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Nigeria to sign MoU with Algeria for reopening of direct flight route

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The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development, has disclosed that it is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Algeria for a direct flight route between the two countries in a few months to come.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo revealed this when he received a delegation from Algeria led by the Algeria Ambassador to Nigeria in his office recently.

This is contained in a press statement by the Head of Press and Public Affairs, Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Sani Datti.

Keyamo disclosed that the Algeria delegation had reached out to Nigeria in the weeks for the reopening of the route between Algiers and Lagos to revive the BASA that hasn’t been taken advantage of over the years.

“Although Nigeria has always had a Bilateral Air Service Agreement with Algeria (BASA) for decades. However, we haven’t taken advantage of the agreement. That agreement specifies the routes between Algiers and Lagos. Luckily, for both countries there is a symbiotic relationship.

“Today they are here with a memorandum of understanding specifying, although in the spirit of opening up the sky in Africa, they want to add Abuja to their route and also give us the second largest city in Algeria in place of reciprocity for us to fly with our Local airline and that city is Oran,” Keyamo explained.

The minister reiterated the commitment of President Tinubu’s administration to protect domestic airlines.

He said that he informed the Algerian delegation about reciprocity for the domestic airlines operating in Nigeria, which they gladly acceded to.

Keyamo further revealed that the Federal Government would go over the details of the agreement brought forward by the Algerian delegation regarding reopening flight routes between both countries, adding that the process would be as quick as possible. 

Speaking on when the MoU would be signed, the minister said that the signing of the flight agreement would either be done in Nigeria at a fixed date or an international forum.

In his words, “As a government, we are going to quickly look at this MoU from the face of it. We have no serious objection to it but we have a normal bureaucratic process that has to pass through as quickly as possible.

“We are going to fix a day either here in Nigeria or at an international forum for the signing. We are very happy to have Air Algeria back on the soil of Nigeria.

We want competition, we want the price of air tickets to go down for the benefit of Nigeria. This is a symbiotic relationship; it is beneficial to Algeria and beneficial to Nigeria.”

On his part, the Ambassador of Algeria to Nigeria, Mr. Hocine Latli said the flight agreement between Nigeria and Algeria would restart the dynamic partnership and cooperation between both countries.

“You can’t have a tied partnership if you do not have a direct flight between the two countries, saying today we are trying to solve this problem of direct flight and restart the dynamic partnership and cooperation between the two countries, especially in the next few months.

“So, it is important today that we have reached a common point that the Hon. Minister of Aviation and Aerospace has accepted the opening of direct flight from Algiers to Nigeria,” he stated.

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Aviation

Aviation Varsity graduates 800 aviation professionals in Ethiopia

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By  Seun Ibiyemi

Ethiopian Aviation University has graduated close to 800 aviation professionals including international trainees from eight African countries and one from Asia.

The graduation ceremony which took place at the university’s facility, last week 2024 was graced by Ambassadors and Officials from African countries including Ethiopian Airlines Group executives, families and friends of the graduates.

The graduates were trainees in Ethiopian Aviation University’s Pilot, Aviation Maintenance, Cabin Crew, and Commercial Training programs.

Congratulating the aviation professionals, Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mesfin Tasew, said, “We are delighted to witness the fruits of our effort in realising a self-sufficient Africa, in terms of aviation professionals supporting the industry within the continent.

“We believe in the potential of Africa’s youths to shape the continent’s aviation and continue to educate them at our centre of excellence.

“Training globally competitive professionals, today, we graduate 308 aviation maintenance, 142 pilots, 297 cabin crew, 25 electro-mechanical professionals, and 15 ticket agents. I urge Africans to invest in training their youth for the future of aviation at Ethiopian Aviation University.”

Since its establishment in 1956, Ethiopian Aviation Academy, upgraded to a university level recently, has been offering various aviation courses to local and international trainees.

The university currently offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in aerospace and hospitality including BSc in Aeronautical Engineering, Aviation Maintenance Engineering, Aviation Management & Operations, BA in Tourism & Hospitality Management, MSc in Data Science, and MBA in Aviation Management.

Ethiopian Aviation University continues to offer diploma and certificate programs in aircraft maintenance technician, pilot training, cabin crew, commercial training, leadership, career development, catering training, ICAO courses, and online courses. In addition to its facility at Addis Ababa, Ethiopian offers aviation training in regional cities, including Hawassa, Dire-Dawa, Bahir-Dar, and Mekelle.

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Nigeria’s performance in latest ICAO USAP-CMA audit declines to 71.04%

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By  Seun Ibiyemi

Nigeria’s performance in ICAO’s USAP-CMA, ICAO Universal Security Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach Sustainability Indicator is 71.04 percent.

