Air Peace commences Ilorin route, doubles Accra flights - VANGUARD
By Lawani Mikairu
Air Peace airline Monday said it will commence flights to Ilorin from Lagos and Abuja. This is as the airline has also increased Accra flight frequency. Spokesperson of the airline, Stanley Olisa, who disclosed this today, said that the airline is set to “kick off daily Abuja-Ilorin-Abuja and Lagos-Ilorin-Lagos flights on June 17, 2021.”
According to Olisa, “the new route further exemplifies the airline’s unwavering determination to interconnect various cities across Nigeria while filling the gaps in Nigeria’s air travel connectivity. The flying public can start booking on our website and mobile app”. READ ALSO: Covid-19: Air Peace pilots, cabin crew, others receive vaccine.
He further said Air Peace will continually reviews its current route network, assess ” the air travel needs of Nigerians and consequently develops strategic action plans to meet those needs by launching new routes and connections for Nigerians at affordable fares, with its signature hospitality.” Meanwhile, the airline has also announced increase in its Accra flights to two daily “in line with popular demand”.
Air Peace currently services 16 domestic routes, 5 regional routes and 2 international destinations including Johannesburg, and has a mixed fleet of 28 aircraft, including 2 brand new Embraer 195-E2 jets delivered earlier this year, with 11 more lined up for delivery Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/20...
Domestic airlines attribute high airfares to sourcing forex from parallel market - VANGUARD
…buy dollar for 500 naira at parallel market
By Lawani Mikairu
Domestic airlines have attributed the current astronomical high airfares being charged to different routes to non-availability of foreign exchange needed for operations. This has compelled the airlines to source forex from the open parallel market.
According to the airlines, they have been buying dollars from the parallel market at N500 naira per dollar.
Vanguard investigation revealed that from N28, 000 hitherto charged for one hour flight, the average cost of one hour ticket has now risen to N60, 000 for one way ticket and could rise as high as N120, 000 if a passenger buys ticket on the day he is travelling.
The airlines are also saying that there are clear ” indications that the fares would continue to soar, unless the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) provides us forex or creates special window for aviation.” Speaking about the high airfares, the Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace airline , that currently control more than the 50% of the domestic market, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, said that airfares are high because of forex.
She also revealed that airlines currently buy dollars from the parallel market to source spares, which they use to maintain their aircraft. According to Mrs Olajide ,“Airfares are high because of forex. We buy dollars from the parallel market because we cannot source from the CBN.
When you look at the prices of tickets, they don’t reflect the actual cost of operation; if they do they will be higher than what we sell tickets now, but competition has kept the fares relatively low.” ”
We need dollars for most of the things we do in aviation. We buy spares in dollars and we source dollar at N500 per dollar. Just imagine the cost if you want to import aircraft engine.
So the high cost of fares is because of forex,” she emphasised. She further revealed that currently there is limited capacity because airlines are operating less number of aircraft in their fleet, disclosing that Air Peace has most of its aircraft overseas where they were ferried for maintenance but they got stuck because of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown as maintenance facilities overseas are engaging in skeletal operations . “Our aircraft that were ferried for maintenance overseas have not returned due to the lockdown. The maintenance facilities cannot meet delivery time.
Few people are allowed to work on the aircraft and because of the lockdown so many things are not working the way they should.” ” For example, we have some of the aircraft in Israel, if you order spares from another country it takes time before it will be delivered because Immigration services may not be working in some countries, some companies may not even be operating optimally. So these are some of the challenges that we have”. “We have 21 airplanes that are under maintenance or due for maintenance but we have not got slot for those due for maintenance in facilities overseas.
They have to push out the ones that have completed their checks before they will take in more. So the aircraft have to queue and wait,” Olajide said. She ,however ,said that the good news was that the brand new Air Peace aircraft, Embraer E195-E2 would soon start operation, as NCAA is about to complete its certification on them.
Also speaking on the high cost of airfares, the former CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi said that ” high demand triggered the increase in airfares and capacity is not growing. ” Dollar is getting scarcer every day; so airlines go to the market where they can buy the dollars at any amount in Naira”. “Also there is no capacity. For example, Azman Air that was grounded by NCAA has three aircraft.
That number is off from the system until they resume operations. Airlines are also taking advantage of the demand because I cannot understand why economy ticket was selling for N74, 000 from Abuja to Kano, one way, which is less than one hour flight.
There is a lot of demand for air travel because of security challenges on the roads; airlines are taking advantage of that,” Sanusi said. Corroborating what other airlines CEO are saying, the Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Captain Mahmoud Abdullahi, said that high fares are caused by scarcity of foreign exchange so airlines are finding it difficult to access dollars ; so they buy from the parallel market.
