Wednesday, 28 May 2014

'Flight Cancellations, Delays are Inevitable in Aviation'

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NCAA logo

The Director of Consumer Protection Directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Adamu Abdullahi, has said that bad weather, technical problems and logistics issues have made it inevitable for airlines to delay and cancel flights.
He however pointed out that the airlines must crave passengers understanding by carrying them along.
Adamu stated this at the weekend in Lagos when Arik Air offered four of its passengers, selected through a raffle draw, an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil.
The four lucky winners were picked from the tickets of many loyal customers at a draw that was overseen by the music icon, Ice Prince.
The names of the lucky winners are Onuegbu Chima Godwin, Fashawe Oluwayemisi, Aluko Bade and Samuel Bayode.
The airline said the gesture was to say thank you to its customers and to give back to them, adding that there is plan to sustain the programme and expand it in future.
The head of flight operations and deputy managing director of Arik Air, Captain Ado Sanusi said that the idea to appreciate the airline’s customers came about a year ago when Arik Air planned to start operation from Lagos to Brazil.
“The idea of this draw came about a year ago when Nigeria qualified to go to Brazil and the aim was actually to fly to Brazil and we have been working on that for over two years, trying to make sure that we fly Lagos to Brazil.
"Unfortunately there were so many challenges that we could not overcome and that has stopped the dream to fly to Brazil before the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean we cannot continue to pursue that dream. We will definitely link the two countries; that is, Nigeria and Brazil."
Sanusi promised that it would operate commercial flight to the destination of the next World Cup, no matter the country that would host it.
“We will love to make sure that the Arik flies commercially to the venue of the next World Cup, no matter where it will be hosted.”
Also expressing appreciation to Arik Air’s good gesture, Abdullahi commended the airline and said that by offering customers all expensive paid trips is a way of cementing the good relationship between the airline and its customers.
“Delays and cancellations in aviation are inevitable. What we keep arguing about is how you handle those delays. When there is delays carry your passengers along.
"The contract is that they bought your tickets to take them to their destination safely, securely and in comfort. So if there is any chance that there is going to be a delay, inform them, carry them along and explain things to them.”
He also urged passengers to have understanding when there is delay or when there is cancellation of flight.
“Nobody wants to go up there for maintenance; because up there, there is no mechanic workshop, you rather do all the repairs here before you leave. Nobody wants to go up there when the weather is bad, when the enroute destination weather is bad, just get the passengers understanding.”
The Director expressed optimism that the airline would do more in the coming years.
“It is a very good development that Arik is feting loyal customers. I am sure that it is just the beginning. If you had a direct flight to Brazil I am sure the number that will benefit will be more than these, since the currency in aviation are tickets and air miles and that is what you can give out freely.
“I commend you for this effort and I promise we will give you our backing and we are here to hold the industry together. There is no policing of the industry so to speak, we are partners in progress. If the airlines don’t survive we don’t have anything to regulate. So we take it upon ourselves to come to you, jaw, jaw with you and understand your problems,” Abdullahi also said.
Culled from Thisday

Friday, 16 May 2014

British Airways boosts domestic network

British Airways prepares to increase the number of flights it operates to Newcastle.
With two additional frequencies between London Heathrow and Newcastle, the airline now offers 41 flights each week.

Operated by an A320, the extra services are due to come into effect on June 2.

British Airway’s head of UK&I sales and marketing, Richard Tams, commented: “Our route between London and Newcastle is at the very heart of our domestic network.

“The number of flights on offer means customers can connect through London to our entire network of destinations, offering great opportunities for both leisure and business travellers.”

Aviation development director at Newcastle International Airport, Chris Sanders, noted: “Heathrow connectivity is very important to this region.”

“These extra flights will help make it easier to reach southeast England, as well as shortening journey times for some connections through Heathrow.”

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

JAMB fixes May 17-31 for 2014 UTME through CBT

The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on Wednesday fixed May 17 to 31 for the conduct of 2014 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) through Computer Based Test (CBT).
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Fabian Gabriel, the Head of Public Relations of the board, and issued to newsmen in Abuja.
According to the statement, the CBT will take place in over 163 centres in Nigeria and abroad, saying the date was sacrosanct. The statement also described CBT as the best mode of examination. It, however, urged the candidates to reprint their e-slip in the event they missed or misplaced their schedules.“Over 616,000 candidates are expected to sit for the examination with over 250 prisoners in Kaduna and Ikoyi prisons,” it added.
“The CBT remains the best mode as it provides better platform for the candidates to articulate their educational pursuit.“It eliminates result black-out or incomplete results and eliminates examination malpractice and enhances prompt release of scores two hours after the examination, among other benefits too numerous to mention,” the statement said.
It added that the board was determined to go full-blown with CBT in 2015 UTME, owing to success recorded in 2013 and the quests to sanitise the education sector. The statement said that CBT was introduced in 2012 while the maiden edition was conducted in the 2013 UTME alongside the conventional Paper Pencil Test and Dual Based Test.
 The statement reported Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, Registrar of JAMB, as saying that the desire to go full swing with CBT in 2015 was non-negotiable. It urged Nigerians to see it as a revolution in the examination industry .

