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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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IATA, AfDB sign MoU to Advance Africa’s Aviation

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a framework for collaboration to boost the aviation sector in Africa.

The MoU was signed Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s World Aviation Forum, “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure” by IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, and African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina.

The aviation industry in Africa currently supports US $72.5 billion in economic activity and 6.8 million jobs. Over the next 20 years, the industry is forecast to grow at nearly 6% per year.

“This creates significant opportunities. But achieving this potential will not happen by chance; strong partnerships are key. The MoU with AfDB will help facilitate the growth and development of Africa’s aviation industry. In so doing, it will expand prosperity and change peoples’ lives for the better in the continent’s 54 nations,” de Juniac told the African Aviation Ministers, Africa aviation industry experts, and airline executives present at the signing ceremony.

Under the MoU, IATA and the AfDB will work in partnership to further Africa’s economic and social development by helping build a safe, secure and efficient aviation industry. The two organizations commit to create and implement programs and projects, including technical cooperation for capacity building. Priority areas will include improving connectivity, safety and aviation infrastructure.

“The aviation sector is especially important as it opens up doors to investors,” said Adesina. “Very few invest where it’s difficult to travel to. That’s why ease of access via air travel is strongly correlated to economic growth. We must make regional aviation markets competitive and drive down costs, raise efficiencies and improve connectivity and convenience.”

“From Abuja, a new voice has arisen through this partnership: Africa’s aviation time has come! Together, let’s open up the skies of Africa, and together let’s integrate Africa. By so doing, we will build stronger and more resilient economies,” he said.

The African Development Bank has invested close to US $1 billion over the past decade in the construction and expansion of airport terminals, as well as aviation safety and aircraft financing. Additional Bank interventions in the aviation industry include grants for capacity building and coordination systems in 25 countries and 69 airports, that will help increase the number of International Civil Aviation Organization safety and security compliant airports from 3 to 20 by 2019.

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FG says National Carrier to be Private Sector Driven

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The Federal Government has said that the proposed national carrier will be driven by private sector.

Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, who disclosed that such arrangement, would avoid the mistakes that led to the failure of the defunct Nigerian Airways.

Sirika stated this on the sideline of the ongoing International Civil Aviation Organisation World Aviation Forum on Wednesday in Abuja.

The theme of the forum is “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure.”

He said that stakeholders had agreed on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement for the new national carrier.

The minister explained that the Federal Government was following Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) guidelines to ensure that due processes in the arrangement.

According to him, government has appointed the Transaction Advisers to work out modalities for the carrier.

He said that government intended to go into alliances or joint ventures with other aircraft manufacturers to increase the reach and number of routes of the national carrier.

Sirika added that the planned improvement of airport and air navigation infrastructure would support the expected growth from activities of the new carrier.

“The question of national carrier, we all have agreement that this national carrier can only survive and succeed if it is private sector led and driven.

“Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Nigeria are guided by act of parliament which is the ICRC Act 2007 that spelt out how to go about doing all these things.

“We will be following them diligently. But unfortunately, it is cumbersome but we are following it so that we don’t run afoul of the law.

“African Development Bank and other companies are discussing with us on this matter.

“We are yet to meet with other stakeholders but we expect to meet them during this conference and after then, we will go and do our road shows.

“The key thing here is having something that will stand the test of time so that we don’t start and falter.

“It has happened to Nigeria before. The Air Nigeria was founded and at some point, it died because of something that was faulty.

‘’We have learnt our lessons and we are not going to repeat it again,” he said.

Sirika admitted that one of the major challenges of air transportation in Africa was high taxes.

He said that the issue of high taxes would be discussed as a critical factor to encourage investors.

”The lower the tax, the more flights in and the more flights in, the more passengers, more jobs, more revenue and that is within our master plan.’’

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FG to Partner Boeing to Launch National Carrier

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Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, has said that the Federal Government is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Boeing on the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria.

Sirika, in his tweet on his handle,@hadisirika on Thursday, said the MoU would be signed during the forthcoming Third ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) in Abuja.

The minister also disclosed that Airbus of France had indicated interest in partnering with the government on the proposed carrier and establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility in the country.

He said that the government and Airbus would also discuss further during the IWAF 3 that would hold from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22.

“Airbus signified interest in our National Carrier and our MRO, we will discuss further during the upcoming ICAO forum,’’ he said.

It would be recalled that the minister had expressed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration determination to establish a national carrier and MRO in a bid to reposition the nation’s aviation sector.

He had since announced the appointment of transaction advisers for the national carrier and MRO.

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