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Why Nigerian airlines aren’t profitable

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Why Nigerian airlines aren’t profitable

Nigerian carriers are barely living from hand-to-mouth.WOLE SHADARE looks at factors that have eroded their profitability

African airlines’ losses

For the past two years, major African airlines have made losses amounting to $1.2 billion -about $700 million in 2015 and $500 million in 2016 according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2016 report. But this is not the most troubling news.

The continent’s airlines are expected to post $100million losses in 2017, according to an IATA estimate. The expected losses for African airlines is in line with the $0.1billion total losses they incurred in 2016.

Opaque operations

But the same cannot be said of Nigeria carriers. They do not declare profits or losses year-in year-out. It is generally believed that they are in red. This happens because the airlines are not listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and it becomes so difficult for them to be so classified except for Medview Airlines.

“African leaders and investors need to re-evaluate their policies and come up with strategies on how to move the region’s aviation industry forward, or they will continue to lag behind as international airlines make headways into the region’s airspace,” says Nick Fadugba, the CEO of African Aviation Services and former secretary-general of African Airlines Association (AFRAA).

Faulty business plans

Lack of articulated business plan and failure of airlines to prepare for long term profit making are seen as part of the reasons for their stunted growth.

An Aviation expert and former Commandant, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Group Captain John Ojikutu (Rtd), said most of the Nigerian airlines operators have very little background in commercial aviation. The business plan requirement in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR) expected to be developed and submitted for the AOC (Air Operator’s Certificate) and AOL (Air Operator’s Licence) were copied from those that were before them and were never made to sustain their operations.

He said often, they have proxies or partners in government agencies, ministries and in the legislation who provide them safe haven for debts owed on services provided to them by the government operators; open the flood gates of government intervention to them at low interest rate; give them zero duties on aircraft spares; concessional low rate on foreign exchange from the CBN.

Funds diversion

The aim of most of the operators therefore in the industry, is to make quick money and not for the love they have for aviation but to rape it. The operators are generally, single ownership with poor management structure; bad financial management and a behavioural pattern to divest, divert and reinvest the earnings in the industry to other businesses.

Most airlines owners get carried away with the potential in the business that they divert funds to other businesses. These led to the collapse of many indigenous carriers such as Okada Air, Oriental airlines, Chanchangi, Air Nigeria, Sosoliso, Okada Air and among others.

Short lifespan

Experts believe that most indigenous airlines experience short life-span because owners or operators of such airlines do not understand the nitty gritty of the business, the peculiarity of the Nigerian business environment, lack fiscal or financial discipline and often build on wrong models.

Not a few believe that business and the government are permanently at variance. Cost is permanently higher than income. Tax overburden and infrastructural deficit erodes revenue steadily.

Gazetted policies that will enhance performance are not implemented. Credit is not in the Nigeria business dictionary.

Nigeria has had over 50 airlines, but only five or six are operating. That is not complimentary. And why have they gone down? While some of the faults could be traced to the owners, majority of the reasons are traceable to government policies.

Govt’s indifference

No doubt, the airline industry in the country is in distress.  Unfortunately, the operators themselves, the regulator (Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA), policy makers in the ministry and the legislators were very indifferent to the plights of the industry, so long there was an aircraft to fly them. The only solutions they all could proffer was to continue using public money to sustain the private airlines.

The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) too cannot absolve itself completely from the travails of the industry.

In over five years before now, the corporation had been involved in the renegotiation and rescheduling several loans owed by some airlines to banks and to the federal government. One wonders how a private airline, not a public enterprise, that is not on the Nigerian stock market be owing as much as N268 billion from about six different banks as at 2014. AMCON was aware and went ahead to allow the airline to further access the federal government aviation intervention funds. One begins to wonder if AMCON and some banks are not part of the industry travails.

Last line

Aviation is prone to the most minute situation in the economy, ranging from weather to politics, reckless holidays. Notwithstanding the self-destruct of these carriers, government needs to come to their aid as they are of systemic importance to the Nigerian economy.

