Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lufthansa suspends services to Air Nigeria

Perhaps taking a cue from General Electric Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) which withdrew its four aircraft last week, Luftahnsa Technik was Tuesday alleged to have terminated its aircraft spare parts and aircraft component pool which was domiciled in Lagos for the use of Nigeria's major carrier, Air Nigeria.

Before the withdrawal of its services, Lufthansa Technik was the leading provider of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) support to the airline.

The aircraft maintenance company was servicing the airline's Boeing and Embraer aircraft.

The implication of this is that when the airline, which was grounded by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) about two weeks ago, resumes operation, it would face difficulty in getting spares to service any of its aircraft on ground (AOG) as there would not be readily available aircraft parts for minor repairs.

In fact, an inside source told THISDAY Tuesday in Lagos that with the withdrawal of Lufthansa Technik, the airline may not even resume operation after meeting the laid out conditions by NCAA without approved technical team.

"This is because they cannot carry out any maintenance

of their aircraft. In the first place, NCAA will not even give them approval to start operation without maintenance engineers and they cannot in the time being put up the required engineers to have their own technical team, and where will you even get those engineers?"

Reacting to the report, Air Nigeria denied that the aircraft maintenance company has severed its services to the airline, insisting that Lufthansa Technik was still providing spares to the airline. According to the head of communication of Air Nigeria, Sam Ogbogoro, "Sequel to the recent reduction in our capacity following the return (repossession) of four Boeing B737-300 aircraft in our fleet, we are currently in discussions with Lufthansa Technik to rationalise aircraft spares in alignment with the current fleet size"

Meanwhile, air fares continue to rise for local destinations because only few airlines are still operating as the lull that was observed after the crash of Dana Air flight on June 3, 2012 has given way to an upsurge in passenger movement in many of the nation's airports, especially in Abuja and Lagos airports.

Industry observers said that if the present number of airlines continues to operate in the next few months that fares might rise as high as N50, 000.00 for one hour's flight during the peak period which begins from September.

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