Category Archives: Aviation

Airline firms encouraging passengers to fly without IDs could lead to serious security issues in Nigeria–Patrick Eholor

NSA Babagana Monguno, Min of Aviation Hadi Sirika and Eholor

Frontline civil society activist, Comrade Patrick Eholor has expressed worry over the illegal hoarding and hiking of airline tickets by airport and airlines staff.

Eholor, who said the development was very dangerous and could jeopardize the security of travelers and even that of the country, said the ticketing offices at airports sell off tickets to themselves with fictitious names, only to resell them at extortionary rates to passengers without verified identities.

Eholor who narrated his own experience while traveling from Abuja to Benin, said terrorists could take advantage of the development to hijack aircrafts and even engage in suicide bombings with planes loaded with passengers.

He therefore called on the National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, as well as the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika to as a matter of urgency, address the problem before it endangers the lives of travelers.

His words: “I was supposed to return to Benin with a one way ticket, as I was coming to Benin from Abuja this morning. When I called, a ticket that’s supposed to be sold for N35,000 have been hiked to N140,000 and N200,000 respectively.

“What they are doing is to compile fictitious names and use them to buy off all the tickets. After buying them, it becomes scarce, and when you come in, they will tell you there is no ticket available.

“This development has been ongoing in the Nigerian airlines industry, and everyone is keeping mute, but for the sake of the international community and people in diaspora, we have a lot banditry, armed robbery, Boko Haram and insurgency.

“If the criminal elements take up this development, Nigeria is finished. This is because people are buying tickets with anonymous names and traveling with them. The airline authorities don’t check IDs anymore. People are checking in with lighters, people are checking in with firearms, and the airport authorities don’t care. What they care about is the money. They don’t know who is flying in their planes. We won’t want what happened in 9/11 to happen in Nigeria, God forbid.

“Our national security system have been infiltrated by bandits, Fulani herdsmen and other criminals.

“I am crying out once again, I don’t want to be the Nostradamus of our time. So the national security adviser need to wake up and check what’s happening on our airlines and ensure there is safety of passengers against possible hijack or bombing.

“They must investigate and find out those who are boarding our aircrafts without IDs, and those who are selling tickets to them without finding out who they are or what their identities are, for the sake of money.

“Passengers must carry verifiable identities like the national ID card or international passports. Enough is enough.

“What they are doing is very dangerous, and I am calling out that something must be done about it on time. If we do not value our own lives, we should just be aware that there are Americans flying our planes locally, there are also Europeans traveling in Nigeria.

“Our National Security Adviser must be aware of this, the FBI must be aware of this, the CIA must be aware of this, the military and police intelligence must be aware of this, and this development must be terminated now.

“I am a frequent flyer, our security operatives at the airports are so porous, and this need to be checked now”,he warned.

Anambra International Airport will be one of the best in Nigeria when completed – Captain Musa Nuhu, NCAA boss (PHOTOS)

By James Eze, Awka

The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Nuhu has described the Anambra International Cargo/Passenger Airport, Umueri as one of the best airports in Nigeria.

The civil aviation boss who came to inspect the facilities at the fast rising airport said he was amazed at the elaborate, carefully planned and masterfully executed facilities at the new airport.

Speaking after the tour, Captain Nuhu who was the Nigerian representative in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council before his current appointment, said that the impressive array of facilities at Anambra Airport had left him amazed and speechless.

“I am amazed, almost speechless at the level of work, and the level of compliance with our regulatory requirements and also with international standards and recommended practices,” he declared, pointing out that his tour of the airport had given him a clear view of what the Obiano administration had achieved with the project.

“We have gone round the airport. We have a runway of 3.7km with a runway safety area on both ends of the airport of about 1000 meters. There’s no airport in Nigeria that has a racer area of 1000 meters at both ends of the runway, with two taxiways. We have gone to the tower, the control tower is amazing, certainly if not one of the best control towers in Nigeria today,” Captain Nuhu observed.

Speaking further, Nuhu who is the head of the highest regulatory authority in aviation in Nigeria said, “we have seen the fire service station. Amazing. It’s going to be a CAT 955 firefighting station which will allow big planes and international flights to be landing and taking off here once flight resumes.”

According to him, “the water treatment plant is amazing. It takes care of the need of not only the airport but also of the firefighting service. We have seen the emergency evacuation center, trauma center in case, God forbid, anything happens. There’s arrangement to deal with any eventuality. I have seen the operational fence, I have seen the perimeter fence, significantly done or almost completed. And in the vehicle earlier today, I had said that ‘Anambra means business.’ And I mean it when I say Anambra means business.”