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Aviation

South African Airways recalls some aircraft for compliance checks

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South African Airways recalls some aircraft for compliance checks

South Africa’s cash-strapped national airline SAA said on Tuesday it may operate an amended flight schedule following a decision to recall some of its planes to undertake compliance checks in line with regulatory requirements, reports Reuters.

South African Airways (SAA) said in a statement that some of the flights will operate later than usual and four flights have been cancelled, but the airline has combined flights and deployed bigger aircraft to accommodate affected passengers, it said.

“The decision to recall the aircraft follows an oversight inspection conducted by SACAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority) at SAA’s maintenance subsidiary, South African Airways Technical (SAAT),” the airline said.

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Cabo Verde Airlines set to begin direct Lagos-Cape Verde flights

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Cabo Verde Airlines set to begin direct Lagos-Cape Verde flights

National carrier of the Cape Verde Islands, Cabo Verde Airlines, has indicated its plans to commence direct flights from Lagos, Nigeria to Cape Verde December 9, 2019.

This was made known at a media briefing to officially launch the airline to the Nigerian public.

The airline’s Boeing 757-200 will fly five times a week from the Lagos international airport to its hub in Sal, Cape Verde.

Chief Executive Officer and President, Cabo Airlines, Jens Bjarnason, said: “We are excited to add the most populous country in Africa as one of our destinations. Nigeria has a vibrant travel sector and we look forward to servicing our customers and connecting them to Cape Verde and beyond, seamlessly.”

Bjarnason stated that passengers could look forward to comfort, quality and a memorable travel experience on their aircrafts which have 161 Economy class seats and 22 Executive Morabeza Premium Class seats.

Nigeria Country Manager, Cabo Verde Airlines, Tariye Orianzi, said of the airline “we are targeting African entrepreneurs, leisure and business travellers as well as world travellers with our competitive pricing and offers, including a Cape Verde stopover program at no additional ticket costs. Interestingly, Cape Verde is a member of ECOWAS making it visa free for Nigerians.”

“Cape Verde has some of the most beautiful untouched natural Islands in the world. We hope to bring the Cape Verdean culture and colours to all corners of the world, as our mission suggests – connecting four continents while also serving as the gateway for fast travel. We also believe the addition of this route will improve tourism in Africa” she added.

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Qantas: Human guinea pig for long haul flight

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Qantas: Human guinea pig for long haul flight

For decades, travellers have stoically endured jet lag as an unavoidable menace on long journeys. As airlines push for record-breaking non-stop flights, WOLE SHADARE writes on debilitating symptoms of extra-long haul flights

 

Trial

It is scary but it is going to happen as Australian carrier, Qantas, wants to figure that out with its first ever non-stop flight from New York to Sydney, a venture it calls Project Sunrise.

This has caught the eyes of the world on the endurance limit of man. The feat is expected to surpass the 18-hour flight, which was then a record. Can a 20-hour flight ever be bearable?

These ultra-long-haul flights are becoming more efficient and economically viable. They’re also a slog for passengers.  But is there a point where a super-long flight becomes a public health risk?

If all goes to plan, travellers might be able to make an uninterrupted 20-hour flight from London or New York to Sydney. Qantas, the Australian national airline, is trialling “ghost flights” with 50 passengers and crew.

The 10,000-mile trip, which took off Friday night from New York and landed Sunday morning local time, would be the world’s longest nonstop flight, and Qantas wants travellers to get on Sydney time as soon as possible.

The test flight included 50 people including pilots, crew and passengers, along with researchers watching how everyone handles the ride. Success could pave the way for regular service between Sydney, New York and London.

Watchful eyes

Qantas teamed up with researchers from the University of Sydney and setting up the Boeing 787-9 as a laboratory, testing recipes, lighting schemes, temperatures and stretching exercises specially designed to combat jet lag on six volunteer passengers. They all sat in business class.

