Governor El-Rufai, Aviation Officials Inspect Kaduna Airport

Kaduna airport, Avaition, Nasir El-RufaiThe Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has expressed satisfaction with the progress of the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Kaduna Airport.

The governor stated this during an inspection visit to the airport, ahead of the planned closure of the Abuja Airport for repairs of its runway starting from March 8, 2017.

He was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Saleh Dunoma, and that of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Mukhtar Usman.

Governor El-Rufai assured the passengers that would be using the Kaduna Airport during the period of adequate safety and security.

He also promised that all the roads and street lights to the airport would be rehabilitated before the end of February.

During the visit, the governor and some officials from the Ministry of Aviation inspected the ongoing work at the new terminal buildings and control tower.

He also urged the residents of the host community where the airport is located to cooperate with the government in its road expansion project, which he said would see to the relocation of their market.

Kaduna Is Safe and Secure

Governor El-Rufai disclosed to Channels Television at the end of the inspection that all arrangements have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free operation during the period.

However, he criticised those opposing the choice of Kaduna Airport as an alternative to Abuja, insisting that the state is safe and secure to host visitors that would arrive the state in March.

The governor further revealed that the state government had begun to repair the Nnamdi Azikiwe by-pass and the road linking the Kaduna Airport to the railway station.

He stated that the project is expected to be completed in good time, in order to ease movement of Abuja bound passengers to and from the airport.

Governor El-Rufai noted that adequate arrangement had also been made by the state government to provide buses to convey passengers to Abuja or to railway station, depending on the choice of the passengers involved.

In their remarks, the FAAN and NCAA bosses said that the Kaduna Airport has the capacity to contain the number of aircraft and passengers that would be using the airport upon the closure of Abuja Airport.

Aviation Experts Call For Technology Upgrade

air-spaceThe National Association of Air Traffic Engineers has asked the Federal Government to deploy spare parts, replace ageing ones and upgrade aviation technology, to ensure safety in Nigerian Air Space.

The President of the association, Engr. Makanjuola Ebenezer stated that Nigeria’s air navigation systems need upgrade to conform to technological revolution in the Global Aviation Industry.

He made this known while speaking at the opening of the 46th General Assembly of the International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Engineers in Abuja.

In his words, “We need a lot of spare parts for majority of these equipment and thanks to the Federal Government of Nigeria, they are taking the right steps to address these issues of spare parts.

“Majority of the equipment, we are using don’t have spare parts that can be found locally. They are all imported into the country.

“We’re now using this forum to appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on all those documents that have been written, so that an express permission and release of funds will be given to the relevant agencies and the spare parts can be given to the eager engineers, who are ready to work despite all the challenges.

“If we have this enabling environment, Nigerian Engineers that are working under the agencies in the Ministry of Aviation, will be ready to turn things around.”

He also appealed for training of personnel to meet with global best practices and boost safety records.

Nigeria recently joined many other countries to implement air traffic safety electronics personnel certification and licensing, to increase dedication and commitment towards the operation of technical systems and promote safety in air space used by air lines.

Aviation Minister Orders Probe Of Unauthorised Equipment

AviationThe Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has directed an immediate investigation into the use of an unauthorised equipment by Aero Contractors Airlines at the conclusion of a chartered flight to Bauchi on Saturday.

Reports received by the Minister on Sunday, revealed that the airline used a ladder to disembark passengers from a Boeing 737 aircraft at the Bauchi Airport on Saturday, December 19.

A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs of the Ministry of Aviation, Mr James Odaudu, said that the act was inconsistent with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

The statement added that the investigation would determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident, and will develop and implement measures that would prevent a recurrence of the unsafe and unacceptable procedure that exposed passengers to high risk of injury.

The Minister assured the traveling public that the Ministry of Transport, in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) would ensure strict adherence to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations as well as ICAO standards and recommended practices by all operators.

Aero Contractors Airline, in a statement explained that a special charter flight operated by Aero to Bauchi had problems with unserviceable equipment by the airport management in dis-embarking about 34 passengers from Abuja.

“Consequently, against the airline’s wish and operation safety guideline, the passengers used a ladder to disembark.

