Nigeria will take delivery of the Tucano fighter jets it ordered in 2029 from the United States in the second quarter of 2021, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has said.
Abubakar stated this on Friday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Air Force, to defend the 2021 budget proposal of the Air Force.
He said the Air Force would also acquire eight unmanned aerial vehicles from China and three JF17 thunder fighter aircraft from Pakistan next year.
Abubakar told the lawmakers that the Air Force had acquired 22 aircraft in recent times and was expecting 17 more, in addition to the three special mission aircraft it was expecting under the Deep Blue project of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
He appealed for an increase in the amount proposed for the overhead cost, noting that the N8.8bn proposed for this in the 2021 fiscal year was grossly inadequate.
He said, “The overhead cost of the service has remained constant at N8.8bn despite the increase in the number of personnel and formations.
“We have acquired additional infrastructure but in spite of that, not much has changed in terms of the overhead. We have increased by about 11 units. These are located in Agatu in Benue State, Gembi in Taraba State, Damaturu in Yobe State, Ikirun in Osun State, we are expanding the unit in Ipetu Ijesa. We have also established an FOB in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State.
”The running cost of these units is something that is weighing heavily on the Air Force. That is why we are appealing for increase in the overhead cost. In terms of personnel, the Air Force has grown to over 11,000 personnel and right now, we are recruiting an additional 1,000. So, it is huge in terms of the infrastructure.
“For the platforms we have created, we have acquired 22 aircraft and we are expecting 17 more. In addition, we are expecting to get three special mission aircraft under the deep blue project of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
”I have intimated you of the eight UAVs we are expecting from China. With this number of platforms, the number of personnel have increased and the expansion of the units, definitely the current overhead will be inadequate. The 2021 budget proposal is tailored towards acquiring more platforms and maintaining existing platforms.
“NAF intends to intensify its procurement of spare parts, as well as arms and ammunition. Emphasis will also be placed on ongoing infrastructural development in newly established bases such as Gombe and existing NAF buildings to cater for the welfare of personnel and their families.”
Abubakar gave a breakdown of the proposed capital expenditure as “three JF17 thunder fighter aircraft that the Air Force is acquiring from Pakistan and we are proposing about N17.3bn for this, while the procurement of targeting bolts for the JF17 thunder aircraft will gulp N3.7bn.
“We have up to N2.5bn for barrack upgrade because the Super Tocano aircraft is coming to Kainji and the runway there is not in shape. We don’t want to go for contract because the cost of doing that runway will be too much.”
Domestic flight cancellations imminent over Jet-A1 scarcity – AON
The Airline Operators of Nigeria says disruption in flight operations is imminent as the scarcity of aviation fuel popularly known as Jet-Al worsens.
The alert is contained in a statement by spokesperson for the association, Obiora Okonkwo, on Monday.
It said the fuel scarcity was affecting smooth operations of air transport operations, adding that it would lead to flight rescheduling and cancellations.
It stated, “The Airline Operators of Nigeria wishes to alert the public of impending disruptions to scheduled flight operations of members of the association. This development is being forced on members by the growing scarcity of aviation fuel popular as Jet-Al.
“The scarcity is impacting negatively on the seamless conduct of air transport operations and would lead to flight rescheduling, and, or, cancellations.”
Okomkwo however said the association and its members were working tirelessly in alliance with product marketers, government and relevant stakeholders, to ensure availability and proper pricing of aviation fuel in the country.
He added, “While pleading the understanding of the flying public in the face of this reality, we also promise to do all that is necessary, and within our powers, to restore normal flight schedules as soon as possible.”
Nigerian female pilot, 11 others die in Cameroon plane crash
A Nigerian female pilot, Adzuayi Ewuga, and 11 passengers have died in a plane crash in Central Cameroon.
The late pilot was the second daughter of Senator Solomon Ewuga, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Nasarawa State and former Minister of State for the FCT.
The pilot reportedly died with 11 others on board a mini-aircraft belonging to Caverton Aviation Cameroon, when air traffic services lost radio contact, causing the plane to crash.
Local Cameroon media reports that the aircraft was flying from Yaounde Nsimalen Airport to Belabo, in the east of the country when it crashed, killing all passengers onboard.
Caverton Aviation Cameroon is a subsidiary of Caverton Offshore Support Group based in Lagos, Nigeria, which also controls Caverton Helicopters.
Passenger with no flying experience lands airplane after pilot falls sick
A passenger with no flying experience safely landed a private plane in a Florida airport Tuesday afternoon, May 10, when the pilot became incapacitated.
As the situation unfolded, the passenger could be heard telling air traffic control that he did not know how to fly the plane, according to LiveATC.net audio obtained.
“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the unidentified passenger said in the audio. “My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”
Then an air traffic controller began providing the passenger with instructions on landing the plane, according to the audio, which eventually touched down in Palm Beach International Airport in Florida.
“Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate,” the air traffic controller can be heard telling the man.
“Try to follow the coast either north or south-bound. We’re trying to locate you.”
In additional audio captured by LiveATC.net, another air traffic controller could be heard telling other planes what had unfolded.
“You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” the tower operator told an American Airlines pilot waiting to take off for Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Did you say the passengers landed the airplane?” the American Airlines pilot asked. “Oh, my God. Great job,” he said.
Two people were aboard the single-engine Cessna 208 when the pilot had a “possible medical issue,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The condition of the pilot was not immediately known.
The FAA says it is investigating the incident.
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