Senator Laments Poor Maintenance of Arik Air Aircrafts, Says Passengers’ Lives at Risk
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Senator representing Osun Central constituency of Osun State at the National Assembly, Mr Olusola Adeyeye, has accused one of the airline operators in the country, Arik Air, of putting the lives of Nigerians at risk.
The lawmaker said the company was allegedly doing this by not servicing its airplanes properly.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, Mr Adeyeye claimed on three different occasions, he boarded Arik Air with faulty air conditioning system.
He further accused the airline and others of operating on substandard maintenance.
Citing Order 43, Senator Adeyeye cites Order 43 on a matter of urgent public importance, told his colleagues that, “I was on an Arik (Air) aircraft on three different occasions and the air conditioning did not work.”
“Aircrafts take off without being properly serviced or serviced on time and this is unfair to Nigerian citizens,” Mr Adeyeye lamented.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, thanked the lawmaker for bringing the matter up for deliberation.
Mr Saraki said, “Anything that has to do with the lives of our people should be looked into.”
He then asked “Chairman of the Committee on Aviation take this matter up and report back to us within a week. Let us find out what the issues are.”
Meanwhile, efforts by Business Post to get the reaction of Arik Air through its Head of Communications, Mr Adebanji Ola, on this matter were not successful as at press time.
Arik Air, formerly a privately-owned firm, was established in 2006, but was taken over by the Nigerian government in 2017 through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) after it failed to repay its $429 million debts.
In a recent report by ThisDay, Mr Ola admitted that the future of Arik Air could be threatened because of the present state of the airline.
He was reported to have said Arik Air existed today and maintained existing workforce because of the intervention by AMCON, pointing out that if not for the intervention, Airk Air would have gone under in 2017.
In recent times, Arik Air has been in the news for the wrong reasons, which is becoming very worrisome to some of its loyal customers.
Nigeria Air MD Reveals Aircraft Rented From Ethiopia
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Captain Dayo Olumide, has revealed that the aircraft unveiled recently by the former administration of Mr Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria Air was chattered from Ethiopia, with the purpose of showcasing to Nigerians and their shareholders.
Captain Dayo made the revelation when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to clarify the controversies surrounding the airline which was launched a day before the expiration of the last administration.
He added that the aircraft that came and left was a legitimate chartered flight which can be done by anyone who doesn’t have a license as long as he pays for it, noting that for Nigeria to operate an aircraft, it must be Nigeria registered.
He added that the particular aircraft that was unveiled was not registered and came into Nigeria with a few days’ clearances from Ethiopia and was returned after use.
He further stated that Nigeria only has an airport license which is one of two licenses required for operating an airline, and does not permit one to carry out commercial services operations.
The MD further revealed that for Nigeria Air to get the needed license, Nigeria must have three aircraft before the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) gives the country an air license to fly and the three aircraft must be Nigeria-registered.
According to him, there are five phases or steps one goes through to get the license, and Nigeria is still in phase one of the process.
While reacting to some reports that the passengers on board bought tickets, the MD refuted the claims, noting that they were staff of Ethiopia Airlines brought in for the unveiling.
Captain Dayo, with 40 years’ experience in airline operations, further confirmed that he was appointed in February 2022, to secure the air operating certificate for the airline to fly and not to operate the airline.
He added that Nigeria is not at a point of operating the airline yet, as Nigeria Air does not have a terminal for international operations.
In a related development, the House of Representatives has also poked holes in the purported launch of Nigeria Air, declaring it a fraud.
Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Mr Nnolim Nnaji, declared the launch of Nigeria Air a fraud after the major stakeholders in the deal between the federal government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the launch.
The Ministry of Aviation claimed Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched, which the committee dismissed as an attempt to divert the lawmakers’ attention.
Italy Pledges €1.4m Investment to Preserve Kanyaka Island in Moçambique
By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
The tourism handbook or guidebook says Kanyaka is in Maputo, Southern Moçambique (Mozambique). It further says that Kanyaka is situated nearby to Tóbia and Jona. It is an island which attracts tourists for leisure, so the Moçambique government attaches importance to its development and preservation.
Rádio Moçambique reported in early June that the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (IDCA) would invest around €1.4 million in preserving and enhancing the environmental heritage of Kanyaka Island.