“However, at the time of boarding, the air stairs became functional and the passengers boarded successfully”,  the statement said.

The airline said it took adequate safety measures for the operation, including the airport’s ground staff crew to handle the air stairs equipment in Bauchi, but unfortunately, it became unserviceable at the point of disembarkation.

“Although, the airline crew tried to calm down the passengers to wait while the equipment was being fixed, the passengers insisted on their own volition to disembark against all safety protocol of the airline.

“Aero Contractors wishes to state that it is reviewing its safety measures with all charter operations to all airports to prevent such re-occurrence. Aero will continue to take adequate measures to ensure that its operations remain safe and secure”, the airline said.

Aviation Minister Blames Shortage Of Funds For Slow Pace In Remodeling Airports

Osita_Chidoka_MinisterThe Minister of Aviation, Mr Osita Chidoka, has blamed the shortage of funds for the slow pace of remodeling going on in airports around the country, but noted that most of the Phase One work started a the airports are more less completed.

Mr Chidoka, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, added that “most of the Phase Two works are still on going, but there has been budgetary constraints in some part of the work going on.

“There is some privatisation in the completion; many of them are quite advanced”, he said.

The Minister also noted that they are focusing on airports with 80 per cent completion rate and above “for now” before “moving on to the Phase Two projects to make sure they are completed over the next one to two years”.

He , however, noted that “the expansion of the left and right wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) has been done, the re-tiling has been done, but there is still somethings that we are trying to prioritise correctly”.

He further noted that in remodeling the airports, especially the MMIA there has been an expansion of capacity which must be supported by an expansion of infrastructure, which may have resulted in the long queues suffered before luggage is claimed by passengers at the airport.

“The physical space does not allow you to install more than two of those (conveyor belt/carousel). So, invariably, what you are going to have is some kind of bottlenecks coming out of the expansion“.

Mr Chidoka maintained that the remodeling, which is taking place on existing structures, will be hard to effect a high level of impact as seen in European countries, because the airports are being demolished and rebuilt from the scratch, adding that “we have conducted a study to find out what the causes of the delay; where the delays are.

“Unfortunately, the data does not support the number people of minutes or hours people say they suffer for delay”, he said.

He said the infrastructure that will support the capacity increase in airports will include fast, modern and technologically driven carousels that will be able to read the tags on the bags and separate them based on airline tags.

Aviation Ministry To Revert To Original Designs Of Abuja and Lagos Airports

Lagos AirportThe Senate Committee on Aviation has directed the Ministry of Aviation to revert to the original designs for the new terminals at the Lagos and Abuja International Airports.

The committee gave the directive at a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Aviation and the Debt Management Office (DMO).

The Ministry of Aviation had altered the design of the new terminals of the airports as a result of insufficient land.

At the meeting, the Committee on Aviation also sought clarification on the $500million loan from the Chinese Exim Bank for the construction of terminals at four international airports and the $100million counterpart funding for the project.

Responding, the Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Mr Abraham Nwankwo, said that the Ministry of Aviation had secured the counterpart loan of $100million and would start the repayment plan which would span seven years.

The American Transportation Safety Administration’s Attaché for Central and West Africa, Ms. Mcneir Loretta, had visited Nigeria on a three-day working visit in April.

Mcneir’s visit was a follow-up assessment to the aviation security audit that was carried out on the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja in December 2013.

Mcneir, who is based in Senegal, commenced her programme with a courtesy call on the Acting Director-General, NCAA, Mr. Benedict Adeyileka.

She also met with the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr. Saleh Dunoma, before visiting the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Dr. Jamilla Shu’ara.

‘I Inherited A Collapsed Aviaiton Sector’ – Oduah

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, says that the aviation sector was in total collapse when she assumed duty as minister and has made efforts to reposition the sector to meet global standards.

The minister’s comment came as she responded to questions from the senate committee on aviation on Tuesday.

Oduah was invited by the committee to explain the possible causes of the incessant air accidents in the aviation sector in recent times.

She explained that on resumption of office as the minster, she discovered that the safety and security critical equipment and installations were unserviceable and unavailable. The minister stressed that she met completely decade infrastructure at  the airport. “The dilapidated nature of the infrastructure was horrible,” she stated.

