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Arik: Aviation Expert Cautions Against Rubbishing Sector

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Captain John Okakpu

Captain John Okakpu, an aviation expert, has berated rumour mongers for damaging public support and confidence in the sector. 

Capt. Okakpu who was reacting to public outcry over alleged negligence of the airline on its aircrafts maintenance, said that such destructive and baseless allegations are counter-productive, particularly now the industry is hugely impacted by the nation’s economic disequilibrium.

It could be recalled that barely 24 hours Arik Air, West and Central Africa’s largest carrier disclosed the increasing of its flight frequencies to key domestic destinations ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities to cope with passenger demands, the social media was inundated with the most disturbing allegations that the airline takes safety of its aircraft in a pinch of salt.

But, Captain Okakpu said that safety is the first obligation of any airline, adding that in the present circumstances in Nigeria, Arik is the only structured airline in West Africa with state of the art maintenance facility.

He said, “I am neither a management nor staff of Arik Air, but as a stakeholder in this industry, it beats my imagination for some people to believe wholeheartedly that Arik would play down on safety knowing very well that any slightest mistake leads to catastrophic end.

“Though the airline has refuted the allegation, appealing to its esteemed guests to ignore any message alleging that the airline’s aircraft are not well maintained, it is still quite instructive to plead with Nigerians not to kill this ‘baby’ through rumour mongering.

“As a stakeholder in the aviation industry, I can’t play ignorant of the fact flights are delayed or cancelled, leaving bad impressions on the minds of the passengers. But that is totally different from ignoring safety measures or better put, the need to totally adhere to safety measures could lead to flight delays.

“This could have informed the airline’s decision to “increase flight frequencies on the domestic routes as predicated on the need to ensure that many Nigerians are able to travel home to share the joy of the season with family and friends,” Capt. Okakpu said.

To also cope with the demands of its international passengers on the London Heathrow and New York JFK routes, the airline leased a wide-body A340-300 from Portugal to supplement its wide-body fleet of two A330-200 aircraft.

“It wouldn’t be possible for Arik Air to connect 18 destinations within Nigeria, 10 in West/Central Africa and three international destinations. Therefore, instead of the average 100 daily flights normally operated, the airline, during the festive period, increases its daily flights to an average of 120.

“It is not only un-dignifying, and unpatriotic, but malicious, cheap blackmail and total sabotage for someone to make such baseless allegations just to deceive the public. Even now businesses are bleeding profusely; it’s sickening to hear some obnoxious minds engaging on ‘pull them down’ approach. Too bad!”

He added should Arik depart from ICAO set standards, “we have the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to deal with them. However, I can testify that Arik’ pride as “leading the resurgence of Nigerian civil aviation by committing to being a quality airline adhering and operating to international safety and operational standards using modern aircraft and having high maintenance and safety standards’, is never a cacophony.

“Mischief makers are deceivers. If not, why didn’t they inform the innocent public that Arik has $1.8m per month labor only maintenance contract with Lufthansa for all their aircraft. Arik also has over $250m parts in their inventory. Arik is the only structured airline in West Africa with state of the art maintenance facility”.

He urged aviation passengers and other stakeholders to support the industry, especially in its intensified efforts to maintain safety and security on air and on ground activities.  

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Logistics

Aramex Launches ‘Shop & Ship’, Takes Delivery From Global Retailers

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By peter oluka

Aramex, the disruptive leader in the global logistics and transportation industry, has introduced its easy-access online shopping and shipping delivery service, Shop & Ship (S&S) in Nigeria.

The Company boosts that online shoppers can now order from popular global stores such as Amazon who do not deliver directly to Nigeria.

Shop & Ship (S&S) is an international shipping solution that enables members to shop from online merchants in 23 countries across the world.

Commenting on the new service, Faisal Jarmakani, managing director of Aramex Nigeria, said: “We are committed to serving the needs of the Nigerian market and constantly looking for ways to make online shopping affordable and stress-free.With Shop & Ship, we have addressed the two critical concerns of online shoppers – restriction and speed.”