Captain Abdullahi said , “Airlines are finding it difficult to source dollars, so they are buying it from bureau de change. If we are getting it from CBN it will be better. Then there is this issue with aviation fuel, which prices change everyday. It keeps on going up”. ” For airlines, everything is dominated in dollars. CBN should give airlines special window to access forex. The fares are increasing but there is a limit to what the passengers can afford,” he added.
Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/20...
France Weighs New Border Restrictions With U.K. Against Variant - BLOOMBERG
BY Bloomberg News,
A ferry leaves the Port of Dover Ltd. in Dover, U.K., on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. On the day the U.K. makes its final break with the European Union, the ports are clear of truck backups, goods are moving smoothly and grocery-store shelves are well stocked. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg , Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) -- France will likely decide on Wednesday whether additional restrictions are needed at its border with the U.K. to fend off a coronavirus variant first identified in India.
The U.K. is trying to make a case to France that extra curbs aren’t necessary, citing the large share of its vaccinated population, a person familiar with the discussions said. About 70% of adults in Britain have received at least one vaccine dose, and 40% both doses, but a new and potentially more contagious strain of coronavirus is spreading fast.
Tougher restrictions on U.K. arrivals, such as mandatory quarantine or the need to justify travel, could affect the already-struggling operations of the Eurostar International Ltd. high-speed rail service, which shareholders including France have rescued, as well as airlines.
France continues to strongly recommend against international travel. Currently, people traveling from the U.K. to France don’t need to justify the reason for their trip, but must show a negative PCR test and commit to self-isolate for a week, even if they’ve been vaccinated.
On Sunday, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio that the country was considering stricter measures for passengers arriving from the U.K. because of the variant. Germany also said last week it would impose a two-week quarantine on such travelers, even if they test negative for Covid.
Germany Imposes U.K. Travel Curbs Due to Variant From India
Spokespeople for the French ministry of foreign affairs didn’t return multiple requests for comment. A spokesperson for the U.K. government didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
France aims to re-open international air travel to some countries by mid-June, in coordination with the European Union. The bloc, which closed external borders in March for non-essential travel, will establish a “green list” of countries whose citizens will be allowed to move around the bloc by June 9, Le Drian has said.
NCAA sanctions private jet owners for operating charter services - THE GUARDIAN
By Wole Oyemade
•Stakeholder faults 60-day suspension order
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has apprehended some private jet operators for sanction, following their incursion into commercial operations without the mandatory licences.
Indeed, the operators are said to be in clear violation of Part 220.127.116.11 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations 2015.
It stated: “Air Transport License (ATL) holders and Airline Operating Permit (AOP) holders with valid Air Operators Certificate (AOC) are the only ones authorised to carry out charter operations in the country as no person shall use aircraft in Nigeria for hire and reward without the above requirements.”
Illegal activities of some private jet operators in commercial charter services have been a dominant complaint lately.
The Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, at a virtual session with the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA), confirmed the illegal practices, saying few operators had been apprehended.
Nuhu noted that one of the unnamed culprits faces a 60-day suspension, with additional sanctions, if found guilty in the ongoing investigation.
He said though regulating “the black market” was tough, the NCAA has not relented in carrying out due investigations and issuing sanctions.
He added that the new Civil Aviation Act, currently at the National Assembly, would fully address the problem, including getting private aircraft registered in Nigeria.
Business aircraft in the country are about 100, out of which 72 are still not registered in Nigeria, in violation of the extant rules.
Nuhu said: “These private operators are required to file monthly reports on the number of flights conducted and with passenger manifest for us to look and determine if they are on illegal charter operations.
“We are actually dealing with one of the Permits for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF). The enforcement team has recommended 60 days suspension of its certificate in addition to a fine. So, they have a period of 30 days for which to get back to us or protest or bring evidence that we require of them.”
Chairman of West Link Airlines, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, commended the NCAA for uncovering illegal operators, urging the apex regulator to do more to sanitise the system.
Mshelia observed that some of the illegal operators are “well connected”, but the full autonomy of the NCAA would further empower and embolden it to carry out major reforms to check malpractices.
He affirmed that the current NCAA DG, given his international experience and exposure, was ready and willing to carry out the needed reforms in the sector, but all hands must be on deck to make this work.
Mshelia, however, frowned at the 60 days suspension of the culprit and planned seizure of its PNCF, saying the punishment was too little to guarantee deterrence.
He suggested that the regulatory agency should hand over the culprit to the security agencies for proper prosecution, insisting that such action was an economic crime against the State.
Mshelia also advised that instead of engaging in illegal charter services, some of the private jet operators should change their licences to commercial, airlift clients legally, create more jobs for teeming professionals and pay the appropriate levies and taxes to the government.
