Abuja Airport Ready Ahead Of Deadline

Abuja Airport Ready Ahead Of DeadlineThe Federal Government says the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja is 100 per cent complete and set for reopening to airlines on Wednesday, April 19.

The Airport Manager, Mr Mahmud Sani, who disclosed this to Channels Television in Abuja, said the terminal buildings at the airport have been upgraded for the safety and comfort of passengers.

“The airport is good to go. We thank the Federal Government for rehabilitating the Abuja Airport.

It is not only the runway that was rehabilitated, we also seized the opportunity to improve on our facilities at the terminal building. As you can see, every part of the terminal building is being touched,” he said.

The Airport Manager also outlined measures put in place to ensure a constant maintenance of the airport.

“We shall continue to maintain what we have, and we are also optimistic that the second runway will soon come,” he added.

The Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika, had said that he would resign if the airport was not opened by April 19, 2017.


Buhari Meets With Service Chiefs Before Leaving On Vacation

Buhari Meets With Service Chiefs Before Leaving On VacationNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday held a meeting with his service chiefs behind closed doors at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport.

This was before proceeding on his ten-day vacation.

On his official Twitter handle, the President tweeted: “Before leaving I met with the Security Chiefs. We will continue to work to fulfill our promise to confront all security challenges head-on.”

The Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Olanishakin, who spoke to journalists, said that the meeting was to give the President an update on the movement of a stand-by troop to The Gambia.

The president has been a mediator in the political crisis in the West African country and the briefing lasted for about one hour.

Also speaking, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, gave the assurance that there is nothing to worry about the President’s routine medical checkup while on his vacation.

The President himself also made it clear that there is nothing wrong with going on vacation, just before stepping into the presidential jet.

The President is expected to resume work on February 6, 2017.

While away, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, will perform the functions of the Office of the President.

Buhari Visits Home Town, Duara

Muhammadu Buhari in home town Duara
Governor Aminu Masari welcoming President Muhammadu Buhari at the airport

Nigeria’s President, Mohammadu Buhari, is spending the weekend in his country home, Daura in Katsina State.

The President left Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja on Friday at about 2:00 p.m. after the Jumat prayers in the Presidential Villa.

On arrival at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport in Katsina, he was received by the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari and some indigenes.

It is the first time that President Buhari will be visiting his home town since he returned from London on June 19 where he visited for a 10-day vacation and an ear evaluation.

After he returned from London, he told reporters that he was okay and better.

“I am okay. I am better. You can see me inspecting the guards of honour. Now you can do the assessment yourself,” Mr Buhari told reporters at the airport.

He also said in Hausa language that he was so healthy that he could even engage anyone in a wrestling bout.

The President is expected back in Abuja on Monday.

Federal Government To Decongest Abuja Airport

Abuja AirportThe Federal Government will soon put in place security equipment at the domestic terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja in Nigeria.

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, gave the indication when he received a delegation from the British High Commission, led by the Head of Aviation Security, Jankie Milies.

The decision, according to the Minister, would enable some airlines operate from there, without hindering the ongoing restructuring and remodelling works. It is also aimed at decongesting the traffic at the international terminal and to ensure easier surveillance.

He said that he had considered the necessity of the exercise in view of the precarious world security situation that has put aviation under serious watch.

According to the Minister, the fact that most of the major disasters that have befallen the world in the recent past have been aviation-related, has put the issue of aviation security on the front burner as it is one of the weakest links being exploited by terrorists.

This is why the ministry is trying hard to establish an aviation security system which would be of world standard, with the ability to work with arms, sniffer dogs, modern surveillance equipment and intelligence gathering.

Sirika also disclosed that the ministry was also working towards improving the physical security of the nation’s airports.

He commended the efforts of the British government in conducting an assessment of the security situation in the nation’s airports with the aim of determining areas of possible assistance.

He informed the delegation that the ministry had recently set up a committee for a similar purpose and currently studying its report and recommendations for implementation and called for greater collaboration between the two countries especially in the area of capacity enhancement in modern aviation security trends.

The leader of the delegation, who is also Head of Aviation Security at the British High Commission, Jankie Milies had earlier told the minister that her team had undertaken an assessment of some of the nation’s airports with the assistance of the relevant agencies, in order to determine areas of possible assistance and discovered some challenges in cargo handling.

