Service Withdrawal: Airlines Operators Have Promised To Continue Operations – FG

A file photo of travellers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

 

Some members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have reviewed their decision to withdraw services across the country from Monday, the Federal Government has assured Nigerians.

Mr James Odaudu, the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Ahead of the planned withdrawal of services by AON, he stated that at least four of the airline operators have given assurance of continued operations while others were reviewing their decision.

“It is gratifying that members of the association have started reviewing the decision to withdraw flight services, with Ibom Air, Green Africa Airlines, Arik Air, Dana and others confirming that they will carry on with their normal flight schedules,” said Odaudu.

“We hope that other members will consider the expected impact on businesses and individuals and review their decision. We also wish to assure foreign airlines operating in the country that all logistics and services for their operations remain in place as usual and that no disruptions whatsoever should be envisaged.”

READ ALSO: Airline Operators Suspend Withdrawal Of Services Hours To Deadline

According to him, the ministry has received a series of enquiries since airline operators issued a notice of withdrawal of flight services as a result of the rising cost of Jet A1 (aviation fuel).

The minister’s spokesman stated that the decision of the association was purely a business one, saying members were private businesses reacting to market forces but appealing for interventions to enable them to carry on with their operations.

He added that the ministry has made conscious efforts to assist the group, including facilitating a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, during which they got several concessions such as duty-free importation of aircraft, engines, spare parts, and other components.

“The honourable minister at various times personally took members of the association to engage with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sort out issues of access to foreign exchange (FOREX) for their operations, and also the NNPC to exploit ways of ensuring the availability of Aviation fuel (JET A1) through importation or from the major marketers,” Odaudu said.

“It should also be recalled that members of the association were also considered for and given bail-out funds to the tune of N4 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that they remained afloat.

“This was without prejudice to the fact that most of them were heavily indebted to aviation agencies (as they still are). We believe that members of the association are patriots who have continued to bear the brunt of an unfavourable oil market for which we salute their doggedness.”

The government, according to the minister’s spokesman, remains committed to the continued growth of the aviation industry where airlines and other service providers operate in a profitable and competitive environment.

FAAN Confirms Death Of Passenger At Abuja Airport

Abuja-Airportttttt
A file photo of the front view of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

 

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has confirmed the death of a passenger on Wednesday at the Abuja airport.

The passenger who is a female was waiting to board a Lagos-bound flight from the domestic terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport when it was observed that she having difficulty breathing at the boarding hall.

In a statement by the Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, the passenger later died after frantic efforts made at resuscitating her, including the administration of CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) proved abortive in the circumstance.

“Although the Authority has processed millions of passengers through the airport without any such incident over the years, we deeply regret that despite spirited efforts by our medical officials to resuscitate her, she was confirmed dead at about 0906hours, and her remains were subsequently taken to the NAF Medical Centre,” Hope-Ivbaze also said.

“The Authority uses this opportunity to express our profound condolences to her family and friends on this unfortunate loss and pray that her soul finds rest with the Lord. FAAN… Committed to her core values of Safety, Security and Comfort”, the statement added.

NDLEA Intercepts Cocaine Hidden In Footwears, Toothpaste Tubes

 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has intercepted large consignments of Cocaine smuggled into the country through three major international airports in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director, Media & Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, Femi Babafemi on Sunday.

According to the statement, seven traffickers were also arrested in connection to the smuggling by Brazil-based drug cartels.

The Cocaine was hidden and smuggled using unconventional methods like inside toothpaste tubes and footwear.

At the Port Harcourt International Airport, five suspects were arrested on Saturday, April 9.

Read Also: ‘The President Should Sit Up’; Anglican Bishop Slams Buhari Over Insecurity

 

 

“Three of them were arrested during the inward screening of passengers on board Qatar Airline flight QR1433 from Doha to Port Harcourt. The three suspects departed Sao Paulo, Brazil on board same Qatar flight, en-route Doha to Abuja and Port Harcourt with a total of 24.96 kilograms of cocaine,” the statement read.

“The first is 51-year-old Udogwu James Johnson who hails from Orlu LGA, Imo state. He was arrested with 5.48kg of cocaine concealed in lotion plastic bottles sealed with candle wax. He claimed he agreed to traffic the drug for a fee of N1million.

“Also arrested is Ezekwueme Ifeanyi Valentine, (32), from Aguata LGA, Anambra State, who was caught with 10.82kg cocaine packed in 84 sachets concealed in seven duvets, while the third trafficker, Chiezie Ikechukwu Arinze (35), from Dunukofia LGA, Anambra State, was arrested with 8.66kg cocaine hidden in 115 golden and silver colour 30ml breakable bottles factory packaged with lotion on top.

