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United Nigeria Airlines Commences Operations Friday

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United Nigeria Airlines

By Dipo Olowookere

All is now set for the inaugural flight of United Nigeria Airlines as the management has confirmed that the company will begin operations on Friday, February 12, 2021.

According to the organisation’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, the inaugural flight will be conducted with an EMB145 aircraft.

He further disclosed that the flight will depart Lagos through the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MM2), Ikeja and then land at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu.

Mr Uchegbu further said the aircraft will thereafter leave Enugu to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja before making a return to Lagos.

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He said adequate preparations have been made for a smooth journey through the different routes, noting that the company was ready to put a smile on the faces of passengers.

The image-maker of United Nigeria Airlines expressed confidence that the company will transform the way people fly, assuring that they will get value for their money and trust in the firm.

He said, for now, the airline will carry out regular daily flight operations to Lagos, Abuja, Asaba, Enugu, with Port Harcourt and Owerri to follow very soon.

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United Nigeria Airlines, after fulfilling all mandatory regulatory requirements, was issued an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), enabling it to begin flight domestic operations.

Business Post gathered from reports that United Nigeria Airlines is owned by a billionaire businessman, Mr Obiorah Okonkwo. The airline is operated by Private Airlines Services Limited.

The company aims to become the most efficient airline operator in Nigeria and increase its assets and investments to support the development of its services for regional and international operations and then build good reputation in the aviation sector and become a strategic player in the industry, globally.

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United Nigeria Airlines is coming on board at a time the aviation industry is struggling to get back on its feet as a result of the devastating blow it was dealt with by COVID-19, which forced governments across the globe to restrict the movement of people.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Travel/Tourism

Capital Hotels Demands N5.5bn from 11 Plc for 51% Stake

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capital hotels Sheraton Abuja Hotel

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the hospitality companies in Nigeria, Capital Hotels Plc, will soon become highly competitive in the industry if the proposed sale of its 51 per cent stake to an energy firm, 11 Plc, formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, goes through.

11 Plc is considering investing in the company and has held discussions with the board on this and Capital Hotels wants over N5 billion for this to happen.

On Monday, June 14, 2021, the board of the company held an emergency and it was agreed that the oil giant can acquire a 51 per cent stake in the organisation.

Checks by Business Post revealed that as at Friday, June 18, 2021, according to information harvested from the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Capital Hotels has shares outstanding of 1,548,780,000 units.

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The total worth of the hospitality firm on the stock exchange was N3.7 billion at the close of business last Friday as its share price closed at N2.40 per unit.

But in order to achieve its goal of being one of the leaders in the sector, the board wants the new investor to pay N7.00 per share for about 789,877,800 units of the company’s equities, which represents 51 per cent of the total shares. This will mean that 11 Plc will have to cough out about N5.5 billion to acquire the controlling stake of the firm.

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In a statement signed by its company secretary, Mr Alex Ugwuanyi, Capital Hotels, however, emphasised that this transaction would still have to be approved by shareholders of the company.

It was also stressed that 11 Plc will also still have to accept to pay N7.00 for each of the company’s stock, while the current core shareholder, Hans Gremlin Nigeria Limited, will also have to agree to let go of its 50 per cent stake.

According to the notice, the main reason for accepting to sell the 51 per cent stake of Capital Hotels to 11 Plc is to enable the company to “offer the right competition in the Abuja hospitality market,” where it operates the Sheraton Abuja Hotel

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“The board also agreed that in order to balance the interest of Capital Hotels Plc, Hans Gremlin Nigeria Limited and 11 Plc, the transaction could be structured with an offer for sale and offer for subscription subject to obtaining approval required from the regulatory authorities.

“The board further agreed that if the new investor accepts the conditions herein stated, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) would be convened to get the approval of the shareholders for this transaction,” the disclosure said.

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Travel/Tourism

7Star Global Hangar Gets Aircraft Maintenance License

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Aircraft Maintenance License

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has granted 7Star Global Hangar Limited, an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO), a licence to operate an all-inclusive Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of 7Star Global Hangar, Mr Isaac Balami, an aircraft engineer and former National President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), said the development will see the country witness a boom in aircraft maintenance that could save the country over $1 billion annually.

