed on the inability of government to appoint a substantive DG for the NCAA.

“We are by this letter, giving notice of the extension of our earlier 21-day ultimatum for another 14-days to lapse on Aug. 12, by which time we expect the government to expedite action to confirm a substantive DG,” he said.

Tarnongu noted that the union would be at liberty to deploy any other legitimate means to press their demand if the current one failed.

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