“The fourth suspect, Uchechukwu Onwugbufor (42), from Idemili North LGA, Anambra State, was arrested at the airport car park while waiting to receive one of the traffickers, Udogwu James and his consignment. He claimed he was contacted by someone in Brazil to receive Udogwu and lead him to Lagos for a fee of N100,000. Uchechukwu Onwugbufor was at the Airport with his neighbour, Nwogu Ezimadu, who is equally being investigated to determine if he’s complicit in the crime or not”.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja, a Psychology graduate of Imo State University, Owerri, Sebastine Emeka Kelvin, (30-years-old), was arrested with 74 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.454kg on arrival aboard Ethiopian Airline flight enroute Doula- Addis Ababa-Abuja on Wednesday, April 13.

“The father of one who claimed he’s a motor spare parts dealer is from Ezeagu in Ezeagu LGA, Enugu state. He said he’s lived in Cameroon for six years before going into the drug business to raise money to boost his trade. He added that he was introduced to the man who gave him the drugs at Addis Ababa by another person serving jail term for drug offence at the Doula Newbell Prison,” the statement said.

In Lagos, another Brazil-based passenger, Uba Samuel was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, by NDLEA operatives on Friday, April 15, on arrival aboard Ethiopian Airline flight from Sao Paulo via Addis Ababa to Lagos with sachets of cocaine weighing 633grams concealed in his footwear and toothpaste tube.

While accepting ownership of the drug, the suspect who claimed to be a cobbler from Abia State, said he used his shoe-making knowledge to conceal the drug in his pair of sandals.

Uba who is a regular traveller confessed he bought the drug to sell at a market in Abia.

Meanwhile, more illicit substances were recovered in raid operations in other parts of the country. In Gadaka village of Fika LGA, Yobe state, operatives arrested one Hassan Usman with a total of 22, 110 tablets of Tramadol, D5 and Exol 5, while one Ali Mohammed was nabbed in a commercial vehicle coming from Kano to Maiduguri with 40 blocks of cannabis weighing 33kg. Also arrested on the Kano-Maiduguri route was a driver Ibrahim Khalil Idris with 60 packets of Tramadol, all on Tuesday 12th April.

In Kogi state, 750 blocks of Cannabis weighing 750kg were seized from two suspects: Hassan Adamu, 25, and Abdulmalik Abdullahi, 24, along Okene-Abuja highway. The drug exhibits were concealed inside fabricated panels of a Ford bus.

Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the officers and men of the PHIA, NAIA, MMIA, Yobe, and Kogi Commands of the Agency for disrupting desperate attempts by drug cartels to traffic dangerous drugs into Nigeria and across the country.

He said the huge seizures at the airports will send a strong message to drug barons that Nigeria will no longer be their safe destination or transit route.

Airlines, Jobs Have Quadrupled In Nigeria Since 2015 – Aviation Minister

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika (File Photo).

 

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said that the number of airlines and jobs provided in the aviation sector has quadrupled since 2015 when President Buhari assumed office.

He said this on Tuesday, during the commissioning of the new Murtala Muhammed International Airport terminal in Lagos.

Read Also: Buhari Commissions $2.5bn Dangote Fertiliser Plant In Lagos

“Mr President, the other name for aviation since you took over in 2015, is growth,” Sirika said while reeling out some of the developments in the sector.

“We have in Nigeria, successfully debunked the gospel truth that aviation doubles every 15 years.

“Currently in Nigeria, the number of airports, including those currently being developed has doubled, the passenger number of has quadrupled, other entrepreneurship including catering and other ground handling has blossomed, number of airlines and jobs have quadrupled and Mr President, thank you for this growth”.

Lagos Lists Alternative Routes Ahead Of Airport Project Commissioning By Buhari

A file photo used to illustrate the story.

 

The Lagos State Government has listed alternatives routes ahead of the commissioning of the International Terminal of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari is expected to arrive in the city in the early hours of Tuesday for the event.

In a statement, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said that the move became important so as to properly manage traffic.

READ ALSO: Obiozor’s Home Attack: Arrests Have Been Made, Says Uzodimma

“Advising motorists that ply the corridor on the alternative routes, the Transport Commissioner stated that motorists from Apapa/Oshodi will be able to use Agege Motor Road to link PWD to connect Works Road or General Adeyinka Adebayo Road to access Oba Akinjobi inward Ikeja General Hospital and connect Local Airport through the Underpass,” a statement he released on Monday read.

“In the same vein, motorists on Agege Motor Road are advised to link Charity by the Armed Resettlement Centre on the service lanes and make a U-turn at Cappa/Bolade axis inwards Shogunle to access PWD to continue their journey.

