NSIB Begins Probe On United Nigeria Airlines Incident

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, (NSIB) has begun investigation into a serious incident involving an Embraer ERJ145 with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BWY belonging to United Nigeria Airlines.

The accident which occurred around 06:33pm (Local Time) on 7th September, 2023 had 51 passengers and 4 crew members onboard the aircraft and was en-route Lagos from Abuja.

The aircraft on landing on Runway 18R of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, skidded off the runway.
Fortunately, there was no injury or fatality recorded.

The bureau has assured the public that it will release the preliminary report soon,according to a by Tunji Oketunbi signed on behalf of the Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection on Saturday.

It said:”The NSIB, hereby, solicits information from the general public in form of pictures, video or recording evidences to assist in conducting a comprehensive investigation.

“The Bureau can be reached through info@aib.gov.ng and NSIB_Nigeria on its social media platforms. The Bureau can also be reached on its emergency line +234-807-709-0909.

‘”The NSIB will appreciate that the general public and press respect the privacy of the people involved and not assume the cause of the serious incident until formal report is released.”

FAAN Begins Airlines Relocation to New  Int’l Terminal

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has redirected processing of passengers through the New International Terminal,immediately.

The immediate relocation to the new international terminal at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) was deemed necessary due to the unfortunate fire incident that occurred at the International Terminal 1 on Wednesday,the agency said in a statement on Thursday.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festusv Keyamo during his maiden visit to Lagos airport had directed FAAN to relocate airlines to the New International Terminal for the shutdown of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Terminal 1 by 1st October, 2023 with a view to improving passenger experience and for total overhaul of the terminal.

The statement by Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua,Director, Public Affairs & Consumer Protection,said:”We intend to make this movement as seamless as possible but appeal to all travellers to please be at the airport early enough to complete their check-in formalities on time in order not to miss their flight.”

Save Arik Air From Extinction,NAAPE Begs AMCON

Mohammed Shosanya

The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE),has implored the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to continue the execution of its interventionist strategy that would ensure the survival of Arik Air.

Its chairman,Engineer Mudi Muhammad,gave the charge during a courtesy visit to AMCON office in Abuja.

NAAPE recognizes the activities of AMCON in Arik,regardless of the negative narratives that are clearly designed to mislead the public who do not understand the enormity of the challenges of Arik before the agency’s intervention,he said.

A release by Jude Nwauzor, Head, Corporate Communications Department of AMCON,quoted the NAAPE Chairman as saying that: “We are here (AMCON) today as an association to demonstrate our support to AMCON because as insiders, we understand the big contribution AMCON made to ensure that Arik did not die. If AMCON had not stepped in at the time they did, Arik would have ceased to exist a long time ago to join the growing list of airlines in the burial ground of Nigeria’s aviation industry.

“As NAAPE, we know AMCON’s intervention in Arik about seven years ago was to protect the airline and save hundreds of us from losing our job. We can tell you categorically that in the last seven years of AMCON’s takeover of Arik, the airline has stood the test of time. So, we totally understand that Arik survived because of AMCON unlike what some people wanted us to believe at the time. Before AMCON stepped into Arik, pensions, allowances, staff salaries, were not forthcoming and the airline was on the verge of total collapse because of its huge debt burden.

“Indeed, AMCON has tried but Arik still has several challenges, which we want the Management of AMCON led by Mr Ahmed Lawan Kuru OFR to address through the Mr Kamilu Omokide, the Receiver/Manager who is also doing his best based on the support he gets from AMCON. We are here to plead that AMCON should support Arik to get more aircraft into its fleet, and as professionals who are passionate with our job, we want you to watch Arik dominate the aviation industry once again. We are making this appeal because apart from providing and sustaining jobs in the country, Arik is a great training ground for the aviation sector, which is critical to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“As an airline, we are always careful in following the rules of engagement, and global best practices. For that professionalism, we are proud to tell the public that for over 16 years of our operational existence as Arik Air, we have zero accident record, which is a great feat, and the reason why most former presidents of Nigeria always preferred to be flown by pilots from the Arik fold. So, with AMCON investing more into the affairs of the airline by procuring additional aircraft for its operation, Arik will help both the federal government and the economy because of its strategic importance.”

