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Firms Agree To Invest $20bn On Aviation Sector

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Springfountain, one of Nigeria’s leading aviation infrastructure firms and aircraft manufacturers, the Boeing Company of USA, have signed a strategic agreement that would lead to a $20 billion investment in the Nigerian aviation industry within the next few years.
According to The Tide source, the agreement was signed on Monday, in Lagos, by Mrs Tokunbor Fagbemi, Managing Director, Springfountain and Mr Larry Tolliver, Head of Sales, West and Central Africa, the Boeing Company.
Speaking at the ceremony, Fagbemi said the proposed investment would be carried out through the African Aircraft Leasing Company (AALC), OEM Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre, African Aircraft Spare Parts Company (AASC) and Aggregated Services Solutions.
Fagbemi said it would cover aircraft leasing, maintenance, repair and overhaul, spares logistics and supply, as well as aggregated services solutions.
She noted that the absence of such facilities and services in Africa were some of the major challenges faced by the Nigerian airlines and the aviation sector.
Fagbemi said : “We, as dynamic Nigerians and as patriotic citizens of this great nation have made Nigeria our first port of call to situate, subject to provision of all the necessary enabling environment, free of the risk of expropriation.
“We believe that through this venture, we would have added our quota to ensure that Nigeria does not lose out, as African aviation is gathering momentum and countries within Africa are repositioning, developing culture, business, economy etc, around aviation and increased intra-continental air connectivity.’’
According to her, the facilities and services will require the local skills in diverse fields ranging from piloting, aviation engineering, aviation economics and aviation law, thereby creating employment opportunities for Nigerians.
She, however, appealed to the Nigerian government to make travelling affordable and convenient for the Nigerian masses, noting that the country only had 15 million domestic and foreign travellers, out of a population of 180 million.
“We want to work with government and the aviation industry to bring brand new aircraft which hopefully will bring down the cost of operations for operators and bring down the cost of airfare for passengers in Africa.
“We, therefore, call on government to facilitate the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) and the African Union Declaration 2063,’’ Fagbemi said.
She also urged the government to create an enabling environment for the projects to take off by way of policies and waivers, as well as investment in aviation education, skill building and skill development.
Also speaking, Tolliver said the partnership was aimed at improving Boeing’s services to its clients, adding that Springfountain had demonstrated sufficient commitment towards making it a success.
On his part, Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, congratulated Springfountain on the attainment of the strategic relationship with Boeing.
Sirika, represented by  Director of Operations, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Sidi Abdullahi,  said the partnership was expected to bring in innovative solutions that would assist in solving major issues bedeviling the Nigerian aviation industry.

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Aviation

COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff

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At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.

This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.

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Aviation

S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS

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South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.

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Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.

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