She said that the team had one more round of assessment to do before turning in their full report that would culminate in further discussions.

She informed the Minister of their readiness to conduct some training for about 80 aviation employees drawn from the relevant agencies.

Jankie Milies told the Minister of the readiness of the High Commission to arrange an assessment tour of the ministry’s officials to some airports in the United Kingdom to help in the development of aviation security in Nigeria.

The Minister accepted the offer immediately.

Buhari Returns From Saudi Arabia

Muhammadu-Buhari-returns-from-Saudi-ArabiaPresident Muhammadu Buhari is back in Nigeria after a week-long official visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The presidential jet arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, in the nation’s capital, Abuja, at about 5:30pm local time, where the Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory received him.

The presidential guard was also on hand for a brief airport ceremony to welcome him.

The President was in Riyadyh for talks with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and senior officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Talks focused on how to achieve greater stability in the price of crude oil exports.

In Qatar, President Buhari held talks with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, which culminated in the signing of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) to pave way for direct flights between major cities of both countries.

Both countries also signed an agreement to avoid double taxation and tax evasion on the sideline of President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit to Qatar.

At a meeting with the business community in Qatar, President Buhari also assured them that his government would remove any impediment that could hinder investment in Nigeria.

The Nigerian leader also met with Nigerian community in Qatar where he urged them to urged them to rekindle the spirit of patriotism and selfless service to encourage more foreign investments.

Buhari Returns From Trip To United Kingdom

BuhariThe presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, General Muhamadu Buhari returned from his two weeks travel to the United Kingdom on Friday amidst tight security presence and a large crowd of party supporters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.

General Buhari did not give detailed response to questions from journalists who where at the airport to clarify issues surrounding his visit to the UK but explained sojourn at the Chatham House in London.

He noted that he had explained all he needed to about events at the Chatham House and his campaign activities since he travelled.

He further denied claims that his absence from the country was because the PDP was allegedly having the upper hand in the campaign, adding that “I don’t think so”.

“Don’t forget that we were a number of opposition parties that came together to form the APC, so no one man is the party. This party belongs to all the parties that came together”, Buhari said, assuring journalists that there was no division in the APC.

FAAN Explains Flights Cancellation And Rescheduling

Flights CancellationThe Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has appealed to passengers to bear with the flights cancellation due to poor visibility in the last few days.

Over 100 local flights have either been cancelled or re-scheduled since Wednesday because of bad weather.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja, several passengers have had to spend hours waiting for their boarding announcements long after they have been checked in at the airline counters.

The Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN, Dati Yakubu, said that the delays and flights cancellation is caused by the bad weather that comes with the harmattan season.

He pleaded for passengers understanding, adding that the decisions were necessary in the interest of the passengers.

While authorities believe the action is a safety measure to prevent crashes, some affected passengers, who spoke to Channels Television, insisted they should be compensated for their time.

However, some passengers agreed with the flights cancellation and delay since it is because of their safety.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency had predicted hazy weather conditions and poor visibility range of one to three kilometres on Wednesday.

The condition has continued to badly affect flying.



Jonathan Unveils Cenotaph For Dana Air Crash In Abuja

The federal government has promised to do everything humanly possible to ensure that the Nigerian airspace is safe for everyone.

President Goodluck Jonathan made this known while speaking at the local wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja at a remembrance service and unveiling of a memorial cenotaph in honour of the 153 victims of Dana air crash which occurred in Lagos a year ago, killing 153 people.

The President said that his administration set up the panel to not only unravel the cause of the disaster but also work out modalities on how to take care of the families of the victims.

He expressed regret about the delay in compensating family members of the crash victims.

According to him the cenotaph symbolizes federal government’s resolve to nip such incident in the bud.

President Jonathan called on Nigerians and airline operators to be vigilant at all times to avoid a repeat of such calamity.

He also promised to build an aviation sector that all Nigerians can trust.

Governor Chime Sneaks Out Of Abuja

Exactly 141 days after Governor Sullivan Chime left the Enugu state government under inexplicable circumstances, the governor, who returned to the country through Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport, Abuja has sneaked back to his state.

Since his arrival from abroad, the whereabouts of Governor Sullivan has been shrouded in secrecy, raising questions over his state of health.

