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Nigerian Pilots, Engineers Laud Azman Air Suspension

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AZMAN Air

By Ahmed Rahma

The suspension of the operations of Azman Air by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been applauded by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

The group, in a statement, said it was excited over the professional conduct of the regulatory body and equally condemned the response of Azman Air to the NCAA’s action.

Recall that on March 17, 2021, the agency wielded its big stick on Azman Air by suspending the operations of the airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft with immediate effect, following incidents involving the plane series.

In the statement, the president of NAAPE, Mr Abednego Galadima, said it read in “total dismay the unbelievable response of Azman Air to the legitimate and professional regulatory safety oversight function performed by the NCAA on its operations.

“It is unfortunate that Azman Air chooses to view the action through parochial prism.

“The sentiments expressed by the airline were unnecessary and unhelpful to the critical safety issues raised by the authority, given the cited myriads of incontrovertible safety breaches.

“Again, to interpret the patriotic NCAA act of ensuring that Nigerian pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers are considered first in employment in line with expatriates quota laws and Executive Order No. 5 as vindictive is to demonstrate disdain for our laws.

“We, therefore, commend NCAA under the able leadership of Capt. Musa Nuhu as Director-General and pass a vote of confidence on his stewardship since he assumed office in February 2020.”

The association called on the aviation community and well-meaning Nigerians to support the regulator in its onerous task of ensuring the safety and security of the airspace and equipment.

“We also wish to advise Azman Air to cooperate with the regulatory authority by opening up its books for full safety audit,” the group said, adding that the company should also consider the overall interest of the travelling public and Nigeria.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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Travel/Tourism

FAAN Restricts Drivers From Picking Passengers at Terminals

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Airport Terminals

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said that drivers are prohibited from picking up passengers at the frontage of airport terminals but are to pick them up only at car parks.

This was disclosed in a statement released on Monday, April 12 by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, saying that drivers can only approach the terminals when they want to drop off a departing passenger.

“The authority will like to emphasize that in line with government protocols, arriving passengers are to walk down to designated car parks to board their vehicles. No driver is permitted to pick up arriving passenger(s) at the frontage of the terminals.

“All drivers must park and wait inside the car parks while arriving passengers walk down to the car parks to board their vehicles.

“For departing passengers, drivers are only allowed to drop off passengers in front of the terminals. They are not permitted to wait for any reason after dropping their passengers, it is only a Drop Off zone,” the statement read in part.

The agency, therefore, called for compliance with all laid down protocols on COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all airport users to ease facilitation and enhance the safety of all airport users.

“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) hereby advises passengers, drivers and other airport users, particularly those at the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos, to always comply with all laid down protocols on COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all airport users,” the statement added.

Last week, FAAN advised passengers to get to airports, particularly those at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, early.

The call was done to enable them to complete their check-in procedures in good time and avoid the unpleasant experiences associated with missing their flights.

This advice has become necessary as passengers are likely to go through a little delay at the entrance to the terminals,

The agency noted that it took this decision due to built-up vehicular traffic occasioned by the increase in passenger traffic being witnessed presently.

“The authority will like to assure passengers and other airport users that all hands are on deck to ensure swift facilitation and reduce the congestion to the barest minimum,” it said.

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Travel/Tourism

British University Plans Return of Benin Bronze to Nigeria

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Benin Bronze

By Ahmed Rahma

More than a century after Britain looted sculptures in Nigeria and auctioned them to Western museums, a British university is set to return a Benin Bronze back to its place of origin.

The varsity identified as the University of Aberdeen said on Thursday it wants to return the artwork to where it came from within weeks.

In a report by Reuters, this is one of the first public institutions to carry out the action.

The university said the sculpture of an Oba or ruler of the Kingdom of Benin had left Nigeria in an “extremely immoral” fashion, leading it to reach out to authorities in 2019 to negotiate its return.

Speaking, the head of museums and special collections of Aberdeen, Neil Curtis said the Bronze, purchased in 1957, had been “blatantly looted.”

“It became clear we had to do something,” Curtis said.

On the part of professor Abba Isa Tijani, director-general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the importance of displaying the Bronze inside Nigeria for the first time in more than 120 years was inexpressible.

“It’s part of our identity, part of our heritage… which has been taken away from us for many years,” Mr Tijani said.

British soldiers seized thousands of metal castings and sculptures from the Kingdom of Benin, then separated from British-ruled Nigeria, in 1897.

According to a report, Germany is also in talks to send back 440 Benin Bronzes as early as the autumn while the University of Cambridge’s Jesus College said it had finalised approvals in December to return another Bronze.

Mr Tijani said museums in the United States have also agreed to return two more Bronzes.

The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has also revealed plans to build a centre to store and study the returned artefacts by the end of 2021, and a permanent museum by 2025.

Artist and Edo state native Victor Ehikhamenor said he hoped the decision would prompt others to follow suit.

“Because some of these things are missing from our environment, people are not able to contextualize where we are coming from,” Ehikhamenor said.

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FAAN Suspends e-Finger Screening for Maintenance

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The e-Finger departure screening point at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) has been temporarily shut down by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The facility was closed by the organisation to enable officials of the airport to carry out some routine maintenance on the machine, Business Post gathered.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by the General Manager of FAAN in charge of Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, it was disclosed that the maintenance should be completed very soon.

Mrs Yakubu said that the process was part of the airport maintenance and upgrade programme of the agency for the provision of quality services to passengers.

In the statement, the image-maker of the agency said, “Consequently, all human and cargo movements have been temporarily diverted to the D-Finger screening area until the maintenance and upgrade are completed.”

“The authority appeals to passengers and other airport users to please bear with us, as we hope to reopen the area as soon as possible,” Mrs Yakubu added.

