The federal government Thursday explained that the national carrier which was earlier billed to kick off in December was suspended temporarily because the process to actualise it was delayed.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has also also stated that Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will start bearing arms within the next three months.
The government said the transaction advisers did not complete the process on modalities on the ownership of the new airline in time.
Sirika who made this known yesterday, hinted that, in recent months, several misinformation, factual errors, insinuations and fabrications have been peddled in both social and print media on the project.
He informed that, Lufthansa, which was the first approved transaction adviser was rejected due to its outrageous demands which included opening an escrow account, refusal to pay tax and demand for 75 percent up front payment.
Sirika who spoke yesterday at the 5th aviation stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, also disclosed that another major factor that stalled the process was the inability of the federal government to provide sovereign guarantee for the procurement of 30 airplanes estimated at $300 million to be paid in installment till
According to the minister, “Estimated funding requirement for the establishment of the project is 300million dollars up to 2020. Initial start–up capital of 55million dollars made up of 25 million dollars for deposit for new aircraft and 30million dollars for working capital from June to December 2018.
Saraki said Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of FAAN will start bearing arms within the next three months.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Sirika made the disclosure yesterday at the fifth aviation stakeholders’ forum in Abuja.
“Within the next three months, we will get the FAAN AVSEC to start bearing arms like their counterparts in the Transportation Security Agency of the United States, ” he
The minister recalled the Turkish Airline incident in 2016 where some aggrieved passengers overpowered AVSEC officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and gained access to the tarmac.
Sirika also cited the recent occurrence at Sokoto Airport where some political supporters forcefully entered the tarmac, stressing that these actions were clear security breaches.
He said the personnel would be provided with new uniforms, sniffer dogs and other things that would enable them discharge their responsibilities of securing and safe guarding airline officials, passengers and other airport users. “So, for us, our focus is to ensure that we are secured and safe. Aviation is not just about building terminals because safety is one of the most critical aspect,” Sirika noted.
Air Peace scales up operation
Air Peace at the weekend took delivery of its fifth Embraer 145 Regional Jet, assuring that the development has deepened its capacity to relaunch its flights to Sokoto and start its Katsina service.
The carrier, which had earlier received four of the six 50-seater Embraer 145 Regional aircraft it recently acquired, said its goal of unifying Nigeria through air transport and extending its flight operations to unserved and underserved cities was fast being realized under its subsidiary, Air Peace Hopper.
A statement signed by Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Chris Iwarah said the latest delivery touched down at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at the weekend.
The new aircraft, marked 5N-BUX and named Udoka Ozor (Nee Onyema), the statement added, would be deployed on the Sokoto and Katsina routes in about two weeks’ time.“We are pleased to announce the arrival of our fifth Embraer 145 aircraft in Lagos. The aircraft, which is marked 5N-BUX and named Udoka Ozor (Nee Onyema), landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos about 6.30 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, 2018.
“We have now received a total of five of the six Embraer 145 aircraft we recently acquired as part of our fleet expansion project. We are delighted that with the arrival of the aircraft, we will relaunch our Sokoto operations and start our Katsina service in the next two weeks.
“Air Peace is committed to our no-city-left-behind project under our subsidiary, Air Peace Hopper. We are honoured that our involvement in the aviation industry is fulfilling our goal of uniting Nigeria through air transport, creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities and lifting Nigeria’s economy.
“We assure the flying public and Nigeria that we will continue to deliver exceptional flight services and create massive employment opportunities for the people with our domestic, regional and international operations. We are indeed grateful to our valued guests and solicit their continued support as we take greater steps to make our dear nation proud in the global aviation community,” Air Peace said
UPDATE: Closure of Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal
Airlines at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), have cried out over their losses, as the grounding of the terminal by aviation labour unions, including the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) entered day two on Thursday.
In view of this, they threatened that they may be forced to retrench some of their workers if the unions sustained the closure of the terminal.
Airlines operating from MMA2 to various destinations in the country include Dana, Aero, Arik, Med-View, Azman, Max Air and First Nation.
They said since the unions shut down the terminal building despite an order of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos and presided over by Mr Justice I. N. Buba, they had lost over N300million in revenue.
One of the airlines’ officials, who craved for anonymity, said: “For now, we have lost over N63million to the ongoing industrial action and losing much money in an industry where airlines are still grappling with a myriad of challenges is unacceptable and disappointing, to say the least. We do not know how the situation will be in the coming days and we might have no other option than to downsize if the action stretches for too long.”
While lamenting the extent of damage to their businesses, the airlines expressed regrets that the labour unions disobeyed a court order and continued their strike, which they said was ill-timed, not minding the effects of the action on the businesses of others.
They expressed regrets at the chaotic situation at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and said this had been worsened by the blockade of MMA2, which they described as the most conducive terminal for their guests.
They advised the parties involved to resolve the issues amicably in the interest of the passengers, the airlines, and other businesses operating at the terminal.
FG plans to go ahead with airport concessioning
The federal government plans to concession nation’s airports under the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to create an opportunity for the private sector to participate in airport infrastructure development in Nigeria under the PPP arrangement.
The government said the concession process would start with the first four major airports in the country located in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt for a maximum of 30 years to ensure they are run efficiently and profitably Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, disclosed this on Friday when he opened the Legend Lagos Airport Hotel operated by Hilton at the Quits Aviation Terminal, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
The opening of the exotic hotel, which was graced by the President of Hilton Worldwide, Christopher Nasette, the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, Chairman of Oando, Mr Wale Tinubu, among others, was described as unique.
Sirika before he cut the tape to open the hotel disclosed that the new airport terminals in Abuja and Port Harcourt built by the Chinese under the $500 million facility from China Exim Bank would be inaugurated before the end of October.
The minister observed that many Nigerians have taken to the social media to celebrate the new terminal at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana, but they did not know that the country has better airport terminal facilities in Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja and Lagos, adding that the four terminals would be unveiled soon, starting with Port Harcourt and Abuja this October.
He, however, stressed that despite the building of the four facilities and an additional one at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, the government had realised that it cannot effectively build and manage airport infrastructure, hence the decision to concession them.
“I will like to say that within the first quarter of next year, Airbus A380 aircraft would be landing in Nigeria. We have facilities to receive such an aeroplane. But this year before the end of this October, we would be opening the terminal in Port Harcourt which is ready even to the apron operations. We will also be opening the terminal in Abuja. They would be ready for operations.
“There are many other terminals we will open. I am sure my friends in the media have not forgotten that the intent and purpose of this government regarding aviation is to concession these airports. We don’t believe that government can run these facilities and run them very well. We must hand them over to the private sector,” he said.
The minister said Nigeria would soon record the highest passenger traffic in Africa as it was presently recording 16 million passengers per annum and the country strategically located to become a natural hub for West and Central Africa.
Wizkid Releases New Single!
Wizkid releases new single today! This masterpiece was Mixed and Mastered by STG with additional production by Northboi and has Sax effect by Tosin.
Wizkid kept to the promise he made to his fans stating that he would release his new single titled ‘fever’ on October 1. The much anticipated single is finally here.
Produced by Blaq Jerzee Mastered by STG with additional production by Northboi Sax effect by Tosin.
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