Nigeria’s Aviation News Headlines for Wednesday October 19, 2016

Emirates Airlines, Kenya Airways and Turkish Airlines have announced plans to suspend flight operations in Nigeria citing foreign exchange volatility as the major reason but I am very optimistic that with the recent inclusion of airlines in the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market by the Federal Government of Nigeria, these airlines will have a rethink. Nigeria is a huge market with great potential and the best decision any international airline can make is to retain the Nigerian route.

Emirates, Kenya Airways Suspend Abuja Operations

Emirates flight
·Dubai-based airline may also jettison Lagos route
·FG appoints two new directors in FAAN

Dubai-based Emirates Airlines and Kenya Airways have announced the suspension of their flights to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, in the face of the economic downturn in the country, foreign exchange scarcity, and the shrinking passenger traffic on international routes.
Emirates, one of the biggest foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, said it would stop flights effective October 22, while the East African carrier, Kenya Airways, has also announced that it would suspend flights to and from Abuja with effect from November 15, 2016 as part of its restructuring and loss-saving measures.
In this regard, Emirates was said to have written to the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, over its intention to stop flights from Abuja, indicating its inability to buy FX.
The letter was said to have been received by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation.

Turkish Airlines May Suspend Flight to Kano

Turkish Airlines may suspend flight to Kano
There is disquiet in the aviation industry over the decision of some foreign airlines to reduce their operations in Nigeria.
 Emirates Airlines and Kenya Airways announced on Monday that they would suspend flight to Abuja, the nation’s capital effective from October 30 and November 5 respectively.
But sources told Daily Trust yesterday that Turkish Airlines will soon suspend its flight operations to Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano.
 An industry player, however said the airline operators were suspending their flights to Abuja and Kano due to dwindling passenger traffic which has made the routes commercially unviable.
Mr Bernard Bankole, the president of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), in a chat with Daily Trust also said apart from the drop in passengers, the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja “is also faulty which explains why foreign airlines are avoiding it.”
The airlines are being proactive to prevent accident, he added.
According to the NANTA boss, the issue was no longer about foreign airlines being unable to repatriate their funds.


Over N1trn Required To Stabilise Aviation Industry – Minister


The minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has disclosed that a total of N1 trillion was required to revamp the aviation sector.
Sirika revealed this yesterday at a public hearing on the need to rescue the ailing aviation industry from imminent collapse held at the behest of the house of representatives committee on aviation.
The minister, who allayed the fears of stakeholders maintained that the proposed concession of the airports would  cater to the liabilities of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
“The country has found itself in a quagmire. The economy is at the moment on a downturn and this has made it difficult for the government to fund the aviation sector.
“It will take about N1 trillion to turn the aviation industry around and the federal government cannot afford that now. These airports are not living up to their capacity and it can never do until they are improved upon.


Airline Operator Seeks Guidelines on Foreign Exchange Concession Grant

A domestic airline operator, Muneer Bankole, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release guidelines for the implementation of the foreign exchange (forex) concession granted to the aviation sector.
Bankole, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Med-View Airlines, commended the initiative though admitted that much of the concession details were still unknown to the commercial banks and airlines that are supposed to be beneficiaries.
It would be recalled that the CBN granted airline operators in the country a special foreign exchange (forex) concession regime to enable clearance of outstanding debts at inter-bank market rate.

The CBN, in a memo, listed airline operators along with sectors that deal with raw materials and machineries for manufacturing companies and agricultural chemicals as some of the beneficiaries of the intervention. Bankole, while receiving the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification in Lagos yesterday, said that the forex intervention, if implemented, would upturn the fortunes of aviation sector.
We Can Make Local Airlines do 24hrs Flight Operations – FAAN MD 

The Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Engineer Saleh Dunoma fielded questions from selected Aviation reporters on the relationship between the agency and airline operators and the general state of our

country’s airports. Below are excerpts. AIRLINES always complain that they could have been operating late into the night in some airports if there were runway lighting.

Is there anything you are doing to provide lighting at the runways of more airports? Most of our airports have runway lighting.

 We have just installed solar runway lighting in six or seven airports: in Yola, Benin, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, and Kano.

So most of these airports that require night operations have these facilities but what we do in order not to incur too much cost for FAAN, is to switch off power when there are no operations.

We reduce the hour of operation to 18 hours, so immediately after the last flight in the evening we close the airport. We will not open it until there is emergency.


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