Airlines Call for Upgrade of Airport Infrastructure to Curb Flight Delays - THISDAY
BY Chinedu Eze
Domestic carriers have called for the upgrade and expansion of airport infrastructure, attributing most of flight delays to inadequate facilities like limited spaces at the airport terminals, inadequate x-ray machines and attendant personnel that man passenger facilitation at the airports.
Speaking on behalf of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) at the launch of the book, “Air Transportation In Nigeria: The Lingering Expectations,” the Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, Allen Onyema said that as the festive season approaches, influx of passengers would likely outstretch facilities at airports, especially Abuja where only a few check-in counters are available in a small hall for processing hundreds of passengers.
He said such situation naturally causes delays, as passengers who interface with airlines do not know the root cause of the delays, which begins with capacity of check-in halls, the number of check-in counters, the delay in the screening of passengers and also the capacity of departure halls.
While exonerating airlines over flight delays, Onyema said 95 percent of the circumstances that usually lead to delays is beyond passengers’ and airlines’ control.
”Airlines are prepared, they have the means, we also know the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is alive to its duties of regulation, safety is assured but in other areas, the airport authority has some questions to answer, ”Onyema said.
Speaking particularly on Abuja and Gombe airports, he said it is unimaginable for about 10 airlines’ passengers to occupy a small space with only four check-in counters, adding that rather than for authorities to rally round and support them, they prefer to de-market them.
”Nigerian airline operators are the most patriotic citizens of Nigeria because of the environment. People blame us for late departures but airlines are not responsible for delays, passengers need to know the truth but those are supposed to protect us are de-marketing us.
“AON has written to the Ministry and FAAN on the issue of Abuja check-in counters. It is crazy, nine or 10 airlines in a very small space is not encouraging, but a few days ago, the Managing Director of FAAN spoke to me that they are going to do something about it, what we are asking for is expansion, the old international terminal is lying fallow, some airlines can be asked to move there to create more room for us, a situation where we are given few counters and we have thousands of people checking in will cause delay.
“I have said it that passengers should stop blaming airlines for delays, they should look at the main cause, no airline plans to delay flights deliberately. Although, this government has done a lot for aviation, the Minister and the President have done a lot, a very passionate man, we need to do something about infrastructure especially at the Abuja airport, it is causing delays for airlines because once you take off from Lagos, you must experience delays in Abuja because of the check-in difficulties, there is no conveyor belts.
”Gombe is one place we like flying to. The governor has been very supportive, Air Peace loves the place but their safety is important. The problem is not insurmountable, we made the report about the faulty scanners but I think they are doing something about it, I am sure all the authorities have been informed about it”, he added.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the sector have honoured and praised the authors of the book, which captures all segments of the industry in the country.
Present at the occasion were the Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Arumemi Ikhide; former Managing director Arik Air, Chris Ndulue; Dr. Alex Nwuba, Mr. Richard Aisubeogun, former and current country managers of British Airways, Mr. Kola Olayinka and Mrs. Adetutu Otuyalo; Mr. Abayomi Agoro, president, Nigeria Air Traffic Controllers Association; former and current editors of Newspapers, Mr. Rotimi Durojaiye; Mr. Don Okere, among others.
Industry stakeholders who graced the occasion spoke about the authors’ hard work and attention to details, saying some of the topics treated were challenges that have bedeviled the sector over the years without being tackled.
Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, represented by Director of Aerodrome Airspace Standard, Tayyib Odunowo , attested to the fact that that issues such as forex , Jet fuel were lingering challenges that affected the sector.
Onyema, who was the chief launcher, remarked that the book would serve as reference for Nigerians interested in the aviation sector.
According to him, policy somersault, owner/ manager syndrome in airline business and lack of corporate governance are areas that have been well dissected in the book.
Ban on foreign home buying will carry $10,000 penalty for violations - FFINANCIAL WATCH
A two-year ban on home buying by non-Canadians that is set to take effect on Jan. 1 will exempt temporary work-permit holders and international students, subject to some conditions, and will come with the potential for $10,000 fines for violations, according to details of the implementation released on Wednesday.
