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FAAN boss: We’re on course with Lagos, Abuja airports recertification

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is fully on course for the recertification of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, the Managing Director of the agency has said.

The agency also said that it is fully prepared to ensure improved security and safety at the nation’s airports, saying that it would use the next week’s Safety Week, promoted by the Airports Council International (ACI) to further stimulate security at the nation’s airports.

Speaking on Friday at the agency’s operational headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Yadudu said that FAAN had set up a team to work with the inspectors of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on how the two airports could be recertified early.

Apart from the two airports, he also said that plans were ongoing to certify Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu airports, lamenting that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the performance of the agency in the past year.

He, however, assured that FAAN would continue to take the security and safety of humans and equipment seriously, stressing that without security there was no aviation industry.

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In a bid to facilitate the process, Yadudu told journalists that FAAN’s certification team meets with officials of NCAA weekly, while the certification team of each airport also meets every two days.

He said: “We are on the verge of recertifying Lagos and Abuja and we are equally committed to certifying Enugu, Port Harcourt and Kano airports, but there are various technical requirements and conditions involved. It is only when you are involved that you will fully appreciate the enormity of the work. But, the fact that we did Lagos and Abuja, we will surely do the others. It is a commitment.

“The issue that slowed us down is the Covid-19 pandemic; suddenly, the whole world was grounded to a halt, not just FAAN or NCAA. That unfortunately affected our revenues; it was down to about 2 to 3 per cent revenue at a time and we tried to survive it.

“Just yesterday (Thursday), an official of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) called me that they just started moving about two weeks ago. So, certification involving our own team within Nigeria is working. But, the fact is that we are still in the Covid-19, even though it is now under control, but Covid-19 affected a lot of things that we had planned to do last year in our airports.”

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On Security Week, Yadudu said that the programme was approved by the ACI-Africa and it would be celebrated across all member airports from October 25 through 28 of the same month.

He gave the team of the 2021 event as: ‘Promotion of Security Culture in African Airports,” saying that this was in tandem with the declaration of the year 2021 as the Year of Security Culture by ICAO.

Some of the issues to be discussed at the week included insider threat, training, currency, vulnerabilities, social and security challenges, stressing that the management was flexible to allow each airport manager to further discuss some security challenges as they affected them.

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Reign and Rema poses with their favorite friends – Aneke twins

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The adorable twins Reign and Adaeze and Adanne Ododoezechi strikes a pose with their favourite aunties the Nollywood divas Chidnma and chidiebere Aneke.

Instagram – @Reign_rema_official

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Dangote Refinery to produce Euro 5 petrol standard

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Dangote Refinery to produce Euro 5 petrol standard.

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is built to meet the new Euro-5 Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) petrol standard, The Nation learnt yesterday.

This is contained in the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) obtained by our correspondent yesterday.

The Euro-5 standard is meant to reduce carbon emissions. The new Euro-5 limits reduce pollution from the exhaust and are remarkably similar to Euro-6 limits for cars.

Euro-5 is mandatory for all new type-approved motorcycles, including mopeds, with exceptions for some small market categories such as trial bikes.

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The NMDPRA document, which came in a question and answer format, raised the question of “What is the specification for PMS in Nigeria?”

Responding, the authority noted that “We currently utilise SON 2017 specifications for Gasoline/PMS in Nigeria.”

On whether any government plans to move to a higher standard of PMS (Euro 4 or higher?), the NMDPRA said: “The current SON 2017 specifications are akin to Euro 4 specifications. It should also be noted that the Dangote Refinery is designed and built to meet Euro 5 classification standards which will meet local, regional and international standards

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“Also, the output of other modular refineries are expected to meet Euro 4 specifications at a minimum.”

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Aviation workers begin warning strike as Airlines shelve flights halt

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Aviation workers begin warning strike as Airlines shelve flights halt.

Air travellers can now heave a sigh of relief as Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) late yesterday resolved to suspend its threat to halt flights from today in their interest and national economy.

