Category Archives: Business

Stakeholders Condemn Nigerian Government Over Return Of Emirates To Abuja, Increased Frequencies To Lagos

Players in the Nigerian aviation industry have expressed concern over the return of the Middle East carrier, Emirates, to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja from its base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


The airline is also set to increase its flight frequencies to Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos from one daily to twice a day, amounting to 14 frequencies per week.

The UAE-based carrier had suspended flights to Abuja in October 2016 in the wake of the Nigerian economic recession.

Speaking to our correspondent, General Secretary Olayinka Abioye of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) expressed worry over the dominance of foreign airlines in Nigerian routes.

Mr. Abioye explained that the designation of multiple routes to foreign carriers was affecting the progress of the local operators and therefore urged the government to change that policy in favor of Nigerian operators.

He said that rather than open all the major airports to international carriers, the government should have made the Lagos airport a hub where foreign carriers disembark their passengers while local airlines airlift them to their final destinations, but decried that the reverse was the case.

“My fear is the domination of foreign airlines even within the domestic routes. We are thinking that if the government is up and doing, Lagos will remain a hub while all passengers will disembark in Lagos and local airlines distribute them to various airports across the country.

“That would have been better for us. But, the operations of the local airlines are nothing to write home about with this policy of the government,” Mr. Abioye said.

John Ojikutu, the former Commandant of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, similarly decried that most of the foreign carriers have turned Nigeria into their domestic operations.

He explained that virtually all the foreign airlines coming into Nigeria operate into at least two points in Nigeria, stressing that Ethiopian Airlines alone flies into five points in Nigeria and numerous others.

Mr. Ojikutu decried that while Nigeria was busy opening up its airports to various foreign airlines, their counterparts elsewhere were restricting Nigerian carriers from flying into airports of their choice.

“Now, you have five international airports which foreign carriers are flying into. They have more or less taken over your domestic markets. If you have an Ethiopian Airlines that is flying into five of your airports, what has it done?

“In those days, when it landed your Enugu passengers in Lagos Airport, you now take them to Enugu. If it dropped your Kano, Kaduna and other cities’ passengers in Abuja, your own airline will go and pick them and drop them in their various cities. Now, what has it done? It has taken over your domestic markets. Those are the consequences and the danger in giving multiple landings to foreign airlines when you don’t have reciprocity,” he told SaharaReporters.

Olumide Ohunayo, the Director of Research at Zenith Travels, attributed the sordid situation to inconsistencies in the Nigerian government’s policies.

He bemoaned that in spite of the kick against the multiple entries policies by a majority of players in the sector, most state governments are enticing foreign carriers into their states.

Mr. Ohunayo expressed that with such a policy, the government was indirectly killing the domestic carriers and urged the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to reverse the “unfriendly” policy.

“When you look at a country whereby you are not united in policy, industry and the growth of the sector, then, you begin to enter some of these little crises at the peril of the domestic carriers.

“Here we are saying that we don’t want multiple entries for foreign carriers, yet, some governors want every foreign carrier to operate into their states. With this, there is no way the domestic airlines will grow. We are killing our own carriers with our attitude.”

It would be recalled that Emirates had on Friday disclosed plans to return to the Abuja airport by December 15, adding that it would increase its weekly frequencies to Lagos from seven to 14.

The airline had suspended flight operations to Abuja in October 2016 while it reduced its weekly frequencies to Lagos by 50 percent in June 2016.

At least 11 foreign carriers are currently operating an  additional 30 frequencies to Nigeria weekly and are operating into different airports across the country.

Airlines with extra frequencies into Nigeria are British Airways, seven; Virgin Atlantic, seven; Air France, seven; Ethiopian Airlines, 14; Kenya Airways, three; Lufthansa, seven; Egyptair, seven; Air Cote D’Ivoire, seven; Africa World Airlines, three; Turkish Airlines, three; and Asky Airlines with another three extra frequencies to the Abuja airport.

