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FAAN, NAMA Disagree Over Airforce Base

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The Managements of two Aviation parastatals, the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) have disagreed on the continuous use of the Nigerian Airforce Base, Port Harcourt for commercial flights especially as it concerns revenue collection.

While FAAN believed that the closure of the Military base in operating commercial flights would increase the revenue generation of the Authority for the Federal Government, NAMA insisted that since the commencement of the base in 2006, when the Port Harcourt International Airport was closed for rehabilitation, the Agency has raked in some monies through commercial flight.

Both FAAN and NAMA made positions known when they presented separate address when their Board of Directors undertook a facility tour of the Port Harcourt Airport.

The Regional manager, of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Mr. Uche Nwanguma said pointblank that the closure of the NAF base, Port Harcourt from operating commercial passenger flights would encourage more domestic and International flights, at the airport resulting in increased revenue base of the Authority.

According to Mr. Nwanguma, before closure of Port Harcourt Airport, Omagwa in August, 2006, the airport was making between N81 million and N83 million monthly for aero-nautical and non-aeronautical. But regretted that since the airport was re-opened two years ago, and the continuous operations of commercial and passengers flights at the Airforce base the airport now generates between N30 million and N33 million far less that its initial earning, due to the continuous operations of the commercial flight at the airforce base.

In his own submission, the Airspace Manager, Mr. H.C. Okoro, said the Agency was operating N12 million for helicopter and fixed wing operations during the closure of Port Harcourt International Airport, but generates N8 million monthly since the airport reopened. He described the situation as unsatisfactory.

Mr. Okoro said that the revenue of the NAMA also dropped from N150 million to N130 million between June 2007 and June, 2009, when the Port Harcourt Airport was re-opened.

During the visits of the two board of directors of FAAN and NAMA, their managements had complained that the organisations have been battling with poor infrastructure and equipment over the years, and appealed to the board to ensure that some of the equipment are given face lift.

FAAN also complained that the terminal building constructed over 30 years ago to accommodate domestic and International operations is on breaking point while the apron built to handle six B737 aircraft at peace period now accommodate modern day-bodied aircraft.

The FAAN Regional Manager in Port Harcourt is worried that the run-way recently rehabilitated is low and needs upgrading to precession approach category 3 with runway centre lights.

He, however, noted that after the re-opening of the airport in the year 2007, the fire cover was low at category 7 till 2008 when the Rivers State Government assured the airport with two fire fighters 1 and 2 of 4500 litres and 450 foam capacity. He said the development has boosted fire cover of the airport to category 9.

But NAMA noted the unserviceable elevator leading to the control tower which has caused Monumental suffering to air traffic controller who ply the stairs daily.

It would be recalled that in 2000, the Federal Government ban the use of military base for commercial and passenger flights. This situation then, forced Dana Air which was mainly operating chartered flight from the base to stopped operations.

A Chanchangi Airlines jet discharging passengers at Port Harcourt. Photo: Ike Wigodo

A Chanchangi Airlines jet discharging passengers at Port Harcourt. Photo: Ike Wigodo

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Aviation

Nigeria Saves $500,000 From Calibration Aircraft – Minister

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The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that Nigeria will be saving a lot of money from the acquisition of a custom made calibration aircraft recently acquired by the Federal Government.
Sirika who disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents in Abuja, Tuesday, said the purpose of the aircraft was to calibrate navigational equipment and aid the country for the purpose of flight operations.
The aircraft which is worth about $8.5 million, according to the minister, will be commercialised to generate revenue, and keep the industry safe.
“We used to have one in Nigeria, but for the last two decades, we never had any. What propelled us to procure this aircraft was that while we were reconstructing the Abuja runway, we needed to recalibrate all those landing aids. That is the standard requirement and this is to ensure they are working in perfect order.
“The last time Nigeria had such aircraft was 20 years ago under cover aviation flying unit. We did not have the capacity as a country, the only people close to us that had is ASECNA which is owned by French speaking countries, but the aircraft is domiciled in Niger.
“We approached them but they did not have a slot for us. If I hadn’t got the support of far away South Africa, we would not beat the six weeks deadline.
“Nigeria will be saving a lot of money by procuring this aircraft. I know I paid about $500,000 when our equipment was due to South African contractor to carry out the task.
“ If you say every six months, we will do this, and that would be half a million dollars every six months. So when we do it sixteen times, the value of the aircraft would have been paid. Not only that, we will commercialise it to generate revenue and keep our industry safe “, Sirika said.
The minister, however, explained that it took about nine months from when the request was made to the completion and installation of the equipment.
The Tide reports that the aircraft was built in Textron Aviation Services, Kansas in the United States, and it is expected to improve safety in the aviation industry.

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PH Airport Manager Seeks Safety Awareness, Education At Airports

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The Safety Manager, Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Mr Oguche Samuel, has harped on the need for continuous awareness and education on safety at the nation’s airports.
He said the continuous safety education would create awareness to staff and stakeholders at the airports on their safety responsibilities.
Samuel disclosed this while addressing participants at the safety promotion day at the airport which focused on Foreign Object Deris (FOD),
He urged participants and staff to be good safety ambassadors in their day to day activities, stressing that safety is one of the core values of FAAN.
Meanwhile, the management of the Port Harcourt International Airport has keyed into the Airport Emergency Plan programme as plans are in full gear towards the certification of the airport.
The Tide reliably learnt that the management of the airport recently took steps in training staff in relevant departments on emergency plan.
Instructors from Accra in Ghana, it was gathered, were invited to train some of the staff of the airport in the later part of last year.
The training was aimed at developing staff capacity to effectively and efficiently handle emergency response with the certification of the airport.

 

Corlins Walter

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FAAN Moves To Check Security Threats At Airside

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Following reported cases of intrusion into airside at the nation’s airports, particularly at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at nights, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu has taken steps to install thermal and infrared cameras for airside monitoring and patrol.
The introduction of thermal and infrared cameras is meant to monitor and expose happenings or any intruder who manages to gain access to airports, especially at nights.
FAAN, in a press statement on Tuesday, said it took the steps because anything that happens at the airside, has a ripple effect on the aviation industry.
“We are mostly particular about the airside because at the end of the day, security and safety are paramount and anything that happens at the airside has a ripple effect and we are here to ensure that our airports are safe.
FAAN posited that it is a dangerous practice to go and open aircraft cargo door because of the engine blast which might occur on the process.
“The proximity switch and the plunder could vibrate when the engine level is moved above idle running; for some seconds, the light may flash and warning light will remain off. It is even an easy thing to open the cargo door while the engine is running.
“Rotation of the handle activates a torque tube to withdraw the latch rollers from the latch fitting and as the door swings on board under tension of the door balance mechanism, the door warning proximity switch is activated to energize the appropriate door warning in the control cabin to alert the Crewe”, FAAN stated.
Enumerating other efforts being made to tackle the problem, FAAN explained that the Authority has put patrol vans fitted with cameras on the dashboard to capture the environment during patrol, saying although this might be a temporary measure.
Our correspondent reports that there were reports of incidents of intruders allegedly opening the cargo compartment of aircraft either taxing or holding on the runway, particularly at the Lagos airport, which had become a cause of concern to FAAN management.

 

Corlins Walter

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