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Wigwe: Nigeria to collaborate with US agency on helicopter crash

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The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) said on Monday that it is offering its full cooperation to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the investigation of the tragic Airbus Helicopter EC130B4 crash that resulted in the death of Dr Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings and five others who were onboard.

NSIB , the multimodal transport agency in Nigeria responsible for promoting transport safety and conducting objective and thorough, investigations into transport accidents, said it is compelled to ink the collaboration with the US body as a State with special interest in the accident involving it’s citizens.

In a statement, the NSIB said since the accident occurred, the Director General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, Captain Alex Badeh has established contact with NTSB, in accordance with Chapter 5 subsection 27 of ICAO’s Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, which grants a State (nation) special interest in an accident involving its citizens.

Citing the ICAO provision, Badeh said State which has a special interest in an accident by virtue of fatalities or serious injuries to its citizens shall be entitled to appoint an expert who shall be entitled to: visit the scene of the accident; have access to the relevant information which is approved for public release by the State conducting the investigation, and information on the progress of the investigation.

He said Nigeria can also receive a copy of the Final Report.

Badeh said :” ICAO’s Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil therefore grants Nigeria, through the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, the prerogative to appoint an expert to actively participate in the investigation.

“This participation ensures access to relevant information and facilitates cooperation with the investigating authorities, towards ensuring the investigation reaches a conclusive outcome.

“The ongoing discussion between the NSIB and NTSB has highlighted the diligent investigation efforts of the NTSB. NTSB investigators were present at the crash scene in Halloran Springs, California, on Saturday to collect evidence and conduct initial on-scene documentation.

“The documentation process included aerial mapping of the wreckage with a drone, and site measurements.

“Correspondence between the NSIB and NTSB further revealed that the NTSB investigation into the crash is being led by Aaron Sauer as the investigator in charge, supported by Mark Ward as the deputy investigator in charge.”

He said several other NTSB investigators will also be examining various aspects of the accident including airworthiness and maintenance structures, operations, meteorology and air traffic control.

Notably, the airworthiness investigation group , he said has initiated a meticulous examination of the debris field, which spans approximately 100 yards.

He went on :” All significant components of the helicopter, including the main transmission, engine, and various avionic elements, were identified and accounted for at the accident site.

“In tandem, the operations investigation group has commenced gathering crucial company information, including pilot records, flight dispatch records, and aircraft maintenance records.

“Moving forward, coordination is underway by the NTSB to transfer the wreckage to a secure location on Tuesday for in-depth examination and analysis scheduled.

“Parties to the investigation include Orbic Air, LLC, and the FAA. As the investigation continues, other parties could be named. Additionally, the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), the French aviation accident investigation agency, will also serve as an accredited representative, due to France being the state of manufacturer for the Airbus helicopter and Turbomeca Engine. “Both Airbus Helicopters and Turbomeca Engines will serve as technical advisors to the investigation.”

Badeh said the duration of the accident investigation being conducted by NTSB is expected to take approximately 18 to 24 months to complete.

He said :” The actual duration depends on many factors. Each investigator carries a caseload of many accident investigations which they work on concurrently and each investigation presents its unique complexities.

“The NTSB accident investigation process typically comprises three major milestones. The first is the preliminary investigation report, which contains information gathered by investigators during the on-scene examination.

“This report is expected to be released within 14 to 21 days following the date of the examinations. The next milestone involves the compilation of the public docket, which includes a collection of information gathered throughout the investigation. This typically includes photographs, interview summaries, documentation, and other relevant data.

“Finally, the third milestone is the publication of the final aviation accident report, which serves to conclude the investigation. This report may take up to two years to complete and usually contains analysis and a statement of the probable cause of the accident, if determined.

“The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau reaffirms its commitment to collaborate fully with the National Transportation Safety Board, aiming for a thorough and conclusive investigation that will enhance transport safety in both Nigeria and the United States.

“The Airbus Helicopter EC130B4 crash has brought a colossal loss to our dear nation Nigeria. Our hearts go out to the Wigwe and Ogunbanjo families and loved ones affected by this tragedy. We extend our deepest sympathies to them during this difficult time.

