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Aero Contractors gets NCAA Approval for C-check Maintenance

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Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero Contractors, has received certification from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to handle C-checks on Boeing B737-300, B737-400 and B737-500.

Capt. Ado Sanusi, Managing Director of Aero Contractors, made this known while briefing newsmen on yesterday in Lagos.

Sanusi said the NCAA approval that takes effect from Sept. 2 was given to the Aero Contractors’ Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

”This represents for us a significant achievement and is a major instrument for our turn-around efforts. This feat has benefits far beyond Aero Contractors.

”The fact that C-check on the B737 Classic can now be performed in Nigeria by Aero Contractors will reflect directly in significant drop in maintenance cost for airlines in Nigeria and the sub-region as well as reduction in downtime for such checks.”

Explaining further, he said that a normal C-check cost between $1.8 million to $2 million outside the country, adding that performing it in Nigeria would reduce the demand for foreign exchange as airlines could now pay in Naira.

“So, it is a very positive development for Nigerian airlines and the Nigerian aviation industry because it will improve the ease of doing business,” Sanusi added.

He disclosed that the airline spent N60 million to renovate and expand the MRO facility which had been in existence for over 50 years in order to meet the required local and international standards.

According to him, the airline has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with international partners, including the maintenance unit of Ethiopian Airlines and South African Technik, to render assistance on the C-checks. Sanusi said that domestic airlines alone operate about 22 B737 Classics, stressing that the facility would have a viable market.

“We want to appeal to the Federal Government to give us the Free Trade Zone status. “We want to have free access to import tools and aircraft spares without hindrances from Customs when our demand increases,” he said.

The Aero boss commended the NCAA for its professionalism and encouragement during the certification process.

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FG Loses N100bn on Aviation Charges -Expert

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Capt. John Ojikutu (retd.), an aviation expert, says the Federal Government lost over N100 billion in Ticket Sales Charges (TSC) and Cargo Sales Charges (CSC) in the aviation sector between 2013 and 2017.

Ojikutu, a member of the Aviation Round Table (ART) and Chief Executive Officer of Centurion Securities, said this in a statement on Sunday, in Lagos.

The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had recently said that both domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria sold tickets worth N502.2 billion in 2017.

Usman said the ticket sales increased by 14.2 per cent (N82.7 billion) compared to the N422.4 billion sold in 2016.

According to him, the airlines also made N400. 9 million in 2017 through cargo charges compared to the N285 million generated in 2016. However, Ojikutu faulted the figures released by the NCAA on the airlines’ earnings and passenger traffic, claiming that it was being subjected to some sort of manipulations which needed to be investigated.

He said: “One might agree with the NCAA that not all those who bought tickets could have used it within the reviewed periods and others could have changed their traveling plans and got their fares refunded.

“However, what is very clear is that the passengers recorded by Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) are known as those who passed through the passengers access control and screening points into the aircraft.

“They are those recorded by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) as persons on board and they are those, I believe in, as harmonized passenger traffic figures.

“Therefore, the harmonized figures given by NCAA are deemed to have utilised or expended their purchased tickets.’’

Ojikutu argued that the approximately four million international passengers and 10 million domestic passengers were those who bought tickets and had expended their purchased tickets.

He said, for instance, if all international passengers were to pay N350, 000 per flight without considering those on First Class and Business Class, this would amount to N650 billion and not N411 billion or N502 billion provided by NCAA for 2016 and 2017, respectively.

“Similarly, if we consider that each of the 5 million outbound domestic passengers paid N18,000 again without factoring the First and Business Class passengers fares, the earnings cannot be anything less but more than N90 billion.

“The total tickets sales earnings for each of the years can therefore not be less than N740 billion and the NCAA 5 per cent tickets sales charges for each of the year cannot be less than N37 billion,’’ Ojikutu added.

He also noted that the figures released for the CSC were given without specifying on the volume of cargo that generated the charges which again subjects it to manipulations.

“Overall, the shortfalls are huge and the government through the NCAA is losing an average of about N20 billion annually on TSC and CSC and government has lost more than N100 billion between 2013 and 2017.