SEC Bans Sale Of Oando Shares

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, on Wednesday ordered a full suspension of the trading of shares of Oando Plc for two days.

The commission also directed that effective from Friday, October 20, the Nigerian Stock Exchange should implement a technical suspension of the shares of the company.

SEC in a notice posted on its website on Wednesday morning said it took the decision after it received two petitions from Dahiru Mangal and Ansbury Incorporated.

The Commission explained that it carried out a comprehensive review of the petitions and discovered issues of breach of the provisions of the Investments & Securities Act 2007, breach of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies, suspected insider dealing, related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length, discrepancies in the shareholding structure of Oando Plc, among other discrepancies.

“The Commission’s primary role as apex regulator of the Nigerian Capital Market is to regulate the market and protect the investing public,” it said.

“The Commission notes that the above findings are weighty and therefore needs to be further investigated. After due consideration, the Commission believes that it is necessary to conduct a forensic audit into the affairs of Oando Plc.”

“This is pursuant to the statutory duties of the Commission as provided in section 13(k), (n), (r) and (aa) of the ISA 2017.”

According to SEC, to ensure the independence and transparency of the audit exercise, the forensic audit shall be conducted by a consortium of experts made up of auditors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and registrars.

“To further ensure that the interest of all shareholders of Oando Plc are preserved during the course of the exercise, the Commission directed the Nigerian Stock Exchange to place the shares of Oando Plc on technical suspension,” it said.

The commission, however, noted that in view of the fact that it is not technologically feasible for the Exchange to effect a technical suspension except after 48 hours, it has directed the Nigerian Stock Exchange to implement a full suspension in the trading of the shares of Oando Plc, effective for 48 hours from Wednesday to Friday 20.

Meanwhile, effective from Friday and until further directive, SEC said that the NSE should implement a technical suspension in the shares of Oando Plc.

Oando Plc has in recent time been enmeshed in crisis which led to attempts made by some shareholders to disrupt its Annual General Meeting held recently in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The AGM was reportedly disrupted for over ten minutes as the protesters chanted songs seeking the resignation of the company’s Group Chief Executive, Wale Tinubu.

The protesters, who stormed the venue under the aegis of “Oando Shareholders’ Solidarity Group,” said they were protesting in order to change the management of the company due to alleged gross mismanagement and abuse of corporate governance.

They also claimed that they had read several reports on the gross mismanagement of Oando by the present management of the company and called on Mr. Tinubu to step down and allow a competent hand to manage the affairs of the company.

The protesters also called on the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC and Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, to commence the immediate investigation of the company to determine the true state of the financial position and corporate practice.

But the oil company in a statement described the protesters as “paid, dubious characters,” who are not genuine shareholders of the company.

In September, the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and other Institutions told the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC and Oando Plc to resolve all issues regarding an alleged N799 billion stakeholders’ liabilities with the oil firm.

The committee’s decision came against the backdrop of a petition forwarded by some aggrieved shareholders of the oil firm.

The petitioners claimed that the company has not been paying dividends to the shareholders since the 2013 financial year, adding that the “external auditor’s report reported ‘strong doubtful going concern’ over the group’s annual financial statement.”

According to the petition, “the group has negative working capital of over N263 billion consequence of current liabilities above, lighter than current assets, meaning that the management was unable to service its obligations financially.”

The petitioners also urged the leadership of the House to “as a matter of urgency save their investment in Oando Plc, look into these matters, cause an action to intervene in Oando plc by ordering/remove the present management, to vacate office, allowing for proper investigation of the corporate governance abuses, financial mismanagement as noticed in the published full-year audited financially statement.”

Bi-Courtney: FAAN Owes Us N200bn, Unions Are Lying

Two days after three unions in the Nigerian aviation industry accused Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), of owing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over N2 billion arising from several unremitted revenues, the terminal operator has described the allegation as a fabricated lie.


