Travel News

FG signs bilateral air agreement with USA, India, Morocco, Rwanda - BUSINESSDAY

OCTOBER 07, 2020

BY   Ifeoma Okeke

The federal government has signed a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with the USA, India, Morocco as well as Rwanda.

Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation in his twitter handle @hadisirika stated, “I am glad to announce that Mr President, on behalf of Nigeria, has signed the instruments of ratification of the bilateral air service agreement between Nigeria and USA, India, Morocco as well as Rwanda.”

This development is coming after experts have also called on the federal government to review the country’s BASAs.

BASA, founded on the principle of reciprocity, is a deal that enables a country’s airlines to enjoy equal leverage, in terms of flight operations, in countries with which their home country has an air agreement.

John Ojikutu, member of the aviation industry think tank group, Aviation Round Table (ART) and chief executive of Centurion Securities, told BusinessDay that the concerned authorities need to first identify the places where private airlines or private aircraft can be accommodated in the existing BASAs between Nigeria and these countries.

“We had a similar problem with Arik operations to the UK some years ago and there were some ‘diplomatic’ moves that restored the airline operated from Gatwick to Heathrow. The question I asked then was; what would happen if tomorrow you get a national carrier flying; would the national carrier be flying to Gatwick or to Heathrow?

“Some of these interventions in private operations and international operations are not well thought out government decisions but unilateral exploitations of the systems by some individuals in official capacities. My take is, if we don’t have a national carrier, let there be flag carriers as all American Airlines are but there must be policies and regulations to become one.

“That is why I said nationally, we must have policies that classify our airlines as regional flag carriers, continental flag carriers or intercontinental flag carriers. If Air Peace is being refused flights to UK now but BA is still allowed to fly into Nigeria, we must revisit the agreement that allowed Air Peace into UK pre covid19 within or without the BASA between the two countries if it is not a unilateral arrangement outside the BASA,” Ojikutu explained.

He also asked on whose interests the multiple frequencies and destinations are given to foreign airlines like BA, Ethiopian airline, Emirates, Qatar, etc?

Olumide Ohunayo told BusinessDay that it is time Nigeria begins to take its BASA seriously and look for reciprocity because what other countries have done now is to see how they can take advantage of BASA through their own carriers.

“Once they stop you, they provide their own carriers that will do it. We need to use this period to learn our lessons, straighten our BASA agreements and on no basis should we allow our flag carriers to go unprotected and unassisted. You don’t have to own the carrier to give it support,” Ohunayo said.

Nigeria, SA in fresh bid to mend relations - CAJ

OCTOBER 07, 2020

EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria ABUJA, (CAJ News) â€“ IT is stereotypical that Nigerians in South Africa are criminals, inasmuch as it is untrue that all South Africans are xenophobic.

This is according to senior officials from these two countries that are Africa’s economic and political powerhouses as they seek ways to address the diplomatic tiffs that ever mar their relations.

This week, South Africa’s top envoy to the West African country led a delegation of officials to pay a courtesy call on Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairperson and chief executive officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.

“All these rumours labbeling Nigerians as criminals are not true just as not all South Africans are xenophobic in nature,” Ambassador Thami Mseleku, the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, said.

He was speaking in the capital Abuja where his delegation visited the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.

It is an organ the Nigerian Government established in 2019 to mediate relations with Nigerians in the diaspora.

The South African delegation paid a courtesy call on the Nigerian commission following weeks of tensions between nationalities of the two countries.

Some South Africans have been demanding the expulsion of Nigerians, accusing them of masterminding a spate of recent kidnappings in the Southern African country.

This adds to recent years of attacks on Nigerian-owned establishments accused of peddling drugs and prostituting South African women.

Dabiri-Erewa said while some Nigerians in South Africa contributed to national and economic development of the two countries, some were involved in crime.

“Those indulging in crimes and criminality should be punished in line with the law of the land. Those excelling must be celebrated,” she said.

– CAJ News

UAE to begin issuance of Visas for intending travelers October 8th - BLUEPRINT

OCTOBER 08, 2020

BY  Adeola Tukuru

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will begin issuance of Visas to intending travelers from October, 8th, 2020. 

Sirika in a tweet said: “UAE confirmed that they will begin issuance of Visas from 8th of October, 2020. Travelers to have a return ticket, hotel booking, negative PCR result & a Health insurance (similar to Schengen requirement). Health insurance can be paid through travel agents/airline.”

The Nigerian government recently agreed to lift the ban placed on Emirates from operating into and out of the country based on the undertaking by the authorities of the United Arabs Emirates (UAE).

Sirika, had said that the commencement of the airline’s operations would however depend on the commencement of visa issuance by the UAE.

He had disclosed that UAE had written that they agreed to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision had been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria, but added that “commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent.”