AZMAN Air to begin flight operations tomorrow

…Receives AOC from NCAA

President of AZMAN Air Services Limited, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa has disclosed that the airline would start its flight operations tomorrow (Thursday). Alhaji Yunusa said the airline would begin its flight on Kano to Lagos by 7:30am, then Lagos to Abuja and Abuja to Kaduna. He stated that the airline would commence flight operations with two Boeing 737 classic. Speaking with journalists while receiving the Air Operators Certificate, AOC, at the NCAA annex, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Yunusa stated that the airline’s inflight services would be very good as passengers will be treated with care. Alhaji Yunusa expressed appreciation to the management of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for the granting them the AOC. Similarly, the acting director general of NCAA, Engr. Benedict Adeyileka has tasked the management of AZMAN Air to ensure safety at all times as well as to protect and make their passengers more comfortable during the course of any flight. Engr. Adeyileka said safety is one of the major factors which every airline must adhere to. Adeyileka noted that getting the AOC is not the major challenge, adding that the challenges will come during the course of flight operations. He called on the airline to always treat their passengers with care. Engr. Adeyileka said the regulatory authority would work with the airline as a partner in order to ensure safe skies. He cautioned AZMAN Air to manage the issue of flight delays and cancellation with maturity by making sure that passengers are well catered for and the reason for the delay or cancellation adequately explained to them.“Having a delay or cancellation is not the problem, it is how you mange it. If it happens ensure that your passengers are well treated and if you can manage that, you are good. If there is a technical fault, delay the flight and at the same time treat the passengers well because it affects safety. Each time you fight with your passengers, you put safety at risk,” he said. Adeyileka stated that if an airline is safe and reliable, passengers can fly the airline with confidence. He warned AZMAN Air to comply with all the regulations of NCAA as falling to do so would attract serious sanction.

Arik Air Increases Lagos-Monrovia, Luanda Flights Frequency

The Lagos-Monrovia service has been increased from three to four weekly flights using a Boeing 737-700 aircraft. The new flight will operate on Saturdays, adding to the existing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays services.
All four weekly flights are operated via Accra with a fifth freedom traffic rights approval facilitating traffic between these two cities as well.
Similarly, the twice weekly Lagos-Luanda service has been increased to three weekly flights. The service will now operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The outbound flight will depart Lagos at 9:30pm (local time) and arrive in Luanda at 12:35am (local time) while the inbound flight will depart Luanda at 02:00am (local time) and arrive in Lagos at 05:05am (local time).
Commenting on the additional flights, Arik Air’s managing director, Mr. Chris Ndulue said: “There is an increasing demand from our passengerss on the Lagos-Monrovia and Lagos-Luanda routes. Arik Air is committed to providing all of its customers with a range of services, all at suitable times. We have identified and delivered on the demands and are continuously reviewing our route network to offer increased and seamless connections.”

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Astral Aviation joins Africa’s airline body, AFRAA

A start up airline, Astral Aviation, has become a member of African Airlines Association (AFRAA). AFRAA has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Astral Aviation’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sanjeev Gadhia, said: “We are truly excited in being the first cargo airline to become a member of AFRAA which is a prestigious association of African airlines. Astral has benefited immensely from AFRAA’s initiatives such as the Joint Fuel Purchase Programme in addition to the training programs which has provided considerable cost savings.
The airline is poised to work closely with AFRAA on matters relating to cargo with the objective of lobbying for the liberalisation and promotion of air cargo in Africa and to advocate against the high cost of cargo related fees and taxes in the continent.”
Secretary General, AFRAA, Dr Elijah Chingosho, said: “We are excited to welcome Astral Aviation into the AFRAA fraternity as this will enable us to tap into the huge experience and expertise of this carrier in the cargo field, which we will share with the rest of AFRAA member airlines so that they can benefit from this often neglected sector of airline operations.” AFRAA is an association of airlines from the nations of the African union. It was founded in Accra, Ghana, in 1968 and is today headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
The primary purposes of AFRAA are to foster commercial and technical co-operation among African Airlines and to represent their common interests. AFRAA membership is spread across the entire continent and includes all the major intercontinental African operators.
Its members represent over 80 per cent of total international traffic carried by all African airlines. Astral Aviation is a regional cargo airline that has been operating in the African skies for the past 14 years, and has been rated as the leading African All Cargo Airline. Astral Aviation is located at the freighter-friendly, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, Kenya, and operates a combination of schedule and ad-hoc charter flights to over 60 destinations within the intra- African network and Europe on its dedicated fleet of regional freighter aircrafts.