In a statement by BASL spokesman Steve Omolale, the company said the FAAN has failed to obey its contractual agreement it signed with BASL.

According to him, FAAN owes BASL N200 billion, which it generated from its activities at the General Aviation Terminal at the Lagos airport.

Bi-Courtney also accused the unions of intentionally peddling lies about the company

Mr. Omolale insisted that the unions were aware of FAAN’s indebtedness to BASL but have chosen to fabricate falsehoods in a bid to discredit BASL and mislead the public.

“It is common knowledge that the aforementioned unions [NUATE, ATSSAN and NUP] actually challenged the Concession Agreement in court and lost the case in Appeal No. CA/A/141/M/2009,” he said.

“It appears that the unions are seeking to undermine the decision of a federal court. There is no better time to remind the unions that Nigeria is a country of laws and all citizens are bound by the laws of the country.

“We at MMA2 are very proud that we run the most efficient airport terminal in Nigeria. We have demonstrated clearly that, if given the opportunity, a Nigerian company is capable of delivering exceptional services, particularly in the provision of critical infrastructure.

“Given that we operate on 5 percent of the revenue of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, our achievements over the years are deserving of commendation from all quarters.”

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) had claimed on Tuesday that Bi-Courtney was indebted to FAAN to the tune of over N2 billion.

The unions in a joint press conference said that the terminal operator had failed to comply with all the contractual agreement between it and FAAN.

At a press briefing, Olayinka Abioye, the General Secretary of NUATE, said that Bi-Courtney’s partnership with FAAN was a failure as it was laced with several controversies.

In the unions’ breakdown of the purported debts of Bi-Courtney to FAAN, the unions had claimed that the company, in its 10 years of operation, owed FAAN the following: aviation security, N1.2bn; management fees, N331m; fire and safety fees, N131.2m; marshaling service fees, N2.1m; electricity, N439 million; rent and conference fees, N87.8m; and hotel fees, N116.9m.

The unions insisted that because of the sordid experience FAAN was having with Bi-Courtney, it would continue to kick against the concessioning of the four major airports.

It would be recalled that controversies had enveloped the contractual agreement between FAAN and Bi-Courtney since the commencement of the agreement in 2007, with both parties accusing each other of violating the agreement reached.

Till date, there is no clear cut agreement on the years of the operations between the two companies before the terminal is handed over to FAAN under the BOT arrangement. There are some documents showing 12 years while others claimed 24 and 36 years before the transfer of the terminal to FAAN.

Appeal Panel Upholds NCAA’s Sanctioning Of FirstNation Airways

The five-man panel set up to review the appeal filed by First Nation Airways contesting the  Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA) sanctioning of the airline for violating safety rules has said that the airline erred in its operations.


Members appeal panel were drawn from two other airline operators, a private aviation lawyer and observers from the NCAA.

A statement by the general manager of public affairs at the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said that the five-man panel upheld and reaffirmed the civil sanctions imposed on the airline and one of its pilots by the regulatory body.

Mr. Adurogboye said that this opinion was contained in the report submitted by the panel to the NCAA at the conclusion of the sitting.

It would be recalled that the NCAA had fined the airline and one of its pilots N32 million and N1.5 million respectively for violation of safety regulations in the industry in November 2016.

The NCAA had accused the pilot of being in possession of an expired certificate, which it insisted violated safety rules.

The regulatory authority had also accused the pilot-in-command (PIC) of one of the two of the aircraft in the fleet of the company, an Airbus A319 aircraft, of flying without a current medical certificate, which is a serious offense in the global civil aviation industry.

The troubled carrier then filed an appeal following a letter of sanction written to the airline on January 23, 2017, which prompted the establishment of the appeal committee.

Mr. Adurogboye explained that after the exercise, it was discovered that the pilot in question was not in possession of a current medical certificate.

In addition, he said that the airline similarly rostered the pilot to carry out operational flights when his medical certificate had expired.

“Therefore, the airline and the pilot violated Parts,, (1) and (24) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015,” Mr. Adurogboye explained.