Emirates resumes Nigerian flights, UAE begins visa issuance - PUNCH

OCTOBER 08, 2020

BY  Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The United Arab Emirates has confirmed that it would begin the issuance of visas to Nigerians from Thursday (today), the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced on Wednesday.

Sirika had announced on September 30 that the UAE had written to state that it agreed to issue visas to Nigerians, a development that made the Federal Government lift the ban it had earlier placed on Emirates Airlines.

“UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria,” the minister had tweeted.

He had further stated that the “commencement of the visa issuance is condition precedent.”

Providing an update on the visa issuance matter with the UAE, the aviation minister tweeted again on Wednesday that the Arab nation had confirmed that it would start issuing visas to Nigerians.

Sirika said, “UAE confirmed that they will begin issuance of visas from 8th of October, 2020.

“Travelers to have a return ticket, hotel booking, negative PCR result and a health insurance (similar to Schengen requirement).

“Health insurance can be paid through travel agents/airline.”

The visa concern issuance between Nigerian and UAE had warranted the ban of Emirates Airlines from operating into Nigeria.

Sirika had announced on September 18, 2020, that Emirates was banned from operating in Nigeria from Monday, September 21, 2020.

UK's easyJet signals it may need more government support - Sky News - REUTERS

OCTOBER 08, 2020

(Reuters) - British airline easyJet Plc EZJ.L has signalled to the government that it may need further financial support if the coronavirus pandemic continues to hinder its schedule, Sky News reported on Wednesday.

In recent talks with the UK government, the company said its balance sheet could require a state loan or other form of financing from the government, the report added.

In April, the airline took a 600 million pound ($775 million) loan under a UK government scheme.

“easyJet continues to review its liquidity position on a regular basis and will continue to assess further funding opportunities, should the need arise,” the airline’s spokeswoman said in a statement, without giving any details on the Sky News report.

EasyJet is scheduled to publish a trading update on Thursday, Sky News said.

The report comes after British transport minister Grant Shapps said on Wednesday he was setting up a Global Travel Taskforce to open up international travel.

The government is looking at ways to reduce the 14-day quarantine period which applies to some arriving passengers. Airline body IATA has said that 80% of travellers said they would not fly at all if any quarantine were in place.

Like other airlines, easyJet has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that has kept travellers at home and brought airport operations to a near standstill. The company is cutting 4,500 jobs across Europe and is closing its bases at London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle airports.

Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla and Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

Officials: Nigerian migrant burned alive in Libya's Tripoli - AP

OCTOBER 08, 2020

BY  Samy Magdy, Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — A migrant worker was burned to death in the Libyan capital, U.N. and government officials said Wednesday, the latest in abuses that migrants and refuges face in the conflict-stricken country.

The Interior Ministry of the U.N.-supported government said three Libyans on Tuesday stormed a factory in the Tripoli neighborhood of Tajoura, where African migrants were working. The Libyans detained one the workers, a Nigerian, poured gasoline on him and set him on fire, the ministry said in a statement. No motive for the shocking crime was given.

Three other migrants suffered burns and were being treated in a nearby hospital, the ministry said. The alleged perpetrators, all in their 30s, were arrested and referred to prosecutors for investigation, it said.

“The young man was burned alive, in yet again another senseless crime against migrants in the country,” tweeted Federico Soda, the chief in Libya for the International Organization for Migration.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “Sometimes you run out of adjectives to describe what we see in all too many places."

“The people responsible for such a heinous attack need to be brought to justice," he said. “This underscores, as if we needed to underscore yet again, how unsafe Libya is for migrants, for refugees, and how much the authorities on the ground still need to do to ensure the protection of these vulnerable people.”

The migrant’s death underscores the perils that migrants face in Libya, which has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe amid years-long chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

In 2017, CNN aired a video of a slave auction in Libya where migrant Africans were “sold like goats,” causing global outrage, and led the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to condemn “heinous abuses of human rights.”

In May, the family of a slain Libyan human trafficker attacked a group of migrants in the desert town of Mizdah, shooting and killing at least 30 migrants. mostly from Bangladesh, according to the U.N. migration agency.

In July, Libyan authorities shot dead three Sudanese migrants in the western coastal town of Khoms. The migrants were reportedly trying to escape after they were intercepted by the Libyan coast guard in the Mediterranean Sea and returned to shore.

So far in 2020, the U.N. migration agency has reported around 200 deaths of migrants in Libya and at least 275 missing in the Mediterranean Sea. Around 9,500 were returned to Libya this year, compared to 9,225 in 2019. The bodies of 11 migrants washed up on Libyan shores between Sep. 28 and Oct. 5, it said Tuesday.

Migrants typically pass through Libya on their way to Europe, departing from Tripoli’s rocky coastline in inflatable dinghies.