He added that the way things are going presently at the airline, if further investments are not quickly made by AMCON, Arik may begin to lose some of its highly experienced pilots and engineers to some foreign airlines who are desperate to poach them.

He maintained that this will defeat the purpose of the federal government’s intervention in Arik, which would ultimately bring bad name to AMCON after such a well-intended intervention.

He added: “Arik has a strong Nigeria brand name. We therefore as members of NAATE are pleading with AMCON not to let Arik to die because of the number of unemployment the death of Arik will add to the stressed economy, and the negative ripple effect that it would create in the country.”

FAAN Stops Airport Taxi Services At Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Thursday announced the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.

Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, the Director, Public Affairs & Consumer Protection, who made this known in a statement, cited unresolved factional dispute amongst the car hire operators which has been affecting airport car hire service operations.

It advised the general public and all airport users, especially passengers to use secured alternative means of transportation or E-hailing services in and out of the airport.

“The FAAN wishes to inform the general public that the airport car hire service at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has been suspended with immediate effect.

“This is as a result of the unresolved factional dispute amongst the car hire operators which has been affecting airport car hire service operations.

“Consequent upon this suspension, FAAN Management advises the general public and all airport users, particularly our esteemed passengers to use secured alternative means of transportation or E-hailing services in and out of the airport.

“The management of FAAN regrets any inconvenience this necessary suspension may cause our esteemed passengers, airport users and the general public. Normal Car Hire Services resumes as soon as their differences are resolved”,the statement added.

NSIB Probes Lagos Helicopter Crash

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has commenced investigation into an accident involving a Jabiru J430, a light single airplane with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-CCQ operated by Air First Hospitality & Tours, which occurred around a little after 1500hrs local time on August 1, 2023.

Tunji Oketunbi,spokesman of the agency conveyed this in a statement made available to Premium News.

“The aircraft was on a test flight within Lagos with two passengers onboard, before it crashed around Oba Akran area of Lagos State with no fatalities.The aircraft caught fire on impact but the spread was contained by the rainfall at the time of impact.
The two souls on board were taken to the hospital,” it stated.

The NSIB is a multimodal investigation agency charged with the mandate to investigate transportation accidents and serious incidents in Nigeria with the aim of identifying the probable causes and proffer safety recommendations that can prevent reoccurrence.

The statement added:”The NSIB, hereby, solicits information from the general public in form of pictures, video or recording evidences to assist in conducting a comprehensive investigation.

“The Bureau can be reached through info@aib.gov.ng and NSIB_Nigeria on its social media platforms. The Bureau can also be reached on its emergency line +234-807-709-0909.”

Fuel Contamination: We Won’t Treat Max Air Safety Breach With Levity, NCAA, NMDPRA

Musbau Babatunde

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is expanding its investigation into the safety breach of the July 7, 2023 incident where water was found in the tank of Max Air aircraft at Yola Airport.

It would set up a scommittee comprising of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), NCAA, airline operators, pilots, fuel deport operators, aircraft maintenance officers and others.

The agency also said the committee would also ensure the aviation fuel quality supplied operators in the sector are constant and of industry standards.

At a virtual and physical meeting with all domestic, international operators, aviation fuel suppliers and NMDPRA in Abuja on Thursday, Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), assured that it would get to the root of the incident through its investigation.

Nuhu also said that there would be wide consultation with all relevant stakeholders to identify the gaps, close them, prevent future occurrences, while also improving safety in the industry.

Nuhu,who chaired the meeting, which also had in attendance the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of FAAN, Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) and NMDPRA, said that fuel contamination was outside the jurisdiction of the aviation ecosystem.

