Photo :Former Aviation Minister and Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Princess Stella Oduah ( left) with couple during the wedding of her former Media Adviser Mr Joe Obi and Barong in Abuja recently.
Pilots, Unions, Stakeholders Seek Support For IDPs
Stories: Anthony Awunor
The committee at a joint press briefing in Lagos said with a population of over 3 million persons scattered across the IDPs camps, Nigeria rank top among countries with the highest number of persons displaced from their homes as a result of conflicts.
Chairman of the committee, Engr. Ayuba Kyari told journalists that the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika upon request has approved the decision of the bodies to raise financial and material supports for Nigerians who are unfortunately caught in the Boko Haram cross fire.
Kyari said “ it is most unfortunate that a section of Nigeria find itself in such disturbing situation that has produce the highest number of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, the aviation industry is sadden with the situation and the Honourable Minister of State has graciously approved the plans.
With the official launch date slated for Saturday February 27th 2016, Kyari said the items realised will be forwarded to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for onward transfer to the IDPs in the camps. He called on industry leaders and staff of agencies to lend support to the project.
“ we will raise these assistance for the internally displaced persons on an industry level, that is to say everybody in the sector should kindly help with one item or the other, with money that can be use in buying food items that will be channel to the NEMA to be given to the IDPs.
He said “We want to use Saturday February 27th as a formal launch day and we are hoping that the minister and industry leaders will be available at the launch day and after that we want to mobilize each and everyone in the industry to please help do something, small money can help, it will buy drugs and even give water to drink. Anything anyone can use to minister to these needy Nigerians.
“We are appealing to people to bring both new, used clothing, shoes, even books that children can use in school, food items, if you can buy rice, beans, semovita, garri and many other items that can be of benefits to these people who don’t have where to put their heads for now”.
NAMA Commences 24-Hour Area Radar Control
THE Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), penultimate week began the provision of 24 hours en-route radar service to airspace users at both the Kano and Lagos Area Control Centres (ACCs).
The area radar service which hitherto was only available between Mondays and Fridays from 7am to 7pm has now been extended to 24hrs daily and seven days a week.
Speaking on this development, the Managing Director, Engr. Ibrahim Abdulsalam said ‘’this feat became feasible following an aggressive manpower training by the agency to boost capacity of safety critical Air Traffic Control and Engineering personnel required to provide the service,’’ stressing that “with this development we have further enhanced safety and efficiency in air traffic management because the use of radar increases capacity to maximize utilization of available airspace with precision, accuracy and less workload to the Air Traffic Controllers and flight crew while also enabling aircraft to fly at optimum trajectories.”
Engr. Abdulsalam who noted that the non-stop provision of area radar service was in line with the ongoing digitalization of the Nigerian airspace by the agency, expressed confidence that flight times would be further reduced due to direct routing, translating to reduced fuel consumption by the airlines, adding that round-the-clock radar surveillance would give a boost to the nation’s preparedness in search and rescue operations.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) on the 30th of May 2013 successfully commenced the provision of area radar control service within the Nigerian airspace, enabling the agency to seamlessly manage en-route flights digitally with efficiency and exactitude.
Arik Air Begins Flight to Libreville, Gabon
Arik Air has responded to the yearnings of Nigerians living in Gabon by introducing Lagos to Libreville flight, enroute Port Harcourt.
During the maiden flight at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at the weekend, the Gabonese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Corentine Hervo-Akendengue, hailed the airline’s decision to operate to the Central African nation.
This is the first flight connections between the two countries, which have so much in common, including the fact that so many Nigerians live in Gabon and being oil producing nation, oil and gas companies in Nigeria have over the years longed for direct connection between Nigeria and Gabon.
By introducing a direct flight between the two countries, Arik Air has solved knotty problems for these corporate organisations and Nigerians who live in Gabon who in the past spent two days or more to connect either of the countries, but direct flight takes about one and half hours.
Arik Air’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Suraj Sundaram explained that there has not been any direct flight between the two countries for so many years, noting that flight connection between the two countries is important because it will increase trade ties.
“A lot of Nigerians from the South East travel to Libreville on regular basis and we also have corporations that are dominant in Nigeria which transact business in Gabon because the two countries are oil producing, so there are a lot of traffic between the two points. It is in the interest of the two countries that there should be direct flight services,” Sundaram said.
He remarked that Arik Air being an indigenous carrier is eager to provide service for Nigerians and people in the African continent, so it considers solving the problem of connectivity wherever it arises in the West Coast because many Nigerians live both in West and Central Africa, adding that in the years ahead, the airline would remain the only dependable carrier to connect to Nigeria from any part of Africa and beyond and this is done for the benefit of Nigerians.
The Chief Marketing Officer also explained how Arik Air intends to operate the new route, where it has deployed the newest aircraft in its fleet.
“We start every route like we have done for West Africa. We are the largest airline in West and Central Africa. We started all routes with three frequencies a week, slowly expanding it, based on demand, we move to five frequencies, then daily frequencies. Again, based on demand, some markets are serviced two or three times a day like Lagos-Accra, Ghana. We are also the biggest airline in Ghana. So these are plans we have laid over the past 10 years and we continue to do so with route expansion, aircraft acquisition, to expand into more and more destinations globally, including the African continent.
He said Arik Air has planned the flight in such a way that there is a late evening departure from Lagos and this enables all domestic flights to come into Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to make the necessary connections.
“For example, because of our evening departure from Lagos, passengers from other domestic flights can come to Lagos to meet this flight. If you are based in Abuja, you can also go directly to Port Harcourt because this flight goes from Lagos enroute Port Harcourt to Libreville. So you can go from Abuja to Port Harcourt and connect the flight there. So you have choices both ways. You also arrive from Gabon to Nigeria in the morning. We are able to make connection in the West Coast and in the domestic flights so anybody can come to Nigeria from Gabon and connect your flight to other destinations,” the Chief Marketing Officer also said.
Wi-Fi For All Delta flights to Europe, WA, Others
High-speed Internet is available on all trans-Atlantic flights between the United States and the UK, mainland Europe, Israel and West Africa, enabling more people to get online at 30,000 feet.
Speaking on the new development, Delta’s senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nat Pieper said “We already offer Wi-Fi across our entire domestic mainline fleet and we’re delighted to extend the service to trans-Atlantic customers, giving them the option to work, keep in touch or surf the Net throughout their flight. More than 93% of our international fleet offers Internet access and we’ll continue to use technology to make our customers’ travel experience more productive whenever they fly with Delta.”
Delta’s Wi-Fi is powered by high-speed, Ku-Band satellite technology and is available on up to 83 daily round-trip flights to and from 27 European cities, in addition to; Tel Aviv, Israel; Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; and Dakar, Senegal. Service is provided by Gogo and offered by the hour, flight or day.
Customers can also enjoy free access to Delta Studio, an in-flight streaming service, which allows them to view movies and TV options direct to their mobile devices that is available in addition to the airline’s existing ondemand entertainment.
Delta began installing Wi-Fi on U.S. domestic mainline aircraft in 2008. With international satellite-based WiFi now installed on Delta’s wide-body fleet comprising Boeing 767s, 747s, Airbus A330 and transoceanic Boeing 757s, the airline operates the world’s largest Wi-Fi equipped fleet, giving customers more options to stay connected in-flight.