The Libyan coast guard, trained by the European Union to keep migrants from reaching European shores, intercepts boats at sea and returns them to Libya.

Rights groups say those efforts have left migrants at the mercy of brutal armed groups or confined in squalid and overcrowded detention centers that lack adequate food and water.

The EU agreed earlier this year to end an anti-migrant smuggler operation involving only surveillance aircraft and instead deploy military ships to concentrate on upholding a widely flouted U.N. arms embargo that’s considered key to winding down Libya’s relentless war.

The Cost of Living in Australia 2020 - TOBECOMECITIZEN.COM

OCTOBER 08, 2020

BY  Manu Thomassin

People from everywhere in the world often embrace the dream of moving to start a new life in Australia. For some people, it’s the need to run away from a dreary 9 to 5 or a cold climate that makes Australia an expat hub. For others, it is the desire of making a fresh start on a continent known for its sun as well as sand and surf.

In 2020, Australia continues to be a dream destination for expats from everywhere on the globe seeking all the above Down Under. Not only is the temperature a lot warmer in parts of Australia in comparison with many countries but according to Expatistan, the cost of living in Australia can be cheaper as well. A cheaper lifestyle is a major financial benefit, giving the opportunity for someone planning to migrate to Australia the chance to earn a good salary while spending less.

So here is a quick look at the cost of living in Australia for an expat.

Australia’s Cost of Living ranking 2020

Sydney is now ranked in the 32nd position in a 2020 Number cost of living survey, with an index of 66.68 for daily expenses such as groceries, transport costs, and accommodation costs (such as rent or a mortgage). In comparison, London has an expensive cost of living plus rent index, ranked in the 17th position with 75.90 in the same survey, with Melbourne and Perth coming in at 70th and 100th position respectively. While the cost of living is clearly an essential measure for anyone considering a move overseas, this also has to be compared against the potential wages on offer in that location. 

Another key metric this research looked at was buying power for an average wage – essentially, how much can be bought on a typical wage in a given city. Every city in the examination is rated against New York, which has a score of 100. Here, Sydney scored 97.02. 

This means that domestically, people in Sydney can obtain approximately 3% fewer goods and services on their salary than if they were residing in NYC. To put that in context, Londoners have a purchasing power of 78.16, with a record of 21% lower than New Yorkers.

Where to live in Australia

When looking to move to Australia, professional expats are generally drawn to the four big cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth. In 2019 Mercer published a survey classifying the quality of living in 231 cities around the globe. Australian cities rated highly, with Sydney and Melbourne following in at number 11 and 17 respectively. Perth came in the 21st place, with Brisbane slightly further down the list in 35th place. Moreover, all of Australia’s major cities are listed within the top 50 for safety.

How much does housing cost in Australia?

Conforming to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the mean price of residential dwellings stood at a$660,800- with property prices in both Sydney and Melbourne in Q4 of 2019 recording an increase of 3.6%. It is important to be aware of the details around what type of property you can purchase as an expat. Buying property is depending on the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval and in general, you will only be eligible to obtain an unoccupied new dwelling.

Rental prices in Australia 2020

If buying is not in your plans, renting is a more affordable option for most expats living in Australia. Once again even within the same neighborhoods, prices vary from city to city. In accordance with expatistan.com, monthly rent for an 85 sqm (900 sqft) furnished apartment in an “expensive” Sydney neighborhood is approx $3,429 compared to $2,279 in a similar neighborhood and size apartment in Melbourne. If you are renting on a budget, an 85 sqm (900 sqft) equipped apartment in a “normal” neighborhood in Sydney is estimated to be 37% more expensive at $2,689, in comparison with $1,969 in Melbourne.



Travel and commuting in Australia

Sydney is ranked as 34% cheaper for transport costs than in a city like London – good news for any Brits planning to move Down Under as they get to go further for less. A monthly transport ticket in Sydney like the Sydney Opal card will set you back approximately $217 where a similar monthly pass like the Oyster card will cost you $291.53 in London according to numbeo.com. In contrast with the other major Australian cities, a monthly travel pass cost is A$159 in Melbourne and $116.61 in Perth, which makes the ticket cost in Perth over 46% cheaper than in Sydney. The Sydney Opal card grants you to catch trains, buses, ferries and light rail in Sydney and the surrounding areas: north to Newcastle, west to the Blue Mountains and south to Wollongong and the Southern Highlands. The distinction between the Sydney Opal Card and the Oyster card is that the latter is limited to public transport in central London. It’s not just public transport costs where expats in Australia can have low living costs. If commuting by car, the cost of fuel can be much cheaper too. One liter of gas will set you back approximately $1.50 in Australia. In contrast, it would cost $2.47 in the UK (expatistan.com).

