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NCAA Alerts Airport Operators over Hazardous Weather, Calls For More Caution

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has called for more caution from pilots, airlines and airport operators, especially with regard to the hazardous weather prompted by the rainy season.

The Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards revealed this in an advisory document signed by the Director-General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu.

Investors King recalls that NIMET had earlier predicted early March to be the start of the rainy season in the southern states, while April/May and June 2022 will be the start of the rainy season in the central and northern portions of Nigeria.

“Flight crews/operators and ATCs shall ensure strict adherence to aerodrome operating minima.

“Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET.

“Pilots /flight crew members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET aerodrome meteorological stations prior to flight operations”, the advisory noted.

The agency asked all parties to follow safety laws to the letter since infractions would be taken seriously, while travellers were urged to be patient and understanding, as their safety is more paramount.

Prior to this, Investors King earlier reported the projections of a fresh fuel crisis, following the revelation of a shortage in supply to the Nigerian Aviation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).

Investors King gathered that the product costs N598 per litre in Lagos, N642 in Kano, N640 in Kaduna, N627 in Abuja, N635 in Enugu and Anambra, and N628 in Port Harcourt as at Monday.

Also, airlines have already begun delaying flights and raising rates around the country as a result of the shortage.

Air Peace, Dana, and United Nigeria Airlines’ economy one-way fares from Lagos to Abuja, Owerri, Port Harcourt, and Asaba have climbed to between N55,000 and N70,000.

Air Peace, Azman, and Max Air fares from Lagos to Abuja, Kano, and Kaduna have increased from N50,000 to almost N65,000.

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IATA Kicks as FG Excludes Foreign Airlines from Priority Forex List

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Sunday kicked against the Federal Government of Nigeria’s decision to exclude foreign airlines from its priority list when approving forex requests.

The association made this known at the 78th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit held in Doha, Qatar on Sunday.

Speaking at the event, Kamil Al-Alawadhi the Regional Vice President for Africa & Middle East, IATA, said the decision to not prioritize the aviation sector, especially foreign airlines in forex requests was unacceptable, adding that the move could hurt the nation’s aviation industry.

According to him, blocked foreign airline funds in Nigeria stood at an estimated $208 million in the third quarter of 2021 and by the first quarter of 2022, this has risen to $283 million.

This Alawadhi said the Federal Government must start working on reducing as the aviation sector is a crucial sector of the economy responsible for thousands of job creation and it will be wrong to deny foreign airlines the opportunity to repatriate their revenue.

He, however, said officials of the association would visit Nigeria soon to discuss the matter, Investors King understands.

The IATA VP said, “Nigeria needs to start reducing the backlog. The Central Bank of Nigeria was not forthcoming on the blocked funds. It is sad that Nigeria owes the bulk of the entire blocked funds. This is very unacceptable”.

“We heard that there is a shortage of dollars. It has been a hectic ride. We met with the Vice-President. We will keep checking. This is going to damage the image of the country. We are hoping that it will go down well. The figure is huge”.

However, the issue was a result of a chronic forex shortage that have seen foreign exchange demand risen to a record-high and pushed the Naira to Dollar exchange rate to N610/$ at the black market despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s efforts at converging rates.

 

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Aviation Sector Explores Opportunity for Investment, Embarks on PPP

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The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has sought to exploit opportunities for investments as it embarks on Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

This comes on the heels of FAAN’s latest report that Nigeria lost $2.5 billion in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) on Nigerian aircraft and other facilities in 2021.

Investors King gathered that the Federal Government has been seeking measures to carefully and painstakingly address important industry concerns and pave the road for a National Air Transport Industry that is profitable, as well as a significant accelerator for national economic growth and development.

This new development was revealed by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, on Thursday in Abuja, explaining that it also aims to reduce the federal government’s financial burden.

According to him, FAAN`s key partnership initiative will focus on safety and security, infrastructural development, growing domestic airlines through new route development and designation of airports for improved performance and revenue creation.

Reaffirming what was revealed on Tuesday, he said “recently, the Federal Capital Territory offered 12,000 hectares of land for aviation development for Abuja airport. This will give good opportunity for investment. There are opportunities in other airports like the Lagos airport.”

“Apart from FAAN, other agencies, NCAT, NIMET, AIB NCAA under the ministry also provide excellent opportunity for the investment in the airports.The aviation sector summons opportunity for investment,” he added.

Furthermore, Sirika stated that the government’s goal was to encourage investors by making regulation easier to invest in all areas of the roadmap.

He claimed that the federal government’s efforts to find a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic’s issues had offered excellent opportunities across the whole aviation ecosystem.

FAAN Director of Commercial and Business Development, Mr. Sadiku Rafindadi, also spoke stating that the participation of the general people, government officials, and aviation stakeholders was critical to the forum’s success.

Due to its proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and the rest of Africa, Rafindadi said the Nigerian aviation sector was ideally positioned to take advantage of the predicted expansion in the African market.

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How Nigeria Lost $2.5bn to Foreign Countries Due to Lack of MRO

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the National Aviation Conference on Tuesday disclosed that Nigeria lost $2.5bn in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services on Nigerian aircraft and other facilities in 2021.

FAAN explains that the absence of an MRO facility in Nigeria was costing the country billions of dollars annually.

FAAN Managing Director Rabiu Yadudu, said “I am looking forward to a time when, instead of sending our human resources and flying machines abroad for training and checks, thereby expending huge foreign exchange in the process, we not only domesticate such activities but also earn foreign exchange from it when other countries send their machines here for checks and their manpower for trainings in Nigeria.

“Nigeria lost about $2.5bn in MRO investment in foreign countries in 2021. Having such investment here would have improved the sector tremendously.”

According to Isaac Balami, a former Aero Contractors’ Maintenance Engineer, airframe maintenance alone costs Nigeria $1 billion per year, or $1 million per aircraft.

“Airlines expend about $1 million on the maintenance of airframe alone and not to talk about the maintenance of landing gear and engine, which have different maintenance programme. These amounts are spent by Nigerian airlines, the Nigerian Navy, the Nigeria Air Force, the Nigeria Police, the Presidential Fleet and others that operate fixed wing aircraft. Maintenance cost is in terms of hardware and software.”

Balami further noted that it was carefully and thoughtfully chosen to provide solutions to major industry challenges as well as chart the course for a National Air Transport Industry that is effective, efficient, and profitable, as well as a major catalyst for national economic growth and development.

The Federal Government has been working to develop an MRO facility in Nigeria as part of its aviation plan. The Federal Ministry of Aviation has acquired 12,000 hectares of land in Abuja for the facility’s development and other aviation projects.

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