Nigeria abduction video: Schoolgirls 'recognised'

Relatives and friends of the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls have identified some of them from a video released by Boko Haram Islamist militants.
The footage showed about 130 of more than 200 girls who were kidnapped a month ago from their boarding school in Borno state reciting Koranic verses.
Boko Haram's leader says the captured girls who have not converted to Islam can be swapped for jailed fighters.
Nigeria's government says it is considering all options.
A community leader in Chibok told the BBC that school friends had identified three of the girls in the video.
A mother had also recognised her daughter from the girls who appear in a group wearing hijabs, the chairman of the parents-teachers association at the school told the Reuters news agency
"The video got parents apprehensive again after watching it but the various steps taken by the governments and the coming of the foreign troops is boosting our spirit, even though I have not seen the any one soldier in Chibok yet," Dumoma Mpur said.
The girls' families have said that most of those seized are Christians, although there are a number of Muslims among them.
Two girls on the video singled out for questioning said they were Christians but had converted to Islam. Another said she was Muslim.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the girls could be exchanged for "our brethren in your prison".
"I swear to almighty Allah, you will not see them again until you release our brothers that you have captured," he said.
Last week, he had threatened to sell the girls into slavery.
Meanwhile, the US has revealed it is flying manned surveillance missions over Nigeria to an effort to find the missing schoolgirls.
A team of about 30 US experts - members of the FBI and defence and state departments - is in Nigeria to help with the search. The UK, France and China also have teams on the ground in Nigeria and an Israeli counter-terrorism team is on its way.
The 27-minute footage was shown to some people in Chibok, the town from where the girls were kidnapped, on Monday evening.
Not all girls are from Chibok itself as pupils from surrounding areas had come to do their final year exams in April as the school in the town was considered relatively safe.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Boko Haram releases new video, shows missing Chibok girls -

Boko Haram released a new video on Monday claiming to show the missing schoolgirls, alleging the

teenagers had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed.The

group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, speaks on the video obtained by AFP for 17 minutes before

showing what he said were the girls, in Muslim dress and praying in an undisclosed rural location.

A total of 276 girls were abducted on April 14 from the northeastern town of Chibok, in Borno state,

which has a sizeable Christian community. Some 223 are still missing.The footage shows about 130

girls in black and grey full-length hijabs sitting on scrubland near trees, reciting the first chapter of

the Muslim holy book, the Koran, and holding their palms upwards in prayer.Three of the girls are

interviewed. Two say they were Christian and had converted while one said she was Muslim. Most of

the group were seated. The girls appeared calm and one said that they had not been harmed.There

was no indication of when the video was taken, although the quality is better than on previous

occasions and at one point an armed man is seen in shot with a hand-held video camera.Boko Haram

has been waging an increasingly deadly insurgency in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north since 2009,

attacking schools teaching a “Western” curriculum, churches and government targets.Civilians,

though, have borne the brunt of recent violence, with more than 1,500 killed this year alone while

tens of thousands have been displaced after their homes and businesses were razed.Nigeria’s

government has been criticised for its lack of immediate response to the kidnapping but has been

forced to act after Shekau threatened to sell the girls as slaves.President Goodluck Jonathan has now

accepted help from the United States, Britain, France, China and Israel, which have sent specialist

teams to help in the search effort.In the video, Shekau appears in front of a lime green canvas

backdrop wearing combat fatigues and carrying an automatic weapon. Shekau does not appear in the

same shot as the girls at any point during the 27-minute video.Speaking in Hausa and Arabic, he

restates his claim of responsibility made in a video released last Monday and said the girls had

converted to Islam.“These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated

them. We have indeed liberated them. Do you know we have liberated them? These girls have

become Muslims,” he said.The militant leader said that Boko Haram’s brothers in arms had been held

in prison for up to five years and suggested that the girls would be released if the fighters were

freed.“We will never release them (the girls) until after you release our brethren. Here I mean those

girls who have not submitted (converted to Islam),” he added.Boko Haram has used kidnapping of

women and young girls in the past and Shekau indicated that more were being held.Eleven girls were

abducted from the Gwoza area of Borno state on May 4.
Culled from Vanguard

Friday, 9 May 2014

Arik Alerts Passengers on New Security Measures at Airports


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Arik Air

Major Nigerian carrier, Arik Air, has alerted air travellers on the new security measures put in place at Nigerian airports by the federal government and therefore advised all intending air passengers to set out early for their flights to avoid loss of travel time. The new security measures, which took effect from May 1 are meant to improve security at the nation’s airports, especially the international ones.
The new security measures extends the profiling of passengers by operatives and this would take longer time as every passenger is subjected to detailed checks.
Arik Air warned passengers that the government had put extra security measures in place at all airports and this could cause traffic snarl at the airport roads leading to unforeseen delays or missed flights for travellers.
The new security measures being implemented by the government had led to visible presence of more security personnel across the nation’s airports.
Passengers are also advised to familiarise themselves with check-in procedures at the airport.
“Arik Air check-in counters open two hours before departure for domestic flights, three hours for regional and four hours for international flights,” the airline said.
It also said all passengers must have completed check-in for their flights prior to check-in closure which is 30 minutes (for domestic flights), 45 minutes (for regional flights) and 90 minutes (for international flights) before the scheduled departure time.
“Arik Air also provides an online check-in service aimed at customers who want a streamlined travel experience. It is designed to provide passengers with the ability to check-in and choose seat from 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the flight to five hours before international flights and three hours before domestic and regional fights.”

The airline therefore advised passengers to avail themselves of this service in order not to miss their flights.

Culled from Thisdaylive