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Forex Scarcity Forces Foreign Airlines To Relocate

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Foreign airlines operating
in Nigeria have relocated their ticketing offices to Ghana as a result of inability of the federal government to release enough foreign exchange through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to these foreign airlines.
In a telephone chat with the aviation correspondent of The Tide yesterday morning, the President of National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Eastern Zone, Mr Steve Isokariari confirmed this recent development in the aviation industry in the country.
Isokariari who also doubles as board member of NANTA at the national level absolved the foreign airlines of any likely blame for their relocation, stating that it was for this and other issues affecting the aviation industry in Africa in general the reason he is in a meeting in South Africa with other Africans, Ghanians inclusive, to resolve this matter.
The airlines in the forefront that have moved their ticketing base out of Nigeria are United and Delta Airlines and British Airways inclusive of Virgin Atlantic.
What this means, according to an anonymous source, is that intending travellers to the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) on these airlines now have to get their tickets through sales outlets in Ghana where the airlines now consider profitable for business.
Iberia, Spanish national carrier, would suspend its Lagos – Madrid operation from May 12, 2016. There is no doubt that this will lead to a rise in air fares on some foreign routes consequent upon this decision by some foreign airlines to relocate their ticketing and sales offices to Ghana.
With this development, it has not been an exciting experience for travellers who now have to pay more buying tickets in Ghana, sometimes more than 30 per cent the cost of air tickets they would have bought in Nigeria. However, further investigation reveals that Virgin had some seats reserved mostly for its first class and business class passengers.
Following this development, airlines operators say it is not only the air travellers who bear the pains Nigerian travel agents are also badly affected because their revenues have nose-dived in recent times as a result some foreign airlines refused to sell tickets through these agents or directly in their Nigerian offices.
Meanwhile, a local carrier, Medview Airlines that flies the Lagos – London route appears the greatest beneficiary of the on-going crises as it has experienced increase in passenger patronage on the London route. High cost of tickets on the American and European carriers which have relocated to Ghana has compelled most passengers flying to London to patronize Medview.
The reason for this crisis is the decision to halt further financial transactions in Nigeria by some foreign airlines due to some difficulties they had experienced in the last 10 months with the repatriation of funds or income made in Nigeria to their parent companies or overseas accounts due largely to foreign currency scarcity.

 

Okwein George Parker

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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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