“Oladeinde further stated that Maryland/Mobolaji Bank Anthony is also open to motorists to link the local airport and access Muritala Muhammed Airport, adding that alternately, motorists can go through the Third Mainland Bridge inwards Gbagada to connect Ikorodu/Maryland to reach the Airports.”

He thanked Lagosians for their expected cooperation, assuring that officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) will be on the ground along the alternative routes to help motorists navigate their movement.

Hong Kong To Lift Ban On Flights From Nine Countries

People wait in a queue to check-in for their flight at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong on March 21, 2022. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP)

 

Hong Kong will resume international flights from the United States, Britain and seven other countries, the government said Monday as it announced a loosening of some of the world’s toughest Covid-19 restrictions.

The finance hub has struggled to maintain China’s zero-tolerance policy during an Omicron-fuelled outbreak that has sparked a huge surge in cases and put the city in the spotlight with one of the highest Covid fatality rates in the developed world.

After the highly transmissible variant fuelled a wave of cases, authorities banned flights from nine countries deemed high-risk — including the United States, Britain, France and India.

But infections climbed rapidly. Hong Kong has recorded more than a million cases and 5,900 deaths this year, with the bulk of the toll among its unvaccinated elderly population.

On Monday, Lam said Hong Kong will lift flight bans for the nine countries from April 1.

“The epidemic situations in those countries are not worse than Hong Kong’s, and most arrivals did not have serious symptoms,” she said during a press conference.

READ ALSO: EU Set To Agree 5,000-Strong Response Force In Defence Push

Hong Kong has also reduced the quarantine period for vaccinated arrivals starting April 1 to seven days in a designated hotel, followed by another seven days of at-home monitoring.

Currently, Hong Kong residents trying to return from most destinations face a two-week quarantine stay in expensive hotels.

– Suspended mass testing –

Lam’s administration has been excoriated for its handling of the Covid crisis, with critics calling it unprepared despite two years of breathing room due to its low number of cases before Omicron hit in January.

Once the variant broke through, hospital wards were flooded with patients and morgues overcrowded with bodies — leading to a coffin shortage last week.

Unclear public messaging from the government over mass testing and lockdowns has also fuelled bouts of panic-buying — leaving supermarkets shelves stripped bare.

Hong Kong, known as “Asia’s World City”, has seen a record exodus of foreign and local residents, with a net outflow of more than 134,000 people by mid-March.

On Monday, Lam said that a previously floated plan to mass test Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents was “not appropriate” at this stage, given the city’s limited resources.

“Our current opinion is to suspend it and whether we will do it depends on the development of the epidemic,” the leader said.

Lam also announced that kindergartens, primary schools and international schools will resume in-person teaching from April 19.

Beginning April 21, restaurants may stay open after 6:00 pm for dine-in services — currently banned — while public gatherings would be capped at four people, up from the current two.

Hong Kong’s deepened international isolation and lack of a roadmap to normality have incited complaints from business and diplomatic communities, even prompting some major international banks to accelerate relocations.

Authorities had repeatedly defended its methods, saying it was necessary to maintain access to the mainland Chinese market — which still has strict border controls.

But on Monday Lam signalled an attitude shift — saying the city now has to balance its status as an international hub and as a gateway to mainland China.

“For any longer term public health strategy, we will have to take into account both factors that is maintaining Hong Kong’s accessibility to the mainland and also ensuring her continued connectivity with the outside world,” she said.

Tens of millions of people in regions across China have been put under stay-at-home orders since last week when Omicron clusters started threatening the country’s zero-Covid model.

Russian Missiles Destroy Aircraft Repair Plant In Ukraine’s Lviv – Mayor

Smoke rises after an explosion in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 18, 2022. Russian forces on March 18 destroyed an aircraft repair plant in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv but no one was hurt, the mayor said. YURIY DYACHYSHYN / AFP

 

Russian forces on Friday destroyed an aircraft repair plant in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv but no one was hurt, the mayor said.

A thick pall of grey smoke streamed across the clear blue sky over Lviv’s airport on Friday morning, an AFP reporter saw, and ambulances raced to the scene.

“Several missiles hit an aircraft repair plant,” Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on the messaging app Telegram, adding the plant had been destroyed.

“There are no casualties,” he said, adding that operations at the plant had been halted.

He earlier wrote that Russian forces had struck an area close to Lviv’s airport.

READ ALSO: Ukraine Asks Turkey To Be Among Guarantors Of Any Russia Deal

Armed checkpoints turned motorists back from roads leading to the airport, and a local man told AFP he had heard a blast earlier Friday.