But their flights might experience some hitches as aviation workers nationwide will today begin a two-day warning strike to protest the Federal Government’s alleged failure to implement their negotiated conditions of service.

In a statement yesterday, AON explained that it decided to suspend the ‘no flights’ threat following numerous calls from the highest echelons in government that promised to urgently intervene in the crises faced by its members.

One of the challenges that informed the threat is the rising cost of JetA1 otherwise known as aviation fuel. A litre of JetA1 currently sells at N700..

The AON statement was signed by its President, Dr Abdulmunaf Yunusa – Sarina; Executive Director, Max Air, Alhaji Shehu Wada; Chairman, United Nigeria Airlines, Dr Obiora Okonkwo Chief Executive Officer, Arik Air; Capt. Roy Ilegbodu; Chief Executive Officer, Aero Contractors, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood; Managing Director, Azman Air, Alhaji Faisal Abdulmunaf and Chairman, Air Peace, Chief. Allen Onyema.

The statement reads: ‘ “We have also reached this decision with the highest consideration for our esteemed customers who have been faced with uncertainty over the last few days and to enable them to have access to travel to their various destinations for the time being during the period of discussions with relevant authorities.

“In view of the above and in the interest of national economy and security considerations, AON hereby wishes to notify the general public that the earlier announced shutdown of operations on May 9, 2022, is hereby suspended in good faith pending the outcome of hopefully fruitful engagement with government.”

Earlier, there was a crack among the operators as seven of them —DANA Air, Arik Air, Green Africa Airways, Overland Airways, Aero Contractors, Arik Air and Ibom Air—said they would not suspend flights.

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The decision of the seven carriers was part of the harvest of engagements between their managers and officials of the Ministry of Aviation and other interests in the industry.

Besides, the carriers argued that they had obligations to their passengers who had booked and paid for flights.

Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, who debunked claims that the now-suspended threat by the airlines was directed at the Federal Government., said a bail-out of N4 billion was given to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Affairs, James Odaudu, that the fund was given to the airlines despite their indebtedness to aviation agencies.

The statement reads in part: “ “The minister at various times personally took members of the Association to engage with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sort out issues of access to Foreign Exchange (FOREX) for their operations, and also the NNPC Limited to explore ways of ensuring the availability of Aviation fuel (JET A1) through importation or from the major marketers at affordable prices.

“It should also be recalled that members of the Association were also considered for, and given Bail-out funds to the tune of N4 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that they remained afloat.

“This was without prejudice to the fact that most of them were heavily indebted to Aviation agencies (as they still are).

We believe that members of the Association are patriots who have continued to bear the brunt of unfavourable global oil market dynamics for which we salute their doggedness.

“As a government, we reiterate our commitment to the continued growth of the aviation industry where airlines and other service providers operate in a conducive, supportive and profitable business environment.”

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation Smart Adeyemi has however reiterated his call on the Federal Government to financially assist airlines in the country.

Adeyemi said his call became necessary in view of the socio-economic importance of the aviation sector to the country.

”A few months ago, I called for financial support from the Federal Government in view of the socio-economic importance of the aviation sector due to the high cost of aviation fuel and the poor exchange rate of our currency.

“Secondly, the challenges in the aviation industry are huge and about 95 per cent of aviation needs are imported with hard currency.

“They must not be allowed to be tempted to cut corners or risk low fuel level.”

Meanwhile, workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and others have been directed by their unions to stay away from work today and tomorrow.

The National Union of Air Transport Employees ( NUATE), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals as well as the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees had at the weekend issued a special bulletin to workers of aviation agencies to inform them of the warning strike.

The bulletin reads: “Our Unions have no alternative than to embark on an industrial action to press home our demand for justice and equity, especially considering the long-suffering, patience and forbearance on the part of our members which has now reached yield point.”

“Accordingly, all workers in NAMA, NCAA, NiMeT and NCAT are hereby directed to embark on a two-day warning strike on the 9th and 10th of May, 2022.

“Should the warning go unheeded, an indefinite strike shall be called soon after.”

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