The legislation was first announced in Budget 2022 in April to address housing affordability by prohibiting non-Canadian investors and commercial entities from purchasing non-recreational properties on Canadian soil.
Still, questions remained regarding definitions and how the prohibition would be enforced.
According to the list of regulations released Wednesday, the act will take effect for a period of two years.
Exemptions to the ban may be available for temporary work permit holders, refugees and international students.
Non-Canadians who purchase residential property in violation of the prohibition will be fined $10,000, with some exceptions.
“Homes should not be commodities,” Ahmed Hussen, minister of housing and diversity and inclusion, said in a release.
“Through this legislation, we’re taking action to ensure that housing is owned by Canadians, for the benefit of everyone who lives in this country. We will continue to do whatever we can to ensure that all residents of this country have a home that is affordable and that meets their needs.”
Lekki Port To Ease Movement Of Cargo With New Truck Park - DAILY TRUST
As part of its preparations for the commencement of commercial port operations, the shareholders of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, promoters of Lekki Deep Sea…
- By Eugene Agha
As part of its preparations for the commencement of commercial port operations, the shareholders of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, promoters of Lekki Deep Sea Port, have approved the construction of a truck park close to the gate of the port.
The construction of the truck park is to enhance easy movement of cargo from the port to the hinterland.
The decision was taken during the company’s extraordinary general meeting, which took place at the weekend, at the Administrative Office, Lekki Port, Lagos Free Zone, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.
Shortly after the meeting, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Du Ruogang who presented the issue to the shareholders for approval, explained that the truck park was necessary for the efficient and effective operations of the container terminal, which will be operated by Lekki Freeport Terminal.
Ruogang added that the truck park will have an initial 153 truck parking slots, together with a security booth, offices and waiting area.
To ensure optimal proximity, the truck park will be located at the north boundary of Lekki Port, to prevent unnecessary queues at the port’s gate, when commercial operations begin next year.
On his part, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr. Laurence Smith noted that the construction of the truck park would go a long way in reducing the chaotic traffic associated with existing ports and avoid indiscriminate parking of trucks on the access road to the port. To support the truck park, Lekki Freeport Terminal will operate a vehicle booking system, which is widely used at all the major container terminals globally. This will ensure that trucks are called via a booking system and will prevent ad-hoc callers congesting the local road system.
“Once the truck park is constructed, one can rest assured that the challenges associated with loss of person-hours in traffic congestion and delays in port operations will be minimised. We are doing everything possible to ensure that there is ease in cargo movement out of Lekki Port. The objective is to ensure that gridlock does not become associated with Lekki Port within the Lekki axis”, he said.
Swiss National Bank's forex reserves shrink during Q3 - REUTERS
ZURICH, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank's foreign currency reserves shrank during the third quarter, data showed on Thursday, as weakening global stock and bond markets hit the central bank's forex investments.
Total reserve assets held by the central bank declined to 873 billion Swiss francs ($939.92 billion) at the end of September from 920 billion francs at the end of June.
Most of the downturn was mainly due to the reduced value of stocks and bonds the SNB holds, although the Swiss franc's appreciation also lowered its value when converted into francs.
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The data also showed that the SNB acquired a net 2.4 billion francs of forex between July and the end of September.
The figure was a surprise as the central bank has been selling foreign currencies in recent months to maintain the high nominal value of the franc - an aid in its battle against resurgent inflation.
Still, economists said the data should not be seen as a direct indication of the SNB's interventions because the figures included interest and foreign exchange income from the bank's forex reserves.
"You can't infer the FX interventions based on this data because they are partial," said Credit Suisse economist Maxime Botteron, who estimates the SNB actually sold around 3.5 billion francs from its forex reserves in the third quarter.
He said the foreign exchange transaction data, which the SNB is due to publish on Dec. 30, would give a better indication of its buying and selling of foreign currencies.
Hong Kong May Scrap Gathering Limits, Vaccine Pass: Media -
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong will end some of its last major Covid rules, scrapping gathering limits to vaccination checks and testing for travelers, in a sweeping overhaul of policies aimed at reviving its reputation as a global financial center.
