Travel News

‘94% of property in Lagos without title’ - PUNCH

APRIL 01, 2024

By Josephine Ogundeji

Stakeholders in the building industry have disclosed that 94 per cent of property in Lagos State do not have legal titles.

They stated this in separate interviews with The PUNCH at the recent launch of Edge Facility Managers, which was held in Lagos.

The First Vice President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Victor Alonge, said the way forward in maximising the dead capital in the country was to streamline the land titling process.

He said, “The dead capital is dead because the owners have no legal title to land, and without legal title, you cannot access finance for one purpose or the other. In going to a bank, security would be required to serve as collateral for finance to be loaned out. This security means a certificate of occupancy, which serves as a legal title, and without a legal title, banks would not yield their money.

“The solution is to improve the land titling system, giving access to easy registration. Hence, a need for state governors to take it seriously. Lagos State is at the forefront of states with an improved land titling system. You would find out that of the property in Lagos, about 94 per cent have no legal title. And if Lagos is at the forefront, you can imagine states like Nasarawa, Ogun, and Oyo, among others.”

Alonge noted that Edo State had lots of property but the issuance rate of Certificate of Occupancies could be improved.

He added, “There was something that surprised me last week when the Edo State governor came to commission our building in Abuja. He said that when he became governor, the Certificate of Occupancy that was issued since the creation of Edo State up till when he came into power, he was able to count about 2,000 certificate occupancies. However, in less than eight years of his administration, he had been able to issue over 30,000 certificates of occupancy. That is an improvement, but it is still not enough.”

Similarly, the Managing Partner of Ubosi Eleh & Co., Chudi Ubosi, said it was essential to identify the assets available.

He said, “Unfortunately, about 94 per cent of land is without title in Lagos State. That is the nature of what we are because people are afraid of getting the title as they do not trust what the government gives them. They believe that titling gives the government an opening into their lives,  by tax deductions, among others.

“In addition, many do not even bother or know the advantages of having a formal title to land, also many are afraid of the process as they always see the government as a bureaucratic monster that consumes. The government needs to do a lot more in building awareness, educating the people, and capacity building.”

More so, the Chief Executive Officer of Edge Facility Managers, Peju Fatuyi, stated that the purpose of the launch was to raise public awareness about activities within the facility management space.

Foreign airlines drop airfares as Nigeria releases 50% of trapped funds - THE GUARDIAN

APRIL 01, 2024

By Joke Falaju, Abuja

Indications have emerged that foreign airlines have started dropping airfares following the release of about half of the trapped funds owed them by the Nigerian government. The President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria, (AFARN), Mr Kingsley Nwokeoma in a phone interview pointed out that foreign airlines stopped selling to Nigerians…

British Airways planes. President of National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye believes stuck fund crisis is rocking the air transport sector.

Indications have emerged that foreign airlines have started dropping airfares following the release of about half of the trapped funds owed them by the Nigerian government.

The President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria, (AFARN), Mr Kingsley Nwokeoma in a phone interview pointed out that foreign airlines stopped selling to Nigerians from the lower portal due to the trapped funds.

However, the fares have gone down after the government cleared about half of the funds being owed to them.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has concluded payment of $136.73 million backlog owed to verified foreign airlines.

However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) disputed the claim, insisting that $700million of their funds is still unpaid.

But Nwokeoma said airlines are dropping their airfares because of CBN’s new policy direction on the trapped funds and stable foreign exchange rates.

He also explained that increased competition on international route also forced foreign airlines to cut airfares.

“About half of the trapped funds has been paid, the good thing is that government is listening and doing what should be done, if they have been doing this like couples of years back, we won’t be where we are today,” Nwokeoma said.

He, however, debunked claims that Nigerians are not able to access the cheap flights portal saying, “you can verify from travel agents that such claims are not true.”

He expressed optimism that the airfares will further come down as the exchange rates gets better, saying “we all know that the aviation industry is dollar denominated.”

To curtail the issue of trapped funds, AFARN President urged government to always keep to agreement because it is based on the Bilateral Air Trade Agreement (BASA) which government is signatory to.

“It is important that the government stick to it and even if if there is a problem, communication is key,”Nwokeoma said.

“Even a payment plan can be designed such as developing a quarterly plan. We hope that the government will stick to what they are doing so that we can get this out of the way.”