“Consequently, in accordance with IS 1.3.3. (1)(14) of the Nig. CARs, 2015, the airline and pilot were fined N32 million naira and N1.5 million naira being a moderate civil penalty for the violation. The regulatory authority, in its responsiveness and quest to be just and fair to all, constituted an appeal committee to hear the airline’s appeal.

“The five-man appeal panel had three airline operators, a private legal luminary and NCAA officials as observers. FirstNation Airways was represented by four lawyers, the pilot and three management staff.”

Mr. Adurogboye said that after four days of sitting, submissions and deliberations, the panel upheld and reiterated the applicable sanctions meted out to the airline and its pilot, adding that it arrived at the conclusions that the ATRL 1874 License of the Pilot in Command of FirstNation Airways had expired on November 2, 2016. The panel also found that the pilot was not in possession of the license during the ramp inspection on November 8, 2016.

“The pilot-in-command (PIC) did not have a valid license and was not properly certified from the 2nd – 8th November, 2016. The PIC operated 15 flights and the airline rostered the PIC 16 times.

“The PIC operated with an expired license from the 2nd to 8th November, 2016, and there are indications that the airline knew the PIC did not have a valid license. This is a very serious safety issue. Therefore, the moderate sanctions applied by the NCAA were reasonable under the circumstances.

“The PIC’s argument that he had a valid license when he operated the flights is incorrect, as he had no valid Medical Certificate. The PIC had 14 days according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) to apply before the expiration of the license. However, he did not apply until the 3rd of November, 2016, after expiration,” the panel said in its report.

Mr. Adurogboye added that the pilot did not complete the Cardiac Risk Assessment (CRA) test mandatory for him due to his age of 62 years,  even after he was informed by NCAA the Authorized Aviation Medical Examiner (AAME).

The CRA report, he said, was dated November 7, 2016 and was sent to the NCAA on November 8, 2016.

He maintained that the accusation of delay and inefficiency by the authority was wrong and unfounded, insisting that the PIC and the airline did not follow standard procedures.

“The panel hereby dismisses all grounds of appeal and upholds the NCAA’s Letters of Sanctions in respect of FirstNation Airways and its pilot.

“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will continue to provide a level playing field to all airline operators. However, failure to adhere to safety regulations shall attract applicable sanctions,” the panel ruled.

Union Threatens To Ground Aero Contractors Over Sacking Of ‘Redundant’ Workers

One of the leading unions in the Nigerian aviation industry, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), has threatened to ground the operations of Aero Contractors over its dismissal of 60 percent of its workforce, in violation of the airline’s agreement with the union.


The airline cited redundancy as the reason for the layoffs.

The president of the NAAPE, Abdenego Galadima, in an interview with journalists on Sunday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, alleged that hundreds of workers who were laid off by the airline were yet to be paid their pittances by the management as agreed to with the unions in March this year.

Mr. Galadima said that none of the agreements entered with the unions leading to the sacking of hundreds of engineers and pilots were abided to by the management.

It would be recalled that Aero Contractors has been under the receivership of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). The airline was taken over by AMCON following massive unpaid indebtedness to banks by the airline.

Mr. Galadima accused the receiver manager of Aero Contractors of unilaterally throwing the affected workers out of the airline without paying them their redundancy benefits, describing it as “wicked impunity” which would not be allowed to stand.

He declared that the strike would commence as soon as the NAAPE finished consultations with other unions in the industry, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other affiliated bodies.

The union leader purported that the airline ran into murky waters due to mismanagement of resources, unbridled profligacy and massive fraudulent practices, but regretted that workers were now being made to pay the price.

He said the workers worked tirelessly to ensure the airline remained in the air, but eventually went down due to several connivances.

Mr. Galadima insisted that the intervention of AMCON further plunged the oldest airline in the country into more crises, saying that the mismanagement of resources continued unabated while more questionable transactions were enacted by those appointed by the corporation.