He said: “NCAA, in what they are doing at the moment, needs our help. So many of us know the truth and we can help the NCAA. We have a system that is hopeless, but you cannot say the truth in public, otherwise, you are called a radical.
“The real truth is that there are powerful people behind all these illegal actions. If they are not, it would have been easy to flush them out. They want to live big. Some of these people are in a position to stop this in a minute, but they are involved in it. If we dig deeper, we will find them out,” Mshelia said.
Green Africa Airways launches website, discounted tickets - PUNCH
BY Juliana Ajayi
Green Africa Airways Limited has announced the launch of its website and low discounted ticket sales.
The airline recently announced the unveiling of its new route networks, and the arrival of two aircraft, ATR72-600s with the third one expected soon.
According to the statement issued by the airline on Tuesday, the Lagos based airline has commenced flight ticket sales for as low as N16,500.
Flight bookings are available on greenafrica.com with flight dates starting from June 24, 2021, the company said.
The statement said the website was open to the public for ticket purchase activities following the pre-sales approval of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
According to the airline, three products are available – gSaver, gClassicTM and gFlexTM.
The products are designed to give customers the flexibility of purchasing the product that suits their travel plans.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Babawande Afolabi, said “Today is a great day for every member of the gTeam and we are thrilled that our customers can now book their trips with us.
“We are building a value carrier that connects customers to their opportunities and be a catalyst for positive change across the region.”
According to the airline, the progressive ‘gFlyer special offer’ which allows 10 per cent off ticket prices will last till 11:59pm West African Time on June 23.
It said corporate package known as ‘gBusiness,’ was planned for roll out within the coming weeks to cater to small and medium scale enterprises and corporate travels.
Cities to be served include Lagos, Akure, Ilorin, Abuja, Owerri, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
Buhari to Launch Made-in-Nigeria Helicopter - THISDAY
By Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole
The Executive Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Maiwalima Haruna has disclosed that the dream of President Muhammadu Buhari to launch made-in- Nigeria helicopter before the end of his tenure is gradually coming to fulfillment as the project has entered an assessment stage by the aviation authorities.
Haruna disclosed this when officers from the Ministry of Aviation and its agencies visited the NASENI Solar Energy Limited where the NASENI Helicopter Hangar and in Abuja for on-site assessment and evaluation of the NASENI Helicopter.
The NASENI chief executive, who was represented by Dr. Mahmoud Jaffaru in his opening remarks said that the agency was ready to accept any suggestions and support from the aviation ministry that would lead to the successful completion of the project within the time frame given to the agency by the president.
He noted that it was the desire of the Agency to manufacture made-in- Nigeria Helicopter that is of international standards and help in boosting the nation’s economy.
According to him, NASENI has massive land mass that would accommodate all the operational activities.
“ We have expertise for developing the helicopter and we do things according to laid-down rules. We are ready to work with you to achieve this project “.
In his presentation, the Deputy Director Engineering Infrastructure, Emmanuel Ajani said that NASENI entered into collaboration with Dynali Helicopter Company, Thins Belgium to develop made in Nigeria helicopter and has trained its engineers for the take off of the project in Nigeria.
According to him, the president approved the project on January 26, 2021 and directed NASENI to complete the production of made-in- Nigeria Helicopter before the end of his tenure.
“NASENI engineers and technicians have been trained on helicopter assembly, maintenance and repair at Dynali. More engineers will be sent for training including pilots.
“We are also taking the issue of licencing serious. We are aware that the permit for non-commercial flight must be done before we continue with the process of manufacturing.
“ Our plan is to get the permit before we start. That is why you are here today for the assessment and evaluation of the NASENI Heliport and we pray for your timely consideration and approval of the process,” he said.
Aviation ministry begins assessment of Nigerian-made helicopter - PUNCH
BY Okechukwu Nnodim
The Federal Ministry of Aviation on Tuesday commenced assessment of a made-in-Nigeria helicopter as part of measures to ensure the smooth inauguration of the project.
Officials of the aviation ministry and its agencies visited NASENI Solar Energy Limited where the helicopter hanger and helipad were housed in Abuja for on-site assessment and evaluation of the helicopter.
The Assistant Chief Information Officer, NASENI, Chinyere Ekwuazi, said in a statement issued in Abuja that the target of the Federal Government was to inaugurate the helicopter before the end of the current administration.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NASENI, Maiwalima Haruna, who was represented during the assessment programme by the Managing Director, NASENI Solar Energy Limited, Mahmoud Jaffaru, said the agency was ready to accept suggestions and support from the aviation ministry.
He said such support would lead to the successful completion of the project within the timeframe given to the agency by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Haruna said it was the desire of the agency to manufacture made-in- Nigeria helicopter that would be of international standard and help in boosting the nation’s economy.
He said NASENI had massive land mass that would accommodate all the operational activities required for the manufacturing of the aircraft.
