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Nigerian airlines owe aviation agencies N37bn – Sirika

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Nigerian airlines owe various federal aviation agencies a total of N37bn, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said.

Sirika stated this while speaking at the weekly ministerial press briefing organised by the presidential communication team at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He said the agencies being owed included the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

According to him, Arik owes about N14 billion, Bi-Courtney owing FAAN about N14 billion, adding that for the past 13 years since it began operations, it had not remitted any amount to the agency them as contrary to the agreement.

Sirika said the government had been cautious in demanding the payment, mindful of how the media and Nigerian public might react but vowed that the government would go after the airlines.

Sirika said, “It is about N37 billion that they are owing, especially Arik, the culprit. I know they’re owing us about N13 billion to N14 billion.

“Bi-Courtney is owing about N14 billion as at the last count. It has not paid a single dime since the time it started to run the terminal building. And we have not ceased giving electricity, water, fire cover, and so on and so forth. It hasn’t paid a dime for 13 years.”

On the national carrier, the minister said Nigeria would begin the operation of a new national air carrier in the first quarter of 2022.

“I’m happy to say, we have discussed with the high and mighty. We discussed with Boeing, Airbus, we have reached some agreements. We discussed with airlines like Qatar, and many others. We will have this timeline in 2022 by the grace of God. And we’ll start with the domestic, you know, escalating into international.”

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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Reps on oversight function, others stranded for 12 hours at Kano airport

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Members of the House of Representatives’ committee on Petroleum Upstream on oversight function to Kano State were stranded for hours at the airport.

They had arrived at Kano airport by 12.30pm en route Abuja at 2pm on Wednesday only to be deserted by their airline.

The spokesman for the House, Benjamin Kalu, who was affected by the delay said after a long wait of about 12 hours, a promise from the Azman airline to lift them only came at 12.15am, Thursday, that’s Wednesday midnight.

He said, “Twelve hours wait for a one-hour flight between Kano and Abuja. All passengers including the House of Reps members are abandoned with no one addressing them or giving them or given a cup of water.

He said, “We got here 12.30pm and we are told we will be lifted 12.15am.

“The National Assembly members frown on how their citizens are treated in such delay.”

 

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