Lagos Clamps Down On ‘Unroadworthy’ Vehicles - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 01, 2024

By Abdullateef Aliyu, Lagos

To ensure road safety and regulatory compliance, the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) conducted a comprehensive enforcement operation on Wednesday targeting unroadworthy vehicles across the state, the state Ministry of Transportation has said.

The operation, which resulted in the seizure of over 50 rickety commercial vehicles, focused on vehicles that failed to meet the prescribed minimum roadworthiness standards as seen in its brakes, wipers, lights, shocks and tyres, as stipulated in the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018.

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During the enforcement exercise which spanned various key locations including Costain, Ikorodu road, Ojuelegba, Yaba, Oyingbo, Ikeja, and Ojodu Berger, the Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) while diligently scrutinising commercial vehicles to ensure compliance with safety regulations also enlightened the drivers on the danger in non-compliance, which is the cause of road majority of accidents.

Debunking the misconceptions about the VIS’s enforcement focus which was said to target more on private vehicles, the Director, Vehicle Inspection Services, Engr. Akin-George Fashola, explained that the roadworthiness compliance is no respecter of particular categories of vehicles.

 “It is expected to be implemented on all vehicles that ply Lagos roads,” he said.

Despite the professionalism displayed by VIS Officers during the operation, the ministry said some defiant commercial vehicle drivers resisted being apprehended and in the cause of their high-headedness damaged some patrol vans belonging to the VIS command.

Saying such acts of defiance will not deter the state government from persisting in enforcement efforts until the prevalence of rickety vehicles is significantly reduced, the VIS director advised all vehicle owners to adopt voluntary compliance with roadworthiness requirements for the safety of lives and property.

Fashola was, however, quoted to have reiterated that the VIS will continue to uphold its commitment to conducting fair and unbiased enforcement drives. He urged all vehicle owners and operators to prioritize regular maintenance and adherence to roadworthiness standards to ensure the safety of all road users.

‘Air Peace will crash airfares on Lagos-London route’ - PUNCH

APRIL 03, 2024

By Justice Okamgba

Former President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, Bankole Bernard, has stated that Air Peace’s pricing strategies have compelled foreign carriers to slash their fares.

Speaking on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief programme on Tuesday, Bernard emphasised that failure by foreign airlines to adjust their ticket prices on the Lagos-London route could potentially lead to their exit from the market.

This revelation comes in the wake of Air Peace’s recent launch of direct flight operations to Gatwick Airport in London, offering tickets at a competitive rate of N1.2m.

The airline conducted its inaugural flight to London with 260 passengers aboard a Boeing 777, which has a capacity of 274 seats, on Saturday. The route will be served daily from Lagos.

The move has disrupted market dynamics, prompting foreign airlines that previously enjoyed exclusivity on the route to reconsider their pricing strategies.

Bernard highlighted the significant impact of Air Peace’s entry into the market, indicating that it had forced foreign carriers to reevaluate their pricing structures to maintain their market shares.

Bernard said, “How come all of a sudden airfares have gone down? What could be responsible for that? Number one: there is a new entrant to a major route (Lagos-London).

“There are two major destinations that Nigerians fly to. Number one is Dubai and Dubai has been out of it for a while now. So, we (Nigerians) have resorted to the London route. The UK route is where a lot (of foreign carriers) use to earmark their airfares.

“Now that Air Peace has come into that space with a direct flight that will not cause any layover in any other country, the price has dropped. Why? What happened? Is there magic around that? We should be able to question what made the prices drop.”

According to Bernard, prices would drop as long as there was another form of supply that was different from the conventional ones.

“The supply that we now have, that is Air Peace, which is a direct flight, will put pressure on every other route. So, all the other airlines are forced to quickly adjust or they will be out of the market in no time,” he noted.

The PUNCH observed a difference in the costs of air tickets sold on March 4, 2024, compared to those on Saturday.

As of Saturday, the round-trip economy class ticket from Lagos to London varied in cost among different airlines.

RwandAir Express offered it at N1,102,563; Royal Air Maroc at N1,628,675; and Ethiopian Airlines at N1,641,249

The former NANTA boss mentioned that foreign airlines operating at the four major airports – Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano – were enjoying substantial profits without facing any significant competition

Bernard suggested that if the airlines had been profitable, there was no need for them to publicly complain about accumulated trapped funds.

He proposed establishing an audit committee to examine the reasons behind those backlogs.

The CBN had about two weeks ago announced the completion of payment of $7bn legacy debt, which included FX forward contracts among foreign exchange-denominated debts.

The CBN, however, declared about $2.4bn of the $7bn debt invalid, saying it could not be verified due to improper documentation among other infractions.

