2018: Highlights of major events in aviation sector

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The aviation sector in Nigeria had its high and low moments in 2018. Here are highlights of major events that defined the outgone year.
Gov Ahmed commissions N60.6m NAMA buildings: The Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed commissioned the multimillion naira building of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) at Ilorin International Airport, in 2018.
The project constructed by the state government at a total cost of N60, 694, 567.43, is one of the several projects funded under the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K).
KWHA approves N150m loan for aviation college: The Kwara State House of Assembly in the year granted the request of Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed to access a N150 million loan from a first generation bank to improve facilities at the state-owned Aviation College.
The House granted the request sequel to a message sent to it by the Governor, which was read during the plenary by the Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad.
Ahmed had said the application for the loan was premised on the approval of the State Executive Council as well as the Assembly’s resolution for the facility to be obtained.
Ilorin airport gets new airspace manager: In a bid to strengthen airspace safety, the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in February last year deployed a new airspace manager to Ilorin International Airport. He is Engr. Jude Eni.
The airspace manager took over from Engr. Rotimi Ayeni who has been redeployed to man Port Harcourt airport.
Suspension of national carrier: On 17th July last year, the Federal Government unveiled the name and the logo of the country’s national carrier. This was done by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, at Farnborough International Air show in London. He had said the carrier will be private sector-led and driven.
However, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika was unable to deliver the national airline before December, 2018, as promised. Though it was strongly believed by stakeholders that the national airline would have provided jobs for the teeming unemployed youths and pilots.
Commissioning of new airport terminals: President Muhammadu Buhari officially commissioned the new terminal of the Port Harcourt International Airport. The terminal was one of the four valued at $600million dollars funded by the Chinese-Nigeria initiative. The three other terminals are the new terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
The Port Harcourt Airport commissioning was followed by the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, which was also commissioned by the President on 20th December.
P ayment of defunct Nigeria Airways’ ex-workers: The Federal government in October commenced the payment of the gratuity of the ex-workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways who had been expecting their severance benefits for more than a decade after the government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo liquidated the then national carrier.
The sum of N45billion naira was disbursed to the former workers as part payment with a pronise by the Federal Government to balance them within six month from the commencement of the exercise. About 5,968 retirees were beneficiaries of the exercise.
Sack of 60 members of staff by Med-View: No fewer than 60 staff of Med-View were disengaged last year. They were asked to go home until the business fortune of the airline improves.
Shutting down of terminal by workers’ unions: Aviation workers unions shut down the operations of one of the two domestic terminals at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, MMA2, operated by Bi-Counrtney Aviation Services, BASL. The closure of the terminal which lasted for two days led to airlines operating from the terminal losing millions of naira and temporarily relocating their operations to the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, which is managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.
The affected airlines were Dana Air, Med-View Air, Aero Contractors, Azman Air and Max Air.
Air Peace purchase agreement with Boeing: Nigeria domestic airline was taken to a higher pedestal last year when Air Peace airline signed   multi-million dollars purchase agreement with aircraft manufacturer, Boeing. The deal entails Air Peace placing a firm order for 10 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes which will be supplied within the shortest possible time to the airline. This purchase makes Air Peace the first airline in West Africa to own 10 new 737 MAX aircraft.
F AAN warns of fraudulent recruitment agents: The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has warned the general public to be wary of any person(s) parading themselves as recruitment agents of the Authority, and consequently extorting money from innocent citizens in the process.
For the purpose of clarity and emphasis, the Authority is not embarking on any recruitment exercise at the moment, FAAN said in a statement by the General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu.
“The Authority wish to inform the public that recruitment into any government agency has a stipulated procedure, which includes advertisements in national dailies and her official website and social media platforms, in line with the provisions of the Federal Government’s conditions of service”, it said.
It said any person claiming to be an agent of the Authority in this respect “is a fraudster and should be reported to the Authority or the nearest police station”.

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