Showing posts with label Aviation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aviation. Show all posts

Friday, June 28, 2024

Ethiopian Airlines Joint Venture Plans In Nigeria Fall Through

Ethiopian Airlines’ ongoing talks to establish a joint venture (JV) airline in Nigeria have come to an end.

However, the airline is continuing to develop its multi-hub strategy in Africa.

“The Nigerian government has lost interest in partnering with a foreign airline,” Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said recently in Dubai. The plan for the proposed airline, to be known as Nigeria Air, was for Nigerian investors to take a 46% stake, with the government holding 5%.

However, Tasew said this setback will not stop the Star Alliance member from developing JVs to establish sister airlines in Africa where Ethiopian Airlines has an equity stake.

“We have been approached by several airlines in Africa for support, and we are evaluating them,” Tasew said. Countries include the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Equatorial Guinea.

Meanwhile, Togo-based ASKY, in which Ethiopian holds a 40% share, and Malawi Airlines, which was Ethiopian’s first JV, continue to do well. Zambia Airways—in which Ethiopian Airlines holds a 45% share—is also continuing to develop.

Closer to home, at its hub in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Tasew said Ethiopian Airlines is investing in expanding the airport’s international terminal, as well as aircraft parking and other infrastructure. The expansion, however, is now reaching the limit of available airport space. “We have a plan to build a new airport, 40 km [25 mi.] south of Addis. A consultancy, who will design the airport and supervise the construction work, has been selected,” Tasew said. The location of the new airport has been identified.

“We are hiring and training our aviation professionals including pilots and technicians to support the continued growth of the airline,” Tasew said. “We see opportunities, and we are on track with our growth plan Vision 2035.”

Besides a shortage of aircraft, spare parts and constrained capacity, traffic right restrictions are also an issue for the airline, not only within Africa but in other countries, including Europe.

“We want to fly to Munich as well as to Amsterdam, but traffic rights and available slots are an issue,” Ethiopian Airlines Regional Manager in Austria and Eastern Europe Saba Kassaye said.

In June, the carrier added services to Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Maun, Botswana, as well as a route to Warsaw. “The preparation work to launch Warsaw and to set up everything necessary took almost one year,” Kassaye said regarding the route development.

Vienna, which launched 10 years ago in Ethiopian’s network, became the connector to Eastern Europe. The logical step now would be to operate double daily services from Addis to Vienna during peak season in the summer and winter. “This could be a reality in maybe two years,” Kassaye said.

Starting in October, the current aircraft on the Addis Ababa-Vienna route will be upgraded from a Boeing 777-200LR and 787-9 to an Airbus A350-900. The aircraft continues from Vienna to Copenhagen four times, as well as to Warsaw three times a week.

Ethiopian Airlines—Africa’s largest carrier—carried 13.9 million passengers in 2023. The airline expects to carry 18 million passengers in 2024.

By Kurt Hofmann, Aviation Week 

Related story: Ethiopian Airlines Announced As Partner For Nigeria Air

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Emirates set to resume flights to Nigeria after a two-year hiatus

Emirates is set to resume its services to Nigeria this October, after having suspended them back in October 2022. The airline will be operating a daily service between Lagos and Dubai from 1 October 2024, operated using a Boeing 777-300ER. Each day, flight EK783, will depart from Dubai 0945 and arrive in Lagos at 1520 local time, while flight EK784 will depart from Lagos at 1730 and arrive in Dubai at 0510 local time the next day. Each flight will have eight First class suites, 42 Business class seats, and 304 Economy class seats available, and among its in-flight dining and entertainment offerings, passengers will be able to enjoy at least 23 Nigerian movies on offer. Tickets are already available for booking now.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ deputy president and chief commercial officer, said, “We are excited to resume our services to Nigeria. The Lagos-Dubai service has traditionally been popular with customers in Nigeria, and we hope to reconnect leisure and business travellers to Dubai and onwards to our network of over 140 destinations. We thank the Nigerian government for their partnership and support in re-establishing this route and we look forward to welcoming passengers back onboard.”

Including the resumption of this flight route, Emirates will now serve 19 gateways in Africa, encompassing a total of 157 per week from Dubai plus an additional 130 through its codeshare and interline partnerships with South African Airways, Airlink, Royal Air Maroc, Tunis Air, among others.

