Happy Friday! It is always my pleasure bringing you updates of the headlines in the aviation sector.
Find the headlines below and follow the links to read the stories in full.
FirstNation Postpones Resumption of Flight Services
Scheduled flight services of FirstNation Airways may now resume next week, against the September 15 date earlier fixed by the airline.
The shift in date, The Guardian learnt, was not unconnected with delays encountered in fixing one of its aircrafts.
It would be recalled that the airline had last week disclosed plans to resume scheduled flight operations that were suspended on August 17 due to technical fault and maintenance requirements that could not be carried out as planned.
Inside sources disclosed that the Nigeria Customs Service only released the equipment needed to fix the airplanes a few days ago. The source said, “The airline had anticipated that all customs formalities would have been done last week Friday before the Sallah holidays.
“It is hoped that the team of engineers would finish work on the engines before September 16 as the airline plans to resume operations immediately after the engines are fixed.’’
FirstNation Airway’s Director of Flight Operations, Capt. Chimara Imediegwu, recently told reporters that a team of engineers was coming to Nigeria to service the planes.
Imediegwu had debunked the claim that the airline was on the verge of folding up, stressing that it voluntarily grounded the aircraft at enormous cost to await the arrival of the manufacturer’s team.
|Arik Air's Chairman; Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide Photo credit: Thisdaylive.com|
The Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide has said that certain policies of the federal government on air transport in Nigeria tend to discourage investment in the sector.
Arumemi-Ikhide said considering the pivotal role air transport plays in the economic growth of any nation, the government should introduce policies that would encourage airlines by giving them priority in accessing foreign exchange, review downwards the charges paid by the airlines and remove Value Added Tax (VAT), which is only paid by airlines in the transport industry.
The Arik Air Chairman, who made this known on Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos said government must have to support the commercial airlines for them to survive and succeed.
“Airline operating cost is very high because everything is in foreign exchange, not only for the spare parts but for the inputs, which are all from abroad and this impacts on operators of domestic airlines in Nigeria and most unfortunately government policies or Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policies don’t favour domestic operators because government gives priority to manufacturers as CBN said 60 percent of the foreign inflows should go to the manufacturers. They forget that the engine of any economy is air travel,” Arik Air Chairman said.
There is an indication that more Nigerian airlines may close shop as the current economic downturn has hampered airlines operations.
Industry experts have expressed concern that the forex scarcity is taking a huge toll on the aviation sector because virtually everything done in the airline business requires foreign exchange, except the purchase of aviation fuel.
THISDAY investigation has revealed that already Nigerian airlines have lost over 45 percent of their passenger traffic while the value of their ticket has also nosedived.
An operator, who spoke to THISDAY on Wednesday, explained why the air transport sector is fairing badly under the present economic morass. He expressed doubt about the possibility of the airlines to survive, if the recession continues in the next six months.
“I doubt whether Nigerian airlines will survive the next six months if naira does not gain value and continues to lose against the dollar. Practically, let us look at the popular aircraft many Nigerian airlines use: Boeing B737. Average number of seats on that aircraft is 120 and if the fare for Lagos to Abuja flight is N25, 000 the airline will generate N3million for every flight.
The union made this known in an eight-point communiqué issued at its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting held in Ilorin, Kwara.
A copy of the communiqué, which was signed by NUATE’s General Secretary, Olayinka Abioye, was made available to journalists in Lagos on Thursday.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had on September 6, told journalists that there was no going back on the concession of the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports.
Mr. Sirika had argued that the move would ensure that the airports were properly managed, while the government would still retain their ownership.
Mr. Abioye’s communiqué faulted the plan to concession the four airports which it described as the cash-cow out of the 22 airports owned by the Federal Government.
ICAO, IATA, Others Revisit Global Airport Security Strategy
• FAAN graduates 211 AVSEC, firefighting officers
Apparently worried by the growing security threat in airports across the world, international aviation bodies are closing ranks to re-examine and strengthen current security rules and procedure.
Bodies like the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Airports Council International (ACI) aim to address evolving aviation security risks with integrated solutions.
The Kwara State government has vowed to sustain the status of the International Aviation College, Ilorin, Kwara state, the best in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Chairman, Board of Directors of the college, Captain Edward Boyo said the college has remained the first in sub -Saharan Africa region established to meet the future challenges of producing efficient and competent pilots for aircraft and helicopters, comparable with their counterparts in any part of the world.
According to him, the college has increased its fleet of aircrafts from two to five in order to meet up the training of its students for effective and optimum results.
Boyo made this known in Ilorin recently during the official commissioning of the mini-aviation fuel dump built by the management of the college to meet the current challenge of paucity of aviation fuel in the aviation industry.