The apex aviation body, decided to engage the regulator of the downstream sector, adding that the agency had been in consultation with NMDPRA, which certifies all the oil companies in the country,he said.

According to him, based on the sensitivity of the matter, the collaboration had become imperative “because of the noticed gaps due to lack of deliberate collaboration between NCAA, NMDPRA, and FAAN on fuel quality monitoring.”

He noted that the NCAA, FAAN, NMDPRA, NSIB, airline operators, pilots, fuel deport operators, aircraft maintenance officers and other stakeholders would be part of a committee that would be set up to ensure the aviation fuel quality was constant.

He added: “All facets of the aviation fuel ecosystem must be investigated to arrive at the true situation. The investigation is not necessarily to indict anyone, but to strengthen safety in the aviation industry.”

He noted that aviation fuel quality breach had dire consequences and was multifaceted, international in nature, emphasizing that it was not limited to scheduled airlines alone.

Speaking at the meeting, Engr. Farouk Ahmed, CEO, NMDPRA, said the authority was not treating the issue with levity.

According to him, the authority had launched an investigation into the matter to unravel the cause.

“We are all stakeholders and travellers. We took this incident seriously. I directed my colleagues to trace the root cause so that whatever steps we will take, we will bring stability, confidence and improve the safety level” he said.

He said whilst he could vouch for the quality of the Jet A1 fuel that was imported, he could not account for what happens when the fuel leaves the fuel deport to the fuel bowsers before fueling the aircraft.

He sought more collaboration with NCAA, FAAN, and other relevant stakeholders to attack the gaps that have led to the incidence of adulterated fuel.

Engr. Akin Olateru, Director-General, NSIB, described the issue as grave and must be investigated, taking into account all possible actors.

He noted that NSIB had in 2017 issued safety recommendations as it concerns aviation fuel following an incident involving Bel 427 of the Nigerian Police at the time.

He said the safety recommendation advised the NCAA to launch an independent investigation into aviation fuel quality in Nigeria, while also focusing on vulnerability and risks in the fuel distribution process.

He said this should form a regulatory oversight mechanism that ensured the international quality of aviation fuel used in Nigeria.

He challenged the NCAA to step up action, oversight the aviation fuel and ensure it is of top quality.

Nigeria To Experience Heavy Rainfall Friday,Sunday-NIMET

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) has revealed most Nigerian states would witness moderate and heavy rainfall between Friday and Sunday.

In its three-day weather forecast,the agency also disclosed that there might be strong winds in 11 states across the federation within the three days of low, moderate and high rainfall.

The Impact-based Weather Forecast, which was signed by Prof. Mansur Matazu, the Director-General, Nimet, said that the moderate to heavy rainfall are likely to affect parts of Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, Niger, Adamawa, Borno, Bayelsa, Rivers, Imo and Abia states on Friday.

The agency also said that during the forecast period (0000 – 2359hrs, Friday 20th July), low to moderate rainfall are expected over Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Cross River, Enugu, Anambra and Taraba states.

Matazu said that the moderate to heavy rainfall was not expected to cause hazard to the public or the motorists within the period.

According to Nimet, for Saturday, there are also chances of moderate to heavy rainfall on from (0000 – 2359hrs in some parts of Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kogi, Niger and Taraba State.

It also said that low to moderate rainfall should be expected over parts of Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kwara, Borno, Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo, Delta, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

“During the forecast period of 24hours no hazard is expected,” the statement said.

For Sunday, Matazu said that during the forecast period; 0000 – 2359hrs, there are good chances of heavy rainfall especially over parts of Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states.

While moderate to heavy rainfall is anticipated over Lagos, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Abia, Ebonyi, Taraba, Zamfara, Kano and Plateau states.

The statement added: “On Saturday, 22nd July, (0000 – 2359hrs), there is little or no chance of temperature-related hazards across the country due to the low to moderate temperatures that are anticipated.

