Normally, I would write a longish prose on all the good, bad and the ugly of 2015 in the Nigerian aviation sub-sector explaining who said what, when and where they said it, why they said it and how it was said. Today, I will not bore you with such but I will take you for a flight in the aviation industry this out going year in Nigeria and tell you what shaped my year in the sector.I know some of you will also have your unique events that shaped your year too and I also look forward to reading yours and sharing a thought about it.
My Top ten chart is riddled with the good, the whacky and bizarre and some of it is guaranteed to make you smile at least, and here we go:
Clamp Down On Adulterated Jet A1 Marketers
Tenth on the log, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended five oil marketing companies in November because they flouted compliance to safety standard as they were distributing adulterated Jet A1, leaving residue on their aircraft. The five Oil marketing companies, Jushad Oil and Gas Limited, Lubcon Limited, Ascon Oil Company Limited, Acon Petroleum Limited and Star Orient Aviation Limited were also stopped due to lack of depot facilities.
The Bristow Crash
We had the only prominent civil aviation crash in the year, Bristow Helicopter crash of August 12. The helicopter belonging to Bristow Helicopter with registration number 5N-5BDG-760540 enroute one of the nation’s oil rig was scheduled to land in Lagos but nosedived into a lagoon at Oworonshoki area of Lagos State and claimed the lives of six of the twelve passengers including crew on board.
The Stowaway who thought an Aircraft was a Bus
A comical situation happened in Maiduguri when a middle aged man, Mr. Alabibu Olushola, was apprehended on his way to hitch a free ride on a Medview Boeing 737 going to Maiduguri via Abuja. An air field worker said a ‘mad man’ gained access to the security area of the airport through many of the porous paths of the perimeter fence from Shasha area. When the captain of the aircraft on landing, saw culprit who was skulking towards the airplane, sensing sinister intentions the pilot blew him back with the aircraft thrusters which led to severe burns to the man. When apprehended the man, Mr. Alabibu Olushola, started behaving mad. (Ho! ho! ho! isn’t that a peach)
Security Breach at NAIA
Three people were suspended by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika for dereliction of duty. The Abuja airport Manager, terminal manager and Head of Airport security were suspended over security breach at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja involving agitated passengers of Turkish Airlines who forced their way into the tarmac and barricaded the airline aircraft. They allegedly overpowered the Aviation Security and moved to hold the airline craft to ransom for keeping them days at the airport without their luggage.
Dana starts Regional Operations, Flies to Ghana
Dana Air this December fulfilled a long time ambition, commencing its regional operations with Accra, Ghana and stating plans to look into other parts of the West Coast from there. Dana Air is now one of the four Nigerian carriers offering services to the West coast. Kudos to the airline.
This sad one was most appalling and shows the inhumanity of certain people. In February 2015, in what can simply be described as sheer mindless violence, an officer of the Nigerian Navy Command, Apapa in Lagos, Ifeanyi Chukwu and his brother assaulted a trolley operator subsequently leading to his death. The deceased, one Yusuf Mohammed, a staff of Dowutas Trolley Service at the General Aviation Terminal 1 (GAT) of the Domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos was allegedly punched and fell on his back ultimately shattering his skull. Although the naval officer has been arrested little is known on what the situation is but we do hope that justice is served and this evil deed is not swept under the carpet and the suspect allowed to go scot free.
The Curious Case of the Serial Returner
Two thumbs up, a clap offering whistles go to this woman who in my book, is a hero, Ms. Josephine Ugwu, the airport cleaner who returned the sum of N12 million found at the Lagos Airport. Ugwu works as a cleaner with a concessionaire of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) Patovilki Industrial Cleaning and earns a monthly payment of N7000 before she returned the N12 million late last year before she was employed by FAAN and staffed. Funny enough, this was not the only time she had found huge money and returned it, Ugwu returned the sum of N600, 000 left at the airport toilet while few years later, another sum of N3 million was equally returned. So her staffing is worth the fourth most important thing that happened this year, in my book.
Medview starts International Operations to London
Medview Airline in November commenced flights operations into London, Gatwick Airport offering various intermodal transports from Gatwick to connect its passengers to other parts of the United Kingdom as well as other parts of Europe. The airline Chairman, Alhaji Muneer Bankole says that the airline will be moving from strength to strength.
Medview Doubles International operations with Jeddah Operations
Making a second entry back to back in our chart is Medview Airline that will, at 2.30pm today December 31, 2015 commence flight operations between Lagos and Jeddah, the Saudi Arabian Capital bringing its international routes to two and also prior this announced acquisition of Boeing 737-800 for the Jeddah operation.
The Disembarking Ladder
Top of our chart is the amazing Aero Contractors ladder stunt of December that saw the airline disembarking passengers at the Bauchi Airport without stairs. As the passengers disembarked they were pictured and filmed and it went viral. Social media was agog with pictures of men in kaftan climbing down the ladder from an aircraft. If not number one in your book, I wonder what is