Travel News

NCAA obeys minister’s order, suspends Dana Air - BUSINESSDAY

APRIL 27, 2024

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority has imposed a suspension on the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) of Dana Air with immediate effect.

This is contained in a letter issued by Chris Najomo, the acting DG, NCAA issued to Dana Air on Wednesday.

Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development has earlier directed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) to suspend Dana Air.

In a letter by Emmanuel Meribole, Permanent Secretary, the ministry of aviation and aerospace development to the NCAA, he noted that as the supervisor overseeing the nation’s aviation safety and regulatory compliance, it has come to the minister’s attention that recent incidents involving Dana Airlines have raised serious concerns regarding both the safety and financial viability of their operations.

The letter reads that in light of these incidents and with the paramount priority being the safety and well-being of our citizens and travelers, the Minister has directed that the NCAA immediately initiate the suspension of Dana Airline’s fleet until a comprehensive audit can be conducted.

In NCAA’S letter to Dana, the authority stated that subsequent to the runway excursion involving its aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA), the authority is awaiting preliminary report on the investigation launched by the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB).

The NCAA stated that while the NSIB is conditioning safety investigation, the NCAA has initiated an in-house compliance assessment of the occurrence taking into account previous occurrences involving Dana Air aircraft.

This, Najomo said is in a bid to establish any trend which must be nipped in the bud in the interest of safety and well-being of citizens and travellers.

He further stated that the minister in sharing the concerns of the authority has thrown his weight behind the need for swift measures to be taken to address pertinent safety and economic issues that may underpin some of these occurrences.

“As a precautionary step, and in accordance to section 31 (7) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2022, the authority has imposed a suspension on your AOC with effect from 24th April, 2022 at 23:59 to allow for a thorough safety and economic audit.

“The safety audit will entail a re-inspection of your organisation, procedures, personnel and aircraft as specified by part of the Nigeria Civil Aviation regulations, while the economic audit will critically examine th financial health of your airline to guarantee its capability to sustain safe flight operations,” the letter from the NCAA DG read.

FAAN diverts flight operations as fire breaks out at Lagos Airport - PUNCH

APRIL 27, 2024

BY Olasunkanmi Akinlotan 

The Federal Airport Authority has said it has diverted all flight operations from the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal 1 to the D wing of the airport over a fire incident.

FAAN also added that the engineers at the airport have disconnected power from the entire E wing of the airport to quench the ravaging fire which started around 5:29 am on Thursday.

According to a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Obiageli Orah, smoke which eventually turned into fire had erupted from the E54 bridge, a development PUNCH Online learnt caused tension at the airport.

FAAN together with the Airport Rescue and Firefighting Services team were said to have restored calm in the area after some airport staff and travellers took to their heels.

The statement reads, “Smoke was detected billowing from the E54 Bridge, leading electrical engineers to immediately cut off power to the entire E Wing.

“The Airport Rescue and Firefighting Services (ARFFS) team was quick to respond, arriving at the scene by 05:30 hrs. Initial suspicions point to sparks from an electrical unit as the cause, but a thorough investigation is ongoing to ascertain the cause of the fire.

“The incident, which had escalated into a fire, was brought under control by 06:41 hrs. Efforts to ventilate the smoke from the building are in progress. In the meantime, all flight operations in Terminal 1 of MMA have been diverted to the D Wing. More details will follow shortly.”

American Air Dropping Some Global Flights on Boeing 787 Delays - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 27, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- American Airlines Group Inc. is cutting some international flights and reducing the frequency of others because beleaguered planemaker Boeing Co. won’t deliver as many widebody aircraft as planned this year. 

The carrier won’t end service to any of its 55 long-haul international destinations. The moves are a result of receiving just three Boeing 787 Dreamliners this year, down from plans for six, American said in a statement Friday. The airline also “continues to evaluate network adjustments” as a result of receiving 16 smaller 737 Max planes in 2024, down from an expected 20.

“We’re making these adjustments now to ensure we’re able to re-accommodate customers on affected flights,” American said.

The reductions will come in the second half of this year and early in 2025.

The moves highlight the widening negative effect for airlines from a crisis that has enveloped Boeing this year, triggering an investigation by federal aviation safety regulators and a cap on its production of aircraft. Southwest Airlines Co., a long-time Boeing customer with an all-737 fleet, said Thursday that it was slowing growth and offering voluntary leaves to workers to help address “significant challenges” from reduced deliveries.