As a major economic hub in Africa, Nigeria and the UAE have built strong bilateral trade relations over the years, headlined by Lagos as the nation’s commercial centre. With the resumption of daily passenger flights, the airline’s cargo arm, Emirates SkyCargo, will further bolster the trade relationship by offering more than 300 tonnes of bellyhold cargo capacity, in and out of Lagos every week. The latter will support Nigerian businesses by exporting their goods via its state-of-the-art hub in Dubai, into key markets such as the UAE, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Bahrain, among others with key anticipated commodities such as Kola Nuts, food and beverages, and urgent courier material. Meanwhile, Emirates SkyCargo will also import vital goods such as pharmaceuticals and electronics as well as general cargo from key markets such as the UAE, India and Hong Kong, with the aim of keeping trade flowing seamlessly.

By Yi-Hwa Hanna, Business Traveller

Related story: Ban lifted on Nigerian Travelers to UAE After president Tinubu’s Visit


Friday, April 26, 2024

Fire breaks out at Airport in Lagos, Nigeria - Flights diverted

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has diverted all flight operations from the E wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) following a fire outbreak at the terminal.

According to a statement by FAAN’s Director of Public Affairs, Obiageli Orah, the smoke was noticed on Thursday morning at about 05:29.

“At 05:29 hrs, smoke was detected billowing from the T54 Bridge, leading electrical engineers to immediately cut off power to the entire E Wing.

“The Airport Rescue and Firefighting Services (ARFFS) team was quick to respond, arriving at the scene by 5:30 hrs,” the statement read.

Mrs Orah stated that initial suspicions pointed to sparks from an electrical unit as the cause, but that a thorough investigation was ongoing to ascertain the cause of the fire.

She disclosed that the incident, which escalated into a fire, was later brought under control by 06:41 hrs.

Mrs Orah said efforts to ventilate the smoke from the building were in progress, adding that all flight operations in Terminal 1 of MMA had been diverted to the D Wing in the meantime.

By Oluwakemi Adelagun, Premium Times

Related story: Former aviation minister of Nigeria arrested for money laundering


Former aviation minister of Nigeria arrested for money laundering

Nigeria's former aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, is expected to be arraigned in an Abuja court next week after being arrested earlier this week by the country's corruption watchdog in connection with fraud and money laundering allegations involving NGN8 billion naira (USD6.4 million). He was reportedly also questioned about the controversial Nigeria Air (NWB, Lagos) project.

According to local news reports, Sirika was detained on April 23 and remained in custody while being questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja, which was preparing charges against him.

As first reported by the newspaper The Punch, the investigation focuses on contracts Sirika allegedly approved during his tenure as aviation minister for Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his brother Abubakar Sirika, also a deputy director at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

The contracts included the construction of a terminal building at Katsina Airport in August 2022 for NGN1.35 billion (USD1.1 million); a fire-truck maintenance centre at the same airport in November 2022 for NGN3.8 billion (USD3.1 million); the procurement of lifts and other equipment for the Abuja office of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in February 2023 for NGN615 million (USD498,000); and procurement of Magnus Aircraft for pilot training and a simulator for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in the city of Zaria in May 2023 for NGN2.2 billion (USD1.8 million).

It is alleged that at least NGN3.2 billion (USD2.6 million) was paid to Engirios Nigeria Limited, which then transferred the funds to various entities.

The EFCC started investigating Sirika in February 2024 concerning allegations of conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation during his time in office between August 22, 2019 and May 29, 2023. The Punch revealed that Abubakar Sirika was arrested on February 4 and has been assisting the commission in its probe.

An unnamed source close to the investigation told the newspaper that Hadi Sirika was also being questioned about the controversial Nigeria Air project but gave no further insight. The EFCC is probing the proposed joint venture between a consortium led by Ethiopian Airlines and the previous government of Muhammadu Buhari. The consortium won a tender process run by the state-owned Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC). However, Nigeria Air's certification process was suspended in November 2022 after private airlines under the mantle of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) lobby group won an interim court interdict against its further establishment, followed by legal to-and-fros about the jurisdiction of the case.

Sirika in particular came under public fire after he approved a publicity charter flight operated by Ethiopian Airlines bearing Nigeria Air branding shortly before the government left office. After taking office in August 2023, new Aviation and Aerospace Development Minister Festus Keyamo suspended the Nigeria Air venture pending the outcome of the EFCC investigation.

By Hilka Birns, chi-aviation 

Monday, April 22, 2024

Video - Domestic airlines in Nigeria struggle to stay afloat as price of aviation fuel soars

According to industry research, aviation fuel constitutes nearly 60 percent of operational costs for domestic airlines. The price has soared by 109 percent over the past two years, jeopardizing the survival of many of Nigeria's domestic air carriers.


