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Hurdles for air travellers as nations okay vaccine passport - THE GUARDIAN

APRIL 19, 2021

By Wole Oyebade

• Subtle discrimination awaits global travel, tourism in a ‘two-tier’ world

• Experts divided over policy, rally for improved vaccination locally
• FAAN, Air Peace vaccinate staffers, frontline workers

Despite vaccine hesitancy over issues of efficacy and side effects, as well as procurement challenges, more countries, airlines and destinations have endorsed the COVID-19 vaccine passport regime, especially as the promise of summer travel is becoming more real after the lull in last year’s summer travels due to pandemic lockdown and restrictions.  

The endorsement, currently pushed as a global agenda, is touted to impact air travel as it mounts fresh hurdles for the travelling public.

Globally, more than three million people have now died from the coronavirus. The number of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Kyiv (Ukraine), Caracas (Venezuela) or Lisbon (Portugal).

The vaccination campaigns are speeding up but rising cases have forced new lockdowns and restrictions around the world. India yesterday recorded a new high of more than 261,000 daily coronavirus cases. Statistics by the Health Ministry revealed that 261,500 cases were registered in the past 24 hours, which pushed the total to 14.7 million. There were 1,500 deaths, taking the number of fatalities to 177,150.

 
The vaccine passport – in the form of certificates or digital cards testifying to the low-risk status of their holders – promises to reopen the world and perhaps return lives to normal. But its subtle implication of compulsory vaccination for all air travellers raises fundamental questions of a more divided and discriminatory world.

Some countries, most of them with economies dependent on tourism, are pushing ahead either with real vaccine passport plans or allowing vaccinated visitors to skip quarantine requirements for entry. The private sector, most notably cruise lines and airlines, is also eagerly climbing aboard. 

Proving you are vaccinated to travel abroad isn’t a new concept though. Some countries have required Yellow Fever vaccines for years, but doing so for COVID-19 would be on a far grander scale than ever before and would present immense logistical challenges.

Passport sceptics also predict they could result in discrimination and fraud, encourage risky behaviour in the face of new coronavirus variants.

Specifically, vaccine passport policy draws the line between those that have taken the jab and those that have not; between vaccinated-rich countries and poor ones like Nigeria that have barely kick-started vaccination, therefore, leading to disenfranchising the unvaccinated and poor countries from international travel and tourism.

More than 884 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, equal to 11 doses for every 100 people, across 155 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. The latest rate was roughly 17 million doses a day.   The vaccine uptake in many parts of the world is still very low, especially in the African continent. There is already a stark gap between vaccination programmes in different countries, with many yet to report a single dose with less than 2% of the vaccine doses administered in Africa, where most countries received vaccines only five weeks ago and in small quantities.

Nigeria for instance has vaccinated just over a million of its 200 million-plus population, while there is no date yet on when it will receive more batches of the vaccine for the second jab and the rest of the population not yet vaccinated.  

In reaction, aviation stakeholders are divided on the prospect of the “golden-green card” era. A section, not favourably disposed to the call, said a hurried or “rash” vaccine passport policy amid vaccine controversies and unequal access among countries would cut off potential customers and further hurt aviation businesses.
  
Others, more persuaded, argued that a world completely shocked and shattered by a coronavirus pandemic, killing over three million people and shutting economies in a yearlong battering, should warm up to any measure that promises salvation.
 
Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for the travel and tourism sector, among others globally. As the virus burns fiercely, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimated that the sector lost $4.5 trillion in revenue in 2020.
 
Apparently eager for a safe restart to salvage businesses, a good number of tourism-dependent economies and major airlines are pressing for advanced options availed by the COVID-19 vaccines and herd immunity. But unaccounted for are the red flags and safety concerns trailing vaccine brands like AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), with an attendant rise in vaccine hesitancy and scepticism. 

Many countries in the European Union (EU) are already having a go at the vaccine passport regime. Last month, the EU gave the go-ahead to its own vaccine passport, a “Digital Green Certificate,” though the Union was undecided on when the passport will become operational.
 