Among the changes, American will end seasonal flights early between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Athens, along with Philadelphia to Venice, Italy. Flights between JFK and Rome and JFK and Buenos Aires will be reduced to once daily. 

The carrier will suspend JFK to Barcelona and Chicago to Paris on Sept. 3 and not resume either route until summer 2025. Dallas-Fort Worth to Dublin will end on Oct. 26 and restart next summer. 

American said the changes won’t affect plans to increase 2024 flying capacity in the single digits over 2023. 

Southwest earlier froze hiring and said it would end the year with 2,000 fewer employees than in 2023 as a result of operating a smaller number of planes. About 800 employees already have taken leaves of various length without pay to help reduce operating costs. With Boeing slowing output because of manufacturing-quality concerns, Southwest says the company has been “urgently” focused on finding more ways to lower costs and improve efficiencies.

CNBC earlier reported American’s flight reduction plans. 

UK university offers £33k scholarships, £4k flight allowances to Nigerians, others - VANGUARD

APRIL 27, 2024

By Biodun Busari

The University of East Anglia, located in Norwich, UK, has announced scholarships worth £33,150 (N44.3 million) and transportation cost of £4000 (N5.3 million) to Nigerians seeking masters programmes.

According to the information on the school website, the funding opportunity is the David Sainsbury Scholarships in Global Plant Health, which is fully funded for students planning to travel to the UK for study.

  • The offer by the University of East Anglia is hugely available for Nigerians and other foreign students willing to do their masters programmes under scholarships, covering travel expenses.

    The applications from its David Sainsbury Scholarships in Global Plant Health is for candidates wishing to undertake an MSc in Plant Health at the University of East Anglia in the 2024/2025 academic year. 

    Among other benefits catered for in the scholarship at the University of East Anglia are tuition fee, living stipends and transportation allowance.  

    The scholarship offers funding to the tune of £33,150 (N44.3 million) and transportation costs of £4000 (N5.3 million). 

    Interested candidates must first apply and be accepted into the University of East Anglia beforebeing considered for the scholarships, the school website said.

    The information on UEA website reads, “Provided you meet the eligibility criteria, you will automatically be considered for the scholarship, on a competitive basis – no separate application is required. 

    “You will be evaluated for the scholarship based on the same criteria used to evaluate your application to enrol on the course. 

    “The criteria are: academic achievement and academic awards together with knowledge/experience/potential of molecular biology, genetics, molecular interactions, data science such as bioinformatics and statistics, laboratory skills, and independent study.” 

    Addressing interested Nigerian applicants, it says, “All self-funded Nigerian students applying to a Master’s course at UEA starting in September 2024 will automatically be awarded the UEA Nigeria Award scholarship. 

    “The scholarship is worth £4,000 – if you meet UEA entry requirements, £5,000 – if your final undergraduate grade is a CGPA 4.1 and above. Amounts will be deducted from your tuition fees, in line with terms and conditions.”

    The applications for the scholarship are currently open and expected to close on May 31, 2024. 

    The University of East Anglia (UEA) was founded in 1963 and is located in Norwich, a historic city in the east of England.

  • Airfares may drop as Dangote slashes Jet A1 price - PUNCH

    APRIL 27, 2024

    By Princess Etuk

    Travellers in Nigeria may soon benefit from lower airfares following the drop in the price of Jet A1, the fuel used by airlines.

    As reported by the PUNCH, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery announced on Tuesday a further price cut for diesel and aviation fuel, with the new rates set at N940 and N980 per litre, respectively.

    This reduction has sparked hopes among airline representatives, travel agency leaders, and frequent travellers for a potential decrease in airfares.

    The President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representative in Nigeria, Kingsley Nwokoma, highlighted the importance of aviation fuel in determining ticket prices.

    “Normally, airfares would drop because aviation fuel is a big component. When you put all the financial components together that make up your ticket, it’s a very significant factor,” he said.

    Nwokoma noted that the reduction might be linked to the presence of Dangote refinery and stressed the need for a holistic approach to understanding its impact on ticket prices.

    “If truly there is a reduction in the price of Jet A1, then ticket prices must come down because Jet A1 is a major component in operational costs and the cost of tickets.”

    United Nigeria Airlines spokesperson, Achilleus Uchegbu, shared similar sentiments, stating that everyone expects airfares to drop with the reduction in aviation fuel prices. “Although I do not know how soon the price drop will happen, we are hopeful,” he said.