“The NCAA must come clean of these irregular figures that do not add up.

“If stakeholders must listen to her that the earnings figures were given only by the airlines, the NCAA should be courageous enough to ask them to show evidence for the balance of over N300bn annually on tickets sales.

“Otherwise, NCAA must take responsibility for all the shortfalls,’’ Ojikutu said.

According to him, in the alternative, the Minister of State for Aviation, the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the National Assembly Aviation Committees should separately set up investigation panels to look into these earnings and shortfalls.

He said the unremitted funds could help in addressing the various inadequacies of systems infrastructure and human capital development in the prime safety areas in the sector.

The General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, in responding to the statement, said that the allegation was a cheap blackmail from people seeking unavailable consultancy jobs from the authority.

Adurogboye said: “We have declared over and over that we stand by our figures, with abundant explanations.

That position still stands. “Our figure is a harmonised one with FAAN and others. Our figures have been authenticated by external auditors and the National Assembly.’’

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Arik Air Launches New Mobile App

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Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading airline, has introduced a new mobile booking app to further boost customer experience.

 

The new mobile app makes booking, boarding, accessing products and services by Arik Air easy and convenient.

 

Personalized to the customer, the app gives passengers instant access to the information they need, when they need it all the time.

 

This user-friendly service allows the booking of tickets up to three hours before flight departure, and can accommodate any last minute travel plans.

 

The features of the mobile app include: Book and pay for a flight; Manage your booking; Online check in; Access to frequent flyer program; Flight status and many other useful features.

 

Captain Roy Ilegbodu, Chief Executive Officer, Arik Air, said, the airline is proud to introduce the app to our esteemed customers.

 

He said: “This is another in the series of innovations aimed at positioning Arik Air as a truly customer friendly airline.

 

“We believe that this will improve customer interaction with our airline, while boosting customer experience.”

 

Free to download on Google Play store and IOS App Store, the app presents consumers with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.

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IATA, AFRAA Sign MoU to Advance Aviation in Africa

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airline Association (AFRAA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deepen their cooperation.

IATA said on its website on Sunday that the agreement was signed by its Director-General, Mr Alexandre de Juniac and AFRAA’s Secretary-General, Mr Abderahmane Berthé, on the sidelines of the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting in Sydney.

De Juniac said under the MoU, IATA and AFRAA would exchange information, expertise and capabilities and work jointly to enhance safety.

The organisations hope to achieve this by assisting airlines to successfully implement the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and IATA Ground Handling Manual (IGOM), he said.

According to him, both organisations will promote regional air connectivity by working jointly with governments to support the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

He said they would encourage data exchange among aviation stakeholders to improve the passenger experience and enhance security through capacity building.

De Juniac said they would also work to liberate airline funds blocked by governments from repatriation by advising governments on best practices to clear backlogs and achieve reasonable levels of taxes and charges.

This will be done by helping governments to focus on the social and economic benefits of aviation.

“Africa is full of potential. Unlocking the economic and social benefits of aviation is a critical element of the continent’s development.

“Achieving Africa’s potential, however, will not happen by chance. Continuous improvement in safety, an effective regulatory framework, and fit-for-purpose infrastructure are essential.

“To achieve that, strong partnerships are key. This MoU will strengthen IATA’s already close relationship with AFRAA and help ensure that global standards and best practices form the backbone of Africa’s aviation growth,’’ he said.

On his part, Berthé said the agreement paved the way for further development in African aviation, adding that air transport already supported 6.8 million jobs and generated 72.5 billion dollars of economic activity on the continent.

“AFRAA and IATA share a common vision — the development of a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry in Africa that facilitates business, trade and tourism and contributes positively to Africa’s economic growth and development.

“This MoU with IATA will commit both our organisations to work together even closer on the main priorities for African aviation.

“In particular, we count on IATA to provide the requisite technical support across a number of areas such as improving aviation infrastructure and capacity building with national regulators,’’ he said.

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