2013 was a very eventful one for the aviation sector
1.Just when Nigerians thought mourning over the passing of a former Minster of Aviation, Olusegun Agagu, was as sad as it could get, another calamity befell the sector and the nation – a plane crashed on October 3; one carrying Mr. Agagu’s corpse and 20 persons said to have been going for his funeral rites.
The plane crashed in Lagos shortly after takeoff and killed 15 of the passengers on board.
2.The charismatic Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Harold Demuren, was removed in March. Mr. Demuren brought America’s category one safety certification to Nigeria. With the coveted certification, Mr. Demuren made it possible for Nigerian airlines, with high safety standards, to fly directly to the United States of America.
3. Stella Oduah, the Aviation Minister, told the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to purchase two unbudgeted armoured BMW cars for official use at N255 million. The situation has gone to become popularly known as Oduahgatewith civil society groups and lawmakers calling for her sack.
4. For the second time, the NCAA, in October, suspended the operations of Dana Air for precautionary measures after one of its planes had an air return.
5. Two air hostesses of Arik were arrested at the Heathrow Airport in London on May 20 for alleged drug possession. One of the hostesses was allegedly caught in possession of six kilograms of cocaine valued at £600,000 (N143million) and is still detained by the U.K. authorities; while the other was caught with 60 packs of cigarettes. She has been released to the Nigerian authorities.
6.An IRS plane that conveyed 105 passengers from Lagos crash-landed in Kaduna Airport, Kaduna on October 13. One of the tyres burst during landing, the plane managed to halt midway, along the runway averting fatality.
7. A teenage boy, Daniel Ihekina, was arrested at the Lagos Airport on August 24 after flying in the tyre hole of an Arik plane from Benin to Lagos. He thought he was on a U.S.-bound flight. The boy has since been placed in school by the Edo State government.
8.A Saudi Arabian B747 cargo aircraft landed in Abuja on December 5, veered off at the maneuvering area of the runway, ran into a maintenance area of the runway and stopped. This led to the suspension of flights in and out of Abuja airport for almost the whole day.
9.A Saudi Arabian bound Kabo Air plane carrying 400 passengers from Kano made an emergency landing at the Sir Abubakar III international Airport in Sokoto when its tyres exploded immediately after takeoff.
The Boeing 747 jumbo jet left Kano on October 5 en route Saudi Arabia but had to divert to Sokoto when the incident happened. All the passengers onboard the 747 were successfully evacuated from the plane and were lodged in a hotel in the state. The plane eventually made it to Saudi Arabia.
10.The Federal Government commenced the remodeling of 22 airports across Nigeria including the major ones like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt airports.
11.An Aero Contractors aircraft Boeing 737-500, with Registration No 5N-BLC, landed safely at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos on December 29 after a loss of pressure in one of the tyres. Among the passengers was a former Abuja Minister, Nasir El-Rufai and 102 others. Nobody was injured in the incident.
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