Tuesday, 30 October 2012

US Airlines Cancel Flights As Sandy Approaches

Hurricane Sandy will likely cause financial headaches for US airlines that cancelled more than 7,000 flights to and from the Northeast corridor on Sunday.

Hotels in the region were busy handling cancellations for guests who could not get to destinations in the Northeast, extending stays for those who could not leave town, and booking rooms for people who left their homes.

Airlines started cancelling flights in the US Northeast region on Sunday evening as cities from Washington DC to Boston braced for floods and high winds from the hurricane, which was expected to make landfall in the next few days.

According to Flightaware, more than 7,100 flights had been cancelled by 9 pm on Sunday due to Sandy. Airlines waived fees for people who have to change travel plans because of the grounded flights.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Plane Crash: Families Want Overseas Treatment for Suntai’s Aides

FAMILIES of the injured aides of Taraba State Governor Dambaba Suntai, on Sunday, asked the government to extend same overseas treatment to their loved ones as their injured boss.

The governor and the aides were the occupants of the Cessna 208, 5N-BMJ Jet that crashed at the Yola airport last Thursday.

Some members of the families who craved anonymity told journalists in Abuja that if the governor could be flown to Germany, it showed that the government lacked confidence in the local hospitals.

They spoke their minds when the injured aides were transferred from Yola to the National Hospital, Abuja, 30 hours after Suntai was flown abroad.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Plane crash: Taraba Gov to be flown to Germany

There are indications that Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba state who was involved in a plane crash on Thursday will be flown to Germany for further intensive treatment.

on Friday morning, an air ambulance chartered by Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State had arrived Yola and flew the injured governor to Abuja several hours later.

However, the rest of the crash victims including the governor’s aide de camp are still being treated at the Federal Medical Centre Yola.  

It will be recalled that Suntai was flying to Yola before the aircraft, a Cessna 208 plane, crashed on approach for landing behind the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation depot in Yola about 18 nautical miles to Yola Airport.

Gov Suntai and five others were onboard at the time of the incident but all the passengers survived, though with varying degrees of injuries.

Governor Amaechi Buys $50 Million Bombardier Jet, Amid State’s Flood Disaster

Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has acquired a brand new Bombardier Global 5000 (N565RS) for his exclusive use, SaharaReporters has learnt.
Mr. Amaechi’s lavish new “toy” comes at a time hundreds of thousands of residents in his state are displaced by the worst flooding crisis in the state’s history.

The newly purchased jet left Montreal-Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Quebec to Dakar Yoff International Airport. And then it was delivered to the state government on October 7th 2012.

The jet was primarily purchased from Bombardier in Canada for $45.7 million through the Bank of Utah Trustee account. “This is an ungodly act,” said a Port Harcourt-based human rights campaigner. “Why should Governor Amaechi’s priority be to acquire a jet at a time the state is experiencing the worst flooding in its history, leaving many Rivers indigenes homeless?” he added.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Taraba State Gov Suntai Survives Plane Crash

Governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai has been hospitalized after surviving a plane crash.

It was gathered that Gov Suntai himself was piloting the plane which took of from Jalingo, the Taraba State capital with some of his security detail, enroute Yola in Adamawa State when it crashed into some hills in Adamawa State near the airport.

According to Government House sources in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, Governor Suntai is still alive, but unconscious at an undisclosed hospital in Yola.

It was further learnt that the Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako is with his injured colleague at the hospital.
Governor Suntai’s security detail is also with him at the same hospital

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Bomb Scare On Arik Flight

There has been a bomb scare on an Arik Air flight from Maiduguri to Abuja but the Ministry of Aviation dismissed the incident as a hoax.

The ministry described as absolutely false rumours of arrest of a man carrying bomb which he unsuccessfully tried to set off inside an Arik Airline flight from Maiduguri to Abuja at Nnamdi Azikwe Airport on Tuesday.

In a press release signed by Joe Obi, her media aide, Princess Stella Oduah, the Minister of Aviation described the speculation as a “hoax” without any “iota of truth whatsoever” and a ” wicked rumour”.