Airlines have recently been testing limits on long-haul flights, with Singapore Airlines reviving its 18.5-hour flight from Singapore to New York in 2018.

As the proliferation of super-long flights increases, efforts to counter the debilitating symptoms of jet lag are turning into a billion-dollar industry.

From optimizing pilot rotation to flight attendant breaks, to minimizing passenger jet lag and improving both physical and mental wellbeing, we’ve reached the ‘final frontier’ in passenger jet travel. Now it’s time to find out how we’ll hold up, and how airlines can adapt in a uniquely marketable way.

Risky to health

A medical doctor, who spoke to New Telegraph, said that from a purely medical standpoint, a 20-hour  flight can be risky.

She added that long flights increase the occurrence of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT); in layman’s terms, serious blood clots, stressing that lack of physical movement can also lead to anxiety and breathing recycled air for that long has its own list of side effects. I’ll take the layover.

One of the more serious effects of a long haul flight is, of course, jet lag. But beyond the obvious symptom of being sleepy in the day, or awake at night, jetlag according to a United States based Aero Medical doctor, Dr. Sesi Michael affects the whole physiology including cortisol levels, which affect passengers physical functioning.

Ways to recover

It can take travellers up to 48 hours for their diurnal rhythms to recover from long haul flights and Dr Michael advises postponing important functions such as business meetings — particularly for passengers travelling east into shortening days.

Ankle exercises to mitigate cramps

One may assume that deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and the dull business of compression stockings is best left to the bingo brigade. But anyone with a DVT risk — for example, with a family history of DVT — needs to keep up their circulation on a plane.

Evidence suggests that anyone on a journey four hours or longer should get up and walk around because foot and ankle exercises need pressure — namely, your own body weight — to work best.

Loud noises damage hearing

People often spend a long haul flight watching films or listening to music, but given the ambient noise from fellow passengers and the nearby 140-decibel jet engine, passengers are likely to jack volumes to dangerous levels.

Radiation

me people fly, they are exposed to cosmic ionizing radiation from space, which has been linked to cancer and reproductive problems by the World Health Organization.

For most occasional passengers, it’s not really a consideration. Pilots and crew members, however, are exposed to so much radiation that they’re officially considered radiation workers by the US Centers for Disease Control, with the largest average annual effective dose of all American radiation-exposed workers.

However, the radiation most travellers are exposed to in a given year falls comfortably within the recommended radiation exposure for a member of the public. “The very frequent travellers who are flying on long-haul flights could potentially go above the recommended limits of radiation exposure,” says Barrett, who has calculated how much radiation flyers are exposed to.

“But that’s not within the region where you’d have any real health concerns.” It’s unclear how harmful these still-low levels of radiation exposure are, or if they are harmful at all, he says.

Medical emergencies

Flying stresses the body. The combination of very low air pressure, oxygen and humidity is no one’s friend, while dehydration and cramped conditions leave most people feeling pretty irritable. For the elderly, or those with a pre-existing condition, ultra-long-haul flights can sometimes precipitate things going wrong. Cardiovascular issues, such as fainting and dizziness, do happen, though they are rare. They are more likely on very long flights, however.

Pilots and other flight crewmembers do spend enough time in the air that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider them radiation workers. The agency recommends they try to limit their time on flights that are very long, fly at high altitudes, or fly over the poles.

Last line

For customers, the key will be minimising jet lag and creating an environment where they are looking forward to a restful, enjoyable flight.

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Boeing expresses regret over ex-pilot’s 737 MAX messages, faults simulator

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Boeing expresses regret over ex-pilot’s 737 MAX messages, faults simulator

Boeing Co said on Sunday it understood the outcry over leaked messages from a former test pilot over erratic software behavior on its 737 MAX jet two years before recent crashes, and added it was still investigating what they meant.