There will be no cap on the number of people who can gather in public, and the vaccine pass for entry to a raft of venues will also be scrapped, starting from Thursday, Chief Executive John Lee said Wednesday. Close contacts of Covid-positive people won’t need to quarantine and limits on the number of people who can sit together in restaurants and bars — currently 12 and six, respectively — will be lifted.
The city will also no longer require inbound travelers to take two PCR tests after their arrival, but recommends they take rapid tests through their fifth day in the city.
People coming to Hong Kong will need to perform either a rapid test within 24 hours of departing for the city, or a PCR test within 48 hours. The health declaration form is no longer mandatory, meaning there’s no obligation to report the result, but a border official may request to see a photo of the test.
The changes are based on a high immunity level in the city, sufficient medicine, experience of handling Covid among health-care workers, an improved emergency response system and better awareness among residents, Lee said. “The above mentioned changes are strongly pushing Hong Kong to recover.”
Read more: China Reopens Borders to World in Removing Last Covid Curbs
While the new rules mean Hong Kong has done away with almost all of its major pandemic curbs — a mask mandate and daily rapid tests for kindergartens and primary schools remain — the incremental pace of loosening stands in stark contrast with the abrupt U-turn on Covid Zero in mainland China. It’s also put the city on track to open up to the mainland just as China grapples with the world’s biggest outbreak, and a growing list of overseas locations grow anxious about infections spreading.
The world’s second-biggest economy is set to emerge from almost three years of self-imposed global isolation on Jan. 8 and is also set to resume issuing Hong Kong travel permits and reopen express checkpoints on the border. The South China Morning Post reported, citing people it didn’t identify, that Hong Kong’s border with the mainland will reopen on Jan. 10 at the earliest, with priority for travel to the city given to those with business and family needs.
At the briefing, Lee said that he’s aiming to come to an agreement with mainland authorities and ask for approval from the central government by mid-January. The reopening will be gradual, he said.
Other parts of the world are more cautious about welcoming visitors from mainland China, where the country’s health regulator estimated nearly 37 million people may have been infected in a single day last week as the rapid dismantling of Covid Zero sparked a wave of infections.
Japan will require a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival for visitors who have been in mainland China within a seven-day period, with anyone testing positive required to quarantine for a week. The US is considering new coronavirus precautions for people traveling from China, Bloomberg News reported, citing an American official who asked not to be identified discussing internal thinking. During January, Taiwan will require people traveling from mainland China to take a PCR test after their arrival.
Read more: China’s Covid Surge Leads Countries to Adopt Entry Restrictions
Hong Kong is also facing its own flareup, with local infections rising and health officials warning about the strain being put on the health-care system from both Covid and influenza. The city reported over 18,000 Covid cases a day during the Christmas period, more than doubling from a month ago, and the number of patients in critical and serious condition is rising.
Some of the city’s public hospitals reported wait times of over eight hours in their emergency departments during the four-day holiday period, though that had declined to one-to-four hours on Wednesday. A health official last week asked people with mild Covid symptoms to consider using private medical services. The SCMP also reported Hong Kong’s local pharmacies are selling out of common antipyretics, including to send to friends and relatives in mainland China.
Hong Kong will keep its mask mandate, which requires wearing a face covering in most public outdoor and indoor settings, to avoid being hit by both Covid and influenza, Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau said.
--With assistance from Bruce Einhorn.
(Updates to add details throughout.)
Spain is Nigeria’s highest export market, says NBS - THE NATION
Exports hit N873.62b in Q3
With N873.62 billion export to Spain in the third quarter of the outgoing year, Spain has become Nigeria’s highest export destination.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at the weekend revealed this in its document entitled: “Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade (Q3 2022,” which The Nation obtained in Abuja.
Other five countries listed as the Merchandise Trade partners were India, France, Netherlands, and the United States.
Nigeria’s export to the countries were India N619.22 billion; France N430billion; Netherlands N420.40 billion and United States N335.95 billion.
The report, however, noted: “Spain ranked first among other partner countries as the largest export market for Nigeria during the third quarter 2022, exports to Spain stood at N873.62 billion during the quarter under review.”
According to NBS, the largest exported commodity to Spain was “Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude’’ worth N580.26 billion. This was followed by “Natural gas, liquefied” valued at N282.49 billion, “Leather of goats” valued at N3.28 billion and others.