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FG Suspends Emirates Airline Flights

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Emirates extends baggage allowance

By Ahmed Rahma

The federal government of Nigeria has temporarily banned Emirates Airline from operating over its continued refusal to fly passengers out of the country without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test (RDT’s).

Speaking during its weekly briefing on Monday, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said the ban will be effective from Wednesday, March 17.

“KLM will resume outbound flights from Lagos on March 15, 2021, without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates Airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight Wednesday, March 17, 2021,” he said.

Mr Mustapha, however, said discussions are ongoing to resolve the matter amicably.

Emirates and KLM had in the past few weeks flown passengers into Nigeria but refused to fly passengers out because of its new guidelines introduced as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said, “Regarding KLM and Emirates airlines, at the time that we resumed flight, these two airlines made demands that there would be polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for passengers within 72 hours of their flight and there will also be antigens rapid test at the airport and also a PCR test on arrival in their countries.”

The Minister argued that this is devoid of any scientific basis because the virus itself will incubate at least within or after 72 hours.

In this light, it sounds incorrect for passengers to take a PCR test within 72 hours and take a rapid test before the flight and seven hours later, take another test, “you are likely to show negative and the reasons at the time was that the PCR results are being faked,” the minister said.

The Minister said KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out on the conditions agreed upon which is to have a PCR test within 72 hours.

“Emirate didn’t accept the position and so, we have asked that Emirates be banned from operations from midnight Wednesday,” he said.

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ALML Unveils Online Booking Platform for Travellers

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cool air travel

By Ahmed Rahma

Aviation Logistics and Management Limited (ALML) has launched an online travel website, Tripplug.com, which offers travellers the convenience of booking online with a few clicks.

Through Tripplug.com, the company provides flight booking, hotel reservations, travel packages, tours, airport transfers, protocol, airport-lounge access and more with guaranteed on-demand and real-time booking to passengers.

Speaking during the launch of Tripplug.com in Lagos, Mr Temidayo Kazeem, vice president, asset management ALML said the company has built up longstanding strategic relationships with partners worldwide, which allows it to go the extra mile for travellers no matter their destinations.

Mr Temidayo said ALML is set out to solve challenges people face every day in travel and to bring travel solutions to their mobile phones and right inside their pockets.

He noted that ALML group which has been in the industry for over 20 years is deeply entrenched and invested in aviation, building proper business structures for travel, transport, lounge, airport transfers and protocol services adding that the company has put all of these together as a business and has brought technology enabling passengers at a time when technology drives travel.

“Tripplug.com is the brainchild of our group MD Chief John Adebanjo, who set up the ALML Group over 20 years ago and has been constantly evolving with different ideas for the business. When this business idea was shared with us, we all got on the train and we decided to run with it.

“We had done several webinars over the last couple of months. We had communicated with different sectors in the industry to tell them the things we set out to achieve with this. Travel, fortunately, is at a very interesting place at the moment and one of the visions of Tripplug.com is to facilitate travel. This is what we know and this is what we do. We are set out to make sure travel remains sustainable and facilitated at every point.

“We set out to attain global standards. We have 50 vehicles in our fleet and provide pick-up services from your homes to our 70-sitting capacity lounge. We are set to change the face of travel in Nigeria,” Kazeem added.

Abimbola Aneke, agency manager ALML, said ALML is presenting a one-stop-shop with the launch of Tripplug.com, to make travel seamless.

“Our website is price sensitive and easy to use and navigate. We have a lot of hotels and ticket deals. The prices are from the cheapest to the highest.

In her remarks, Abiodun Adebanjo, deputy managing director of ALML said she was excited to be a part of Tripplug.com, the brainchild of ALML which the company has invested so much time and resources into.

Adebanjo assured that innovation will enhance travellers’ experience and benefit the aviation industry. She encouraged travellers to connect to tripplug.com as it is stress-free and easy to use.

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House of Reps Urges PTF to Reopen Kano Airport, Others

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Reopen Kano Airport

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has been urged to reopen the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

The House of Representatives, which made the appeal at the plenary on Wednesday in Abuja presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Ahmed Idris Wase, argued that the closure of the facility has led to the loss of many jobs.

The lawmakers said since the airport was shut down in March 2020 as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, many passengers who rely on the airport for their international and domestic engagements have been denied access.

The green chamber of the National Assembly said it was “Concerned that Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano has remained closed despite credence to the impact and importance of the Airport to Nigerians, foreigners and the economy as it serves 15 passenger airlines, which include Kabo Airline, Air peace, Aero Contractors, Max Air, etc. being local airlines and Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, etc as International Airlines.”

The lower arm of the parliament further said another disturbing issue is that this same airport “is the hub of Muslim pilgrimages in Northern Nigeria, alongside serving other exigencies like emergency medical evacuations and between 2010 and 2015, had a yearly average of 391,637 passengers flying the route for either business or pleasure.”

It said it was “cognizant of the losses of jobs on account of the continued closure of the airport as well as jeopardising investments in the Information and Communications Technology, facilities and meteorological equipment which the government may not be able to repair immediately, and so susceptible to malfunctioning, contrary to the expectations in an industry that runs on the precision of judgement on anchored working equipment and facilities.”

According to the House of Reps, it was “also concerned that the other two airports that were closed alongside the Airport have resumed operations, hence the continued closure of Mallam Aminu Kano International airport has brought untold hardship in many dimensions from economic to social loss of revenues generated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) from the airlines, other persons whose livelihoods are intrinsically linked to the operations of the Airport such as car hire operators, retailers of different products etc.”

It, therefore, urged the PTF to consider reopening the airport alongside “the international wings of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, for ease of air transportation.”

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