Commercial banks were still reconciling with the foreign airlines to clear the final payment following the announcement of the clearance of the final backlog by the CBN two weeks ago.

Tsunami Warning Issued for Japan’s Okinawa After M7.5 Quake - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 03, 2024

BY Ryotaro NakamaruBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- A tsunami warning was issued for southwestern Japan’s Okinawa prefecture after the region was rocked by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake at around 8:58 a.m on Wednesday.

Local residents were urged to evacuate from an expected tsunami of as high as 3 meters, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Shaking was also felt in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.

High expectations as Air Peace begins Lagos-London operations today - THE GUARDIAN

APRIL 03, 2024

About seven years of waiting is finally over. An indigenous carrier, Air Peace Airline, will today resume the Lagos-London operations, restoring national pride and competition on the busy route.

The pre-departure arrangements for the maiden flight, The Guardian learnt, will commence tonight at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, for the departure scheduled for 12:10 a.m. on Saturday, March 30, 2024.

Spokesperson of the airline, Stanley Olisa, yesterday confirmed that all was set for the inaugural flight, with all seats on the Boeing 777 aircraft fully booked.

Air Peace, the largest domestic carrier by fleet capacity, is making its maiden entry after the exit of the likes of Bellview, Arik Air and Med-View Airlines from the route.

It will be recalled that Med-View Airlines was the last Nigerian carrier to operate on the Lagos-London route, following the exit of Bellview and Arik Air. The European Union (EU), in 2017, restricted Med-View flight operations to the regions over alleged safety concerns and a certification audit that was allegedly not updated. The sanction was partly due to the airline’s delay in having its Boeing767 aircraft audited for international operations, in line with the EU airspace rules.

Air Peace has earlier announced competitive fares on the London route. The fares amount to over 60 per cent slash of the tickets currently offered by the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

With the preliminaries now over, stakeholders are excited about the fare competition on one of the busiest routes for Nigerian travellers.

Currently, a British Airways Economy class return ticket from Lagos to London costs $2,698 which amounts to about N4.7 million (at N1778/1$ International Air Transport Association (IATA) rate on the airline ticketing platform). British Airways Business class costs $8,598, which amounts to about N15.2 million.

Its main rival, Virgin Atlantic, Economy Classic costs $1,745 which amounts to N3.1 million, Economy Delight costs $1,797, which amounts to almost N3.2 million, Economy Premium costs $3,442 or N6.1 million.

However, according to Air Peace, a Return Economy Class Ticket will go for N1.2 million while a Return Business Class Ticket sells for N4 million.

The airline added that Nigerians studying in the UK can now access their special 15 per cent rebate on the already reduced Economy fares.

Travel consultant, Sunday Olumegbon, said the launch and return of indigenous airlines to “cut-throat” international routes is the exact response the Nigerian economy needs at this difficult time.

He said: “I am super excited, and I’ve already booked a seat. As I have been telling my customers, this deal is the best news for the local economy in recent times. We as Nigerians are now being proactive in changing the narratives about our economy and our image. All Nigerians will be a beneficiary, including the airline itself. Congratulations to the Air Peace and the Ministry of Aviation. It must not stop with London. Let’s go to other routes because it is our right,” Olumegbon said.

Another industry expert, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said the competition has started and it is commendable.

“I hope the foreign airlines and their multiple frequencies and destinations in our country can gradually get reduced.

“This is the beginning of the competition for scrapping the exploitation of the foreign airlines on the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) routes. We hope those in the administration of our government and the management of the agencies will give the necessary support to Air Peace,” Ojikutu said.

Air Peace raises alarm as fraudsters clone website, dupe customers - VANGUARD

APRIL 03, 2024

Air Peace on Tuesday, alerted some passengers intending to book UK flights on its portal were defrauded by fraudsters who cloned its official website.

The alert was issued a few days after the airline inaugurated its groundbreaking direct flight from Nigeria to the United Kingdom.

The airline stated in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that the creators of the website used some of its website identity collaterals to create the fake site, which they presented as the airline’s official booking platform.

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It reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the existence of a website “www.flyairpeace.uk” purporting to be an official website and defrauding unsuspecting individuals.

“We would like to dissociate the Air Peace brand from this fraudulent site because it is not owned by us. The one and only website of the Air Peace remains “www.flyairpeace.com.

“Members of the public should totally ignore the site, as it is impersonating Air Peace and fleecing passengers.”