Greece is at the forefront of a bid to revive travel with the help of a vaccine passport. It said it would welcome back visitors starting on May 14, as long as they’ve had a vaccination, recovered from the novel coronavirus, or tested negative before flying out.
 
Denmark has begun using its digital “Coronapas” vaccine passport domestically from Easter, but it could also be used later as a tool for international travel.
 
Israel has vaccinated more than half of its population is issuing a “Green Pass” to those that have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. They have to show the pass to access facilities such as hotels, gyms or theatres. Neither the pass nor vaccination is open to foreigners.

In the United States, President Joe Biden is facing pressure from travel interests, including Airlines for America, the industry lobby, to introduce federal standards for vaccine passports. 
 
The United Kingdom (UK) aims to permit international leisure trips starting from May 17 but also considering the controversial vaccine passport policy not just for travels, but nationally. More than 5.4 million people in the UK have been fully vaccinated, with a total of more than 31.6 million first doses given.
  
The UK government said certificates showing vaccination, test or immunity status could “provide reassurance”. But many parliamentarians have criticised the plan, describing it as a plan to create a “two-tier” Britain, discriminatory, and have more people in the disadvantaged group.
 
Lead Faculty at Lagos Aviation Academy, Rilwan Saaka, yesterday told The Guardian that the vaccine passport era was inevitable at this time, and the world would soon come to its endorsement.

Saaka explained that to re-open borders without quarantine and restart the aviation industry, governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing COVID-19.
 
“Countries can go ahead with the adoption of a vaccine passport as it enables travellers’ health status and details to be easily accessible online within a few minutes, which makes travel easier and puts an end to the compulsory quarantine that visiting travellers must observe.
 
“It is true that the vaccine is not 100 per cent safe yet, but a higher percentage of people have taken the vaccine in more developed nations. Those countries need to re-open, especially their businesses and other day-to-day activities. So, a better way to ensure safety is to introduce the Travel passport as also suggested by the International Air Transport Association (IATA),” Saaka said.
 
However, his worry was the standardisation of the policy across countries, without which international air connectivity is impossible.

“A lot of consideration should be given to the countries with less or without vaccination as it is yet to go round. It’s the responsibility of the government of countries with less or without vaccination to ensure that their citizens have access to vaccination and are vaccinated,” Saaka said.
 
At the weekend, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) began vaccination of airlines and airport workers.
 
Spokesperson of Air Peace airline, Stanley Olisa, said their pilots, cabin crew and other frontline personnel had started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine to help curtail the spread of the virus and give passengers more confidence to fly with the airline.
 
Estimates revealed that just two per cent of global vaccines have gone to about 36 African countries. Besides the short supply, vaccine hesitancy is still very high for reasons not unconnected with general doubts on coronavirus, distrust on vaccine efficacy and religious claims linking the campaign to the “mark of the beast” as forewarned by the Bible.   

Unbothered by those to be left behind in the new travel regime, Emirates Airlines last week flew its first flight carrying all-vaccinated crew and passengers. The United Arab Emirates’ national carrier ferried 400 passengers on EK2021 flight around the UAE in a pilot phase that also had all vaccinated ground support staff. The country has used over nine million vaccines.  
 
IATA, which represents 290 global airlines, is on its part developing an app called “Travel Pass” in which users will upload documentation to prove vaccination status, and also access health entry requirements before travels.
 
Having lost $95 billion in 2021 already, following a record revenue plunge in 2020, global airlines are rallying behind the IATA Travel Pass. About 23 airlines, among them Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, already test running the vaccine passport app.
 
But Behavioural scientist, Prof. Stephen Reicher, criticised the “mixed message” embedded in the vaccine passport advocacy, saying it would further mount vaccine resistance than drive people to it.