This figure represents the country’s average Effective Implementation (EI) of the eight Critical Elements (CEs). It regards the number of satisfactory Protocol Questions divided by the total number of applicable PQs related to that CE.

Previous audit comparisons

Nigeria scored 96.3 percent in the 9-day audit conducted in June 2015. The current result saw the country losing 25.26 percent. The country also went through a safety audit in 2008 where it scored 67 percent and just last year 2023, it scored 70 percent.

Historically, the audit system has changed over time since Nigeria embarked on the audit in 2008. Back then it was an assessment system called the security assessment, it metamorphosed into Universal security audit programme and from 2014 it became the ICAO USAP-CMA. Nigeria is one of the first countries in the world to go through ICAO USAP-CMA in 2015 as it is now known.

The present audit revealed the country’s Compliance Indicator for Annex 17 Standards are 59.82 percent. The decline in Nigeria’s performance in the ICAO USAP-CMA highlights significant areas for improvement. Addressing these deficiencies is crucial for enhancing national and global aviation security.

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 goal is to enhance the implementation of security standards and recommended practices, identify security deficiencies, and facilitate the resolution of these deficiencies to improve overall aviation security.

According to a statement by FAAN in March 2024, Team Lead of ICAO Security Audit Programme, Callum Vine, announced Nigeria’s strong performance during a debrief after the audit. However, the results are the complete opposite, with the country’s Compliance Indicators dipping.

Detailed assessment of Nigeria’s security performance

Nigeria was judged based on the General Principle, Organisation, Preventive Security Measures, and Management of Response to Acts of Unlawful Interference. Under the General Principle, Nigeria scored 72 percent in its Objectives, 0 percent in applicability, and 100 percent in International Cooperation. Nigeria’s performance in ICAO’s USAP-CMA.

In the Organisation category, the country scored 54 percent in National Organization and Appropriate Authority, 71 percent in Airport Operation, and 44 percent in Aircraft Operations. For training, qualification, and security culture, Nigeria received a score of 55 percent, while in quality control, it scored 40 percent. Conversely, Air Traffic Service Providers received a perfect score of 100 percent.

Regarding measures relating to passengers and their cabin baggage, 50 percent furthermore in measures relating to cargo, mail, and other goods, and 60 percent in measures relating to hold baggage. Moreover, the country scored 86 percent in measures relating to special categories of passengers and 100 percent in measures relating to landside.

However, due to national security concerns, this publication will not discuss the other security critical elements of the audit.

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NCAA confirms TRACON Footage IDs violators, reassures on Airspace Safety

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By  Seun Ibiyemi

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA has confirmed radar footage of the two recent airspace violations in Abuja.

The Authority said it has full details of the identities of the aircraft and operators involved in the two violations cases.

This successful identification the Authority attributed to the functionality of Nigeria’s Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) system. Specifically, the Primary and Secondary Surveillance Radars located in Abuja.

Ag Director General, Captain Chris Najomo, further stated that the Authority investigated recent violations in the prohibited flight zones (DNP4) in Abuja. Both violations involved controlled flights in controlled airspace, which strayed into restricted zones due to adverse weather.

In a signed statement, Captain Najomo clarified that the term “unknown aircraft” is standard security terminology reported to the NCAA. NCAA confirms radar footage of violators.

This clarification became necessary following reports that labelled Nigeria’s airspace as unsafe without explaining the technical terminology used. Captain Najomo explained, “For clarity, the Primary Surveillance Radar identifies aircraft as moving targets without revealing their identity. The Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR), a key TRACON component, identifies aircraft equipped with ATC Mode ‘S’ transponders.”

Additionally, Najomo emphasised that upgrading Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure, such as radar systems, is standard global practice.

He said, “Five additional MSSR stations in Obubra, Ilorin, Talata Mafara, Maiduguri, and Numan support the TRACON at four major locations.

“We must update these systems regularly as technology evolves, and the Authority’s continuous oversight has found NAMA effective in this regard.”

Moreover, Captain Najomo also cited international standards for aircraft in controlled airspace. He stressed a rule: all controlled airspace aircraft must have functioning ATC transponders.

This aligns with international regulations (Annex 6, Convention on International Aviation) and is documented in Part 7 of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations. Turning it off in controlled airspace is a violation and security breach.

Furthermore, he stressed that the NCAA will enforce this with appropriate actions, including possible criminal referral.

Speaking on welfare, Captain Najomo acknowledged recent interventions to improve remuneration and working conditions for Air Traffic Controllers.

Moreover, he stated that the NCAA had intervened in a dispute between ATCOs and NAMA regarding the need for better remuneration and working conditions.

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