The world’s largest planemaker, under growing pressure to explain what it knew about 737 MAX problems before it entered service, said it had not been able to speak directly to former employee Mark Forkner but echoed his lawyer’s subsequent claims that the problems were linked to a faulty simulator, reports Reuters.

The role of the simulator has emerged as a crucial issue since the 2016 messages surfaced on Friday, since investigators will want to know whether erratic movements reported by the pilot meant Boeing was aware of problems on the aircraft itself or only in the artificial cockpit.

The FAA on Friday ordered Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg to give an “immediate” explanation for the delay in turning over the “concerning” document, which Boeing discovered some months ago.

In the messages from November 2016, then-chief technical pilot Forkner tells a colleague the so-called MCAS anti-stall system – the same one linked to deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia – was “running rampant” in a flight simulator session.

At another point he says: “I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly).”

The messages, first reported by Reuters, prompted a new call in Congress for Boeing to shake up its management as it scrambles to rebuild trust and lift an eight-month safety ban of its fastest-selling plane.

“We understand entirely the scrutiny this matter is receiving, and are committed to working with investigative authorities and the U.S. Congress as they continue their investigations,” Boeing said in its statement on Sunday.

Boeing said it informed the FAA about its decision to expand MCAS to low speeds. The FAA also observed MCAS operation in the low-speed configuration during certification flight testing, from August 2016 through January 2017, Boeing said.

The instant messages prompted harsh reactions from several Democratic lawmakers in Washington, with Representative Peter DeFazio saying, “This is no isolated incident.”

“The outrageous instant message chain between two Boeing employees” suggests “Boeing withheld damning information from the FAA,” DeFazio, who chairs the U.S. House Transportation Committee, said on Friday.

Muilenburg, who was stripped of his chairman title by the company’s board nine days ago, is set to testify before the committee on October 30.

‘UNDUE PRESSURE’

DeFazio’s committee also obtained details of a 2016 Boeing survey that found nearly 40% of 523 employees handling safety certification work perceived “potential undue pressure” from managers, such as bullying or coercion.

Other top concerns include “schedule pressure” and “high workload,” though 90% of the employees said they were comfortable raising concerns about “undue pressure” to management, according to a copy of the Boeing presentation of the survey results seen by Reuters on Sunday.

The presentation was obtained by the committee’s investigators and not among a trove of documents handed over the committee by Boeing itself, a person briefed on the matter said.

Evidence of “undue pressure” was also pinpointed by a group of international regulators reviewing the 737 MAX certification.

A Boeing spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the survey results.

SIMULATOR FLAWS

On Sunday, Boeing said it has not been able to speak to Forkner directly about his understanding of the document.

“He has stated through his attorney that his comments reflected a reaction to a simulator program that was not functioning properly and that was still undergoing testing,” Boeing said.

“The simulator software used during the November15 session was still undergoing testing and qualification and had not been finalized,” Boeing added.

Reuters reported on Friday that the simulator had a number of software problems, citing a former Boeing test pilot who analyzed the transcript and who had direct knowledge of the flight simulator at the time.

Such calibration problems may have contributed in some way to Forkner’s observations and conclusions about MCAS’ behavior, the former pilot, and a second former Boeing engineering employee, Rick Ludtke, said.

Boeing’s statement was released as its board of directors and top executives from its airplanes division and supply chain gathered in San Antonio, Texas for previously scheduled meetings on Sunday and Monday.

The board meetings come as pressure mounts on the Chicago-based company not only from the regulatory and criminal investigations stemming from the crashes but also from the financial burden caused by the jet’s safety ban and continued high production.

Several industry sources said there was speculation inside the company of significant job cuts as it continues to experience a cash drain. The 737 production rate may also have to come down if regulators further delay the MAX’s return to service, the people said.