Related story: Nigeria suspends permit of 3 private jet operators




Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Nigeria suspends permit of 3 private jet operators

Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has taken action against private jet operators flouting regulations by suspending the Permit for Non-Commercial Flights (PNCF) of three operators caught conducting commercial flights.

This crackdown follows warnings issued in March 2024.

Acting Director General Capt. Chris Najomo stated that increased surveillance at Nigerian airports led to the grounding of three operators found violating their PNCF terms. Specifically, they breached annexure provisions and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023.

In response, the NCAA announced a thorough re-evaluation of all PNCF holders to ensure compliance with regulations, to be completed by April 19th, 2024. PNCF holders have been instructed to submit necessary documents within 72 hours to expedite the process. Najomo emphasized these actions highlight the NCAA's commitment to enhancing safety in Nigerian airspace.

Furthermore, the NCAA warned the public against using charter operators without a valid Air Operators Certificate and urged legitimate industry players to report any suspicious activities promptly.

This crackdown comes after the NCAA's stern warning in March against PNCF holders engaging in commercial operations.

Africa News

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

E-gates to be installed at all international airports in Nigeria

Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior has announced that biometric e-gates are currently being installed at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja and at the e-border data and control center at the Nigeria Immigration Service headquarters.

Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, honorable minister of interior, said e-gates will be installed across all five of Nigeria’s international airports, providing Nigerians with streamlined arrival while the e-border system will enhance national security.

As of February 19, four out of the planned 10 gates have been installed at the airport. It is expected that the remaining six gates will be operational before the end of the month.

Dr Tunji-Ojo said the new gates will reduce waiting times for arriving passengers. “With an impressive clearance time of just 30 seconds per individual, the gates are set to establish a new standard for efficiency in airport processing, comparable to global benchmarks.”

They are also designed to enhance national security by providing an additional layer of scrutiny for inbound travelers. “Through advanced biometric scanning and automated flagging systems, the gates will swiftly identify individuals of interest or those on watchlists, bolstering the efforts of the Nigeria Immigration Service to safeguard the nation’s borders,” the minister said.

In total, the nationwide project aims to deliver a total of 40 e-verification gates across multiple airports by the end of the first quarter. These installations will include 10 gates in Abuja, 17 in Lagos, five in Kano and four each in Enugu and Port Harcourt.

By Kylie Bielby, Passenger Terminal Today 

Related story: Video - Aviation sector sees record growth in Nigeria

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Ban lifted on Nigerian Travelers to UAE After president Tinubu’s Visit

The United Arab Emirates will lift a visa ban placed on Nigerian travelers almost a year ago following an agreement with President Bola Tinubu, who is on a visit to the Middle Eastern nation.

As part of the agreement with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline will resume flights to and from the West African nation, said Ajuri Ngelale, spokesman for Nigeria’s president, in an emailed statement on Monday.

“This immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government,” he said.

Emirates suspended flights to Nigeria last year over challenges in repatriating funds from the West African nation and Etihad at the start of the pandemic.

Separately, Nigeria was among 20 African countries that the UAE placed visa restrictions on in October without giving a reason.

The deal comes as Tinubu, who was sworn in as president on May 29, has initiated several reforms to attract investment including ending costly gasoline subsidies and easing foreign-exchange controls that led to dollar shortages.

The two nations also agreed to a foreign exchange liquidity program that will be announced in the coming weeks and a framework that will result “in billions of US dollars worth of new investments into the Nigerian economy across multiple sectors,” Ngelale said.

By Ruth Olurounbi, Reuters

Friday, August 25, 2023

President Tinubu orders immediate resolution to disagreement with Emirates Airline

Nigeria's president, Bola Tinubu, has ordered an immediate resolution to disagreements with Emirates Airline (EMIRA.UL) and visa issuance by the United Arab Emirates, the president's spokesman said on Thursday.

The UAE stopped issuing visas to Nigerians last year after Dubai's Emirates suspended flights due to an inability to repatriate funds from Africa's biggest economy.

Tinubu's office said in a statement on Thursday that he met with the UAE's ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, and that Tinubu is prepared to "personally" intervene in the dispute.

"We must work together. We need to agree on core aviation and immigration issues," Tinubu said in the statement.

Al-Shamsi was quoted in the same statement as saying; "We are getting somewhere. These are small issues, all within a family, and they will be resolved."

Emirates Airline said in March it has "substantial" revenue trapped in Nigeria and has made slow progress in repatriating the blocked funds.

Nigeria has withheld at least $743 million in revenue earned by international carriers operating in the country, global airline industry association IATA said in March.

Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer, faces shortages of foreign currency despite some reforms.