Explaining what really happened, the ministry explained in the statement that a passenger identified as Aminu Galadima, an indigene of Minna, Niger state boarded a Maiduguri -Abuja bound Arik Air aircraft after going through all mandatory security screening.

The Ministry said nothing incriminating, no explosives or weapons whatsoever were found on him after he was screened.

The Ministry however said mid air the passenger began to act strangely, loudly screaming “Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar” (‘God is Great’).

Lufthansa Loses Court Challenge Over Delays Compensation

Airlines including DeutscheLufthansa AG (LHA) and British Airways lost challenges at the European Union’s top court over paying compensation to passengers delayed by more than three hours.

“Where passengers reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time, they may claim fixed compensation from the airline, unless the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances,” the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said in a ruling today that confirms an earlier, precedent-setting decision by the court.

The ruling on two separate cases also involves EasyJet Plc (EZJ), TUI AG (TUI1)’s TUI Travel Plc unit and the International Air Transport Association. It upholds a 2009 decision that airlines have to compensate passengers who reach their final destination that much later because of a flight delay. Carriers are exempt from compensation in cases of extraordinary circumstances, such as a strike or bad weather conditions.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Turkish Air To Buy 15 Boeing 777-300ERs

Turkish Airlines has decided to buy 15 Boeing 777-300ERs by 2017 with an option to buy five more, it said in a statement on Monday.
The flag-carrier said it would place orders for 3 planes for delivery in 2014, 7 in 2015, 5 in 2016 and another 5 in 2017, the statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange said.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

EFCC Arrests FAAN official with $1.4m at airport

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested an official of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Mr. Akinyele Adetula, for trying to launder $1.4m (N218m) at Murtala Mohammed Airport on Saturday.
It will be recalled that less than a month ago, EFCC also arrested a 24-year old man, Mr. Abubakar Sheriff, at the same airport with $7m (N1.1bn).
According to the EFCC Head of Operations, Mr. Iliyasu Kwarbai, the suspect was able to pass through security checks including Nigeria Customs Service and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency  because he was wearing his identity card and therefore did not raise any suspicion.
According to the EFCC authorities, the suspect was ferrying the money on behalf of  one Mr. Ifeanyi Urama, a bureau de change operator who is also a clearing and forwarding agent. It was learnt that the EFCC recently granted bail to Mr Urama following his arrest with $996,000 (N155m).

Saturday, 20 October 2012

India May Suspend Kingfisher License

India's grounded Kingfisher Airlines could have its license suspended this weekend after the debt-laden carrier failed to satisfy the regulator's concerns about its operations, a regulatory source said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had asked the carrier earlier this month why its license to fly should not be cancelled for failing to provide a "safe, efficient and reliable service".
However, while Kingfisher submitted a reply to the regulator, it did not respond to the regulator's main queries and asked for more time, India's director general of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra said.
"Suspension of license is very much on the cards," and could happen as early as this weekend, the source, who has direct knowledge of the developments but declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said on Friday.
Mishra said Kingfisher had sought more time to reply to its notice. A reply was due by Saturday.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

American's First Boeing 787 Delayed

In a US filing, American Airlines said delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be delayed due to 'production issues'.
American agreed in 2008 to buy 42 Boeing 787-9s with the right to acquire an additional 58. The first aircraft had been scheduled for delivery in 2014.

US Federal Reserve 'bomb plot' foiled by FBI

US officials have arrested a man for plotting to detonate what he thought was a massive bomb in front of the Federal Reserve building in New York.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, of Bangladesh, travelled to the US with the intent of planning a terrorist attack, the FBI said.
Mr Nafis was arrested after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he thought was a 1,000lb (454kg) bomb.
There was never a threat, the FBI said, as Mr Nafis had been closely watched.
Mr Nafis is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda.
Mr Nafis travelled to the US in January 2012 and sought out contacts to help him with the attack, officials said in a complaint filed in New York on Wednesday.
One of the people he contacted turned out to be a source working for the FBI, US federal prosecutors said.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Lufthansa opens five new lounges at Frankfurt