    Also speaking with the PUNCH, the President of The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, Susan Akporiaye, pointed out the potential benefits of lower airfares.

    “The expectation is for the fares to drop, and it will result in more people travelling, which gives my members more tickets to issue, increasing income,” she said.

    Frequent air traveller and CEO of Prestige Pharmacy, Sandra Ebele, welcomed the news, noting the positive impact it could have on businesses and passenger affordability.

    “As a frequent air traveller, I’m thrilled to hear about the drop in aviation fuel prices from N1,400 to N980. This should lead to lower operating costs for airlines, which could translate into more affordable ticket prices for passengers and business owners like me, which will, in turn, affect my business,” she said.

    However, Ebele cautioned that reduced fuel costs might not immediately result in lower ticket prices due to other factors like demand, competition, and operational expenses.

    Another frequent traveller, Ifeanyi Samuel, expressed a similar perspective, emphasizing the complexities of airline operations.

    However, he is optimistic about the potential positive effect it may have throughout the industry.

    “It might even inspire airlines to add new routes or increase the frequency of existing ones, which would offer greater flexibility for my business travel need.”

    “Also, I’d like to add that at least I get to save more from the money I should have budgeted for a plane ticket anytime I have a business appointment,” he said

    Princess Etuk

    Dubai Mansion Sales Soar as Wealthy Flock to Palm-Shaped Island - BLOOMBERG

    APRIL 27, 2024

    BY  Zainab FattahBloomberg News

    • Dubai saw 19% surge in sales of home worth $10 million or more
    • Dubai’s appeal hasn’t been dented by rising regional tensions

    (Bloomberg) -- Sales of homes with a price tag of $10 million or more climbed 19% in Dubai during the first quarter as the world’s ultra-wealthy continue to flock to the Middle East’s business and tourism hub despite mounting geopolitical tension across the region. 

    A total of 105 luxury homes were sold for $1.73 billion in the first three months of this year, according to property consultant Knight Frank LLP. Sales on Palm Jumeirah, the iconic tree-shaped artificial island off the coast of Dubai, accounted for 36.3% of the activity in the quarter. 

    “The level of deal activity in Dubai continues to strengthen, particularly at the top end of the market, where the near constant stream of international high-net-worth-individuals vying for the city’s most expensive homes persists,” Faisal Durrani, a partner at Knight Frank, said in a statement.

    In the aftermath of the pandemic, Dubai faced an exodus of expatriates and mounting competition from neighboring business hubs and, in response, the government opened up and officials made it easier to receive the country’s famed ‘golden’ visas. That — along with an influx of investors such as Russians seeking to shield their assets, crypto millionaires and rich Indians setting up second homes — has driven a surge in demand for Dubai property.

    The data is the latest sign that Dubai’s appeal hasn’t been dented even as geopolitical tensions have risen in the region since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. 

    Last year, Dubai registered 431 sales of homes worth at least $10 million, which was the most of any city on the planet, according to Knight Frank’s data. London, with 240 in such sales, was a distant second, while New York and Hong Kong notched 211 and 163 of those homes sold, respectively.

    To be sure, millionaires flocking to the emirate have found that the city’s real estate is relatively affordable compared to those other international metropolitan areas. In Dubai, $1 million gets homebuyers 980 square feet of prime residential space. In New York, that sum fetches just 366 square feet on average, Knight Frank found. 

    “Dubai’s luxury homes market still remains one of the most affordable in the world,” Durrani said. That’s despite the fact that the recent growth rates are “making it one of, if not the fastest growing prime residential market globally,” he said.

    Jumeirah Bay Island, a seahorse-shaped piece of land accessible by bridge from the Dubai mainland, accounted for 11.1% of the sales of homes worth $10 million or more in the first quarter. Dubai Hills Estate, a planned community that says it features a 33-mile bike route and 18-hole championship golf course, accounted for 7% of such sales. 

    “Dubai Hills Estate has quietly for some time been rising up the ranks as not only one of Dubai’s most sought-after markets for domestic buyers, but now luxury home buyers are increasingly active here too,” Will McKintosh, Knight Frank’s head of prime residential in the Middle East and North Africa, said in the statement. 

    A total of 12 homes were sold for $25 million or more in the first quarter, according to the property consultant. Dubai had 56 homes sold in that category last year.

    Harry and Meghan will head to Nigeria after duke visits UK next month - EVENING STANDARD

    APRIL 28, 2024

    They were invited by the west African country’s chief of defence staff.