The law makers directed questions to officials of the different aviation parastatals. They asked question relating to the age of the aircrafts, who authorises aircraft to fly and the maximum age of a pilot by NCAA rule.

The Director General of NCAA, Fola Akinkuotu, said that by law, pilots were allowed to fly till the age of 65.

Due Process Was Followed In Purchase Of Bulletproof Cars-NCAA

The Director, Finance and Accounts of the National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr Salau Ozigi on Tuesday maintained that the purchase of the two bulletproof BMW vehicles for the minister of aviation was carried out following the “usual process of lease arrangements”.

“All the procurement processes was followed from the office of the NCAA to the office of the supervising ministry” he added.

He however noted that transaction was not done on an “outright purchase” system adding that it was “done by an auto lease arrangement with First Bank of Nigeria Ltd”.

He said 22 banks submitted bids to carry out the lease arrangement but three banks, First Bank, Stanbic IBTC and Union Bank, were chosen after their bids were critically analysed and First Bank was eventually awarded the contract.

The vehicles, which according to Ozigi, were included in the 2013 NCAA Budget under the Safety and Security Vehicles, have been supplied by Messrs Coscharis Nigeria Limited and are parked at the NCAA office in Abuja.

He blamed the economics of demand and supply on the high price of the vehicles noting that “only Messrs Coscharis Nigeria Limited is the only authorised dealer or supplier of BMW of this nature” insisting that “there is a lot of economics of demand and supply in this regard”.

Ozigi further noted that there is a price monitoring unit within the agency responsible for ensuring the value for money is gotten for whatever is paid for by the agency, adding that fees for the four year warranty, clearance and maintenance of the vehicle, including “some other things” could have been considered to get the value for vehicles.

Debunking the claim that money budgeted for the procurement has been overspent he said “on this arrangement, NCAA has been committed to the payment of N23.2 million or there about on a monthly basis” noting that “NCAA has made a payment of N52 million up till the end of September” insisting that it is within the threshold of the amount appropriated for 2013.

Amaechi’s Plane Was Flying With Forged Documents: Ministry Of Aviation

The Ministry of Aviation has revealed that facts available to the ministry suggests that the operators of the bombardier aircraft allegedly belonging to the Rivers state government obtained several flight clearances from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities (NCAA) using forged documentation.

A statement by the Special Assistant on media to the Minister of Aviation on Thursday says that “the said aircraft attempted to and did operate within the Nigerian airspace on the 26th of April 2013 without any flight clearance whatsoever in total violation of all extant civil aviation laws and regulations.”

The statement adds that “there is also the matter of the coat of arms and identity of the government of Rivers state being emblazoned and displayed on the aircraft in question, when there is no record or evidence of the state government’s ownership, lease, or other recognized legal or beneficial interest in the aircraft presented to or filed before the civil regulatory authorities.”

The statement further adds that “available records indicate that the aircraft is currently registered to Bank of Utah trustee until 30th of September 2015”, and such registration is not transferable.

The ministry has therefore directed a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the actual ownership of the aircraft in question.

It stated that upon conclusion of these internal investigations, it will take all necessary steps required by law.

Kwankwaso Decries Snub Of Indigenes For Employment At Re-modelled Kano Airport

The governor of Kano state, Mr Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso has expressed his displeasure about the failure of the Ministry of Aviation to consider indigenes of Kano state in the various recruitment process that were undertaken at the newly re-modelled airport.

The governor made this known while hosting a delegation of the Ministry and Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) who paid him a visit ahead of the commissioning of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport.

The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, stated that “Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has been restored to its glory. We are happy for the good support we have been receiving from the state government.”

Speaking that the commissioning ceremony, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi, stated that evolving a strong maintenance culture for the re-modelled terminals across the country is critical to their continued existence.

Sanusi, who was the special guest of honour, commissioned the remodeled section of the airport and stated that “CBN supports public officers that are doing something. There is no one that can go to Kano airport or Kaduna airport or Benin airport of Abuja airport and tell you that something is not happening.”