Lufthansa has opened five new lounges at the new A-Plus Concourse at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.The lounges include First Class Lounge, Senator Lounge, Business Lounge at the EU Departures and Arrivals level along with a Senator Lounge and a Business Lounge for passengers in the Non-Schengen area. These lounges are located opposite Gate A13 or A50/Z50.
The first class lounge has First Class library with books by DuMont, high-quality coffee-tables and a limousine service to the aircraft. The Senator and Business lounges were designed in close consultation with passengers who appraised various lounge concepts submitted. The lounges feature backlit walls with forest motifs, generating a cozy ambience. Materials like leather and oak were used to give an enhanced look. Lufthansa’s largest lounge worldwide, the Senator Lounge spreads across 2,100 square metres, offering an array of facilities.
With more than 17,500 square metre space, the Frankfurt Airport will offer a choice of 13 Lufthansa lounges to the passengers in the near future. In all, 50% of the total floor area has been created with the opening of these lounges. The lounges were opened on 10 October 2012.
Lufthansa operates 60 Lufthansa lounges and some 900 lounges operated by Star Alliance and cooperation partners.

American Airlines Adds Seat Locks In 49 Planes

American Airlines is adding secondary locking devices to the seats of 49 of its Boeing 767s, as a precaution, because they have the same seat configuration as its 757s that had seats come loose in flight this month.
The airline said in a memo to employees that the US Federal Aviation Administration had approved its plan for the 767s and said the work should be finished by about October 21. It said the work would not lead to flight cancellations.
American said it investigated its full fleet and found no other planes with the same type of primary locking device.
Earlier this month, American Airlines temporarily grounded eight planes to evaluate them after seats became loose on two flights. An internal investigation found that improperly installed clamps had caused seats to loosen in six of its aircraft.
American had flight delays and cancellations last week as it worked to secure the seats on 48 of its Boeing 757s. That work has been completed.

AirAsia Scraps Deal To Buy Batavia Air

AirAsia, Asia's largest budget carrier, has scrapped an USD$80 million deal to buy Indonesia's Batavia Air because the move would have carried too many risks, AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes said.
Malaysia-listed AirAsia had announced plans in July to acquire Batavia in a bid to expand in Southeast Asia's biggest economy. It would have been AirAsia's first major airline acquisition and would have ratcheted up competition in Indonesia among low-cost carriers such as Lion Air and flag carrier Garuda's Citilink unit.
"Our aggressive focus in Indonesia remains and we will push our Indonesian IPO plans while still maintaining close co-operation with Batavia Air," Fernandes said in a statement on Monday.
"The company's decision was based on a thorough evaluation by many parties into Batavia Air. In our minds, the timing was perhaps not appropriate as it would have induced too many risks and would ultimately be earnings dilutive to our shareholders."
Fernandes in the past has expressed caution towards acquisitions, calling them "value-destroying" in an interview last year.
AirAsia will now collaborate with Batavia Air on other aspects of the aviation business, including a training joint venture to address an expected skilled pilot shortage in Indonesia, the statement said.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Dogs bond better with male owners

 A pilot study about human-canine interactions has found that dogs owned by men, especially neurotic men, approach their owners more often than dogs of female owners.

The findings add to the growing body of evidence that pet owner gender and personality may influence an animal's social attraction to the person.

Recently, a study determined that women and cats enjoy particularly strong bonds. Now some of the same members of that cat research team have turned their focus to dogs, which really may be man's best friend.
"The sensitivity of dogs to owner sex may be rooted in their wolf ancestry, where sexes engage in distinctly different social roles," lead author and a University of Vienna researcher Manuela Wedl told Discovery News.

Wedl, project leader Kurt Kotrschal, and their colleagues observed and analyzed how dogs and their owners interacted with each other during an experiment.

Ten male and 12 female owners of male dogs were each asked to view 15 dog pictures that had been placed on the windows and walls of a room.