The dollar shortages have made it difficult for some foreign

airlines that sold tickets in the Nigerian naira currency to get their money out of the country.

By Felix Onuah, Reuters

Friday, August 11, 2023

Video - Nigeria Air to be operational fourth quarter of 2023

After much delay, Nigeria Air is expected to begin operations later this year. The new air carrier is partnering with Ethiopian Airlines, which predicts Nigeria Air will help grow Nigeria’s GDP, expand the hospitality and tourist sectors, and add jobs.


Friday, July 14, 2023

Video - Aviation sector sees record growth in Nigeria

A report by the International Air Transport Association shows that air travel traffic in the West African country soared by nearly 60 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to figures recorded in 2019.


Friday, June 2, 2023

Video - New national carrier, Nigeria Air launched

The Nigerian government has unveiled the long-awaited national carrier, Nigeria Air, in a major step for the country's aviation sector. Authorities said the Nigerian flag carrier will re-position Africa's most populous nation as a prominent player in the global aviation market.


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Video - Travelers upset over rising cost of flying in Nigeria

Travelers in Nigeria are dealing with the increasing cost of international airfares after the operators raised the rate of exchange three times between the months of March and May 2023. This trend has been linked to the piled-up unrepatriated funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Video - International airlines struggle to repatriate $800 million from Nigeria

The International Air Transport Association says the amount of trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to repatriate is close to 800 million U.S. dollars. Nigeria is facing a severe shortage of foreign currency, and the issue makes it difficult for airlines to convert local currency to repatriate revenues earned from ticket sales.


Direct flights from Italy to Nigeria in the works

The Italian government will soon launch direct flights from Italy to Nigeria, its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stefano De Leo, has said.

“We plan to open an Italian trade agency in Lagos and, hopefully, soon launch direct flights between Italy and Nigeria,” De Leo said.

The Italian envoy said this moments after signing a working agreement with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on behalf of the Italian news agency, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) in Abuja.

The ambassador said the direct flights from Italy to Nigeria would boost the economic ties between the two countries.

De Leo added that the flights would lay the conditions for opening up other opportunities that would be mutually beneficial to both Italy and Nigeria in the near future.

“We are working closely with my colleague, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Italy, Mr Mfawa Abam. Today is a positive day because it signifies an important step towards improving the already excellent relations between both countries,” the envoy said.

The envoy said that the working agreement signed between NAN and ANSA would see the two news agencies sharing information and knowledge.

According to him, the agreement will also see ANSA providing training to NAN’s newsroom manpower.

He described the agreement as a major development, especially in view of the fact that it involves “a partner such as Nigeria, the giant of Africa”.

Responding, the Managing Director of NAN, Buki Ponle, described the agreement as a step in the right direction as it would unveil great possibilities for news exchange between both agencies.

Ponle added that NAN is the country’s largest content provider and national purveyor of information, with 36 state offices and 26 district offices.

He said that the news agency’s focus was Nigeria, with Africa as the centerpiece of its reportage.

“The signing of the news exchange agreement with ANSA marks another defining phase in our continued engagements with like-minded institutions.

“It is my hope and belief that this landmark event will signal the beginning of a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship.

“To leverage its octopoidal reach, NAN has news exchange partnerships with leading international wire agencies such as Reuters (UK); Deutsch Presse-Agentur (Germany); Xinhua (China); and Sputnik (Russia).

“Others are Yonhap (South Korea); Asian News International (India); Anadolu (Turkey); and Bulgaria News Agency (Bulgaria).

“This is just a chip of the global experiences we are bringing into the partnership agreement with ANSA aimed at fostering a new and positive order in global reportage,” he said.

NAN reports that the managing director of NAN signed the agreement for NAN while the Italian ambassador signed on behalf of ANSA at the NAN headquarters in Abuja.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Flights disrupted in Nigeria due to strike by aviation workers strike over pay

Domestic flights in Nigeria were being disrupted on Monday, local airlines said, as aviation employees in Lagos blocked roads to the country's busiest local airport to begin a two-day strike in protest over working conditions and wages.

The strike is likely to add to problems in a sector that regularly faces jet fuel shortages, which often ground local flights and where international carriers struggle to repatriate revenue from ticket sales due to dollar shortages.

Air Peace, which also flies international and regional routes and has the largest fleet, told passengers that "flights across our network will consequently be disrupted" due to the strike. It did not say how many flights were delayed or cancelled.

United Nigeria said passengers in and out of the commercial capital of Lagos would be disrupted but hoped for a quick resolution to the impasse.