“The situation was compounded by bringing on board several key officials and management who were unknowledgeable about airline business and whose administration styles were corrosive and unsuitable to an operations-based business like an airline.

“It was indeed with much pain that the unions eventually negotiated a redundancy package on behalf of the workers declared redundant by the management. This was after we persuaded ourselves to accept this burden as further sacrifice needed to avoid a complete crash of the airline.

“Worse still, the company’s poor financial health meant that the redundant employees could only be offered pittance. We were left with no choice but to accept a worse possible redundancy package for our members. We did this to demonstrate our desire to see the airline through the prevailing travails.”

It would be recalled that Aero Contractors’ management had sacked 60 percent of its workforce over redundancy claims earlier in the year.

The management said it took the decisive decision following inadequate equipment (aircraft), adding that it could not continue to pay high wages to workers who had no jobs to do at the airline.

Before the layoffs, the airline had a staff of over 1000 workers.

The statement added that it was confronted with high operational challenges, as most of its aircraft were not airworthy while some of its aircraft were due for C-Checks.

Nigerian Government Orders Review Of Aviation Concession Agreements


The Nigerian government has ordered the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to review some of the major concession agreements in the aviation sector, SaharaReporters learned on Monday.


The government, through the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in a meeting with the Managing Director of FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, and union leaders in the industry, emphasized that most of the agreements are skewed in favor of the concessionaires at the expense of the Nigerian people.

There are about 300 concessionaires for the FAAN in airports across the country.

At Murtala Muhammed International Airport alone, the FAAN has 40 concessionaires in charge of cleaning services.

A source privy to the meeting, which was held in Abuja on July 27, 2017, told our correspondent that three presidents of the leading unions in the sector were in attendance.

The unions represented at the meeting were the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

The presidents in attendance were Muhammed Safianu for NUATE, Ahmed Illitrus for ATSSSAN, and Galadima Abednego, representing NAAPE at the meeting.

At the meeting, it was gathered that Mr. Sirika said the government had perused all agreements the agency signed with all its concessionaires and concluded that some of them were completely lopsided in favor of the concessionaires.

Some of the concession agreements that may be affected by this new order include Avitech Nigeria Limited, which was brought on board by the former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, in 2013.

Avitech, which is in charge of aeronautics and non-aeronautical revenues for the FAAN, has been enmeshed in some crises of late as some stakeholders and FAAN staff accused its management of diverting some of the revenues made on behalf of the agency to its private pockets.

Also to be affected is the thorny concession agreement between the FAAN and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2).

Others are I-Cube West Africa Limited, which is in charge of toll collection at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, and PromoWorld Advertising Limited, whose concession agreements were recently reviewed downward by FAAN management under suspicious circumstances.

The concession agreement was reviewed down from N800 million annually paid to FAAN to N700 million, a situation, which led to murmuring among the agency’s staff and some disgruntled management of FAAN.

Hometel Nigeria Limited may also be affected by the order. The company was accused of non-remittance to the FAAN for over two years.

Also mentioned at the meeting were concessions of Maevis Nigeria Limited and Pan Express Limited, which were canceled under controversial circumstances.

A source close to the FAAN explained to our correspondent that such concession agreements disproportionately favored the concessionaires.

“The minister is embittered with the situation at hand. When you look at about 300 concessionaires that we have, some of the agreements are skewed against the government and that is why we want to review all of them.

“The ones that are good, the minister said the government will continue to allow them, but the ones that we think are repugnant to the national interest, justice, and good conscience, we have to review them,” he said.

Lagos Air Traffic To Decline By 25% Before December – Report

A statistics released by a research company, ForwardKeys had projected that passengers’ traffic to and from Lagos would decline by 25 per cent before the end of the year.


The company in its analysis also said that Lagos has dropped among the 10 top international airports in Africa and warned of more decline in the total number of passengers.