    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit Nigeria next month after Harry attends an event in the UK.

    He will attend a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday May 8, though it is not known if Meghan will join him.

    The couple will then head to Nigeria after being invited by the west African country’s chief of defence staff, who met Harry in Germany last September at Invictus Games Dusseldorf.

    The Invictus Games was founded as a sporting event for injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

    The couple will meet service members and their families, and participate in traditional cultural activities, Nigerian media reported.

    Other details about the visit are not yet known.

    Local newspapers reported that Defence Headquarters was “honoured” and “delighted” after Harry and Meghan, who is of Nigerian descent, had accepted the invitation.

    It will be their first visit to Nigeria as a couple.

    Harry is to return to the UK for the first time since his visit to see the King after his cancer diagnosis in February.

    The duke is expected to give a reading at a service of thanksgiving marking a decade since the inaugural Invictus Games London in 2014.

    It will be the first major event he has attended in Britain for some time.

    Organisers say there has been no confirmation of any other royals attending, or if Meghan or the couple’s children will be in the UK.

    The service is scheduled two days after Harry’s son Archie celebrates his fifth birthday.

    Actor Damian Lewis is set to recite the Invictus poem during the service.

    Representatives from Invictus Games participating nations, including members of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veteran community, will also be in attendance.

    Harry and Meghan moved to the US in 2020 after stepping down from royal duties.

    Dubai ruler approves new $35 bln airport terminal - REUTERS

    APRIL 28, 2024

    CAIRO, April 28 (Reuters) - Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum approved a new passenger terminal in Al Maktoum International airport worth 128 billion AED ($34.85 billion), he said on Sunday in a post on X.

    The Al Maktoum International Airport will be the largest in the world with a capacity of up to 260 million passengers, and five times the size of Dubai International Airport, he added, saying that all operations at Dubai airport would be transferred to Al Maktoum in the coming years.

    The Al Maktoum airport will also include 400 terminal gates and five runways, he said.

    The airport will be the new home of flagship carrier Emirates and its sister low-cost airline Flydubai along with all airline partners connecting the world to and from Dubai, Dubai state-owned airline Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said.

    The move "further solidifies Dubai's position as a leading aviation hub on the world stage", the CEO of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths, was quoted as saying by the Dubai Media Office.

    ($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Ahmed Elimam, Nayera Abdullah Writing by Adam Makary Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Frances Kerry)

    Delta to begin Lagos-New York flight - PUNCH

    APRIL 29, 2024

    BY Olasunkanmi Akinlotan

    United States carrier, Delta Air Lines, has said it will commence a daily service to Lagos from New York from December 1, 2024.

     The airline also announced that its service enhancement to Accra, Ghana, and South Africa is underway as the US airline reinforces its position as the largest US carrier to Africa this winter.

    The aircraft made this known through a statement made available to PUNCH.

    According to the statement signed by the Senior Vice President of Network Planning, Joe Esposito, the Delta carries more than half a million customers between the US and Africa each year on more than 34 weekly flights.

    The statement read in part, “Delta is reinforcing its No. 1 position as the largest U.S. carrier to Africa this winter by relaunching daily service to Lagos, Nigeria (LOS), from New York-JFK on Dec. 1. Fleet enhancements in service to Accra, Ghana (ACC), and South Africa are also underway.

     “These enhancements reflect our dedication to meeting the evolving needs of our customers.”

    It added, “We are expanding our options for customers to experience the premium service and elevated hospitality they expect from Delta.”

    “Delta currently operates daily service between Atlanta and Lagos and, with the resumption of daily New York-JFK service, will offer a total of 14 weekly flights to Nigeria in December through the first half of January and 10 weekly flights for the remainder of winter 2024.”

    Speaking on luxury available to travelers on their aircraft, Esposito further stated that, “the advantages of the customers on this flight will have a choice of Delta One, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin experiences on the Airbus A330-200. Once on board, customers in Delta One can look forward to an extensive food and beverage program that includes thoughtfully curated menu options, as well as specialty snacks and premium beer, wine, and spirits.

     “Customers flying in Delta Premium Select will have more space to relax and stretch out, with a wider seat, deeper recline, an adjustable footrest, and leg rest.

     He added,“All customers can enjoy a wide selection of in-flight entertainment options movies, TV series, music, podcasts, and more via Delta Studio. Delta also partners with diverse suppliers worldwide for in-flight products such as artisan-crafted amenity kits and beverages like Thrive Farmers Tea.”


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