“During the forecast period; July 21 to 23, there are good chances of very strong winds to affect parts of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Yobe, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi State. Elsewhere there is little or no risk of strong winds.

Fuel Contamination: NCAA Investigates Fuel Suppliers,Threatens Withdrawal Of Licenses

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority,NCAA would investigate aviation fuel suppliers in the country’s aviation industry to determine the source of fuel contamination and find out their level of compliance to industry standards on fuel supply.

The agency also said Boeing 737 aircraft series in the fleet of Max Air remains grounded pending the outcome of investigation into the fuel contamination incident in the tank of one of its airplanes.

Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General Civil Aviation (DGCA),who spoke with aviation journalists Nuhu, said that it was important to investigate the source of aviation fuel contamination in the industry in order to prevent a currence.

He explained that the NCAA issues the fuel marketers licenses and would not hesitate to withdraw the licenses issued if anyone of them is found wanting.

Max Air B737-300 with the registration number: 5N-MHM,it would be recalled had fuel contamination in the main fuel tanks, leading to the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) shutdown on ground at Yola Airport on July 7, 2023.

According to reports, immediately after the aircraft landed at Yola Airport, fuel was dumped on the tarmac in Yola, while “multiple drums of water” were collected from both tanks of the aircraft, which had just landed.

Nuhu explained that the airline had purchased fuel at Lagos, Abuja and Kano airports before the contaminated fuel was discovered in its fuel tank at Yola Airport.

He said the NCAA would carry out extensive investigation into the incident to know where the contaminated fuel was purchased by the airline.

He, however, said that the NCAA would investigate the bowers and fuel procedures of Max Air to know if they were complicit in their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Nuhu emphasised that it is the responsibility of pilots and the airlines to check the quality of fuel intake from oil marketers into their tanks, maintaining that NCAA could not be at all the airports nationwide to supervise their operations.

He said: “Any fuellers that we identify as having issues, we are going to suspend them. We license them and we are going to review all the oil marketers in the Nigerian aviation industry. The airline (Max Air) took fuel in Lagos, Abuja and Kano. We are looking at the bowers and fuel procedures of the airline. We want to ensure that everything is okay and within the standard of civil aviation

“I expect to get a report from the fueling stations to see if there is any problem. Any fueler that has identified issues, we are going to suspend it from supplying fuel to the airlines until we are satisfied and we will also consult with the petroleum regulatory agency in Nigeria to ensure that all these matters are resolved.

“We have taken the appropriate measures by suspending Max Air until these measures are fixed. We will ensure all the issues are resolved before we can allow them to fly.

“We are also investigating the fuel suppliers to ensure that the problem is not with them. Max Air might be a victim of the fuel supplier and during their storage, or fueling or whenever, the contaminated fuel got into their aircraft.”

He also explained that the NCAA would on Friday, issue All Operator Letter (AOL) to all the indigenous airlines to alert them on their responsibility on fuel supply.

Nuhu assured the travelling public that the NCAA would continue to ensure safety of flight operations in Nigeria through its conducts.

He said that the regulatory body would in few days hold a meeting with the regulatory body in the oil and gas sector and enlighten them about the requirements and standards for the aviation industry.

Mishaps: NCAA Suspends Max Air B737 Aircraft,Begins Immediate Audit

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the Boeing 737 aircraft fleet of Azman Air following series of incidents involved the aircraft type in the airline in the past two months.

The agency has immediately set up a team of inspectors to conduct an audit of Max Air operations.

The regulatory agency conveyed this through a letter to the airline, dated July 12, 2023 with the reference number: NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/363, signed on behalf of Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General, Civil Aviation by Capt. Ibrahim Dambazau, its Director of Operations Training & Licensing.

It explained that the decision was taken due to safety concerns.

The letter hinted that the apex body in the civil aviation industry in Nigeria suspended Parts A3 and D43 of the Operations Specifications Issued to Max Air with immediate effect.

Parts A3 deals with the airline’s aircraft authorisation and D43 deals with aircraft listing of the operations specifications issued to Max Air Ltd.