” Updates on the investigation will be provided as information becomes available.”

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Aviation

FG suspends 10 private jet operators’ licences

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NCAA suspends 10 private jet operators’ licences

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended ten private jet operations over failure to begin the recertification process.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended ten private jet operations over failure to begin the recertification process.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by Michael Achimugu, NCAA spokesman, on Friday.

The agency said the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023 Part 18.3.4 forbids holders of Permit for Non-Commercial Flights (PNCF) from using their aircraft to carry passengers, cargo or mail for hire or rewards (commercial operation or charter services).

The statement said, “As a result of flagrant disregard of this rule, the NCAA had earlier directed all holders of PNCF to undergo re-evaluation, which should have been concluded by April 19, 2024.

“To this end, the NCAA has suspended the PNCF of Azikel Dredging Nigeria Ltd, Bli-Aviation Safety Services, Ferry Aviation Developments Ltd and Matrix Energy Ltd. Also, Marrietta Management Services Ltd, Worldwide Skypaths Services, Mattini Airline Services Ltd, Aero Lead Ltd, Sky Bird Air Ltd and Ezuma Jets Ltd.”

The aviation regulator added, “The public is hereby notified that it is illegal to engage PNCF holders for commercial purposes. The NCAA will not hesitate to initiate enforcement actions against any PNCF holder found guilty of illegal operations.”

The agency said that its officials had been deployed to General Aviation Terminals (GAT) and airports’ private wings to monitor the PNCF holders’ activities.

 

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Keyamo: Nigerians use private jets to traffic drugs, launder money

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The minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has accused some Nigerians of using the services of private jet operators in the country to launder money and traffic hard drugs.

The minister expressed his displeasure over the activities of private illegal aircraft operators.

Keyamo noted that this illegal charter operation was already thriving within the aviation sector before he took over.

The minister disclosed this at a management meeting in Abuja on Thursday, June 27.

Keyamo expressed readiness to tackle the perpetrators headlong with all seriousness.

The Nigerian Customs Service recently revealed plans to clamp down on operators of illegally imported private jets into the country.

About 80 operators of private jets are expected to appear at the headquarters of Nigeria Customs in Abuja with their aircraft import documents.

He said, “It has come to my attention, through a series of disturbing reports, that the practice of illegal charter operations is thriving within the aviation industry, thereby undermining the efforts of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and other regulatory bodies.

“These illicit activities have not only resulted in significant financial losses to the Federal Government but have also raised security and safety concerns as the operations of private aircraft owners have remained largely unchecked and unregulated. This has also resulted in using these private aircraft for other illegal activities.”

He also stated that the owners of the illegal aircraft have been operating in collusion with some legitimate aircraft operators, who have been allowing the illegal operators to use their licenses and certificates to carry out their illegal activities.

While enumerating his displeasure over the development, the minister mentioned that the office of the National Security Adviser has also noticed the trend of increasing money laundering, drug trafficking and other illegal activities through the use of private aircraft in the country.

”These illicit activities have not only resulted in significant financial losses to the Federal Government but have also raised security and safety concerns as the operations of private aircraft owners have remained largely unchecked and unregulated. This has also resulted in using these private aircraft for other illegal activities.

“Last week, the National Security Adviser wrote to us, alerting us of the spike in money laundering, drug trafficking and other illegal activities through the use of private aircraft in the country. It appears that Private Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF) operators have become increasingly emboldened, continuing their illegal operations with the assistance of Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders who collect tolls and list these illegal charters under their AOCs,” Keyamo added.

The minister announced the immediate composition of a ministerial Task Force on Illegal Private Charter Operations and Related Matters.

The task force will be responsible for: “Taking inventory of all PNCF holders and AOC holders; To determine why the practice of illegal charters by PNCF holders persists in the country despite regulatory controls; To call in all professional licenses of pilots and crew in the country and determine their authenticity and validity; To recommend to the Minister any additional measures to be taken by regulatory agencies to stem this ugly tide.