It said, however, on the imports side, the highest traded commodity during the period under review was “Mixed alkyl benzenes and mixed alkylnaphthalenes, other than those of heading 27.07”, valued at N10.79 billion, followed by “other lubricating oils meant to be mixed further” worth N6.54 billion, “gypsum; anhydrite” valued at N4.19 billion, “mixtures of odoriferous substances of a kind used in the food or drink industries” valued at N2.16 billion and others were imported from Spain.
Besides the report said the All-commodity group import index on the average was up by 0.76 per cent point in the Third Quarter of the year.
NBS also said in the period under review, highest increase was from animal and vegetable fats, oil and other cleavages products.
“The All-commodity group import index on average increased by 0.76 per cent point.
“The highest increase was recorded by“animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage prod”, followed by “mineral products” and “Footwear, headgear, umbrellas, sunshades, whips etc,” said NBS.
The bureau further noted that all-commodity export price index soared 0.26 per cent point in the Q3 2022.
It added that the increase was mainly attributed to an increase in the prices of “Wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal and articles”, “vehicles, aircraft, and parts thereof; vessels etc”, and “paper making material; paper and paperboard, articles”.
In the period under review, according to the document, the All products Terms of Trade (TOT) Index on average decreased by 0.50 per cent point because of increases in the prices Paper making material; paper and paperboard, articles”, “paper making material; paper and paperboard, articles”, and “wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal and articles”.
NBS noted that the All-region group export index also increased by 0.26 percent point mainly due to rise in prices of export to all regions except America and Oceania.
The report revealed that the All-region group import index increased by 0.76 percent point due to changes in import prices to some of the regions except Africa.
NBS said the All-region terms of trade on average decreased by 0.50 percent point due to rise in import prices mainly from Asia and Europe.
It added that the major export markets of Nigeria in Q3, 2022 were Spain, India, France, Netherlands, the United States of America.
Airline unveils instalmental payment for tickets - THE NATION
United Nigeria Airlines Company Limited has introduced an innovative payment system that will boost the capacity of its passengers to fly the airline at a minimal cost.
The new payment system, known as Pay Small Small (PSS), will allow passengers to plan for their trips through installment payments for tickets.
According to the airline, the system is being offered to the public in partnership with Kalabash, a payment solutions company.
A statement by the airline said the PSS service “will be available for United Nigeria Airlines passengers and will give them access to great travel deals, allowing them to lock down the best prices by paying as little as 25 per cent of the total cost as down payment and splitting the balance into convenient installments from 24 hours to six months, starting from 18th November 2022.”
It noted that the “PSS service is very straightforward, with no credit checks or scrutiny necessary.”
It further stated that “PSS is a flexible travel payment plan that is designed with experienced and intending travelers in mind.”
Speaking at the unveiling of the PSS system recently in Lagos, the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo said the airline will do its best to offer its clients opportunities that will make traveling seamless for them.
According to him “we are continually looking for opportunities and collaborations that will foster innovation, happiness, and convenience for our loyal customer base”.
Also commenting, the Chief Executive Officer of Kalabash, Ladi Ojuri said the PSS system will ease the burden of a one-off payment for travel on United Nigeria Airlines.
“Technology, in our opinion, has the power to drastically alter daily life in Africa. We are thrilled to have partnered with United Nigeria Airlines to meet its travelers’ demands for a payment solution to make travel convenient and affordable given the current economic climate of the country”, he said.
The World Just Doesn’t Have Enough Planes as Travel Roars Back - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- As travel springs back and even China dismantles the last remaining Covid curbs, one stark truth is beginning to emerge — the world is running desperately short of planes.
With carriers from United Airlines Holdings Inc. to Air India Ltd. placing, or looking to place, jet orders that number in the hundreds, Boeing Co. and Airbus SE are crowing variously about blockbuster deals. But supply chain constraints mean those planes won’t be delivered until possibly years down the track — Jefferies LLC estimates there’s an order backlog of 12,720 aircraft currently.
All that means the sky-high airfares that people have complained bitterly about over the past few months are here to stay, and things could get worse before they get better.
