Indonesian aviation authorities say they have found the location of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from a crashed Indonesian jet on Sunday, items crucial to understanding what happened to the aircraft that went down with 62 people on board.
Indonesian divers also located parts of the wreckage of a Boeing 737-500 in the Java Sea as rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the waters where the Siriwijaya Air flight SJ182 carrying 62 people crashed.
“We have located the position of the black boxes, both of them,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia’s transport safety agency.
“Divers will start looking for them now and hopefully soon we can lift them up for the National Transportation Safety Committee to investigate and find out the cause of the crash.”
Divers recovered parts of the plane about 23 metres (75 feet) below the water’s surface, the transport ministry said in a statement, citing Indonesia’s military chief.
Indonesian Armed Forces chief Hadi Tjahjanto said the objects recovered included broken pieces of fuselage with aircraft registration parts.
“We are sure that is the point where the plane crashed,” he said in the statement, expressing hope that weather conditions and “the view under the sea are still good so that we can continue the search” on Sunday.
Indonesia’s chequered air safety record is again in the spotlight after the plane went down.
Before the crash, there had been 697 fatalities in Indonesia over the last decade including military and private planes, making it the deadliest aviation market in the world – ahead of Russia, Iran and Pakistan – according to Aviation Safety Network’s database.
The break in the search for Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 came after sonar equipment on a navy ship detected a signal from the aircraft at a location that fit the coordinates from the last contact made by the pilots before the plane went missing on Saturday.
The plane headed to Pontianak in West Kalimantan crashed shortly after takeoff from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
It is still unclear what caused the crash.
“I represent the government and all Indonesians in expressing my deep condolences for this tragedy,” President Joko Widodo said, adding, “We are doing our best to save the victims. We pray together so that the victims can be found.”
The nearly 27-year-old aircraft was much older than Boeing’s problem-plagued 737 MAX model, one of which crashed off Jakarta in late 2018, killing all 189 people on board the Lion Air flight.
Just in: Court halts sale of Nigeria Air shares to Ethiopia Airlines
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the Federal Government to suspend the process of selling the shares of Nigeria Air to Ethiopian Airlines.
The temporary injunction was given in a suit FHC/L/CS/2159/2022 and filed by Airline Operators in Nigeria (AON), Azman Air Services Limited, Air Peace Limited, Max Air Limited, United Nigeria Airline Company Limited, and Topbrass Aviation Limited, the plaintiffs.
The suit has Nigeria Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), as defendants.
The judge, Lewis-Allagoa, as found in the enrolment order, said the government, represented by the aviation minister, and the AGF should not proceed with the “establishment agreement” until the substantive matter in the suit was heard and determined.
The court directed all the parties in the suit to maintain “status quo”.
The plaintiffs asked the court to award them N2 billion in damages and order a perpetual injunction restraining the government from transferring the shares and operations of Nigeria Air to Ethiopian Airlines.
In the originating summons of the suit, the plaintiffs formulated five questions to the court to determine, one of which read:
“Whether the entire process for the sale and transfer of shares of the 1st defendant to the 2nd defendant and its consortium by the 3rd and 4th defendants is in line with the provisions of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Est.) Act, 2005, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Convention, the National Policy on Public Private Partnership (N4P), sections 76-81 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, and does not affect the entire process including the selection, approval or grant to the 2nd defendant and its consortium by the 3rd and 4th defendants is not invalid and thereby entitling the entire process to fresh bidding exercise?”
The plaintiffs, therefore, prayed the court to declare that “the entire administrative actions and decisions of the 3rd and 4th defendants in the sale of the shares of the 1st defendant to the 2nd defendant and its consortium is invalid, void and of no effect”.
The plaintiffs also sought for: “A declaration that the 2nd defendant was incompetent to bid for shares in the 1st defendant and commence business accordingly
“An order setting aside the entire bidding/selection process(es) for the “Nigeria Air” project as well as the approval, grant or selection of the 2nd defendant by the 1st, 3rd and 4th defendants in the process.
“An order directing the immediate, fresh and transparent bidding process(es) involving the plaintiffs being the indigenous Airline Operators in Nigeria rightly entitled to participate in the process.
“An order directing the immediate revocation and cancellation of the air transport licence (ATL) issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to the 1st defendant.”
Sirika dares domestic airlines, says no going back on Nigeria Air
The Federal Government says it has no plan to discontinue the proposed new national carrier, Nigeria Air, despite ongoing suit challenging the project.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, stated this on Tuesday during a stakeholders’ appreciation forum for the reconstruction of Lagos airport Runway 18L.
He said he individually engaged three indigenous carriers to participate in the project but they turned down the offer.
Sirika said, “I contacted Air Peace, Azman Air and Max Air but they turned down my invitation because it was not formal.
“I do not see the possibility of any court of competent jurisdiction will erect a road block to the emergence of the national carrier.
“I have been very transparent in the processes put in place to deliver the national carrier. If anyone wants to invest in a company, no one can stop them from investing. You can own a company 100 percent. If anyone wants to invest, why not ? We want foreign direct investment.”
He said it was unacceptable and unfair for stakeholders to claim that they had not been carried along on the national carrier project, adding that anybody who holding such information was working contrary to the actualisation of the aviation road map.
“Every information or documents pertaining to the project is domiciled at the ministry of aviation and Infrastructure Construction Regulatory Commission which are driving processes leading to the national carrier,” Sirika said.
He also spoke on the demolition of structures at the Lagos airport, stressing that there was no going back on the project to ensure Nigeria deliver state-of-the-art facilities that would transform into an aerotropolis.
The minister said Nigeria could not shortchange itself on the global move to deliver world-class air transport infrastructure as obtainable in other developed countries such as United Arab Emirates and America.
“If I have my way, those structures from the local airport to Bristow will be demolished tomorrow and pave way for the emergence of a befitting airport city. Would you not like to see shopping mall, befitting car parks and other support facilities like you find in other parts of the world?” he said.
He said he would put measures in place to sustain the achievements in the aviation industry during the Buhari administration.
Air Peace suspends flights to Dubai indefinitely from Nov 22
Air Peace has announced that it will be suspending flights to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), with effect from November 22, over failure of the UAE authorities to issue visas to Nigerians.
The UAE authorities three weeks ago placed a visa ban on Nigerians and many other African countries.
The UAE carrier, Emirates, had earlier suspended its flights, citing the inability to repatriate ticket funds realised from the Nugeria-Dubai route.
Air Peace said on Monday the suspension of flight operations from Tuesday, November 22, 2022 would be until “further notice.”
It said in a statement, “This is consequent upon the persisting non-issuance of visas to Nigerian travellers by the government of the United Arab Emirates and the accompanying inconveniences.
“Air Peace has been operating into UAE even with the country’s recent travel restrictions, but given the heightening hurdles Nigerian travellers are facing in accessing the country, it has become imperative that we halt our operations to that destination. We shall provide further updates as the situation progresses.
“Passengers whose flights are affected by this development can mail our Call Centre to attend to their concerns.”
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