“To recommend appropriate sanctions to be imposed by the regulatory agencies on defaulters and to recommend additional measures to further monitor the operations and activities of private aircraft in Nigeria,” Keyamo added.

Source:Politics Nigeria

 

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NAMA has complete radar footages of aircraft that hovered over presidential villa – NCAA

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NAMA has complete radar footages of aircraft that hovered over presidential villa – NCAA

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) affirms that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has complete radar footages of the two aircraft that recently flew into prohibited areas.

The authority also said NAMA had full details of the identities of the aircraft and operators involved.

Read also: Why ‘unidentified’ aircraft hovered over presidential villa – NAMA

The NCAA said this was only made possible due to functional Primary and Secondary Surveillance Radars in Abuja. Similar installations are in Lagos, Kano and Port-Harcourt.

The NCAA had recently issued warning to aircraft owners and operators to avoid flying to prohibited areas after an aircraft was seen hovering around the presidential villa.

The NCAA stated that in keeping with its regulatory responsibilities issued an All Operators Letter (AOL DGCA/021/24) wherein the term ‘unknown aircraft’ was used as reported to NCAA which is the normal security terminology.

The NCAA in a statement stated that its attention has drawn to statements insinuating that the Nigerian airspace is insecure due to lack of coverage by Radar.

“NCAA firmly aligns with the statement from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) on the Total Radar Coverage Of Nigeria (TRACON).

“In furtherance to this, NCAA investigated two recent cases of violation of the prohibited flights zones – DNP4 – in Abuja and established that both violations comprised of controlled flights in a controlled airspace, but strayed into restricted airspace as a result of adverse weather.

“However, as explained above, investigations revealed NAMA had complete footages and details of the aircraft that entered the prohibited flight zone. The writer, obviously, not conversant with the technical operations of radar systems ought to have simply consulted the right professionals to be educated accordingly,” the NCAA stated.

The NCAA furter explained that the Primary Surveillance Radar alone only identifies aircraft as moving targets without aircraft identity, while the Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR), on the other hand, which forms a major component of the TRACON, is the equipment that allows for identification of any aircraft equipped with ATC Mode ‘S’ transponder.

“The requirement for all aircraft flying in controlled airspace to have serviceable ATC transponders in an international standard that Nigeria ensures strict adherence to. This requirement derived from Annex 6 to the Convention on International Aviation is documented in Part 7 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations.

“This, therefore, makes it a violation of the regulations, and indeed a security breach, for any aircraft to put this system off while flying in controlled airspace, and such action would attract appropriate sanctions in accordance with NCAA’s enforcement procedures, including possible criminal referral,” the NCAA explained.

On the issue of welfare of Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs), NCAA said it had, only recently, intervened in a face-off between ATCOs and NAMA on the need for improved remuneration and working conditions for ATCOs.

As regards the improvement of Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure, the NCAA said the Nigeria’s Radar coverage is being backed up with five additional MSSR stations at Obubbra, Ilorin, Talata Mafara, Maiduguri and Numan to augment the four existing Radar centers to achieve total coverage of the country.

Source: Business Day

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Nigerian airlines to fly US, S’America routes soon — Keyamo

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The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, said the Federal Government has commenced the process of empowering Nigerian airlines to have direct access to International routes to the United States and South American countries.

The minister stated this in a YouTube interview with O’tega Ogra titled, “Unfiltered: The Big Interview” which was viewed by our correspondent on Saturday.

On March 20, Air Peace commenced its Lagos-London flight services, but during the YouTube interview, Keyamo said the government is putting plans in place for local airlines in the country to commence direct flight operations to both the US and South America.

He said, “BASA are negotiated between different sovereigns. So it is when you get your BASA and your reciprocal rights, you can now give it to your local operators and ensure that they are enforced as per the foreign entities. So we did that; we wrote several letters; we travelled back and forth because we knew that that was what we could use to bring down prices. The only thing that can bring down prices in any market is competition. It is not a monopoly.

