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FG lifts ban on Emirates Airlines

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The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said, on Wednesday, that the Federal Government had lifted the ban on Emirates Airlines’ operations in Nigeria.

Sirika said the United Arab Emirates had communicated its readiness to issue visas to Nigerians, adding that this informed the Federal Government’s decision.

Announcing the development on his Twitter handle, the minister said, “UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria.

“Commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation. Many thanks.”

The Federal Government had, on September 18, announced the ban of Emirates flights to Nigeria.

According to the minister, it was necessary for Nigeria to implement the principle of reciprocity for countries that had banned flights from Nigeria.

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Aviation

Arik sacks eight pilots for going on strike

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Arik Air has dismissed eight local pilots over a strike action embarked upon by pilots of the airline.

The management of the airline (In Receivership) confirmed that it sacked several pilots for “gross acts of indiscipline.”

Their dismissal which was announced today took effect on Tuesday.

According to a statement by the management, the affected pilots were dismissed for embarking on strike without recourse to laid down procedures.

The statement said, “The pilots did not serve a strike notice in accordance with labour laws. They neither submitted any issue of dispute to the National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), their umbrella union nor did they submit any statement of demands to the management of the company.

“There were also no ongoing discussions between the management and the pilots on any unresolved labour issues. Their actions were spontaneous and callous.

“Arik Air finds it rather treacherous of the Pilots to contemplate a strike action at this Yuletide season which is the peak period for airlines all over the world. They peddle for naught the reputation and financial health of the company.

“It is instructive to note that the management of the airline has of late had very fruitful discussions with relevant aviation unions including the National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), on conditions of service for all employees. This has led to the signing of a robust condition of service and redundancy benefits for staff.

“While great efforts have been made to minimize the impact of the illegal strike action, some fully booked flights have had to be canceled. Arik Air regrets the inconvenience caused by this action and is doing everything in its powers to minimize the impact and discomfort to its esteemed customers.”

But the pilots were said to have requested to meet with the Receiver Manager of the airline, Mr Kamilu Omokide, to discuss issues that have to do with “safety concerns”.

After the failed attempt to meet him, the pilots issued a notice to embark on strike.

According to them, prior notice was given “in order to avoid any flight disruption.”

The concerns raised by the unions, include morale, remuneration and the current safety issues in existence.

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Aviation

FEC approves N28bn for total radar coverage of Nigerian airspace

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The Federal Executive Council has approved N28bn for the total radar coverage, a project of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency.

The total radar coverage is aimed at enhancing civil and military surveillance of aircraft operating within the Nigerian airspace.

FEC gave the approval during its meeting on Wednesday presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who spoke with State House correspondents after the council meeting, said the contract was part of the three memos brought for the consideration of FEC on behalf of the ministry.

“Today, the council received three memoranda from aviation, and they were all approved consequently,” Sirika said.

According to the minister, the first memo is for the approval of a contract for the supply and installation of baggage handling system at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, amounting to N3,615,265,710.69, inclusive of the 7.5% VAT, with the completion period of 12 months.

He also said, “The contractor is Messrs. Gulf of Africa International Limited, who are exclusive representatives of the original equipment manufacturer. The OEM is Messrs. UVS Systems Company, a company that is located in Istanbul, Turkey. The funding was found and appropriated, and the Council consequently approved.

“The second memo from us in Aviation is approval for the award of contract for the manufacture, supply, installation and operating training of disabled aircraft recovery system at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

“This system is to be applied in the event that there is an aircraft that is occupying the runway or any area of operations that we have, so the special equipment will be used to remove that aircraft from that place and free it for our own operations. Contract sum is N2,209,593,428.08, inclusive of 7.5% VAT.

“This was issued to Messrs. Globsley Project Limited. The OEM representatives are Messrs. AMS Aircraft Recovery Limited.”

For the third memo, which also got FEC approval, Sirika said was a contract for direct procurement and installation of the total radar coverage modernisation for the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, with a sum of 40 million euros ( about N28,039,080,799.40).

“The contractors are Messrs. Talas, who had been on the project and supported by Intelligent Transportation Systems Limited and Messrs. Softnet Systems Nigeria Limited, and the OEMs are Messrs. Talas Systems of France and Messrs. HM Global of Germany,” he added.

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16 killed as Russian plane carrying parachute jumpers crashes

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About 16 people have been killed and seven injured after a plane crashed in Russia’s Tatarstan region, the RIA news agency cited the emergency services as saying.

The plane was carrying a group of parachute jumpers, the emergencies ministry was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

Seven people were pulled out alive from the wreckage, it said.

The remaining 15 were “without signs of life”, a representative of the emergency services told the RIA Novosti news agency.

The plane was a Let L-410 Turbolet, which is a twin-engine short-range transport aircraft. The crash took place at about 9:23am (06:23 GMT).

Images published by the ministry showed the aircraft broken in half with a severely dented nose.

The local health ministry said that the seven survivors are in hospital, one is in “very serious condition”, RIA Novosti reported.

Russian aviation safety standards have improved in recent years but accidents, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions, are not uncommon.

Last month, an ageing Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed in the Russian far east, killing six people.

All 28 people on board an Antonov An-26 twin-engine turboprop died in a crash in Kamchatka in July.

The country also frequently experiences non-fatal air incidents that result in rerouted flights and emergency landings, usually stemming from technical issues.

Flying in Russia can be particularly dangerous in the vast country’s isolated regions, such as the Arctic and the Far East, where weather conditions are frequently extreme.

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