“People got used to lower fares during the pandemic and China’s reopening will make it worse,” Ajay Awtaney, the founder of frequent flier website LiveFromALounge.com, said. “It’s not just a shortage of planes but also other factors like oil prices.”
While one cashed-up airline in a particular jurisdiction may have the financial wherewithal to bring prices down, that would likely cause other carriers to stumble, “leading to even higher fares in the long run,” Awtaney said.
Boeing and Airbus, the planemaking giants that largely enjoy a duopoly supplying passenger jets, are sold out for their most popular single-aisle models through until at least 2029.
Compounding the demand from airlines as people once again take to the skies with a vengeance and carriers look to refresh aging fleets are supply chain challenges — everything from getting the necessary components to labor shortages.
Airbus earlier this month dropped its delivery goal of 700 jetliners this year citing supply chain issues and has previously warned that a jump in energy costs will weigh particularly hard on smaller, power intensive producers, such as those making castings and forgings.
According to the founder of Air Lease Corp. and a legendary name in aviation, Steve Udvar-Hazy, every jet delivered to one of the world’s largest lessors over the past two years has been late.
“We haven’t gotten one airplane on time, whether it’s a 737 Max or a 787 or an A330, A350,” he said. “And the worst has been the A321neo. We’ve had delays of as much as six or seven months comparing contract delivery month to actual delivery. It’s a combination of supply chain issues, ramping up too quickly and shortage of labor. Production workers can’t work from home. So it’s been a real problem.”
The thousands of planes that carriers stored in deserts around the world, unsure of when demand would return as travel collapsed in the wake of Covid and countries shut borders, are also contributing to the shortage. Hundreds haven’t been brought back into fleets, either because they now need heavy duty maintenance after so long not being used or because airlines plan on phasing them out and haven’t bothered slotting them into their schedules again.
Read more: Airplane Parking Lot in Middle of Nowhere Has Never Been Busier
The end result for the flying public is eye-watering fares, which could rise even further as business travel returns and more people are willing to treat themselves as they holiday abroad for the first time in years.
It could also mean flying in older planes.
“As a last resort, we can see airlines extending ownership cycles,” said Sunny Xi, a Singapore-based principal at consultancy Oliver Wyman. Airlines in Asia historically plan fleets around 12-year cycles, which is lower than in most other regions. But during the restructurings that carriers have gone through over the past few years, “several airlines have extended existing fleets and could do so again in the future,” he said.
For Boeing and Airbus, delivering the planes they’ve sold on time is now problem number one.
Airbus is already seeing airlines reluctant to place new orders for jets, considering it has a backlog of more than 6,100 planes for the A320neo family that would take eight years to fill. While it’s long touted its plan to ramp up production to as many as 75 A320 jets a month, it’s now pushed back that goal to the middle of the decade.
Investors in Boeing, which has announced around 850 gross orders this year, including the mid-December United Airlines deal, are meanwhile concerned on the slow progress the US planemaker has made in resolving its supply chain snarls and speeding work in its factories, RBC analyst Ken Herbert said.
The one bright spot? Employees working in the sector probably won’t be laid-off any time soon.
“The order backlogs are big enough that a recession wouldn’t really matter right now,” said George Ferguson, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.” Manufacturers and airlines will “hold on to people even if there are small hiccups.”
--With assistance from Julie Johnsson and Siddharth Philip.
Travel abroad is poised ‘for a big comeback’ in 2023 as Americans eye trips to Asia, Europe - CNBC
- Thirty-one percent of Americans are more interested in international than domestic travel, according to a recent poll by tourism market research firm Destination Analysts.
- Households are continuing to unleash two or three years’ worth of pent-up demand as Covid-19 fears wane and the last vestiges of pandemic-era border restrictions have eased.
- Asia-Pacific is drawing particularly vigorous interest, although European destinations retain their popularity, too.
Mt. Fuji, Japan.
Jirawat Plekhongthu / Eyeem | Eyeem | Getty Images
Americans are poised to travel overseas in a big way in 2023.
Households are continuing to unleash two or three years’ worth of pent-up demand as Covid-19 fears wane and the last vestiges of pandemic-era border restrictions have eased.