Asa, Ogun Community Where Women Travel To Neighboring Benin Republic For Potable Water0:00 / 1:01

“British Airways have enjoyed those routes for so many years unchallenged. There were attempts by local airlines in the past to run the routes, but they muscled them out of the routes. That was why Nigerians were buying tickets for as much as N15m to N16m at some points, business class tickets just for to and fro. So we saw that this was an issue we could easily resolve.

“So we put our foot on the ground, dusted off the BASA, and ensured that they (BASA) were respected. And when they (foreign airlines) later conceded that Air Peace could start flying the routes, we knew we had achieved something. You saw the immediate results as prices began to dip. But that’s not the only lucrative route we have in Nigeria, we have other routes coming up.

“We are looking at the American routes and the South American routes. Nobody is even flying to South America at all now. But something is in the offing for us to start that route now. That is just one aspect of helping them (Local airlines) to enforce the BASA by telling the countries that these are our flight carriers so that they can respect them as Nigeria representatives, not as just private businesses in the country. But the second aspect of that is to ensure that these airlines can also have the capacity after giving them the routes,” he explained.

He noted that aside from ensuring that the local airlines have access to international routes; the Federal Government is also looking at how to enhance their capacity to service the routes.

According to Keyamo, “One thing is to give them the routes, but how do we enhance their capacity to service those routes? One way of doing this is to ensure that they also have access to aircraft in the same way that these big airlines around the world have access to aircraft.

“What we have now is a lower capacity to access those aircraft, not to buy them. I have said it many times that no airline in the world buys its fleet 100 per cent. They don’t buy; they lease. So these big airlines you hear about and see with so many fleets; they didn’t buy them; 80 per cent of their planes are on dry lease.”

 

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Why we rejected $300 Helicopter landing levy – Airline operators

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Why We Rejected $300 Helicopter Landing Levy – Airline Operators

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has explained why it rejected the $300 helicopter landing and take-off fee slammed on operators in the aviation sector.

Giving reasons for the rejection, the AON spokesperson, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, in a statement on Thursday, pointed out that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) does not provide any additional service to helicopter operators to justify the imposition of the fee at all helipads, oil rig platforms, FSPOs, FSOs, etc. in Nigeria.

“The approval and imposition of the Helicopter Landing and Take-off Fee at private helipads, oil rig platforms, FSPOs, FSOs etc. when no service is provided at those locations to the helicopter operators by NAMA is contrary to the provision of section 7 (1) (r) of the then applicable NAMA Act as well as to section 1, paragraph 2 (1) of ICAO Document 9082.

“NAMA did not adhere to the policies, principles and guidelines contained in ICAO Documents 9082 (ICAO’s Policies on Charges for Airports and Air Navigation Services) and 9161 (Manual on Air Navigation Services Economics) before imposing the Helicopter Landing and Take-off Fee. Part 18, section 18.8.1.1 (e) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations requires NAMA to adhere to the policies, principles and guidelines contained in those documents.

“NAMA did not obtain the approval of the NCAA before imposing the new fee/charge/levy. Part 18, section 18.8.1.1 (b) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations requires NAMA to obtain the approval of the NCAA before imposing any new charges and fees for its services. NCAA has the statutory power to regulate the charges that may be made with respect to air traffic control and for the use of aerodromes and services provided at such aerodromes.

“NAMA did not consult the helicopter operators and other stakeholders before imposing the Helicopter Landing and Take-off Fee. Part 18, section 18.8.1.1 (d) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations require NAMA to adhere to the principles and procedures of consultation with users, cost-relatedness, non-discrimination and transparency in the application of charges and fees.

“Contrary to the Ministry’s Press Release of 13th May 2024, neither NCAA nor FAAN is a party to the MoU between NAMA and Naebi Dynamic Concepts Limited for the collection of the Helicopter Landing and Take-off Fee at private helipads, oil rig platforms, FSPOs, FSOs etc., as those Agencies had made it clear that they have no legal framework or justification to impose such fee.

“The fee is charged and demanded in US Dollars contrary to the provision of section 15 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, which is clear that the unit of currency in Nigeria shall be the Naira.