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Boeing expresses regret over ex-pilot’s 737 MAX messages, faults simulator

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Boeing expresses regret over ex-pilot’s 737 MAX messages, faults simulator

Boeing Co said on Sunday it understood the outcry over leaked messages from a former test pilot over erratic software behavior on its 737 MAX jet two years before recent crashes, and added it was still investigating what they meant.

The world’s largest planemaker, under growing pressure to explain what it knew about 737 MAX problems before it entered service, said it had not been able to speak directly to former employee Mark Forkner but echoed his lawyer’s subsequent claims that the problems were linked to a faulty simulator, reports Reuters.

The role of the simulator has emerged as a crucial issue since the 2016 messages surfaced on Friday, since investigators will want to know whether erratic movements reported by the pilot meant Boeing was aware of problems on the aircraft itself or only in the artificial cockpit.

The FAA on Friday ordered Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg to give an “immediate” explanation for the delay in turning over the “concerning” document, which Boeing discovered some months ago.

In the messages from November 2016, then-chief technical pilot Forkner tells a colleague the so-called MCAS anti-stall system – the same one linked to deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia – was “running rampant” in a flight simulator session.

At another point he says: “I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly).”

The messages, first reported by Reuters, prompted a new call in Congress for Boeing to shake up its management as it scrambles to rebuild trust and lift an eight-month safety ban of its fastest-selling plane.

“We understand entirely the scrutiny this matter is receiving, and are committed to working with investigative authorities and the U.S. Congress as they continue their investigations,” Boeing said in its statement on Sunday.

Boeing said it informed the FAA about its decision to expand MCAS to low speeds. The FAA also observed MCAS operation in the low-speed configuration during certification flight testing, from August 2016 through January 2017, Boeing said.

The instant messages prompted harsh reactions from several Democratic lawmakers in Washington, with Representative Peter DeFazio saying, “This is no isolated incident.”

“The outrageous instant message chain between two Boeing employees” suggests “Boeing withheld damning information from the FAA,” DeFazio, who chairs the U.S. House Transportation Committee, said on Friday.

Muilenburg, who was stripped of his chairman title by the company’s board nine days ago, is set to testify before the committee on October 30.

‘UNDUE PRESSURE’

DeFazio’s committee also obtained details of a 2016 Boeing survey that found nearly 40% of 523 employees handling safety certification work perceived “potential undue pressure” from managers, such as bullying or coercion.

Other top concerns include “schedule pressure” and “high workload,” though 90% of the employees said they were comfortable raising concerns about “undue pressure” to management, according to a copy of the Boeing presentation of the survey results seen by Reuters on Sunday.

The presentation was obtained by the committee’s investigators and not among a trove of documents handed over the committee by Boeing itself, a person briefed on the matter said.

Evidence of “undue pressure” was also pinpointed by a group of international regulators reviewing the 737 MAX certification.

A Boeing spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the survey results.

SIMULATOR FLAWS

On Sunday, Boeing said it has not been able to speak to Forkner directly about his understanding of the document.

“He has stated through his attorney that his comments reflected a reaction to a simulator program that was not functioning properly and that was still undergoing testing,” Boeing said.

“The simulator software used during the November15 session was still undergoing testing and qualification and had not been finalized,” Boeing added.

Reuters reported on Friday that the simulator had a number of software problems, citing a former Boeing test pilot who analyzed the transcript and who had direct knowledge of the flight simulator at the time.

Such calibration problems may have contributed in some way to Forkner’s observations and conclusions about MCAS’ behavior, the former pilot, and a second former Boeing engineering employee, Rick Ludtke, said.

Boeing’s statement was released as its board of directors and top executives from its airplanes division and supply chain gathered in San Antonio, Texas for previously scheduled meetings on Sunday and Monday.

The board meetings come as pressure mounts on the Chicago-based company not only from the regulatory and criminal investigations stemming from the crashes but also from the financial burden caused by the jet’s safety ban and continued high production.

Several industry sources said there was speculation inside the company of significant job cuts as it continues to experience a cash drain. The 737 production rate may also have to come down if regulators further delay the MAX’s return to service, the people said.