The breakdown of the 25 per cent according to the company indicated that in the next five months; August – December 2017, there would be 16 per cent fewer airline seats on domestic routes and 9 per cent fewer seats on international routes to and from Lagos.

The report, however, attributed the decline in airlines’ seats to the decision of the management of Arik Air to cut 53 per cent of its seats for the rest of 2017.

The company also ascribed the fall in the number of passengers to their inability to repatriate ticket funds after the currency crisis in 2016.

It said that since the currency crisis began in 2016, two major airlines, Iberia from Spain and United Airlines from the United States had ceased operations to Nigeria, while Emirates and the other foreign carriers have reduced their frequencies into the country.

Jon Howell, Managing Director of AviaDev, Africa’s leading airline route development conference added that: “The Nigerian airlines have suffered too and so this void has been filled by the ever-opportunistic Ethiopian Airlines, who began serving their fifth Nigerian destination, Kaduna on 1st August 2017 and are now the largest carrier in the Nigerian market.”

Howell observed that most of the other airports in Africa’s top 10 are seeing a healthy growth in capacity, which is more international than it is domestic, stressing that the most notable exception to this trend was Nairobi, which is seeing a 22 per cent boost in domestic capacity.

“These findings are part of a wider report on travel to Africa, produced by ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analyzing 17 million booking transactions a day. It shows double digit growth in flight arrivals for the first half of this year and little indication that the pace of growth will slow down soon,” the report added.

The report reveals that in the first seven months of the year, 1st Jan – 31st July 2017, total international flight arrivals grew by 14 per cent over the same period in 2016.

Most significantly, growth was stronger for travel to and from the continent than within the continent. Arrivals from Europe, which make up 46 per cent of the market, were up 13.2 per cent.

From the Americas, arrivals were up 17.6 per cent; from the Middle East, they were up 14 per cent and from Asia Pacific, they were up 18.4 per cent. By comparison, intra-African air travel, which makes up 26 per cent of the market, was up 12.6 per cent.

Looking at Africa’s top 10 destination countries, there have been standout performances from Tunisia and Egypt, which are recovering from notorious terrorist attacks two years ago, up 33.5 per cent and 24.8 per cent respectively.

In addition, Morocco and Tunisia received a huge boost in arrivals from China, up 450 per cent and 250 per cent respectively, after they relaxed visa restrictions.

The one disappointment is Nigeria, which has seen a 0.8 per cent drop, in the wake of the recession in 2016, caused by a collapse in the oil price to a 13-year low.

Looking forward to the end of the calendar year, bookings for flights to Africa are currently 16.8 per cent ahead of where they were on July 31st, 2016.

Bookings from Europe are currently 17.5 per cent ahead, from the Americas 26.6 per cent ahead; from Asia Pacific 11.5 per cent ahead, from the Middle East 8.2 per cent ahead and bookings for intra-African air travel are 11 per cent ahead.

Pilots Union Worries Nigeria May Fail American FAA Audit


As the Nigerian aviation sector prepares for Monday’s audit by the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has raised concerns that it could fail the exercise.


The NAAPE observed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), the two major organizations that will be assessed by the FAA, lack the technical personnel for the country to pass the audit.

In a statement by its president, Abednego Galadima, the union said that poor conditions of service (CoS) to safety inspectors and investigators by the two organizations have prevented them from attracting, hiring or retaining qualified and experienced pilots and engineers.

If Nigeria fails the FAA assessment, which will run from Monday, August 21, till Friday, August 25, Nigerian carriers would be prohibited from operating direct flights into the United States.

At present, no Nigerian carrier flies directly to the US since Arik Air suspended its route earlier this year. Delta Air Lines, however, continues to operate flights from Atlanta to Lagos.

Our correspondent learned that Air Peace seeks to run direct flights between Nigeria and the US. This plan would be disrupted, however, if Nigeria fails the audit.

Speaking to journalists, Mr. Galadima explained that availability of adequate qualified technical personnel was Critical Element 4 of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) eight Critical Elements of a State’s Safety Oversight System, which both the NCAA and AIB lack.