“There is nowhere in the world where the Air Navigation Service Provider does not provide any service to helicopter operators but charges landing and take-off fee for landings and take-off on and from private helipads, oil rig platforms, FSPOs, FSOs, etc. The examples given by the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development in the Press Release of 13th May 2024, of where landing and take-off fee is paid are all of airports.

“The engagement of Naebi Dynamic Concepts Limited did not follow due process as it did not comply with the requirements of the Public Procurement Act for the procurement of the services of consultants,” Prof. Obiora said.

The AON spokesperson informed that the operators had at a meeting held recently with the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, made their position on the helicopter landing and take-off fee known.

According to him, the meeting led to the temporary suspension of the collection of the fee and the setting up of a committee to look into the issues raised by the AON and other stakeholders.

He, however, commended the Aviation Minister for “giving a listening ear to our position on the matter and for his great leadership of the aviation industry and support for the growth and sustainability of Nigerian air operators”.

Source: The Will

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Inside Air Peace: How phone, laptops allegedly missing on Lagos-Abuja flight

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Air Peace clarifies leaving passenger at Gatwick Airport

A smartphone, three laptops, and other valuable items belonging to three air passengers allegedly went missing on an Abuja-bound Air Peace flight on Friday.

An affected passenger, who was on the flight, confirmed the incident to PUNCH correspondent on Saturday, adding that items belonging to a Briton and an Indian also got stolen.

The incident, occurring on the last flight around 7:00 pm, reportedly left the passengers stranded upon arrival with no concrete explanation from the airline.

One of the affected passengers, Lere Adams, said the theft was discovered upon arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja, prompting immediate complaints to the airline.

In a telephone chat with The PUNCH, he expressed dismay, stating that it occurred on the airline’s last flight for the day.

He accused the airline of mishandling their personal belongings and displaying a lack of concern, despite promptly reporting the theft of valuable items from their luggage upon arrival.

He recounted, “I had my luggage with me; it was light hand luggage. As soon as I boarded, I put the luggage in the overhead cabinet. My phone battery was low, so I plugged it into a power bank in my bag and switched off the phone. When we landed in Abuja, I realised I could not locate my phone.”

He explained that he was not the only affected passenger; adding that an Indian and an American passenger were also affected, as they discovered when retrieving their bags from the overhead lockers.

“Then, I saw an Indian that was complaining about the same thing: that he could not find his wallet and his laptop that was in his bag, and suddenly there was also a White man who had a backpack that was on top of him with two laptops and as soon as he got to Abuja, he looked for laptops but could not find them.

“While we were talking about the incident, one of the officers came and asked who owned a bag. Lo and behold, it was his bag, but it was without his laptops. He was asking how he got the bag. The officer replied that the air hostess said they found it in the cabin and the foreigner said it was impossible and asked where the laptops that were inside were.”

Lere listed the items stolen from him, including, “My phone plugged into a diary that has a power bank, three laptops, and a wallet”.

He added, “The American had two laptops, one official and one private laptop, while the Indian had an official laptop and a wallet. We informed the airline staff and statements were taken from the affected passengers.”

According to Lere, the airline has contacted their Lagos headquarters and is currently investigating the incident.

“I was told this morning that they have reached out to their Lagos headquarters. And they said they were currently working on it. But so far, they have not given a direction as to what the way is,” he stated.

He lamented, “I am truly upset because all of our personal and banking information is on that phone.”

Responding, The Director of Consumer Protection & Public Affairs of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Michael Achimugu, said no official complaints had been made to the agency but promised to contact the local public protection officer in charge for further explanation.

“I am hearing this for the first time. The right process is to complain to the airline first, as they handle the baggage. If the airline does not take appropriate action, then the affected passengers can report to the NCAA.

“Airlines have policies against carrying valuables in overhead cabinets; these items should be declared,” he noted.

Achimugu also mentioned that he would contact the local public protection officer to gather more details about the case.

“I will find out if such a thing happened and get the details,” he promised.

As of the time of filing this report, the Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace, Toyin Olajide, did not respond to several phone calls and text messages sent to him on the issue.

-Punch

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