Health and fitness

Australia is famous for its sunny weather, and with such great weather to enjoy in most of the major cities, Australians can profit the most of the outdoors after work and on weekends. Australia has a very strong cultural interest in outdoor pursuits like walking, running, and cycling. For any days where it is too hot to work out under the sun, a gym is always an option. Prices for joining a gym change from city to city in Australia, but often you can enjoy working out indoors for $83 per month in Sydney, $94 in Melbourne, and at almost half the cost for just $56 in Perth according to expatistan.com. It is not just working out and fitness that leads to a healthier life in Oz. Australia is often called the “lucky country” and considering its life expectancy figures, you would have to agree. 

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data shows that the life assumption in Australia is 82.60 (80.50 and 84.60 for men and women respectively). Life expectancy is increasing due to the high quality of life, enhanced living conditions and advancements in the Australian healthcare system known as Medicare. A 2017 comparison between the healthcare systems of commonwealth countries presents Australia ranking right after the UK for the performance of its healthcare system, with Canada, France and the US falling below the international average. All this gladly means that for any illness or medical treatment you (hopefully won’t, but) may need while in Australia, you are in safe hands.

Eating in… and out

Here is another tasty way to enjoy the outdoors in Australia, dining al fresco in a top restaurant. Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in a typical ‘expat area’ including appetizers, main course, wine, and dessert will be worth $111 in Sydney compared with approx $105 in Melbourne and $123 in Perth. If your style is more of enjoying a home-cooked meal, then a decent bottle of red wine to go with it will set you back $18 in Perth, $18 in Sydney, and $20 in Melbourne. The ultimate expat test in any city is the price of a cup of coffee. Your morning cappuccino in an expat area of Perth will cost $4.92, but it’s a little cheaper in Sydney at $4.59, and cheaper again in Melbourne at $4.45. Considering that you will most likely enjoy it outside under a clear blue sky, it’s worth it. (Source: expatistan.com).

Extra costs to take in consideration when moving to Australia

Life in Australia is not all work and no play for sure. For a Saturday night at the movies, two tickets will be around AU$37 in Sydney compared with the price of $41 in Perth and $38 in Melbourne. So there is not an extreme difference if you want to escape into the air conditioning for 2.5 hours. A further selling point for most ex-pats is the amount of money you can earn in Australia – a major draw for people from the UK, Europe or New Zealand.

With the typical monthly salary in Australia coming in at nearly $4,639 according to Numbeo, a move Down Under looks very attractive when compared with an average salary of almost $3,627 in the UK – meaning a relatively 28% increase in your monthly earnings if working in Australia rather than in the UK. With its world-class healthcare, amazing weather, and excellent career opportunities, Australia will continue to be a top choice for ex-pats worldwide.

OCTOBER 08, 2020

Dubai-bound passenger held with 5,342 ATM cards - THE NATION

OCTOBER 08, 2020

By Fanen Ihyongo, Kano

A man has been arrested with 5,342 Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

Sanusi Labaran was intercepted on Wednesday by Customs officials minutes before boarding an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Customs Service said the suspect has been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Last month a Dubai-bound passenger was apprehended with 2,886 ATM cards at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos.

Kano Comptroller of Customs, Ahmed Nasir, who briefed reporters, said the ATM cards, of various banks, were hidden in two handbags containing beans.

“The suspect has an international passport and a Dubai residence permit, which suggests it might not be the first time he is shipping ATM cards from Nigeria to Dubai,” Nasir said.

“The fact that he alone is in possession of over 5,000 cards raises suspicion. Again, why did he conceal them in beans?”

Nasir said Labaran, the cards and the bags have been handed over to the EFCC zonal head, Sanusi Aliyu.

Aliyu said the anti-graft agency will try to unravel why he had so many ATM cards on him, and why he he wanted to ship them from Nigeria to another country, as well as who might be his sponsors or collaborators.

4m EU citizens apply to stay in UK after Brexit - METRO

OCTOBER 08, 2020

by Flora Thompson

JUST over 4million EU citizens have applied to remain in the UK after Brexit brings an end to freedom of movement.

More than 2.1million saw their requests for settled status granted, while 1.6million won ‘pre-settled status’ and can ask to stay permanently once they have been here for five years.

But 16,600 applications have been refused, 34,600 were withdrawn or void and 42,400 deemed invalid.

EU citizens have until next June to apply. But immigration experts fear that some may not do so and will end up classed as ‘irregular migrants’.

Those at risk of ‘falling through the cracks’ include EU children in care, said the migration observatory at Oxford university.

Gaps in data make it hard to know how many EU citizens have not applied, it added.

The Home Office said it was working to ‘ensure all eligible children and families are supported with their applications’.

Immigration minister Kevin Foster called the scheme ‘hugely successful’.


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