However, Channels TV crew followed his convoy to the V.I.P. lounge at the local wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport, Abuja, where he boarded a chartered aircraft out of the nation’s capital.

The governor’s convoy arrived the Abuja airport at exactly 1.53 p.m. under heavy security and drove straight into the V.I.P. lounge.

Attempts to speak to him by our crew met serious restrictions from his security aides.

However, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Chukwuma Achife, confirmed that the governor arrived Enugu state at 3.00 p.m.

Achife added that the governor went straight to the government house located in the independence layout area of the city, where he is receiving visitors.

Despite unanswered questions about the prolonged and unexplained absence of governor Chime, his arrival will surely settle some tensions in the coal city state.


Dozens of Arik passengers stranded in Abuja

Dozens of Arik Airline passengers were stranded on Friday following Thursday’s suspension of the domestic operations of the airline.

The Counters of Nigeria’s biggest airline was deserted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport following the suspension of domestic flights by the management of the airline.

Although some of the passengers expressed disappointment over their inability to travel, others complained about the absence of officials of the airline to pay refunds for their unused tickets.

“I’m a little disappointed because I came to get my 11 o’clock flight to Lagos to get my international connection and I was told that there is no flight. In terms of customer service, I feel disappointed. Perhaps they should have tried to reach out to the customers and provide alternative for them,” one of the stranded passenger said.

Some of the passengers expressed disappointment with the sudden suspension of the airline’s operations saying this has brought untold hardship to them. Other passengers were angry over the procedure to get a refund of their fares.

“It’s a very terrible experience. We here since yesterday and were supposed to go for a friend’s father’s burial which is supposed to hold today and until now we’ve not been able to get a ticket yet we’ve paid our fare to and from Uyo. They are not even telling us anything,” another stranded passenger told Channels Television’s correspondence.

The management of the airline has issued a notice directing passengers on how to get refund of their air fare.

“I got a text message yesterday saying that arik flights have been grounded. If my information is correct, they said it has to do with a debt. Maybe they are owing the airport authority or something. I’m not very sure, that’s why I am here,” a passenger at the airport said.

The Managing Director and Executive Vice Chairman of arik air, Chris Ndulue however appealed to the government and aviation authorities to intervene in the dispute between the airline and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

“We very much sympathise with the passengers and we very much regret all the inconveniences they’ve passed through. The press conference we had today is to call on the Federal Government to intervene.

“We’ve also shown you the letters we’ve written both to FAAN and to the presidency calling for intervention; calling for someone to mediate between FAAN, the Ministry (Ministry of Aviation) and Arik,” Mr Ndulue said.

The domestic operations of arik airlines were disrupted on Thursday by aviation unions over alleged N17 billion debt owed FAAN and some other agencies which prompted the management of the airline to suspend all its domestic operations.

The few airlines that were operating on the domestic routes on Friday claimed that they were fully booked as some passengers struggled to get tickets.

Only three airlines — IRS, Aero and Overland —  were operating as at the time of publishing this report.

Hopeful Uzodinma

The Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Hope Uzodinma has assured that the crises rocking the airline would be resolved by Sunday.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, Mr Uzodinma said the presidency has intervened in the crises to this end the secretary to the government of the federation has summoned officials of Arik Airlines, the Ministry of Aviation and FAAN for a meeting on Saturday.

The crisis involving Arik Airlines is coming on the heels of a recommendation by the senate that Arik Airlines be made the national flag carrier of the country.

Mr Uzodinma blamed the problem in the aviation industry on the lack of proper development.

FG acquires four generators for Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport

The Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Joel Obi, says the Federal governemnt has commenced the installation of four generators for the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport.  According to Mr Obi, the government is taking the initiative to resolve the problem of black out at the airport and to prevent future embarrasment.

On three different occasions this year, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has suffered a total blackout. When the latest blackout occurred barely a week after the unfortunate Dana plane crash, some international flights about to land in the airport, were diverted to nearby airports.

When completed, the special assistant said that it would signal an end to the challenge of lighting at the airport.

Four generators, with a combined capacity of 6,000KVA, have been acquired to supply electricity to the airport. Each of the generators has a capacity of 1,500KVA.

With the new acquisitions, the Abuja Airport now has two sets of power backup in addition to the national grid.