Mr George Uriesi, the Managing Director of FAAN revealed that Kano was the beginning of aviation history in Nigeria. “We take Kano as a strategic place in our aviation thinking”, he stated.

Princess Oduah revealed that the Ministry has awarded contract for two cargo areas, a perishable cargo area where perishable goods could be imported from the airport to other parts of the world.

FG To Help Nigerian Airlines Acquire New Aircraft

The new plan of intervention fund for the nation’s ailing aviation sector will not involve the release of cash to Nigerian airlines but a funding system will entail the purchase of brand new aircraft that the federal government is negotiating with aircraft manufacturers.

Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), Mr George Uriesi.

The federal government will provide the funds to purchase the new aircraft on stringent conditions and at very low interest rate.

This clarification was made on Channels TV weekend breakfast programme; Sunrise, by the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr George Uriesi,  where he explained that the Nigerian airlines that will benefit from the intervention will only enjoy such privilege based on stringent conditions.

According to FAAN’s MD, “the federal government of Nigeria is not buying any number of aircrafts that as being rumoured about. The government is just negotiating with aircraft manufacturers to supply brand new aircraft at globally competitive price to Nigerian airlines and funds to make the purchase will be provided by the government.”

It has been speculated that the federal government was about to purchase about 30 aircraft and practitioners in the aviation sector have been worried about how such aircraft will be distributed to the airlines operating in the nation’s airspace.

But Mr Uriesi debunked the claim about the purchase of 30 aircraft but confirmed the move on negotiating with aircraft manufacturers as part of the road map designed by the Ministry of Aviation to rescue the ailing sector.

He claimed that funds to buy these aircraft will be provided on very low interest rates instead of just giving the airlines funds from the intervention funds as it has being done twice before with no commensurate improvement in the sector.

“The interest rate will be single digit” he revealed.

This system, he notes will help address the issues of old aircraft that are plying the Nigerian airspace.

Merger for national carrier

He also denied reports that the federal government will be launching a new national carrier this year but however hinted that a merger of some notable airlines in the country will occur in the first quarter of the year and this merger will birth a national carrier that will be managed by the private sector.

“The federal government will not launch a new national carrier but it will help some new companies’ access funding to build a new national carrier” stated Mr Uriesi.

He further adds that “a couple of airlines will merge by March 2013 to emerge as the national carrier” and that “conditions that will enhance these developments are currently being put together.”

Part of the stringent conditions to access the scheme will be a thorough corporate governance structure within the prospective airlines.

When asked whether any airline in the Nigerian Aviation sector will be able to meet up to the stringent conditions at present, the FAAN boss claimed that the benefit of this new policy will be too good an offer, which would in turn make the airlines strive to operate even better.
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Boko Haram is sponsored by wealthy Nigerians – Security expert

A security expert, Max Gbanite on Tuesday said some wealthy individuals in Nigeria are sponsors and supports to the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

This according to Mr Gbanite, who was a guest on Channels Television’s morning programme, Sunrise Daily, is not a new fact since the State Security Services have always alluded to it.

The security expert was speaking against the background of recent events in Borno State. The military Joint Task Force (JTF) had on Thursday announced the arrest of Shuaib Mohammed Bama in Maiduguri, the Borno capital, describing him as “a high profile Boko Haram Commander who has been on the list of wanted terrorists operating between Bama and Maiduguri.”

The SSS had linked the arrested Boko Haram Commander to “a serving senator’s house along Damboa Road, GRA Maiduguri.”

The Senator, who was later identified as Ahmed Zanna, representing Borno Central Senatorial district, denied the allegation that the Boko Haram member was arrested in his house saying although the suspect is his nephew; he was not arrested in his apartment.

He said the suspect was arrested in a house belonging to Mr Sheriff and that the former governor is scheming with security operatives to robe him in the saga in order to claim his seat in the senate.

Watch the full interview with Mr Gbenite below:

FAAN insists on airport automation

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said despite the agitation of the aviation workers’ union, the automation of the airports in the country must go on.

FAAN Managing Director, George Uriese, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said with the automation of the airport, the body would be able to recover accurate charges on users of the airports.

Watch the complete interview below for more.