Captain Nuhu further emphasized that everything about the airport was perfect, pointing out that the consultants to the government of Anambra State on the project had done a great job.

“It is obvious that when this airport is completed, it is going to be a significant enabler of the economy and growth of this area, the state and the surrounding states here. So, at this point I congratulate Governor Willie Obiano for this legacy project,” he concluded.

More photos from the inspection exercise:

Anambra Airport: From Rumour to Reality

By James EzeStanding on the tenth floor of the Control Tower of the Anambra International Airport, Umueri two days ago, I felt a tremor ripple through me. Six months earlier, the spot where the tower stands was a wrinkled patch of earth. Now upon it stands a towering monument to the resilience of a proud and enterprising people. It suddenly dawned on me that sometimes; the thin line between dream and reality is fear…fear of failure, fear of uncertainty, fear of being caught on the wrong side of history. And beyond this overcast of fear, success waits in silvery brightness.It is heartwarming to think that Governor Willie Obiano did not give in to fear…that he kept his eyes on the prize and that on account of that, a monument is sprouting out of the soil of Umueri today in his name. In fact, if Obiano had given in to fear, the airport project would have assumed all the attributes of a malaria dream; indistinct, unrealistic and finally…vaporous. But today, Anambra International Airport has moved from rumour to reality. And as we mark Obiano’s 7th Anniversary, we pay a modest tribute to the resolve of purposeful leadership to break free of mediocrity.In clearer terms, Willie Obiano is currently completing one of the most modern airports in Africa. At 3.7 kilometers long and 60 meter wide, the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri has the second longest runway in Nigeria, next to only Muritala Muhammad International Airport Lagos. But since it was designed and built to enable landing from either side, the runway has a slight edge over Lagos. It is a CAT 2 type of runway with a ground lighting of 270mm.The airport terminal is designed to accommodate 400 persons. It has three floors fitted with escalators and lifts for smooth and easy movement. It was designed with the possibilities of a future expansion in mind. The Apron measures 300x200m x560mm of reinforced concrete that can take six sizeable aircraft at once. The Apron is serviced by two standard Taxiways that measure 35m wide with shoulders. It also has three ultramodern firefighting trucks and three 6×6 Crash-tender with 770hp. The car park can comfortably take 400 cars. The outstanding thing about the airport is that it will be equipped with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) which will guarantee a safe landing for airplanes at night. Impressive!The most interesting thing to note about this airport is that it is almost ready barely one year after construction commenced on the site. Work began on the site in January 2020 but the world soon slid into a dark tunnel when COVID-19 struck. Doubts rose over it like the pungent smell of a cheap Arabian perfume as folks wondered how the dream would survive the global shutdown. But it did. Work went on at the site; day and night, all through the shutdown and the recrudescence of the pandemic early this year. Work is still progressing at a blistering pace. The basic structures are all set. The central access road to the airport which leads to Enugu-Onitsha Expressway has a bridge and a big culvert which have both been constructed. Sooner than later the road will be completed.Interestingly, against the expectations of some critics, Governor Obiano chose to mark his 7th Anniversary in absolute solemnity even when he has so much to celebrate for. However, when the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo paid him an unsolicited visit, Obiano decided to take them to the airport construction site to acquaint them with the progress of work. Needless to say, led by Prof George Udozor, the members of Ohanze were thoroughly impressed with what they saw. They said so in unmistakable terms. Speaking his mind about the airport, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, owner of the defunct Oriental Airlines said “I have been hearing about the airport; but there is a difference between what you hear and what you see. Today, I have seen the airport and I am impressed. As most of you know, I am an engineer. I specialized in highway and hydraulics. I built the Enugu Airport as a very young engineer. I want to say that what Governor Obiano is building here is not for Anambra State but for the entire South East. This is very important.” Chief Iwuanyanwu should know. After all, he was also deeply involved in the building of the Owerri Airport.The most fascinating thing about the Anambra airport is not just that it is set to blaze a new trail in Nigerian aviation but that it is one airport whose viability is guaranteed even before it starts operations. There is hardly another state in Nigeria that has Anambra’s large number of restless, always-on-their-feet population. These people love convenience. They would rather fly to Umueri than any of the nearby airports. Anambra is the leading economic hub in the South East with 63 active markets and the largest retail market in West Africa located just a few kilometers to the airport. The cargo wing of the airport will meet their needs perfectly. Similarly, at the moment, the leading airline in Nigeria; Airpeace is owned by onye Anambra. He already has place reserved for his airline at the airport. Lately, two other entrepreneurs from the state have also floated new airlines.They are Dr Obiora Okonkwo of United Airlines and Chief Chidi Anyaegbu, CEO of Chisco Group who floated Havila Airlines a few days ago. These airlines are sure to open offices at the Anambra airport. The National Bureau of Statistics also announced that Anambra is the state with the least poverty rate in Nigeria at 15%. This means that many people from the state can afford the slightly steep cost of air travels.Sincerely, it is difficult not to see that once again, Governor Willie Obiano has shown incredible vision with the Anambra Airport initiative. It is impossible not to accept, even if reluctantly, that things are indeed falling together for Anambra State, under Willie Obiano.