Ukraine’s air force, referring to the strike and citing preliminary information, said that six “cruise missiles had been launched, probably X-555, from the Black Sea.”

Two missiles had been destroyed, the statement added.

Lviv is the largest city in western Ukraine and a popular tourist destination known for its picturesque views.

Last weekend Russian cruise missiles devastated a military base west of Lviv, killing 35 people and wounding more than 130.

Located 70 kilometres (45 miles) from the border with EU member Poland, the city had largely been spared since Russian forces invaded on February 24.

AFP

NFF Congratulates Falcons On AWCON Qualification, Says Airport Incident ‘Unfortunate’

The Super Falcons are the defending African champions. [email protected]

 

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has lauded the Super Falcons for their 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualification just as condemned health officials’ delay of the team on arrival in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, the football body said the team’s feat reflects their resilience and character. It quoted the president of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, as saying the 1-0 victory over the Ivorians is a replica of the Nigerian spirit.

“We are extremely proud of the resilience, grit, and steel of the Super Falcons in achieving this qualification. Four of the starters in the first leg were winning their first caps for Nigeria, yet put up amazing performances to earn a 2-0 victory,” the statement quoted Pinnick as saying.

“In Abidjan, the players were all awesome and refused to cave in despite the onslaughts from the home team. They did a very good job and deserve commendation for this memorable outing.”

READ ALSO: [World Cup Play-Off] CAF Fixes New Dates For Super Eagles Clash Against Ghana

‘Unfortunate Incident’

The Super Falcons were delayed for hours at the airport.

 

Nigeria’s qualification for the tournament was overshadowed by reports that the players and officials were delayed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on arrival from Abidjan.

In a viral video, players and officials were visibly angry while officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) insisted that they must carry out COVID-19 tests on arrival in the country. But the NFF in its reaction said it was saddened by the development.

“It was an unfortunate incident because we had our protocol officers on ground at the airport and they did the needful before the team arrived. We are a responsible organization and the various National Teams have been going out and returning to Nigeria since these covid19 protocols, procedures, and guidelines started. We have never been caught napping,” NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said.

According to him, the NFF had no control over how airport officials handled things, stressing that it did everything to ensure the Super Falcons had a hitch-free return to the country.

“It was beyond us, but we have already apologized to our players and officials over this incident,” Sanusi added.

Reps To Probe State Of Nigeria’s Airports, Aviation Sector

A file photo of the House of Reps.

 

 

The House of Representatives has asked its committees on aviation, human rights, and commerce to investigate the state of the Nigerian airports and the aviation sector.

The lawmakers also want to probe the activities of airline operators and their coordinating agencies.

This is sequel to a motion on the need to Investigate the poor performance and high charges by airline operators in Nigeria by Hon. Simon Karu.

The House is concerned that Nigerians have not enjoyed domestic air travel due to constant delays and cancellation of flights with impunity and change of airline departure time contrary to Regulations of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and in contravention of International Aviation Standards.

The lawmakers are worried that recently, the burden of domestic air travellers in Nigeria has been increased by a 120% in local airfares.

Obiano Receives First Embraer 195-E2 Aircraft At Anambra Airport

Governor Willie Obiano and other government officials receive the first set of passengers at the Anambra International Airport, in Umueri.

 

Following approval by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the operation of Boeing 737-700 aircraft or its equivalent at the Anambra International Airport, in Umueri, Governor Willie Obiano has welcomed passengers on board the first Embraer 195-e2 aircraft at the airport.

The aircraft landed with 124 passengers from Lagos and the governor welcomed the passengers, including the pilot, with a handshake.

The aircraft, from Air Peace Airline, one of the frontline carriers in Nigeria landed safely, from Lagos at Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri.

According to the governor, this development marks a major breakthrough for the airport.

“This is a great day and that is why I came to welcome the first set of passengers that landed on this aircraft using a bigger plane,” he said.

READ ALSO: Fuel Tanker Explodes, Affects Buildings In Anambra

The traditional ruler of the host community is also delighted at this development, appreciating the efforts of Governor Obiano.

“We cannot thank the governor enough for the developmental projects he cited in Umueri, not only the airport but some other projects. We cannot thank you enough,” he said at the event.

As the gathering is documented with photographs, another large aircraft is expected to land and the state government says two airlines have begun operations at the airport while many more are on the verge of commencement.

See more photos from the airport below:

 

 

 

New Mexico City Airport Nears Take-Off, With Few Flights

View of the construction site of the new international airport which will be called ‘General Felipe Angeles’ at the Santa Lucia Air Force Base in Zumpango, near Mexico City, on January 21, 2022.  (Photo by RODRIGO ARANGUA / AFP)

 

Two months before it is due to open with just a handful of confirmed flights, workers are racing to finish a new international airport for Mexico City — one of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s flagship projects.