The letter reads : “The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) hereby suspends Parts A3 (Aircraft Authorisation) and D43 (Aircraft Listing) of the Operations Specifications issued to Max Air Ltd. with regards to the operations of the Boeing B737 aircraft type in your fleet.

According to NCAA, the B737 aircraft in the fleet of the airline has had four occurrences in the last two months with the last being on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.

The breakdown of the serious incidents indicated that the airline’s B737-400 with the registration number: 5N-MBD, lost its number one Main Landing Gear (MLG) wheel during the serious incident.

It said the serious incident occurred between take-off at Yola Airport Adamawa State and on landing at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja Nigeria on May 7, 2023.

Also, another B737-300 with the registration number: 5N-MHM had fuel contamination in the main fuel tanks, leading to the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) shutdown on ground Yola Airport on July 7, 2023.

The regulatory body stated that on July 11, 2023, its B737-400 with the registration number: 5N-MBD had aborted take-off at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) due to high Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) indication.

Besides, its B737-300 aircraft with the registration number: 5N-MHM had an air return back to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) due to duct overheat indication in the cockpit on July 11, 2023.

It added : “With the above suspension, you are to immediately suspend the operations of all Boeing B737 aircraft in your fleet. The authority’s action is due to the several occurrences that involved your Boeing B737 aircraft”

We’ll Probe Kano,Abuja Airports’ Concession -Senate

Mohammed Shosanya

The Senate has begun moves to probe the concession of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja,by the last administration.

It also implored the government to review the entire exercise and give a level playing field to all stakeholders to participate in the process.

The move by the Senate followed a motion by Senator Suleiman Kawu, (NNPP Kano South Senatorial District), reading “Urgent Need to Reverse the Concessioning of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.”

Leading the debate, Senator Kawu told the Chamber that the Federal Executive Council, on 17th May, 2023, approved the concessioning of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano for 30 years, to Messrs Corporación America Airports Consortium.

He added that the Federal Ministry of Aviation (and Aerospace) does not own, or run any airport in Nigeria and that by the dictates of the governing Act of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), ownership and management of all federal government airports were fully vested in the Authority.

He also noted that the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) procedure document states, with respect to the agency that wishes to concession a facility that, “The public entity should have enabling authority to transfer its responsibility – enabling legislative and policy framework or an Administrative Order to that effect.

The motion reads in part: “Reflects that from the combined import of the FAAN Act and the ICRC procedures manual, is an evident manifestation that the entire airports concession is based on an incurably faulty foundation.

“For, there is no doubt that it is the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, not the Ministry of Aviation, that has power ‘to transfer its responsibility’ to a would-be concessionaire. It is also FAAN, not the Ministry, which has the requisite legislative & policy framework’ for such;

“Convinced that if the claim that the FEC has approved the concessioning of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has any substance, then the FEC has indeed been misguided in its decision, and that action cannot amount to anything than a nullity;

“Worried about the rational in borrowing and spending public money to upgrade the airport only to hand it over to foreign businesses for a period of 30 years in the name of a concession;

“Alarmed that Nigeria is receiving a concession fees or upfront of $1.5m while the total amount of money that the Kano airport is accruing to government is $97.4m;

“Disturbed that this concession is clearly dubious and raise questions on the process and what the actors stand to gain; Recalls that unions in the aviation industry embarked on a strike to question the integrity of the concession exercise, stressing that the concession of the airport away from FAAN would necessarily cause a cessation of the employment of all the staff involuntarily:

“Worried that the concession by the Buhari-led administration raises a fundamental question of injustice on why an elephant project with huge public investment would take place just at the end of the administration; and observes that the faulty gaps inherent in the concession would lead to an array of lawsuits and thereby embarrassing the current administration.”

The Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), lamented that some of the government agencies and officials that did the concession, took advantage of what be described as Buhari’s passiveness as a leader, to cheat Nigerians.