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Aviation

Boeing expresses regret over ex-pilot’s 737 MAX messages, faults simulator

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Boeing expresses regret over ex-pilot’s 737 MAX messages, faults simulator

Boeing Co said on Sunday it understood the outcry over leaked messages from a former test pilot over erratic software behavior on its 737 MAX jet two years before recent crashes, and added it was still investigating what they meant.

The world’s largest planemaker, under growing pressure to explain what it knew about 737 MAX problems before it entered service, said it had not been able to speak directly to former employee Mark Forkner but echoed his lawyer’s subsequent claims that the problems were linked to a faulty simulator, reports Reuters.

The role of the simulator has emerged as a crucial issue since the 2016 messages surfaced on Friday, since investigators will want to know whether erratic movements reported by the pilot meant Boeing was aware of problems on the aircraft itself or only in the artificial cockpit.

The FAA on Friday ordered Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg to give an “immediate” explanation for the delay in turning over the “concerning” document, which Boeing discovered some months ago.

In the messages from November 2016, then-chief technical pilot Forkner tells a colleague the so-called MCAS anti-stall system – the same one linked to deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia – was “running rampant” in a flight simulator session.

At another point he says: “I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly).”

The messages, first reported by Reuters, prompted a new call in Congress for Boeing to shake up its management as it scrambles to rebuild trust and lift an eight-month safety ban of its fastest-selling plane.

“We understand entirely the scrutiny this matter is receiving, and are committed to working with investigative authorities and the U.S. Congress as they continue their investigations,” Boeing said in its statement on Sunday.

Boeing said it informed the FAA about its decision to expand MCAS to low speeds. The FAA also observed MCAS operation in the low-speed configuration during certification flight testing, from August 2016 through January 2017, Boeing said.

The instant messages prompted harsh reactions from several Democratic lawmakers in Washington, with Representative Peter DeFazio saying, “This is no isolated incident.”

“The outrageous instant message chain between two Boeing employees” suggests “Boeing withheld damning information from the FAA,” DeFazio, who chairs the U.S. House Transportation Committee, said on Friday.

Muilenburg, who was stripped of his chairman title by the company’s board nine days ago, is set to testify before the committee on October 30.

‘UNDUE PRESSURE’

DeFazio’s committee also obtained details of a 2016 Boeing survey that found nearly 40% of 523 employees handling safety certification work perceived “potential undue pressure” from managers, such as bullying or coercion.

Other top concerns include “schedule pressure” and “high workload,” though 90% of the employees said they were comfortable raising concerns about “undue pressure” to management, according to a copy of the Boeing presentation of the survey results seen by Reuters on Sunday.

The presentation was obtained by the committee’s investigators and not among a trove of documents handed over the committee by Boeing itself, a person briefed on the matter said.

Evidence of “undue pressure” was also pinpointed by a group of international regulators reviewing the 737 MAX certification.

A Boeing spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the survey results.

SIMULATOR FLAWS

On Sunday, Boeing said it has not been able to speak to Forkner directly about his understanding of the document.

“He has stated through his attorney that his comments reflected a reaction to a simulator program that was not functioning properly and that was still undergoing testing,” Boeing said.

“The simulator software used during the November15 session was still undergoing testing and qualification and had not been finalized,” Boeing added.

Reuters reported on Friday that the simulator had a number of software problems, citing a former Boeing test pilot who analyzed the transcript and who had direct knowledge of the flight simulator at the time.

Such calibration problems may have contributed in some way to Forkner’s observations and conclusions about MCAS’ behavior, the former pilot, and a second former Boeing engineering employee, Rick Ludtke, said.

Boeing’s statement was released as its board of directors and top executives from its airplanes division and supply chain gathered in San Antonio, Texas for previously scheduled meetings on Sunday and Monday.