Statistics reeled out by NAAPE indicated that other civil aviation organizations across the globe have attractive conditions of service to their inspectors and investigators, unlike their Nigerian counterparts with poor remunerations.

According to the union, inspectors in the FAA get a minimum of $179,700.00 per annum; United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UKCAA), $170,500.00; Transport Canada, $175,600.00; and South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) with $155,900.00 per annum.

Mr. Galadima also pointed out that Nigerian operators attract safety inspectors with higher remunerations than NCAA and AIB.

He explained, for instance, that Execujet Nigeria Limited pays at least N1.1 million per month to inspectors, while Aero Contractors attracts technical personnel with N1.5 million; Bristow Helicopters, N1.2 million; Caverton Helicopters, N1.5 million; Nest Oil Aviation, N2 million; and Dornier Aviation with N1.6 million per month.

Mr. Galadima warned that if the remuneration packages of the two agencies to technical personnel are not changed, Nigeria may not meet up with the required personnel for the country to consistently scale the hurdle of the FAA, which is carried out every three years.

“ICAO document 9734 on the Staffing Requirements in a State Civil Aviation System states that, ‘To effectively fulfill its responsibilities, the state civil aviation system must be properly organized and staffed with qualified personnel capable of accomplishing the required wide range of technical duties involved in safety oversight. Furthermore, they should also enjoy conditions of service and remuneration consistent with their education, technical knowledge and experience and comparable to the operator’s staff whose activities they will inspect and supervise.’

“Also, ICAO document 9756 Part 1 Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Chapter 2 section 2.4 reiterated the need for qualified, well trained and motivated personnel. The worldwide standard is for the CAA’s Inspector and Air Safety Investigator to earn more or, at the least, be at par in earning with the aviation technical staff in their states,” Mr. Galadima said.

He emphasized that India was unable to retain its Category One status in 2014 due to inadequate qualified inspectors because of poor remuneration, warning that if the NCAA and AIB were unable to attract qualified personnel, the India experience may be repeated in Nigeria.

Mr. Galadima therefore called on the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, and Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika to direct the management of NCAA and AIB to improve remunerations to technical personnel in the two agencies.

It would be recalled that the NCAA, through its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye had assured that Nigeria would scale the hurdle of the visiting FAA team.

FirstNation Denies Downgrading Of Airworthiness Certificate, Transitions To Charter Service


Barely 24 hours after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced that it downgraded FirstNation Airways’ Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) due to its inability to operate a minimum of three aircraft, the airline insisted that its C of A is still intact.


The spokesman of the airline, Rasheed Yusuf, stated that FirstNation has changed its status from a scheduled airline to a charter airline, as the airline does not have enough aircraft to operate as a scheduled carrier.

According to Mr. Yusuf, however, the airline’s airworthiness status was never downgraded by the regulatory body.

He added that the airline would return to scheduled services by the fourth quarter of 2017, saying it is currently pursuing a fleet expansion programme.

In July, SaharaReporters revealed that FirstNation reduced its fleet to just one aircraft in violation of the NCAA’s regulations for scheduled operations.

According to NCAA regulations drafted in 2015 and enforced in 2016, an airline must have a minimum of three aircraft in its fleet in order to operate as a scheduled airline.

One of FirstNation’s two Airbus a319 aircraft has been parked at the apron of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) since November 2016, reducing its fleet to just one aircraft.

On Monday, the Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, confirmed that the airline downgraded its operations from a scheduled operator to non-scheduled.

“Yes, they use one aircraft and they were on scheduled services, but the present status now is that the certificate of the airworthiness of the status has been changed to non-scheduled service, which is charter service. So, they are no longer into scheduled service until they are able to meet the requirement for scheduled service.”

Mr. Yusuf confirmed on Tuesday that the troubled carrier recently renewed its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) for charter services.