The U.S. dollar also remains relatively strong versus currencies like the euro, hybrid work yields more flexibility for big trips and some airlines have added new long-haul routes to overseas destinations, according to travel experts.
“The travel industry is just going gangbusters,” said Erin Florio, executive editor of Condé Nast Traveler.
Why travel abroad is poised ‘for a big comeback’
D3sign | Moment | Getty Images
Thirty-one percent of Americans are more interested in international than domestic travel, according to a recent poll by tourism market research firm Destination Analysts. That was a six-point increase from February and a year-to-date high, according to the survey, published in November.
Meanwhile, 62% of 2023 flight searches in the first week of December were for international destinations, up from 55% the same time last year, according to a recent Hopper report. It cited international travel among the top three trends for 2023, saying it’s poised “for a big comeback.”
Searches on Kayak for flights abroad are up 1.3% versus a year ago, according to company data as of Dec. 18. Those for domestic flights were down 13%.
Thailand will be a stand-out country in 2023, says economist
In 2022, the share of international trips for which Americans bought travel insurance was on par with 2019 levels, the first time that had occurred in the pandemic era, according to data from online travel insurance marketplace Squaremouth. The trend has continued for trips booked for 2023.
American travelers largely stayed within U.S. borders in 2020 and 2021 amid health concerns and overseas Covid-related restrictions such as testing requirements, mandatory quarantines or outright bans on foreign tourists. Visits to U.S. national parks boomed and RV rentals soared as outdoor vacations offered the dual benefits of travel and relative virus safety.
Now, fear of the virus has waned. In September, the share of travelers unconcerned about contracting Covid surpassed those who are concerned, the first time that had happened in the pandemic era, according to Destination Analysts.
‘There’s a lot of pent-up travel demand’
Tower Bridge, London.
Karl Hendon | Moment | Getty Images
2022 was also a year for more big trips abroad — but a spike in virus cases toward the end of 2021 and into the new year, fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant, somewhat dampened enthusiasm, experts said.
“There’s a lot of pent-up travel demand,” said Jessica Griscavage, a travel advisor and CEO of Runway Travel. “We missed travel for two to three years.”
This so-called “revenge travel” trend — a term recently coined to describe burgeoning, pent-up wanderlust — coincides with looser health rules abroad and at home.
The U.S. dropped a Covid testing requirement for inbound air travelers from abroad in June. That rule, which also applied to U.S. citizens, mandated a negative test within a day of flying.
Many countries had also fully closed their borders to foreign tourists. Now, most are again welcoming visitors — especially those with a Covid vaccine.
Fully vaccinated tourists can access 197 countries without Covid-19 testing or quarantine, and an additional 16 are open but require testing, according to Kayak data.
“We’re pretty much at a place where we can go anywhere,” Florio said.
Just 12 countries, including China, Libya, Turkmenistan and Yemen, are still closed to vaccinated Americans, according to Kayak.
Those traveling to Japan right now are ‘mostly rich people,’ JATA says
Many countries have more restrictions in place for the unvaccinated. About 69% of Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends being up to date on vaccines before international travel.
Many nations — including Australia, Bhutan, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore — eased border closures in 2022. Many European nations also dropped testing requirements for Americans. (Travelers should consult the U.S. State Department website for country-specific Covid restrictions.)
In addition, the pandemic-era surge in remote work has made “bucket-list trips more of an achievable reality,” said Nitya Chambers, executive editor and senior vice president of content at Lonely Planet.
Indeed, Hopper found 67% of travelers take trips more often and 20% travel farther away due to the flexibility of remote work.
Where travel is ramping up most
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Marty Windle | Moment | Getty Images
The Asia-Pacific region is poised for the biggest bounce in 2023 due to its broad reopening in the second half of 2022, travel experts said.
Japan has seen perhaps the biggest boost in interest, they said. The country re-opened its borders to travelers Oct. 11, with some remaining restrictions.
“You almost can’t talk about travel without the country of Japan being referenced for 2023,” Florio said, adding that Australia and New Zealand are also “massive.”
Asia has surged in demand the most of all regions, according to Hopper data, which shows 27% of international flight searches are to Asian cities versus 19% last year.
