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Hadejia Airport will promote food security, economic growth — FG



The Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation on Thursday disclosed plans to promote food security and boost the economy through Hadejia Airport in Jigawa State.

According to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the airport will be used to transport agricultural products from Jigawa and other neighbouring states to different parts of the country and beyond.

The initiative, which focuses on aviation, aims to combat crime and insecurity, while also promoting the free movement of people and goods has been awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made the declaration during the groundbreaking ceremony of Hadejia Airport in Jigawa State.

Sirika noted that the Buhari administration had committed significant resources to the project, recognising the crucial role aviation can play in enhancing the security architecture of the country.

By connecting markets, people and cultures, the initiative seeks to strengthen the country’s economy and promote food security.

He said, “Today we are performing the groundbreaking ceremony to re-establish air transportation in this very historic city town of Hadejia.

“We are very delighted for very many reasons. The purpose for which the Buhari administration found and establish to commit resources to this venture are very many but on top of them is the way the security architecture of the country has changed and aviation taking centre stage in combating crime and insecurity as well as the focus of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari on agriculture and food security as well as the free movement of people in the most efficient manner to connect market to market, people to people and culture to culture, history to history and tradition to tradition.”

He added, “You cannot discuss history to tradition, culture, and market and eliminate Hadejia. It is incomplete.  The place with a very huge culture, aviation, and market and therefore leaving them out of the map where it can be accessed through air transportation is a mistake and unthinkable and we think that we should correct it.

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Dana Air introduces exclusive rewards, fares for miles club members



In response to the escalating costs of air travel, Dana Air has introduced an array of additional rewards for its frequent flier club members.

This initiative aims to express gratitude to loyal customers and ensure that they continue to enjoy seamless travel experiences despite the current challenges in the industry.

Speaking on the new initiative for Dana Miles Club Members, the Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air Ememobong Ettete said, “Dana Air recognises the dedication and loyalty of its frequent flier club members and understands the impact of increasing fares on their travel plans.

“In light of this, we are pleased to announce exclusive benefits tailored to reward and retain our cherished customers.

“At the moment, Dana Miles members enjoy discount on their booking using miles, priority check-in and boarding, members-only rewards, discount at partner outlets and lots more and having considered the current state of the industry and the economy, it is only fair to excite customers who remain loyal to us in good and in challenging times.

“We wish to reaffirm our commitment to delivering exceptional service and acknowledge the importance of customer loyalty.

“We encourage more travelers to join Dana Miles to enjoy exclusive and unparalleled benefits with a commitment to making every journey memorable,” Emem added.

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Airport protocol concern: FAAN needs Minister’s backing — Expert



The Assistant Secretary-General, Aviation Round Table (ART) Mr Olumide Ohunayo has urged the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development to back the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in its efforts to restore equity at the airports.

Ohunayo said this in an interview with journalists on Monday, in Lagos. He was speaking against the backdrop of concerns raised by the Managing Director of FAAN, Mrs Olubunmi Kuku, on the proliferation of protocol services by personnel of various agencies at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

The MD had said that this should be stopped immediately as it contravened the Executive Order 001 of 2017 of the Federal Government.

She said it also undermined protocol activities of FAAN Protocol Unit and that of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Kuku stressed that the MFA had the sole responsibility of attending to designated government officials and urged agencies to liaise with them when they need to facilitate their Principals/Officials.

The MD said that the Passenger Support Service (PSS) of FAAN handled corporate organisations, as the services were being paid for.

Reacting, Ohunayo said that the Minister, Mr Fetus Keyamo, should back Kuku, by passing the information to his fellow ministers.

He said that all agencies should be asked to revert to status quo, but this should start with the withdrawal of all On-Duty-Cards (ODC), to ensure equity at the airports.

“The FAAN MD has made her position known but she needs the power and backing of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

“The minister can pass the information to other ministers in the Federal Executive Council (FEC); thereafter, call back those ODCs from all agencies.

“Every passenger must respect protocols at the airport; until after you cross the immigration desk, you must follow the process no matter who you are. “Yet, people at the foot of the aircraft begin to say they are VIPs, so that they can override the protocols.

“The way to go is to first, withdraw all ODCs from all ministries, and then ask to revert to status quo,” he said.

Ohunayo said that, although, the ODC were issued by FAAN, they could still be stopped at the different counters at the international airports.

He said that FAAN should approach higher authorities in the quest to improve the situation at the airports, because there were too many facilitators and delayed flights scenarios, which should not be.

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Nigerian Airlines struggle amidst economic turmoil



Nigeria’s airline operators have lamented significant obstacles hampering business operations, including forex scarcity, soaring Jet-A1 prices, and aircraft acquisition challenges due to country risk.

According to airline representatives, the current situation poses an existential threat as aircraft awaiting maintenance remain grounded due to forex shortages. This results in continuous equipment depletion without replenishment.

The airlines issued a stark warning that if this trend persists, the country may face a complete absence of operational aircraft for domestic services.

Professor Obiora Okonkwo, speaking on behalf of the airlines, urgently called for government intervention to prevent numerous airlines from going under.

He highlighted the instability in forex rates and the skyrocketing cost of aviation fuel, now at N1,300 per litre, as factors undermining their operational planning and creating uncertainty.

Furthermore, Professor Okonkwo, Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, pointed out the substantial losses incurred due to the disparity in fuel prices and exchange rates.

“We are making losses on factors that are beyond our control. We are not only faced with the problem of scarcity of dollars; even the aviation ecosystem is feeling the heat. Handling companies have increased the cost of their services, airports have increased their charges and those that service the aircraft have also increased the cost of their services. The monies for these payments are coming from the passengers who are already exhausted financially,” he said.

He emphasized that beyond forex scarcity, increased costs from service providers within the aviation ecosystem further strain airline finances.

Okonkwo noted a significant decline in passenger traffic, attributing it to both economic challenges and changing social behaviours, such as preferring to send gifts rather than attending events in person.

“Passenger traffic has shrunk because even those on social engagement like weddings, burials and other ceremonies may not be inclined to spend money on flight tickets; they would rather send credit alert to those hosting the events who would appreciate such gestures. So, they pay instead of appearing in person,” he said.

The airlines seek government engagement and intervention to address the dire situation, emphasising the crucial role of air travel in economic development.

However, Okonkwo highlighted the challenge of attracting aircraft lessors due to perceived country risk, hindering fleet expansion and maintenance efforts.

He stressed the need for a special forex allocation to sustain airlines, as they require dollars for aircraft procurement, fleet maintenance, and spare parts.

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