Haruna was quoted as saying, “We have expertise for developing the helicopter and we do things according to laid-down rules. We are ready to work with you to achieve this project.”
The Deputy Director, Engineering Infrastructure, Emmanuel Ajani, said NASENI entered into partnership with Dynali Helicopter Company, Thins, Belgium, to develop the helicopter and had trained its engineers for the take off the project in Nigeria.
Buhari had approved the project on January 26, 2021 and directed NASENI to complete the production of a made-in-Nigeria helicopter before the end of his tenure.
Abuja Airport Conducts Air Crash Rescue Simulation Operation - LEADERSHIP
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has conducted an air crash rescue simulation operation to assess its readiness to respond to air crashes and other emergencies.
Speaking after the exercise at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Mahmud Sani, Abuja Airport Manager, said the exercise was to test the capability of FAAN and its stakeholders to respond to air crashes around the airport.
He said, “This was meant to test the safety and emergency plan of the airport in preparation for its re-certification”, adding that, “the exercise was also aimed at examining how the response agencies would manage and respond to emergencies at the scene of accident.”
He further said that the exercise is carried out yearly to prepare and test-run the emergency equipment at the airport in case of any emergency.
Deputy general manager, Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Department, Rimdap Nantim, said the exercise was meant to test the emergency response and collaboration procedures at the airport.
He said the air crash simulation exercise was to also help ascertain the level of coordination among the response teams at the scene of accident.
Some of the agencies involved in the exercise included the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Services, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ports Health, the Fire Service Department of FAAN, aviation security, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps amongst others.
Lagos announces Eko Bridge closure for 10 weeks - PUNCH
Lagos State Government has announced that the Eko Bridge from Costain to Alaka in bound National Stadium will be partially closed for 10 weeks for emergency repairs by Federal Government.
The state Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, who made this known in a press statement, said the closure will take place from June 4 to August 13.
Oladeinde explained that the repair was necessary to complete the rehabilitation works at the opposite side of the bridge earlier embarked upon by the Federal Government, hence the need for a notice of routes diversion.
He said pending the commencement of the rehabilitation works, alternative routes have been made available for the awareness of motorists, to manage traffic during the period of repairs.
Part of the statement read, “Traffic from Apongbon to Alaka, Stadium, Inner Surulere or Ikorodu Road will be diverted to Eko Bridge to access Costain Roundabout to Iponri through Alaka and Funso Williams Avenue.
“Similarly, motorists from Eko bridge will have to navigate their desired destinations through Costain Roundabout to Abebe Village( by Nigerian Breweries Plc) through Eric Moore to Bode Thomas to Adeniran Ogunsanya, to access Shitta Roundabout by Stadium under the bridge to Funso Williams Avenue to Dorman-Long Bridge and Fadeyi-Ikorodu Road.
“Motorists can gain access to Apongbon through CMS Outer Marina Road to connect Ebute Metta Ikorodu Road to access their destinations.
“Motorists from Apongbon can pass through CMS to Outer Marina to Adeniji Adele, Third Mainland Bridge, Adekunle to Herbert Macaulay Way, Jibowu and Ikorodu road will also be available.”
He urged residents of the state, especially motorists that ply these corridors, to take note of the diversion routes.
“In like manners, traffic directions and road signals would be made available to minimize inconveniences that may be experienced while the construction work lasts,” he added.
COVID-19 travel guidelines: FG to release more violators’ names - PUNCH
BY Deborah Tolu-Kolawole
SOME of the 90 international travellers from Brazil, India and Turkey, who were declared persons of interest on Sunday for violating the provisions of the COVID-19 Health Regulations Protection, 2021, have started reaching out to the Federal Government, The PUNCH has learnt.
While some of them have been calling the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, which declared them persons of interest on Sunday, some others have been visiting their states’ Departments of Public Health.
The Head of the Technical Secretariat of the PSC, Dr Muktar Muhammad, confirmed this to our correspondent on Tuesday.
The Chairman of the PSC, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had disclosed that the violators arrived in Nigeria between May 8 and May 15 through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
He said the affected persons had been declared Persons of Interest on account of posing considerable danger to the overall public health and for the violation of Nigeria COVID-19 travel protocol and they were given 48 hours to report.
The 48 hours expired on Tuesday evening.
Our correspondent had sought to know from Muhammad how many of the defaulters had reported as of Tuesday afternoon.//
Muhammad replied, “It is hard to say this is the number of those who have reached out because many of them have been calling; some have also visited their states’ Departments of Public Health, but we have been guiding them appropriately.”
When asked the number of people on the second batch, the SGF promised that it would be published soon.
Muhammad said, “We are still collating names for the second batch. That will be released when we are through. For now, I can’t say the number of those on the list.”