Indeed, eight of the top 10 trending international flight destinations in early December were within Asia and Oceania, Hopper said. Tokyo; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Bangkok were the top three, with airfare averaging around $1,200 per round trip ticket.
Pakin Songmor | Moment | Getty Images
G Adventures, an international tour operator, has seen 2023 sales swell most for Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, said managing director Ben Perlo. This November was a record overall month for the company; sales for the three Asian nations each surpassed their November 2019 numbers, he said.
However, Europe has remained the most popular destination in terms of total volume, with European cities capturing a third of all international flight searches, about the same as 2021, Hopper said.
Long-term rentals (those 28 days or longer) have “become substantially more popular in Asia-Pacific compared to a year ago,” according to an AirBnb spokesperson. Most long-term stays are in Europe and North America, though.
Major European hubs were among the top searched this year through Sept. 30, according to Google Flights data. London ranked No. 1, followed by Paris (No. 3), Rome (No. 6) and Lisbon (No. 9). Ho Chi Minh City was No. 2, while other Asian cities like Delhi and Mumbai also ranked highly (No. 4 and 7, respectively).
We’re pretty much at a place where we can go anywhere. Erin Florio EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER
Italy, the U.K. and France ranked a respective first, third and fifth among top foreign destinations in 2023, according to a recent Destination Analysts poll. (Canada, Mexico and Japan ranked second, fourth and sixth, respectively.)
“Everybody wants to go to Europe,” said Griscavage. “It was a destination everyone missed through the pandemic.”
Due to the demand, people have gotten more “creative” on how to travel to Europe, she added. Many are opting for the typically less busy (and less costly) shoulder season, perhaps as early as March or in the late fall, Griscavage said.
Global demand for travel has played out similarly, with most interest directed at Europe and Asia, according to Expedia data. Edinburgh, Scotland, and Sydney, Australia, rank No. 1 and 6 partly due to respective major events like the Fringe, the world’s largest arts and media festival, and WorldPride, Expedia said.
Economic concerns, inflation ‘aren’t stopping people’
Joe Daniel Price | Moment | Getty Images
This isn’t all to say travel is without headwinds, though. Value has been of particular concern for travelers, whose budgets have been stressed by high inflation. Overall prices for airline fares and hotels are up 36% and 3%, respectively, in the past year, according to the consumer price index.
International trips are poised to be more expensive next year, Hopper said, despite signals from the consumer price index that airfare, hotel and rental car prices have been trending downward in recent months. The desire to travel abroad has swelled through 2022 despite these economic anxieties, said Destination Analysts.
The euro has been trading at historically weak levels against the U.S. dollar, meaning Americans have been able to get bargains when booking travel to countries like France, Germany, Italy and Portugal. That dynamic is likely driving at least part of the popularity, Perlo said. (The euro has strengthened a bit in recent weeks, though.)
“The economy right now and prices aren’t stopping people from traveling,” Chambers said. “People have been home, they want to get back out there, they have a list of things they want to experience and they’re doing that.”
$800m rail will ease cargo movement – Lekki Port - PUNCH
Promoters of Lekki Deep Seaport, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, have said that the $800m rail connection is an integral part of port operations.
The Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise, Laurence Smith, in a chat with The PUNCH in Lagos, said that the rail connection would ensure easier and more effective evacuation of cargoes from the port.
He disclosed that the firm was developing plans to fund the $800m rail connection from the seaport to the rail line.
Smith said 30 per cent of cargoes are evacuated in Europe by rail while 70 per cent are evacuated in North America.
According to him, evacuating cargoes through rail is cheaper and reduces congestion on the road.
“It is cheaper because you can get 100 containers onto a railway system as opposed to one truck carrying a maximum of two 20-foot equivalent units out of the port. So, we are really championing that but we have to look at the mechanisms of funding the rail. The rail itself is quite expensive. So, we need to understand how those mechanisms will work,” he explained.
He also said that the first phase of the truck park would be ready by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
The Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise, Mr Daniel Odibe, said the management of Lekki Port has obtained Federal Government’s approval for the railway from the port to the proposed eastern coastal rail line through Ijebu-Ode.