With two commercial runways built on a military air base outside the capital, Felipe Angeles International Airport is meant to take the pressure off the city’s Benito Juarez airport.

The existing hub, which handled 36 million passengers in 2021, is one of the busiest in Latin America.

Its location in eastern Mexico City is far more convenient for many residents of the capital than Felipe Angeles, which is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the capital’s historic district.

But Benito Juarez airport is showing its age and handled a record 50.3 million passengers in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Felipe Angeles airport, named after a general in the Mexican revolution, has been engulfed in controversy from the start.

After taking office in 2018, Lopez Obrador canceled another airport project launched by the previous government and already one-third complete.

READ ALSO: Istanbul’s Snowed-In Airport Stirs Back To Life

He called the $13 billion project a “bottomless pit” rife with corruption and decided instead to turn the Santa Lucia military air base into a second airport for the sprawling Mexican capital.

Lopez Obrador commissioned the military — which is also involved in other pet projects of his government, such as a tourist train in the Yucatan Peninsula — to oversee construction of the new airport at a cost of around $3.6 billion.

On a recent visit to the Santa Lucia airport, construction workers were seen putting the finishing touches to the inside of the new terminal building, while cleaners swept floors and cleaned windows.

The gleaming toilets are decorated with images of traditional mariachi music and wrestling.

In other areas, notably the access roads that will link the terminal building to the highway, dozens of laborers worked with trucks and machinery to complete the project in time.

A planned rail link to connect the airport with the capital’s suburban train network is not scheduled to be completed until the second half of 2023.

– ‘Giving it a chance’ –

Around 87 percent of the airport construction has been finished with two months left before the March 21 opening, said Captain Diego Diaz Avila of the military’s engineer corps.

In its first phase of operation, the new airport will be able to handle 19.5 million passengers a year, he told AFP.

But so far, only low-cost Mexican airlines Volaris and Viva Aerobus have announced plans to operate a small number of flights at the new airport, with most staying at Benito Juarez.

Aeromexico, the country’s largest carrier, has declined to use the new airport in the initial phase.

The airlines are not ready to shift significant operations to the new terminal, said Brian Rodriguez, an aviation analyst at the financial firm Monex.

“They’re giving it a chance to operate there to see the costs, demand and how profitable it can be,” he said.

Given that Felipe Angeles is located outside the city, the airlines that do use the new airport will seek to attract the several million people living in the surrounding area, added Rodriguez.

AFP contacted the main international airlines that operate in Mexico — British Airways, Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa and American Airlines — to ask if they plan to use the new terminal.

Only American Airlines responded, saying there were no changes to 13 daily flights between Mexico City and the United States.

Istanbul’s Snowed-In Airport Stirs Back To Life

Stranded passengers wait at Istanbul airport, where flights are cancelled due to blizzard and heavy snowfall, in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 25, 2022. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)

 

Europe’s busiest airport in Istanbul was “gradually” resuming normal operations after a blizzard shut it down for a day, the head of Turkish Airlines said on Wednesday.

Istanbul Airport closed on Monday for the first time since it took over from the old Ataturk Airport as the global hub of Turkish Airlines in 2019.

Fuming passengers complained on Twitter about a lack of regular updates from Turkish travel officials and poor customer service, with some joining a chant demanding “we need a hotel”.

The airport handled just a handful of flights on Tuesday, mostly allowing airborn transatlantic flights to land.

But officials said 131 domestic and international flights were due to take off and land by 1:00 pm (1000 GMT) Wednesday, helping clear a massive backlog.

“Flights have gradually begun returning to normal,” Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi said on Twitter.

Airport officials told AFP that only one of the airport’s three runways had been cleared of snow and that de-icing work continued.

READ ALSO: Istanbul Airport Shuts Down Due To Snow

A blizzard that reached Istanbul last weekend paralised traffic and shut down basic services in the city of 16 million, some parts of which were covered by 85 centimetres (2.8 feet) of snow.

Officials urged citizens not to use private cars unless essential. Universities were closed until Monday and buses were banned from entering or leaving the city until Wednesday morning.

But most of the attention focused on Istanbul Airport, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once hailed as the “pride of our country and example to the world”.

One of the mega-projects built under Erdogan’s two-decade rule, the gleaming glass-and-steel structure handled 37 million passengers last year, becoming Europe’s busiest for the second year running.

But opponents have criticised the airport’s location, which is near the Black Sea coast and 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the city centre, making it exposed to fog and strong winds.