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Illegal Firm Carries out Ground Handling Operations at Lagos Airport

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An unregistered ground handling company, Menzies Aviation yesterday carried out ground handling operations at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos without regulatory approval.

Investigation by our correspondent indicated that the ground handling company was still undergoing certification processes with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), before it carried out the alleged illegal ground handling operations.

An NCAA source said the ground handling agent  handled Air Cote d’Ivoire at Lagos Airport.

The flight departed from Abidjan.

Investigations revealed that the ground handling company has its headquarters in Dublin, Scotland, but has its base in Accra, Ghana.

In a swift reaction, spokesman of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye,  in a telephone interview  confirmed the development, .

He said the NCAA has commenced investigations on the issue.

The unregistered company used the license of Precision Aviation Handling Company Ltd (PAHCOL), which was issued certification by the regulatory body some few years ago, but could not commence operations due to lack of equipment.

Besides, it was gathered that Menzies Aviation used the ground handling equipment of Arik Air to carry out ground handling operations on the West African carrier. Arik Air is not licensed to do ground handling for another airline, but has the right to handle some of its operations.

The source said: “The handling company came in without an operating license and they rendered handling services to Air Cote d’Ivoire today (Tuesday). It indicates that our airports are porous to the extent that an unregistered ground handling company will operate in our airport. They borrowed Arik Air equipment to commence handling meanwhile Arik Air is not a ground handling company. How did their staff get to the ramp?

“The company used PACHOL license, which NCAA has already told them that it is not transferable. NCAA actually told them to do the proper thing that if they want to come into Nigeria, they should go and register while the agency carries out security checks on them. They know that if they use PACHOL name to operate, the company cannot attract foreign and big airlines. So, they claimed to be Menzies to clients in order to attract airlines.

“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) did not give them apron pass; they now went to use Arik equipment to get to the apron area to commence operations. They are using PACHOL licence and Arik equipment to deceive clients and FAAN.”

A security source said such act was a breach of security standards and should attract severe sanctions from the regulatory agency.

The security source said before any company could carry out operations at the airport, it ought to go through security checks, which he said the company had violated with commencement of operations without due approval.

Adurogboye said the regulatory agency was investigating the issue and confirmed that the agency had been reported to the management.

He said: “The matter has been reported to us. I have been able to confirm that and NCAA is looking at all angles on the matter. We will look at the aspect of registration. Do they have the appropriate clearance to do what they did?

“We know they applied to NCAA for ground handling business, but what we are looking at is whether they were certified to start operating. We are investigating their operations.”

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FG Restates Commitment to Float National Carrier by December

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Federal Government yesterday restated its commitment to float a new national carrier by December 2018.

Chidi Izuwah, Ag. Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari has given the National carrier Committee a timeline which must be met stating that a task force was created which would work intensively for the next six months.

Izuwah, who is also a member of the Ministerial Committee on the Establishment of a National Carrier said that it would be private sector driven leading to the concession of the airports adding that ICRC would look at the business case.

“The committee has met and set up a plan, what the plan is, is to make sure that there is a business plan, which is the first thing if you want the private sector to participate.

“You must let them know that if they invest in this business, they will make profit, our plan is to attract investors and request for qualification process, which is part of the ICRC guidelines for procurement.

“Where we identify pre-qualified bidders, who can now bid, which will be a very competitive process all around the world, It’s a very pressurised timeline I must say, but the committee is committed to be able to do that.

“Because the National carrier is very crucial for our economy and in addition the entire aviation infrastructure, what we are doing is that, we just certified the Aviation Leasing Company, it will make access to aircraft easier for our airlines.”

He said that the national carrier would create huge jobs noting that the aviation sector has been creating jobs for other countries instead of Nigerians stating that the carrier is a pride of every nation.

Izuwah, however, said that government is willing to partner with the private sector to drive the economy.

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Air Peace to Blacklist Violent Passengers

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Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, says it will henceforth penalise violent passengers especially those who attack guests, their staff or involved in the destruction of company’s facilities.

The airline’s spokesman, Chris Iwarah, said in a statement yesterday that the airline took the decision after a passenger who flew into a rage and destroyed its check-in system at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos on Tuesday was blacklisted.

Iwarah said the airline had already dispatched a letter to the unnamed passenger informing him of the ban.

He said the company was also reviewing 14 similar cases to check the growing trend of attacks and violence by air travellers.

Iwarah said: “During the check-in formalities of our Lagos-Abuja Flight P47128 at the GAT on May 15, an impatient passenger standing in the queue suddenly flew into a rage and destroyed one of our computers.

“The unruly passenger claimed he destroyed the check-in system because the process was too slow.

“We were, therefore, compelled by the need to guarantee the safety of members of the flying public and our staff to blacklist the passenger.

“It is also to signal our resolve to henceforth penalise violent conduct towards our valued guests and staff as well as view unwarranted destruction of our facilities very seriously.

“We are currently reviewing about 14 similar cases to determine the appropriate action to take.”

According to him, some Air Peace staff have frequently been attacked by aggrieved passengers at the slightest excuse while facilities costing costing huge sums have also been destroyed in the process.

“This easy resort to violence by unruly passengers often results in flight disruptions, delays and frustrates our resolve to deliver the best flight experience to the flying public.

“This trend poses a grave danger to the lives of our esteemed guests and staff, and such unruly passengers are no longer welcome on any of our flights,” Iwarah said.

He added that the airline would continue to take all reasonable steps within its capacity to check violent conduct by passengers.

Iwarah also urged the regulatory authorities and security agencies to take a tough stand against this trend to ensure that the safety of law-abiding travelers and aviation staff was not compromised.

“We affirm that a vast majority of our valued guests show understanding and cooperate with us and we are sincerely grateful for their support, patronage and loyalty.

“We solicit their support in checking the unfortunate violent behaviour of the handful of persons who often seek to frustrate our determination to provide quality flight services in a safe atmosphere.

“We have active online and physical channels through which members of the flying public can let us know their grievances with a view to addressing them.

“We appeal to them to consider this a better option than a resort to violence and self-help,” the airline said.

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Turkish Airlines Offers Free Layover Service to Its International Transit Passengers

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Turkish Airlines flying to more countries and international destinations than any other airline, offers a free layover service to all international transit Turkish Airlines passengers who fly through Istanbul with a 6-24 hour layover.

Since its launch in 2009, touristanbul has already benefited almost a quarter of a million passengers who were able to enjoy a taste of Istanbul.

With its customary Turkish hospitality, Turkish Airlines takes pride in curating a delightfully different experience for its passengers and going beyond expectations with its array of unique products and services.

The national flag-carrier offers the complementary touristanbul service including transfers, access to historical sights of interest as well as a sampling of Turkey’s famed cuisine. Passengers can catch a glimpse of the varied history and cultural fusion which has made Istanbul such a vibrant and charming city.

To enjoy the benefits of touristanbul, passengers must have an international transit flight through Istanbul with Turkish Airlines and layover of 6-24 hours. Tours depart daily from the Hotel Desk at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, with a daily schedule taking place 8:30 to 11:00, from 09:00 to 15:00, from 09:00 to 18:00, from 12:00 to 18:00 and from 16:00 to 21:00.

The tour programme includes a combination of some Istanbul’s highlights such as Topkapı Palace, Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Galata Tower, Dolmabahce Palace and many more.

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