The board meetings come as pressure mounts on the Chicago-based company not only from the regulatory and criminal investigations stemming from the crashes but also from the financial burden caused by the jet’s safety ban and continued high production.

Several industry sources said there was speculation inside the company of significant job cuts as it continues to experience a cash drain. The 737 production rate may also have to come down if regulators further delay the MAX’s return to service, the people said.

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Arik Air resumes flights to Owerri

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Arik Air resumes flights to Owerri

Arik Air says it will resume flight services to the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, from October 21.

The airline made the announcement in a statement signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, on Monday in Lagos.

Ilegbodu said the airline suspended flights to Owerri early in 2019 due to operational exigencies, adding that since then passengers had been yearning for a return of the carrier.

He said re-launch of flights to Owerri was coming on the heels of resumption of services to Warri by the airline on September 6.

“We made a promise to our esteemed customers that we will be returning to the routes that were suspended earlier in the year and our resumption of flights to Warri and now Owerri are a promise kept.

“In the coming weeks, the airline will be returning to more previously suspended destinations as well as opening more routes to cope with passengers’ demands,’’ Ilegbodu added.

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Ethiopian Airlines flight makes emergency landing in Dakar, no casualties

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Ethiopian Airlines flight makes emergency landing in Dakar, no casualties

An Ethiopian Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing minutes after taking off in Senegal on Tuesday because an engine had caught fire, an airport spokesman said.

None of the 90 passengers or crew were injured, spokesman Tidiane Tamba told Reuters.

The airline confirmed on Twitter that its Boeing 767 aircraft had to land unexpectedly at Senegal’s Blaise Diagne International Airport near the capital Dakar because of “a technical problem” without providing more detail on the cause.

It said that all passengers were being rebooked on other flights.

Photos posted on the airport’s official Twitter account showed fire fighters and airport staff posing next to the plane’s charred engine with what appeared to be foam from a fire hose at their feet.

Seven months ago, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 nose-dived into farmland outside the capital Addis Ababa, killing 157 people just minutes after take off.

The incident caused a global debate into the safety of a new Boeing 737 MAX model that had also crashed months before in Indonesia.

Preliminary reports in both cases highlighted the role of an automated system that erroneously pointed the plane’s nose down as pilots struggled to override it. The two crashes killed 346 people.

 

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Boeing timetable unclear, despite first 737 MAX order since crash

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Boeing timetable unclear, despite first 737 MAX order since crash

In September, Boeing Co secured the first new order in several months for one of its grounded 737 MAX planes, the United States-based company said on Tuesday, as it reported total deliveries for the first nine months of 2019 that were just half those reported a year ago.

Regulators grounded the 737 MAX worldwide following a second fatal crash in March that killed all 157 people on board an Ethiopian Airlines plane. Boeing is fighting to get the jet back in service this year.

The company said on Tuesday that an unidentified business jet customer had ordered one 737 MAX jet, reports Reuters.

Boeing deliveries fell 47 percent to 302 aircraft in the first nine months of 2019. Deliveries totaled 26 aircraft in September, down from 87 a year earlier.

Having delivered 806 aircraft in 2018, Boeing was targeting 900 aircraft deliveries this year – prior to the MAX grounding.

Meanwhile, Boeing’s net order tally – including cancellations – was a negative 84 for the first nine months of 2019. That figure was also hit by the bankruptcy of India’s Jet Airways, which resulted in Boeing removing 210 aircraft from its order backlog.

European rival Airbus, in contrast, has 127 net orders this year and is within reach of its full-year goal of 880 to 890 deliveries, despite some factory snags.

‘Coordinated return to service’

US and European Union regulators said on Tuesday they are still reviewing Boeing’s changes to 737 MAX software, throwing into question the speed at which the grounded aircraft can realistically return to service.

Boeing has repeatedly said it hopes to resume flights in 2019’s fourth quarter, which began October 1.

The ongoing safety review means that a key 737 MAX certification test flight is unlikely to take place before November, two sources said.