“Processing and onward delivery are concluded within 3-6 working days while the restrictions from global online stores, which have made direct delivery difficult, have been eliminated with the provision of 23 addresses across the world where shipments can be delivered for onward transfer to members in Nigeria,” added Faisal.

Available in over 80 destinations globally, the S&S service enables members to purchase and ship goods from desired countries spanning across locations in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates, which are some of the most popular shopping destinations in the world.

With this service, Aramex hopes to further its mission to use technology driven solutions to grow and develop Nigeria’s multi-billion e-commerce industry.

Jarmakani further spoke on the footprint so far since Aramex’s relaunch in Nigeria in 2016.

“Aramex is a global leader in shipping. We are one of the leading global providers of ecommerce, logistics and transportation solutions, with presence in 60 countries.

“Nigeria remains an important market for us. As we journey towards the Digital Economy, we will see a surge in ecommerce activities. Aramex is here to facilitate these transactions, aid international trade and boost the economy.

Speaking on how the service meets the specific needs of Nigerians, the MD said that Shop & Ship makes it easy to shop from global stores like Amazon, Boohoo, Macys etc. right here in Nigeria.

“It takes away the restriction and limitation of online shopping from foreign stores. The service also saves shoppers time as shipments are delivered between 3-6 working days. S&S addresses these two critical concerns of online shoppers in Nigeria – restriction and speed”, he added.

How Does The Service Work?
“The service is easy to use in just one step – register for a Shop & Ship lifetime membership on our website. Once registered, you get 23 personalized physical addresses in Ontario, Shanghai, Cairo, Paris, Tbilisi, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Milan, Tokyo, Amman, Beirut, Malaysia, Singapore, Johannesburg, Seoul, Barcelona, Bangkok, Istanbul, Dubai, London, Sydney and New York.

“You can use these addresses to shop from Canada, China, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, Australia and USA and we’ll deliver them to where you live at reasonable shipping rates”.

Of course, despite the growing appeal of ecommerce, it is still at the rudimentary stage in Nigeria as the pace of adoption and acceptance is decidedly slow, Jarmakani spoke on how this can be remedied: “Some of the limitations to ecommerce growth are high cost of shipping goods to and from Nigeria, low penetration of credit cards usually required to shop online (debit cards are the common payment cards available in Nigeria), unreliable distribution and delivery processes, etc. Removing or reducing these impediments will spur ecommerce in Nigeria.

“This is what we have set out to accomplish here at Aramex, with our Shop & Ship service. We are here to ease the shipping of goods into Nigeria and provide our clients with world class distribution and delivery process at very reasonable cost”.

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Logistics

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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Logistics

Construction: FAAN Advises Passengers on How to Meet Up with Flights

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has notified passengers and other airport users that the Lagos State Government has commenced the reconstruction of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Road, Lagos

The project which would last for 15 months is aimed at expanding the road for better service to users.

Appealing for understanding from all while the project last, Yakubu Henrietta, general manager, Corporate Affairs at FAAN, urged passengers and other airport users plying the road to always leave their homes earlier than usual, so as to be able to get to the airport in good time and also avoid missing their flights.

Specifically, the design of the project includes the reconstruction and expansion of the existing carriage to three-lane Expressway on both directions, construction of two-lane Service Road in both directions, construction of Ramp Bridge to provide a U-turn from Ajao Estate to Airport, construction of a flyover at NAHCO/Toll Gate and drainage works.

Others include the removal of existing Pedestrian Bridge at Ajao Estate and construction of Pedestrian Bridges at Ajao Estate and NAHCO/Hajj Camp, construction of Slip Road to provide access to Ajao Estate, construction of Lay-bys and installation of Street Lights, among others.

“Meanwhile, security agencies and other traffic officers have been mobilized to ensure that road users and passengers have relatively hitch free passage while the road is under construction.

“The Authority, in conjunction with the Lagos State Government, has put in place necessary measures to mitigate the effect of the construction on the road users while the project last”, she said.

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