Through environmental protection, tourism development and sustainable agriculture projects, the Kanyaka community would benefit from tools to preserve the island’s ecosystem better. The ‘MangAction’ project, within the framework of the ManGrowth initiative, was formally presented to the district of Kanyaka.
Project coordinator Frederica Ferrari said that the three-year project would deliver benefits to the entire island community. The initiative would be managed by a consortium made up of civil society organisations ICEI – Istituto Cooperazione Economica Internazionale, WeWorld Onlus, with Natura Moçambique, IUCN Moçambique and Abiodes (Associação para Desenvolvimento Sustentável).
It aims to preserve and value the environmental heritage for sustainable and resilient development in the Bay of Maputo. The project was launched with the support of the Kanyaka Tour Operators Association (AOTUKA), whose chairman Angelo Manguele said that the biggest benefit of the project would be gaining knowledge of the best ways to preserve the island’s environmental heritage.
Moçambican President Filipe Nyusi previously inaugurated a new ferry boat that operates between central Maputo and the Island. The boat, named “Kanyaka”, cost $2.7 million and was acquired in Greece. It has the capacity to carry 156 passengers and five tonnes of cargo, including one vehicle. The boat, built in 2008, has a top speed of 14 knots (26 kilometres an hour).
The trip from Maputo to Kanyaka now takes one hour and 45 minutes, compared with two and a half hours on the previous ferry, which could only carry 70 passengers. The islanders requested a new ferry when Nyusi visited Kanyaka.
The new ferry service, the President said, would overcome the common perception that Island “is too far away”. Poor transport links, he added, had made life on the island more expensive and led to shortages in basic goods that must be shipped in from Maputo. The isolation of Inyaka also inhibited its tourism potential.
Nyusi said he was sure that the new ferry would reduce the suffering of the islanders and help improve the business environment in this part of the country. It was important, he added, to guarantee safety and comfort for the 6,000 inhabitants of Inyaka who regularly travel to and from central Maputo.
The boat now ensures regular supplies of basic goods and of medicines and reduces the time needed to take people who fall ill on Island to Maputo hospitals. “The island has a strong tourist potential,” said the President, “and Moçambican and foreign tourists can now visit in less time and with greater comfort. The 12,000 species of the marine ecosystem can be a source for ecotourism.”
The ferry is operated by the company Transmaritima, and Nyusi urged the company’s managers to design package trips for tourists visiting the island. The sustainability of the ferry service depends on the management capacity, not a burden on the government.
The country’s natural environment, wildlife, and historic heritage provide opportunities for beach, cultural and ecotourism. There are many different kinds of dances from tribe to tribe which are usually ritualistic in nature. The Makonde are known for their wood carving and elaborate masks, which are commonly used in traditional dances. Moçambique is located in southeastern Africa, bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, and has approximately 30 million population.
Foreign Airlines’ Unrepatriated $812m in Nigeria Worries IATA
By Adedapo Adesanya
Fresh data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that the total amount of foreign airlines’ trapped funds in Nigeria has risen to $812.2 million from the $802 million reported in April.
The updated figure came as IATA warned all owing governments that the blocked airline funds could threaten airline connectivity in the affected markets.
This was noted on the sideline of the ongoing IATA Annual General Meetings and World Air Transport Summit ongoing in Istanbul, Turkey.
According to a statement seen by Business Post, the industry’s blocked funds have increased by 47 per cent to $2.27 billion in April 2023 from $1.55 billion in April 2022.
Speaking on this, Mr Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, said, “Airlines cannot continue to offer services in markets where they are unable to repatriate the revenues arising from their commercial activities in those markets. Governments need to work with industry to resolve this situation so airlines can continue to provide the connectivity that is vital to driving economic activity and job creation.”
Nigeria led the top five countries that account for 68.0 per cent of blocked funds comprising Nigeria ($812.2 million), Bangladesh ($214.1 million), Algeria ($196.3 million), Pakistan ($188.2 million), and Lebanon ($141.2 million).
IATA urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate these funds arising from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.
The IATA had recently said it would continue discussions with the incoming government, which was inaugurated in May.
Although President Bola Tinubu did not allude to the airline funds in his speech, he, however, announced that his administration would move towards unifying the country’s exchange rate, adding that this would help divert funds away from arbitrage into productive endeavours such as investment in plant, equipment and job creation.
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