Aviation regulators sought to play down talk of transatlantic divisions over safety changes to the 737 MAX, which was grounded after two crashes killed 346 people within five months.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that it has a “transparent and collaborative relationship” with other civil aviation authorities as it continues its 737 MAX safety review, while its EU counterpart said it was in “continuous contact” with both the FAA and Boeing.

“We do not at this stage have any specific concerns resulting from that assessment that would mean that we could not agree to a coordinated return to service. We are in continuous contact with both the FAA and Boeing,” a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) spokesperson said by email.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told Reuters News Agency in September that the FAA would need about a month following the yet-to-be-scheduled certification test flight before the planes could return to service.

The FAA reiterated on Tuesday that it does not have a firm date for completing its review.

Southwest Airlines Co is scheduling operations without the 737 MAX until at least early January, pending regulatory approval for commercial flight. American Airlines Group and United Airlines have canceled 737 MAX flights through part of December.

Among its changes, Boeing is addressing a flaw discovered in the software architecture of the 737 MAX flight-control system that involves using and receiving input from both flight control computers rather than one.

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Airbus sold 41 jets in Sept, targets record fourth-quarter deliveries

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Airbus sold 41 jets in Sept, targets record fourth-quarter deliveries

Airbus sold 41 jets in September and processed cancellations for nine jets including five originally sold to Norwegian Air (NWC.OL), leaving the European firm ahead of Boeing Co (BA.N) in a relatively slow year for an industry distracted by safety and trade headlines.

The European planemaker said it had won a total of 303 orders in the first nine months of the year, or 127 net new orders after cancellations, reports Reuters.

That remains well ahead of U.S. rival Boeing, whose sales have been hampered by the grounding of its fast-selling jet, the 737 MAX, in the wake of two accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Boeing registered sales of 145 aircraft up to end-August, the latest period for which data is available, or a net total of 55 after ordinary cancellations and a negative total of 85 after adjustments to historic orders deemed unlikely to materialize.

Airbus posted new orders for 14 A220 and 10 A321neo planes to unnamed customers. Reuters reported last week it was close to a deal for around 12 A220 jets with Mexico’s Interjet.

The overall tally of Airbus orders by low-cost carrier Norwegian Air fell to 88 aircraft from 93 after the airline trimmed its A320neo order by five aircraft, a monthly Airbus table showed.

Norwegian Air could not be reached for comment out of business hours. Airbus declined comment.

Monday’s update was the first since the United States announced tariffs of 10% on Airbus aircraft, while sparing aircraft assembled in the planemaker’s Alabama plant.

New business included confirmation of 12 more orders for the A330neo – an upgraded version of the A330 wide-body that is in a fierce battle against the Boeing 787 – from Malaysia’s AirAsiaX.

The move reflects part of a fleet review that involves scaling back the airline’s earlier growth plans for the same model and switching focus to a long-range version of the A321.

The long-haul arm of Asia’s largest budget airline group, AirAsia X Bhd (AIRX.KL), had initially planned to order 34 more of the 250-300-seat A330neo jets, on top of 66 already on order.

In August, the group reduced those plans to 12 more A330neos while agreeing to buy 30 newly launched 321XLRs. The latter part of the deal has not yet appeared in the Airbus order book.

Three buyers opted to convert a total of 22 A320neo jets to the larger A321neo, which has been scoring wins in a segment of the market Boeing had hoped to address with a new design before the MAX was grounded in March, Airbus data showed. Discussion of the new Boeing jet has slowed while the MAX crisis continues.

Deliveries of new Airbus aircraft rose 13.5% from a year earlier to 571 between January and September, Airbus data showed. That means it must top last year’s record fourth-quarter handovers of 297 jets to reach its full-year goal of 880-890.

Airbus has been hit by problems in ramping up output of the A321neo at a German plant as quickly as it hoped, though nine-month deliveries of the model are still up more than 50%.

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