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Commercial Airlines to Resume In Abuja Airport Wednesday

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Joseph Oyebola

Forty one days after its runway was shut for major repairs, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NNIA), Abuja, will re- open today, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Managing Director Saleh Dunoma said yesterday.

According to Dunoma, everything about the Abuja Airport runway was ready and awaiting the certification of the aerodrome by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to ascertain compliance with operational standards.

He said the certification will be completed in two days, before the airport runway will open for commercial flights on Wednesday.

Dunoma told reporters that the two-day certification window will to allow NCAA to make corrections and on any area in line with civil aviation requirements.

He said: “We will be ready by Monday (April 17, 2017). But, we are leaving the remaining two days for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). This is because the NCAA has to certify the airport that what we have done is in accordance with their standards.

“After the NCAA does that, we will bring in the traffic. But if they do not, we have the opportunity of making corrections with the two days we have saved.”

On the reopening of the runway on Wednesday, Dunoma said: “No doubt about that, we will open it as scheduled. Just as I have said, we have been working with the NCAA throughout the period. They have been making corrections. But, for formality, we need to check and make sure that all the necessary corrections meet the requirement of the civil aviation authority.

“All the critical items of work are hundred per cent ready, except may be two items, which of course is the markings and the cleaning. Other critical item which is not serious work is the inspection by the NCAA who will come and certify that the repairs that had been carried out is satisfactory and give us the go ahead to bring in traffic to Abuja.

“Asphalt work is hundred per cent complete; markings have reached almost seventy per cent; and the airfield lighting system has attained eighty per cent completion.”

Responding to when the NCAA will carry out their inspection and certify the runway, he said: “We have written to them and they will come to do the preliminary inspection. If there is any observation as a result of the inspection, we will now make sure we carry out corrections.”

On the terminal building: “We are improving on all the services there and repairing all the items that are bad. It will be ready by Monday (tomorrow). Most of the items there have been completed. We are just trying to clean up.”

He said that FAAN has carried out other minor repairs at Abuja Airport, taking advantage of the closure as the perfect timing.

Dunoma said: “There is additional work which has nothing to do with this repair but we are seizing the opportunity of the closure of the airport to do.

This has to do with the APEX (Airport Excellence in Safety)-related items. We are now levelling all the airfield lightings’ locations, all the installations and flash with the ground surface. In case of any skidding, there will not be concrete projection above the ground surface.”

Concerning the calibration of Navigational Aids, he said: “We have not tampered with the Navids. We just worked on the runway. What we tampered with is the airfield lightings and the airfield lightings are being returned to the same position.

“The runway does not need calibration. All we need to check is to make sure there is 100 per cent illumination. Calibration is done periodically. When the time comes for calibration, the appropriate authority will calibrate the Instrument Landing System (ILS).”

The Abuja airport was shut on March 8 for six weeks to enable Julius Berger rebuild the 3.6-kilometre runway.

The runway, which was constructed in 1982 was meant to last for 20 years, but had been in use for 35 years without major repairs and maintenance.

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Aviation

Passengers Commend Integrity, Professionalism of Dana Air Security Team

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Passengers have commended the integrity and professionalism demonstrated by the Dana Air security team on discovery of valuable items forgotten onboard its aircraft

The airline in a statement issued by its Media and Communications Manager, Kingsley Ezenwa said, ‘we are not surprised by the recent commendations that our security team has been getting on their constant display of integrity and professionalism on and off the job.

‘’There have been many cases of lost and recovered items like phones, ipads, huge sums of money, Nigerian passports with valid visas and lots of valuable items. We have also returned a lot of missing foreign and Nigerian passports to the immigration, embassies and even sometimes call the owners in the cases where we are able to track the passenger’s booking with authentic details. This is also one of the reasons we advise passengers to enter their correct details when booking.’’

Recently, a passenger on one of our flight from Abuja to Lagos left a bag containing $5,000 and some other valuables. On getting to Victoria Island, he noticed he wasn’t with the bag and dashed back to the airport, met the security team who confirmed the item was found. He proved ownership of the item; completed necessarily documents and got his missing item back immediately.

He thanked the security team for displaying a high level of integrity and professionalism in handling an issue that involved hard currency. He also appreciated the staff for proving all the negative things they hear about Nigerians wrong.

Another passenger, Musa Anasemi, who forgot a Nigerian passport with a valid US visa, said he didn’t have an idea where he left the passport, but after about nine days, he decided to check with us. He got his passport with gratitude and praises for the airline and the security staff that found the item and declared it.

