Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tinubu’s airline bounces back, resumes flight operations - NewsExpress

More than a year after it suspended flight operations, First Nation Airlines owned by former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has bounced back. The airlines resumed operations on Monday, September 30.

“The first flight of the airline took off to Abuja from the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos about 11.15am on one of its new Airbus’ A319 aircraft,” says a report in The Nation, also owned by Tinubu.

“The passengers,” according to the report, “were welcomed with smiles by the elated members of staff of the airline, who assured them that the state-of-the-art aircraft would provide alternative and better flying experience for those who want to fly in them.

“Many of the Abuja-bound passengers who were aware that the airline would resume flight operations yesterday had either booked their tickets online or had arrived at MMA2 very early in the morning to procure their tickets.”

News Express had on October 26 last year exclusively reported the collapse of First Nation Airlines in a story entitled “Exclusive: Tinubu’s airline collapses”. According to that story, “Nigeria’s latest airlines, First Nation, has collapsed less than a year after it began operations. Owned by former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, First Nation started operations early last November but ran into trouble shortly thereafter.”

The story quoted an authoritative source close to First Nation as saying: “The staff who didn’t leave on their own were asked to go on compulsory leave; so, in effect, there are no more operations.”

News Express also reported that the airlines had also lost its fleet of three A320s to the lessor, Aviation Capital Group.

It quoted the blog Aviation in Nigeria as saying: “The aircraft (5N-FNA, -FNB and -FNC) are likely repossessed; they were re-registered to the US FAA register as N409AG, N466AG and N997AG earlier this month. First Nation Airways suspended its flight operations in June 2012, and ferried at least two A320s to Istanbul for maintenance.”

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