They were also asked to write down three words that they would associate with each of these pictures. This activity was just meant to keep the owners occupied because the researchers were more interested in what happened next.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Turkish Airlines Orders 15 More A330-300s

THY Turkish Airlines said on Monday that it would buy 15 Airbus A330-300 planes for delivery between 2014-2016.
The carrier will receive four planes in 2014, six in 2015 and five in 2016, the company said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange.
THY flies to 163 international and 38 domestic airports.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Dogs discover N351m heroin at Lagos airport

Yesterday the officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) intercepted and impounded three consignments of N351million worth heroin hidden inside balls and rug carpets at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Shed, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
The drugs which were imported from Pakistan weighed a total of 29.260 kg and were discovered with the help of the agency’s sniffer dogs.
The rug containing 14 kg of heroine had come as cargo on KLM flight while the other two hidden inside balls weighing 10.230 kg and 5.030 kg were flown in on Saudi Arabia Airline flight.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Boeing outsales Airbus

Airbus won less than half as many aircraft orders as Boeing in the first nine months of the year as its US rival benefited from a surge in demand for its new fuel-efficient single-aisle model.

Airbus sold 437 planes in the period from January to September, compared with 962 for Boeing between January 1 and October 2. After cancellations, Boeing outsold Airbus by 879 to 382, based on the latest figures published by the companies.

Boeing also outpaced Airbus in terms of deliveries, with 436 planes handed over to airline and leasing customers against 405 for Airbus. This was helped by a doubling in deliveries of Boeing's delayed carbon-composite 787 Dreamliner in the third quarter to 12.

The fresh data show Boeing is on course to reclaim the top spot in commercial aircraft production from Airbus this year. The US group lagged Airbus on deliveries for the ninth year in a row last year.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Qatar Airways set to Join oneworld Alliance

Qatar Airways will become the first international airline from the Gulf region to join the oneworld airline alliance. According to sources close to the alliance, the Qatar Airways' membership of the alliance, which includes IAG's British Airways and American Airlines, will be officially announced at a press conference which will take place in New York. IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, American boss Tom Horton as well as oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby are all expected to be present at the announcement.
Firmly-controlled bilateral traffic rights gave rise to the formation of alliances in the 1990s so that airlines could take advantage of each other's marketing network and traffic share. Until now, the Gulf carriers have not been party to it relying on their own large networks.
Two other alliances are Star Alliance, which includes Lufthansa, Ethiopian Airlines, United etc and SkyTeam, whose membership comprise of Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Kenya Airways Delta etc.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Land of My Birth

Our Prayer and Our Song

This is the land of my birth; I say the land of my birth,
I say this is Nigeria, my Nigeria, the land of my birth,
I will never leave her shores, I will never run away,
I will always believe in the green, the white and the green.
The fertile soil and the rivers of life flowing in between,
The arable agricultural land and the dignity of labour,
This is the land of my birth beautified with Costus Spectabilis.

I say this is the land of my birth, yes the land of my birth.  
Yes, there are trials everywhere, left and right, just everywhere.
Hypocritical, insincere, egocentric, self-seeking and artificial leaders,
Corruption in high places, unaccountability and insensitivity,
And then Boko Haram, the ugliest and the most dreaded one.
But in the face of all that, this is still the land of my birth.
We should never relent, but stand up and keep strong.

My Nigeria is a beautiful country and the giant of Africa, they say,
The land flowing with honey but tears flow down our cheeks,
The land full of mineral resources but it is blood that we harvest.
A combination of two opposites, and irony institutionalized,
The land of natural and human riches yet poverty is still palpable.
A people once described as the happiest people on earth,
But now I can hardly think of any people who are sadder.

But riches and money do not always translate into the progress.
Let us stop for a minute, count our blessings one by one.
We have no Tsunamis, no Earthquakes, and no Tornadoes.
But Tsunami Presidents, Tsunami Governors and Tsunami Lawmakers.
Yes, we have all been raped by present and past leaders,
We have been bombed and we have been tear-gassed,
But we cry out and pray and hope that one day upon time,
Nigeria and Nigerians will be great again and truly the giant of Africa.
This is the prayer we sing and the song we pray.

Happy 52nd Independence Nigeria.

Written by Chidozie Mario
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