We carry out our due diligence in recruitment across board and have invested heavily in training and retraining of staff. We also try our best to keep staff happy in our little way and these are the results.

We are also glad that our staffs have been able to prove to the world that some of the things they hear about us around the world are actually not true. The safety, comfort and well-being of our guests will remain a top priority and we will continue to keep the flag flying.’’

In 2018, Dana Air had 34 of its air passengers’ luggage missing with 32 of them recovered between January and December of same year according to a report obtained from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The airline’s security team have been commended for not only displaying integrity but for foiling series of security threats to its aircraft.

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Aviation

Dana Air Begins Owerri-Abuja flights May 1

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As part of its strategic route expansion drive across Nigeria, Dana Air has announced plans to introduce Owerri- Abuja –Owerri flights on May 1

”We are greatly delighted to introduce an additional flight on our Owerri route, connecting Owerri to Abuja and back, said Kingsley Ezenwa, Dana Air’s Media and Communications Manager. ‘’ This is part of our commitment towards providing dependable options for the good people of Imo state and ensuring seamless travel for business and leisure travelers.’’

Speaking further, Kingsley said, the airline which currently operates over 27 daily flights from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Uyo, and Owerri, will operate flights from the Sam Mbakwe International Airport, Owerri to Abuja and back on Mondays to Fridays and Sundays.

‘’From May 1, 2018, we will operate one flight from Owerri to Abuja on Mondays to Fridays at 12.33pm and Abuja to Owerri at 2.16pm. On Sundays, Owerri to Abuja flights will be at 5.31pm and Abuja to Owerri at 12.06pm.’’

​He noted that the airline had to create a flight from Owerri to Abuja as a result of the overwhelming calls from its guests, who had enjoyed its uninterrupted schedule and on-time departures from Lagos to Owerri and assured guests of the airline’s commitment towards providing a reliable and affordable service across its route network.

He advised the airline’s customers to visit its website www.flydanaair.com or any of its sales outlets  at Imo Condorde Hotel in Owerri, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Silverbird Galleria in Lagos and all other airport sales desk  for fares as low as 18,000 one way and 45,000 business class tickets.

​Dana Air, after a thorough audit conducted by the Imo state government in 2017, was selected for an airline partnership as part of the Government’s commitment towards providing career and job opportunities for indigenes of the state, and affordable fares to boost leisure and business travel to and around the state. ​

 

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Aviation

President Buhari To Flag World Aviation Forum

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www.securenigeria365.com

President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to attend the opening ceremony of the World Aviation Forum, and flag off the event.

This was contained in a statement issued today by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Mr James Odaudu.

According to the statement, the President’s presence was to emphasise the importance attached to the consideration of Nigeria’s emergence as the first country to host the annual event organised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The three-day event, which holds from November 20 – 22 in Abuja, will be the first to be held outside the ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada. It also underscores Nigeria’s rising profile within the aviation world.

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said Nigeria’s hosting of the ICAO World Aviation Forum, coming so soon after the country hosted the ICAO Symposium on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), is a clear indication of the confidence the Buhari administration has elicited within the sector, and an endorsement by the world body of its reform programmes for the nation’s aviation industry.

“The third ICAO World Aviation Forum, which is intended to explore the benefits of the aviation sector to social, economic development and prosperity of member states, is aimed at top-ranking government officials in charge of aviation, transport and infrastructure, finance, economy and tourism; and key industry and financial partners.

“The forum is also expected to discuss, identify needs, and facilitate the funding and financing required to accelerate the implementation of international civil aviation standards and policies, as well as global plans for aviation, in support of the ICAO No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative,” the statement read in part.

The objectives of the forum include the establishment and alignment of infrastructure programmes and plans that are consistent with the ICAO global strategic plans for aviation like the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) and the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP).

The meeting will also discuss the stimulation of common and interoperable air transport systems leading to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

On the benefits of the forum, Mr Sirika said it is expected to build on the outcomes of the two previous ICAO World Aviation Forums (IWAF/1 and IWAF/2) held in November 2015 and September 2016 respectively.

He added that it will also tackle the existing and future financing challenges facing aviation infrastructure and capacity development in member states, especially in Africa, in the spirit of the ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative.

The minister said Nigeria appreciates the honour and privilege of being the first country to host the Forum and appealed to ICAO for continuous support for the country’s drive to reposition its aviation sector.

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