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Nigeria to receive Tucano fighter jets in Q2 2021

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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.”

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Nigeria Air to launch with Lagos-Abuja shuttle, Ethiopian Airlines emerges preferred bidder

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The Federal Government has selected Ethiopian Airlines (ET) consortium as preferred bidder for Nigeria Air, controlling 49 per cent of the national carrier.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who said this during a media briefing in Abuja, announced that the new national carrier would start flight operations with initial Lagos and Abuja shuttle.

Sirika said ET scored 89 per cent out of 100 in the technical bidding process and 15 out of 20 as regards financial bids.

He explained that the request for proposal (RFP) under the public-private partnership (PPP) Act, governed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission(ICRC), has been completed.

“After a careful, detailed and ICRC governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder, offering an owner consortium of 3 Nigerian investors.

“The Nigerian investors are MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46%), FGN owning 5% and ET 49%. The consortium has been subject to a due diligence process.

“The contract will be negotiated between consortium and FGN, leading to a full business case (FBC) which will be expected to be approved by the federal executive council (FEC). We expect this process to take 6-8 weeks.”

The minister said the national carrier would launch with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.

According to him, Nigeria Air will be launched with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable and affordable travel between the two major airports.

The minister added that other domestic destinations would follow later.

“The first aircraft is ready to arrive in Abuja for further work and NCAA inspection, demo flights and audit as part of the AOC requirements.

“In time, two others will arrive to complete the required three aircraft for a new AOC holder. The interim executive team has prepared with the support of FAAN.

“The team has arranged for Terminal C at the Abuja Airport and finalised a contract with MMA 2 terminal in Lagos for the operation of an initial shuttle between Lagos and Abuja,” he said.

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Azman Air resumes local, int’l flights after NCAA renews licence

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has renewal of the air transport licence (ATL) of Azman Air and lifed suspection order slammed on the airline’s flight operations.

The Director-General of the NCAA, Musa Nuhu, said this in a statement issued on Saturday.

zman Air said following the renewal of its licence for another five years, it resumed scheduled and non-scheduled flights within and outside Nigeria on Friday September 17.

The NCAA in a tweet said it renewed Azman’s licence after the airline had fulfilled all outstanding requirements.

“Consequent upon the fulfilment of all outstanding requirements, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has renewed the air transport licence (ATL) of Azman Air, enabling the Airline to resume flight operations,” the agency tweeted.

The airline said the licence would enable it to operate between 2022 and 2027.

“Good News, AzmanAir has been granted a licence to operate scheduled & non-scheduled passenger & cargo air services within and outside Nigeria for another period of 5yrs by NCAA; having satisfied the requirements as guided by World Aviation Regulations,” it tweeted.

It also said, “Operation has been restored and all flights will now operate as scheduled from Friday, September 16. All passengers should kindly take note,” the airline said.

The NCAA had, on Thursday, confirmed the suspension of Azman Air over its inability to provide the required documents for the renewal of its air transport licence (ATL).

Nuhu said one of the critical documents was the tax certificate, which the airline could not provide because it failed to remit ticket and cargo sales charges amounting to N1.2 billion to the NCAA.

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Azman Air suspends operations 

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Azman Air has suspended operation over the carrier’s inability to renew its Air Operators Certificate.

Daily Trust reports that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended Azman for failing to meet the requirements for AOC renewal.

It was also learnt that the regulatory body had given it much time to renew the AOC, but failed despite issuing the airline another 30 days ultimatum to meet the requirements.

A source in the airline however said the required money had been paid and the issue could be resolved today.

The source said the airline would provide details later in the day.

Daily Trust reports that the suspension comes a few weeks after the NCAA threatened to withdraw airlines’ licences over indebtedness to the regulatory agency.

It was learnt that the NCAA had given the airline notice to pay the required fees to renew its licenses.

According to the NCAA, airlines owe N42bn and $7.8m.

A source in the NCAA said the authority wielded the big stick when the airline failed to meet up with the financial requirement for the renewal of its licences.

It was learnt that the airline had told some of its workers that it was suspending flights today due to “operational reasons.”

A spokesperson for the airline, Mr Nura Aliyu, promised to provide details of the issue later in the day.

 

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