In Lagos, chanting workers blocked roads to the domestic terminal, creating a traffic jam and forcing passengers to finish their journey on foot. International flights were not affected.

Police and army personnel watched from a distance.

Lagos handles dozens of local flights daily.

"It is time for us to release aviation workers from the bondage of this imperialist aviation management that we have been having for years," Abdulrasaq Saidu, secretary general of the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, said.

The Ministry of Aviation said it was trying to meet the workers' demands and urged them to return to work, adding the strike would "affect flight schedules, lead to economic losses and negatively impact on our rating globally."

Unions for pilots, engineers, control tower operators and other airport workers say they are protesting against unpaid wages, government failure to implement an industry minimum wage and plans to demolish the Lagos offices of some aviation agencies to allow for expansion of the airport.

The workers have threatened an indefinite strike later this month if their grievances are not addressed. 

By Seun Sanni and MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

Related story: Nigeria To Fine Airlines That Don't Sell Tickets In Local Currency

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Flights in Nigeria disrupted as ground staff go on strike

Airlines in Nigeria said on Monday that flights were being disrupted after ground staff began an indefinite strike to demand higher pay.

Air Peace, which has the biggest fleet in Nigeria, and smaller domestic carrier Dana Air said the strike by the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) was delaying flights and they hoped the issue would be quickly resolved.

“The strike has affected all operations of all airlines being handled by the company [NAHCO],” Air Peace said in a statement.

British Airways and Qatar Airways, among the foreign airlines frequently flying to Nigeria, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The National Union of Transport Employees and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria issued a notice last week that its members would go on strike from Monday to press NAHCO for better pay.

Flight disruptions are common in Nigeria due to issues surrounding logistics, labour union strikes and fuel scarcity.

In May 2022, the Airline Operators of Nigeria, an umbrella organisation of domestic airlines, suspended flights for days saying the price of jet fuel had jumped from 190 to 700 Nigerian naira per litre (from $0.45 to almost $1.70). The rise was primarily caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. 

Al Jazeera

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Video - Nigerian business people eager to resume travel to China

Nigerian business people are looking forward to resuming regular travel to China, after China relaxed entry and exit conditions. Badamasi Kamaladdin is one of them. He has been buying phones and accessories from the Asian country for nearly a decade, and now says that he has high expectations in 2023 that his business will flourish once again.


Monday, January 2, 2023

Nigeria regrets travel restrictions to curb Omicron variant, says it disrupted business

The Nigerian government said the travel restrictions enforced to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had no health benefit.

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa stated that the restrictions impacted negatively on individuals and businesses.

“Recent experience in Nigeria with the arrival of omicron showed travel restrictions did not have any public health benefits but were disruptive for persons and businesses. COVID-19 has and continues to follow a different course (epidemiology in Nigeria and most of Africa),” Adetifa tweeted.

Following a meeting of the NCDC COVID-19 National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) held on Saturday, Adetifa said the EOC would continue to review the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the coming week.

He expressed confidence that the Nigerian population is significantly protected from a combination of natural infection and vaccination but hinted that there will be changes in government approach if the need arises.

“At the next review and if deemed necessary, a range of actions, not limited to enhanced surveillance of travellers at airports, may be implemented,” Adetifa said.

He advised Nigerians to make use of every opportunity the government has provided via to get vaccinated and urged citizens to receive their primary vaccination which can be two or a single vaccine dose.

“If you have received two vaccine doses already, go get your booster,” Adetifa said.

“If you have received one booster dose already, please go get your second booster dose. If you belong in any of the high-risk categories (old age, etc), kindly ensure you adhere to recommended public health safety measures – mask use, hand hygiene and avoiding crowded spaces.”

By Dennis Erezi, The Guardian

Related story: Video - Nigerian airlines see demand as the recovery gathers momentum

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Direct flights between Nigeria and Israel might be coming soon

Starting next month, Israelis might be able to travel to a new destination in Africa directly from Ben-Gurion Airport.

Nigerian airline Air Peace could start offering direct flights between Nigeria and Israel very soon, CEO Allen Onyema revealed this week in a meeting with the Israeli envoy to Nigeria.

The launch of the new flight route between Lagos and Tel Aviv, while not officially confirmed as of yet, could come as early as next month.

New potential line good news for Nigerian Christians

The 4,300 km. route would see the flight time between the two countries decrease significantly to only six hours. Currently, the travel can often include several transfers and usually takes longer than 10 hours.

The potential line is especially significant for many Nigerian Christians who wish to travel to Israel for its holy sites.

The Jerusalem Post

Related story: Ethiopian Airlines Announced As Partner For Nigeria Air