Reopen international wings of Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt airports, Reps urge FG

House of Representatives yesterday urged the federal government to reopen the international wings of Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt airport shutdown down at the peak of the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemics.

The House also urged the Presidential Taskforce on COVID–19 to urgently direct the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN to place COVID–19 preventive protocols ahead of the formal re-opening of the airports.
The call was a sequel to a motion by the majority leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, the deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu and 34 others at Wednesday plenary.
Moving the motion, Doguwa recalled that on 19 March 2020, “among the urgent drastic responses to COVID–19 Pandemic was the closure of three out of the five International Airports in Nigeria namely: Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa”.

He expressed concerned that “Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano has remained closed despite credence to the impact and importance of the Airport to Nigerians, foreigners and the economy as it serves 15 passenger airlines, which include Kabo Airline, Air peace, Aero Contractors, Max Air, etc. being local airlines and Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, etc as International Airlines”.

According to him, “Airport is the hub of Muslim Pilgrimages in Northern Nigeria, alongside serving other exigencies like emergency medical evacuations and between 2010 and 2015, had a yearly average of 391,637 passengers flying the route for either business or pleasure”.

Doguwa said that the losses of jobs on account of the continued closure of the Airport as well as jeopardizing investments in the Information and Communications Technology, facilities and meteorological equipment which the government may not be able to repair immediately, and so susceptible to malfunctioning, contrary to the expectations in an industry that runs on the precision of judgement on anchored working equipment and facilities.

The lawmaker added that the other two Airports that were closed alongside the Airport have resumed operations, hence the continued closure of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has brought untold hardship in many dimensions from economic to social loss of revenues generated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) from the Airlines, other persons whose livelihoods are intrinsically linked to the operations of the Airport such as car hire operators and retailers of different products.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Aviation to interface with the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika to without further delay, agree on a timeline to reopen the airport.

JUST IN: First Int’l flight lands Lagos, SEE list of banned/approved airlines to Nigeria

There was palpable joy on Saturday as the first international flight landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

This is coming after five months of the closure of the Nigerian airspace due to lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

The aircraft operated by Middle East Airlines touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

According to reports, the plane which took off from Beirut, Lebanon, landed at the airport at exactly 02:27 pm.

Details shortly

Meanwhile, the following airlines are banned from Nigeria:

– Air France
– KLM
– Etihad
– RwandAir
– Air Namibia
– Royal Air Maroc
– Lufthansa
– TAAG Angola
– South African Airways.

Those granted permission to enter Nigeria are as follows:

Lagos:

– British Airways
– Delta (USA)
– Emirates
– Qatar
– AWA
– Kenya Airways
– Middle East Airlines

Abuja:

– British Airways
– Egypt Air
– Emirates
– Ethiopian Airlines
– AWA
– Middle East Airlines
– Turkish Airlines

The ban is as a result of their country’s inability to allow Nigerian airlines to access their airspace

Two Dead as Helicopter Crashes into Building in Lagos

Two persons have been confirmed dead, and another person in Intensive care unit (ICU), as a Bell 206 helicopter operated by Quorum Aviation crashed into a building at 16 A, Salvation Road, Opebi, Ikeja Lagos on Friday.

According to an eyewitness, identified as Faith Omo, “The accident happened so fast with a big bang and the whole ground shook. We all rushed out of the office to see what had happened. Only to find out it was a Helicopter that just crashed. It fell into a compound. God saved all the people occupying the place because it didn’t fall on top of the building.

“We ran far away for safety. A lot of crying is currently going on right now, I am seeing emergency services removing dead bodies from the scene. I must commend all Lagos State Emergency Agencies, they arrived here just within 15 minutes after the incident happened. And they are still here.”

The incident was said to have happened at about 12:05pm of Friday.

In a situation report, the Director General and CEO of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, said the agency received distress calls concerning “a privately operated helicopter that crashed into 16 A Salvation Road, Opebi, Ikeja and immediately activated the emergency response plan.

“The helicopter was carrying three people, one is in the intensive care unit at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital while the other two were killed on impact and there bodies have been deposited in mortuary . We on top of challenges especially crowd control

“Operation is ongoing and updates will follow”
The crash was confirmed by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), which said it had dispatched officials to the site of the accident.

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