The airline on 30th of March, 2024 commenced daily flight to Gatwick, London.

Arik clarifies cancelled flights, ‘stranded’ passengers at P/Harcourt airport - THE GUARDIAN

APRIL 05, 2024

Piqued by the bad publicity courtesy of a video making the social media rounds, the management of Arik Air has denied leaving scores of passengers stranded at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The airline said though its Port Harcourt-bound flight made an air return on March 2, 2024, and scheduled passengers in Lagos and Port Harcourt were delayed till the following day, it ensured that no passenger was left behind.

Spokesperson of the airline, Banji Ola, noted that on the evening of Tuesday, March 2, 2024, flight W3 744 Lagos-Port Harcourt was compelled to make an air return due to adverse weather conditions, specifically heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in Port Harcourt.

“Consequently, both the Lagos-Port Harcourt (W3 744) and Port Harcourt – Lagos (W3 745) flights had to be cancelled.

“By the time of the cancellation, our banking facilities at the airport had ceased operations, rendering funds unfeasible at that moment. However, the passengers were promptly briefed on the situation and advised to return the following day for re-protection on available flights,” Ola stated.

On Wednesday, March 3, 2024, Arik noted that all the affected passengers from both Lagos and Port Harcourt were successfully accommodated on available morning and evening flights.

“Contrary to claims, no single passenger was left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport. The video footage in question likely captured a moment of agitation among some passengers.

“We emphasize that at Arik Air, safety is our foremost priority. Despite operating modern aircraft, we maintain a strict policy to avoid flying in inclement weather conditions, which necessitated the cancellation of the affected flight.” The airline apologised to customers whose travel plans were disrupted by this unforeseen circumstance.

UK Airports Get One-Year Extension to Install Next-Gen Scanners - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 05, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- The UK government has pushed back the deadline for some airports to install next-generation security scanners that won’t require passengers to remove liquids and electronic items from hand-held bags.

Airports struggling to meet the June deadline now have an extra year to switch over to the advanced luggage scanners, the Department for Transport said in a statement on Thursday. The government is considering serious financial penalties for airports that fail to meet the new target, the department said. 

The extension, which applies to large airports and was made on a case-by-case basis, means passengers traveling through UK airports will have to stick to the 100-milliliter bottle restriction for another year in case they end up in a security lane with the older scanners. 

The original cutoff for implementing the new equipment was 2022, but the government delayed the date until June 2024 because of the pandemic. Airports said the summer deadline was ambitious, with the UK’s four largest hubs set to miss the switch-over, Bloomberg News reported in January.

The Manchester Airport Group, which operates London Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands hubs, has been given an extension to the deadline as it expects the project to be fully complete next year. The airports will have the scanners up and running in many of the security lanes by June, MAG said in an emailed statement.

London Gatwick said in January that it had pushed back on the previous deadline over concerns of passenger disruption during the busy summer travel season. The hub said it will have made significant progress by June and plans to finish installing the remainder of the scanners in the first quarter of 2025. 

Read More: UK Airports Poised to Miss Deadline to End Liquid Searches

London Heathrow had no immediate comment. London City Airport has already installed the machines.

UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper said in the statement it was important to give certain airports “a second chance to get the job done,” and that it was their responsibility to install the scanners.

Birmingham Airport is among the airports on track to have all its scanners in place by the June deadline. Chief Executive Officer Nick Barton said last month that the West Midlands hub has doubled up on staff to ease the flow of passengers and bags through the scanners.

“We are putting a lot of money into it to make sure we get off to the best possible start,” he said.

--With assistance from Charlotte Ryan.

Naira appreciates to N1245/$ in parallel market - VANGUARD

APRIL 05, 2024

By Elizabeth Adegbesan

The Naira on Friday appreciated to N1,245 per dollar in the parallel market, from N1,250 per dollar on Thursday.

Similarly, the Naira appreciated in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market, NAFEM, to N1,251.05 per dollar.

Data from FMDQ showed that the indicative exchange rate for NAFEM fell to N1,251.05 per dollar from N1,255.07 per dollar on Thursday, indicating N4.02 appreciation for the naira.

The market recorded an intraday high of N1,281 per dollar and an intraday low of N1,220 per dollar resulting in a N61 margin.

The volume of dollars traded in the market increased by 78.6 percent to $248.27 million from $138.99 million traded on Thursday.

Consequently, the margin between the parallel market and NAFEM rates widened to N6.05 per dollar from N5.07 per dollar on Thursday.


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