He explained that its AOC was due for renewal on July 31, 2017, which entailed subjecting its operations to rigorous and demanding audit processes covering all areas of the airlines’ activities, noting that before the renewal, it voluntarily reduced operations.

“Well before the AOC renewal, we voluntarily reduced our flight frequency to well within the capacity of our current fleet. The AOC was successfully renewed for charter operations and we have contracts for sales distributions. We thus remain committed to the highest level of safety standards in line with global industry best practices. FirstNation is currently working on a fleet expansion program and we are confident that we will expand to scheduled operations during the fourth quarter of 2017.

“We are working with the NCAA with respect to the outcome of our recent appeal. It is imperative that this is the very first infraction that has been alleged against us. We thus remain bullish about the outlook of this airline.”

We’re Not Discussing Arik Air Takeover With Ethiopian Airlines, AMCON Insists


Despite the claim by the management of Ethiopian Airlines that it is in talks with the Nigerian government on taking over the troubled Nigerian carrier, Arik Air, the receiver of the airline, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), has denied the report.


AMCON, through a statement by Jude Nwauzor, Head of Corporate Communications, said on Monday that it was not aware of any discussion with the East African carrier, insisting that if there were any such discussion, AMCON would be the first to know.

Ethiopian Airlines last week told CNN that it had submitted a formal offer to take charge of Arik Air, which accounts for more than half of Nigeria’s air passenger traffic.

“We have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree,” Esayas Woldemariam, the airline’s managing director of international services, told CNN. “We are capable and desirous of handling the airline.”

Mr. Woldemariam did not, however, specify details of the offer, but added that he expected to face competition for Arik Air from international airlines.

Arik Air was taken over by AMCON following its inability to repay a debt exceeding N350 billion to AMCON and other creditors.

AMCON said at the time that it had to step in to save the airline from failure. It removed the management and replaced it with a new team and receiver manager to oversee the operations of the airline.

Arik’s AMCON-appointed Managing Director, Roy Ilegbodu, reported in August that the company had stabilized under AMCON’s watch, with services running smoothly and workers’ salaries paid on time.

It now carries an average of 4,000 passengers daily and has the largest fleet in Nigeria with 14 aircraft, although according to Mr. Ilegbodu, only 10 are operational.

“Our attention has been drawn to a barrage of media reports which claimed that there are discussions going on with Ethiopian Airlines for the carrier to render management services to Arik. Contrary to these reports, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is not aware of any current discussion or negotiation with the management of Ethiopian Airlines regarding Arik Air Limited (Arik),” Jude Nwauzor said.

Mr. Nwauzor explained that since the new managers took over the running of the airline, it has been marked by stability of schedules, improved On-Time-Performance (OTP) and revamped customer service, among other improvements..

He claimed that the airline has now regained its dominance as the most reliable carrier in the country with growing passenger patronage and confidence.

“The general public and all stakeholders will be kept duly informed on issues relating to the airline’s divestment plan,” he said.

Sources close to the airline today alleged that some interest groups in the federal government had planned to take over the airline and sell it cheaply to themselves and their cronies before the takeover by AMCON.

The source further purported that 8 out of the 10 aircraft in Arik’s fleet are due for heavy maintenance, but AMCON lacked the financial wherewithal to take them out for the required maintenance.

The source claimed that the interest groups took advantage of the financial distress of the airline occasioned by the crash of Nigeria’s economy and its currency, the naira, to attempt to forcefully take over the carrier.

“The stakeholders are gearing for a rebirth of the airline. Eight aircraft are ripe for heavy checks. They are there parked and wasting away. They have degraded the maintenance culture of the company because we take the aircraft to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) rated maintenance facility, but we heard they now take them to a Lithuanian facility where the maintenance cost is cheap but even there, they cannot even pay for the aircraft they have taken out.

“Nigeria is always too willing to cut deals with foreign airlines and give our market away. Our country is losing so much for the selfish interest of a few,” he said.