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Insecurity: FAAN, NAMA to suspend flights extension for sunset airports



…As Domestic airlines lose N4.3bn annually

The safety and security situation in the country’s aviation industry and by extension Nigeria, has compelled the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to withdraw flight extension rights granted to airlines that fly to sunset and sunrise airports.

Sunsets airports refer to aerodromes without landing facilities, which means that airlines can only operate between 7a.m. to 6:30p.m.

FAAN said henceforth, any airline that applies for an extension of operating hours to aerodromes that operate earlier than 7am and later than 6pm would no longer be granted.

The Managing Director, FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu disclosed this on Wednesday at the second day of the ongoing 2022 Airline and Airport Business Summit and Expo (AABSE) held in Lagos.

Yadudu said that its management had already met with the management of NAMA on the issue and a decision had been taken.

He appealed to all stakeholders, especially airline operators, to comply with the directive, insisting that the two agencies would not change the policy.

There are about 28 federal and state-owned airports in the country.

Apart from the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Omagwa, Aminu Kano International Airport (AKIA), Kano and Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA), Enugu that operate 24 hours services, other 23 airports operate between 7a.m. to 6p.m.

Most of these facilities, known as sunset airports, do not have the infrastructure such as airport lighting that enables flights to operate into the night.

He explained that in case of unforeseen circumstances, the two agencies may reconsider their position.

He said, “I think it is actually the safety and security considerations that made us make this particular decision. We have already sat down, met with the NAMA team and we reached an agreement that there is no need for extension any longer. Once an airport is sunrise to sunset, it has to remain so and it is for all stakeholders to respect that particular provision and respect it accordingly.

“You don’t plan safety and security policy based on permutations. When some things like that happen, we can then cross the bridge when we get there. Right now, we are working normally and we have to plan our operations the standard way. If you plan such things, then you will never have standard operations anywhere because these are force majeure.”

At a conference in July, the domestic airlines had claimed that they lose at least N4.3 billion annually to airports that provide only daylight service, which restricts them from flying longer hours.

The amount of loss was disclosed by the chief operating officer (COO) of Ibom Air, Mr. George Uriesi, who is also a former Managing Director of FAAN.

Uriesi had said the lack of 24 hours flight operations to major routes in Nigeria was impeding the growth of the airlines.

He said domestic carriers were losing an average of N4 million per flight, N360 million in 90 flights and N4.3 billion annually on every flight lost to sunset airport operations.

This restriction, Uriesi noted, had led to a huge under-utilisation of aircraft fleets by Nigerian airlines as against the global industry standards.

“This is due partly to too many impediments in the operating environment that limit airline productivity. These include limited runway availability across the domestic network, multiple operational infrastructure deficiencies, poor organisation and many others,” he had said.

Earlier in the month, NAMA had reaffirmed that all airports nationwide have adequate facilities to support night operations.

The agency, contrary to claims by operators, said all the airports have approach and landing navigational aids, as well as satellite-based and performance-based navigation procedures that can enable safe landing at any time of the day.

Acting Managing Director of NAMA, Matthew Pwajok, noted that the idea of tagging some airports in the country as “sunrise” or “sunset airports” was misplaced.

Pwajok said, “All airports in Nigeria have instrument landing facilities for approach and landing, meaning they are operating based on Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and not based on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) where the pilots are required to visually approach and land within Sunrise to Sunset time.

“Apart from one or two private aerodromes, all federal and state government-owned airports managed by NAMA are equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS), except where they are temporarily unserviceable or the runway and approach lights are unserviceable, but nevertheless you cannot refer to them as sunrise or sunset airports,” he added.


Aviation sector to benefit from RIDF



Aviation is set to be part of key economic drivers that will benefit from President Bola Tinubu’s proposed Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).

In a statement by Ajuri Ngelale, the fund targets strategic sectors like agriculture, transportation, ports,  energy, healthcare, and education along with aviation.

The initiative plans to inject funds into vital national projects to foster growth, bolster local value addition, generate jobs, and spur innovation.

Efficient use of low-interest loans and financing options will secure advantageous arrangements for project financing and operation.

The focus on aviation enhancement involves modernising major airports nationwide with targeted investments and infrastructure upgrades.

The statement reads, “On aviation enhancement, the focus is on the revitalization and modernization of major airports nationwide. Through targeted investments and infrastructure upgrades, major airports will undergo comprehensive refurbishment, including improvement in terminal facilities, runway expansions, and the implementation of cutting-edge technologies to enhance safety and operational efficiency.”

For agricultural infrastructure, the focus includes developing robust networks like storage facilities and irrigation systems.

In port revitalisation, the goal is to modernise facilities and attract investments to enhance Nigeria’s regional trade hub status.

“By modernizing port facilities and implementing advanced monitoring systems, the goal is to optimize efficiency, attract investments, and bolster Nigeria’s position as a regional trade hub,” the statement read.

Key road projects like Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road aim to enhance connectivity and stimulate economic growth.

Rail projects like Lagos-Kano and Eastern lines will modernise transportation networks for speed and reliability.

President Tinubu’s approval of the RHIDF absorbs the PIDF, expediting project delivery for Nigerians’ benefit.

Projects funded under the RHIDF will have a national spread, reflecting the commitment to equitable development.

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ICAO Aviation security audit team debriefs Nigeria, indicates strong outing



The Team Lead of ICAO Security Audit Programme, Callum Vine, announced Nigeria’s strong performance during a debrief after its Audit.

Nigeria recently concluded the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Security Audit Programme the continuous Monitoring Approach (USAP-CMA) according to a statement emanating from Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, FAAN, Obiageli Orah.

The USAP-CMA aims to improve aviation security compliance by analysing Member States’ performance and implementation of security standards. It focuses on Annex 17: Security Standards and Annex 9: facilitation compliance, along with associated procedures and security practices.

The event held at NCAA Headquarters saw Vine praise Nigeria’s robust policies and agencies, acknowledging their speed in addressing identified deficiencies without complaints.

He mentioned that the full audit report would be available within 60 days, followed by a 30-day period for comments.

FAAN’s Managing Director, Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku, affirmed using the audit results as a roadmap for continuous improvement.

She urged stakeholders to collaborate closely, share best practices, and uphold the highest security standards in the industry.

The debrief was attended by Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, representing the Minister, and Captain Chris Najomo, Acting Director General of NCAA.

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Arik Air receives Best Sustainable Airline Company award



Arik Air has bagged the award for  Best Sustainable Airline of the Year,  2024 by the World Quality Alliance and Quality Standards Journal.

The airline’s Public Relations and Communications Manager, Mr Adebanji Ola, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.

Ola said the award was presented to the airline at the National Quality Summit 2024 held on March 22 in Abuja.

According to Ola, the Award General Committee of the National Quality Order of Merit, said the award was meant to celebrate leadership innovations and creativity in quality management.

Ola noted that Dr Ovie Shaka, Vice Chairman, Organising Committee of the National Quality Order of Merit Awards 2024, explained that the award was aimed at identifying, recognising and rewarding companies.

“The award also aims at rewarding personalities and products that apply quality assurance culture and quality management best practices.”

He said the award was presented by Stanley Ohenhen, on behalf of the Organising Committee and received by Arik Air’s Director of Safety, Capt. Jide Bakare.

Ola quoted Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, as saying that the award is another testament of the airline’s fastidious adherence to operational safety standards.

Ilegbodu said Arik Air was committed to continual improvement of the management system and operational performance.

Recall that Arik Air also won the 2023  Best In-flight Service Airline by the Nigerian Aviation (NIGAV) Award.

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