“The huge capital in aircraft maintenance we often experience, amounting to over $1 billion that is annually spent in West Africa alone is going to help to create jobs here in Nigeria.

“We are happy to say goodbye to four years Inspection/Maintenance on Augusta 139 helicopters which most VIPs, even the presidency operates. We also have EC 155 up to 6000 hours/12 years’ inspection.

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“On the Learjet 45, about 9,600 hours’ inspection. On the small Cessna aircraft, we have about 100 hours/annual inspection,” he disclosed.

According to him, the company has authorisation to work on the Bombardier DHC-8 100/200/300 (C Checks/8000FH), DHC-8 400 (C checks/8000FH), Challenger 601/604/605 (2400 hours inspections), Hawker Siddeley HS 125-850/900 (A-G Inspections).

“Others are the Bell 429 (5000 hours/five years inspections), Embraer 135/145 (Up 5000 hours/48 months inspections), Embraer 600/650 (20000 hours/96 Months Inspections) and Boeing 737-300/400/500 (Up to 8A inspections).

“This is the highest inspection in most of the aircraft as stipulated in the manufacturer’s manual. That means a lot of job creation for the aviation industry and we are happy,” he said.

The former NAAPE president noted that the company was the first independent privately owned MRO in West and Central Africa because it was a stand-alone and had registered since 2012.

He explained that he was happy to announce the approval after over 15 months of the NCAA reviewing its variation and operational specifications (OpsSpecs) and also expanding the company’s capability list in Wheels and Brakes, NDT etc.

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The aviation expert added that the company had finally finished phase five which was the last stage in the certification process and it had been granted final approval.

Mr Balami noted that as a former NAAPE president, he alongside the technical team and board members had seen the difficulties airlines go through to fly their aeroplanes overseas for repairs, incurring huge costs to operators of the aircraft.

He said the company had gone through the process of certification from phase one to phase five and today, with about six to seven experienced NCAA inspectors assigned to the project, the company had been able to go through the process.

The former NAAPE chief said the company was fully ready for operations and it was going to be operating with other sisters MRO and hangars across the country.

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He said the company had also invested over five million dollars on equipment alone, adding that those were the equipment the NCAA team came to inspect.

“NCAA is satisfied and the equipment is all overhauled, calibrated, and up-to-date, and our engineers are well-trained on how to operate the equipment,” he said.

Mr Balami lauded the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, for all the support and encouragement, the Director-General of NCAA, Mr Musa Nuhu; the Director of Airworthiness, Mr Kayode Ajiboye, with his team who participated in the success of the certification.

He gave assurance that the aviation ministry, aviation stakeholders and the general public that the trust bestowed on 7 Star Global Hangar would not be taken for granted.

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Travel/Tourism

FG Denies Planning to Stop Youths from Travelling Abroad

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Travelling Abroad

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The federal government has said it has no plan to prevent youths from travelling abroad, stressing that reports insinuating such are totally untrue.

A statement issued by Towoju Raphael on Saturday on behalf of the Director Press at the Ministry of Interior said the reports quoting the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Mr Shuaib Belgore, as saying so purely misinterpreted him.

The Presidential Committee from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) had recently visited the ministry and Mr Belgore welcomed them on behalf of the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola.

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In the statement issued yesterday, the ministry advised Nigerians to be cautious of manipulative misrepresentation of the federal government’s intentions, statements or activities.

It emphasised that any Nigeria willing and ready to follow the legal channels to travel around the world are allowed to do so.

In its clarification, the ministry said Mr Belgore only told his guests that the committee should work with the Citizenship and Business Department of the Ministry to facilitate opportunities for youths to benefit from the local content prospects of its expatriate quota program, thereby creating decent job opportunities for youths in Nigeria.

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The statement further said the Permanent Secretary said the Ministry of Interior, with its associated agencies, remain committed to ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians, public safety and citizenship integrity of all.

“Among the presidential deliverables of the Ministry is full automation of services in the Ministry and its agencies, which includes the new passport regimes and sweeping nationwide reforms witnessed with the Nigeria Immigration Service; aimed at delivering swift and seamless access to citizenship services for Nigerians,” the statement further quoted Mr Belgore as saying during the meeting.

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