“To talk about vaccine passports, even to talk about the possibility that participating in everyday social life, you will have to get vaccinated is counterproductive at this stage where we would need to convert and convince those who have doubts,” Reicher said.
 
Apparently, in agreement, an aviation consultant and Chief Executive Officer of Belujane Konzult, Chris Aligbe, described the vaccine passport policy as not properly thought out.
 
Aligbe said the airline's industry cannot survive the present difficulty insisting on vaccine-compliant passengers only.
 
“No matter what IATA is doing, the policy will still hurt the airlines because many countries will still be backward in the vaccination programme. Many that want to travel will want to get vaccinated, but in a country where you don’t have enough vaccines like Nigeria, how many will have a vaccine passport?

“For me, IATA should be very careful in accepting vaccine passports as the standard, except they come to a point of setting a timeline of two years for all travellers to get a vaccine passport. More so, there is no guarantee yet on vaccine efficacy, or which of the brands is actually better. This is policy and I think IATA and others should sit down and think it through carefully,” Aligbe said.
 
Not giving anything to chances, he added that the country should also begin to move fast in availing vaccines for the citizens.
 
“The truth is that people are yet to key into vaccination. Apart from politicians, those rushing to get the jab are mostly intending travellers. People in the villages cannot be bothered. So, vaccination remains an urban and elitists’ thing. But we should not be laid-back. The government should as much as possible get more vaccines into this country for people willing to get it.”

United Nigeria’s Traffic Hits 25,000 In Four Weeks - NEW TELEGRAPH

APRIL 19, 2021

BY  WOLE SHADARE

Chairman, United Nigeria Airline, Chief Obiora Okonkwo, says its operations, route expansion and additional aircraft acquisition will be done in phases to avoid biting more than they can chew. 

This is coming as the airline also assured of employing more Nigerians with the gradual increase of their operations within and outside the country in line with their big dreams. Speaking at the weekend in Lagos, Okonkwo said their medium term plan was to consolidate on their domestic op- erations while eyeing the actualisation of flying into the West African region.

He said, the responses the airline had been getting from the market was heartwarming, adding that in the next couple of months, it would add another aircraft to its fleet. Okonkwo said: “We are hoping that we should increase our air fleet very soon.

We are looking at the next couple of months. A lot of plans are already in the way, we have been happy so far with the responses we have been getting from the market.” He emphasised that the strong vision of the airline was to fly to unite, which means safety in all their operations. ”We are glad today, it is operational, it is offering services to thousands of people in Nigeria,” he said. 

On the choice of the aircraft type, ERJ145, the United Nigeria Airline boss said it was the  best for them and convenient to build routes and give passengers the quality service they deserve. He said: “We had a thorough due diligence before we embarked on that.

The fuel saving capacity is an advantage, the passenger load, which is 50, is an advantage, we thought as a new airline, it might take us a while to fill up the aircraft, so, we felt that with an efficient fuel utiliseation with not too huge passenger load, we might be able to manage our good and bad days.” He stated that the airline had assembled some of the best brains with the requisite experiences in the industry to run the airline, stressing that he was proud of the team with the successes so far recorded in the past eight weeks of operations. “We are very proud of our team. 

For us, team work is very important in what we are doing, staff welfare is important, family spirit is important and we are bringing all our experiences we have in all our areas of endeavours into this aviation business. “I seek your support to help us be where we need to be for the service to mankind to the glory of God,” he noted. 

In the area of employment, Okonkwo said employment opportunities had been created in different areas of operations, adding that with the commencement of flight, they have engaged a whole lot of people with some of them up to 50 per cent to 60 per cent having their first experience in aviation after undergoing the required mandatory trainings. 

”You know, it is very strict, there must be training, there must be indoctrination, there must be standard they have to meet, for us, this number of people are those who have benefited in the opportunities we have created. “More people are in the pipeline as we expand our routes, open our operational base and that will go on and on, the more aircraft we have, the more people that will be employed,” he added.

Giving a breakdown of their passenger traffic in the two months of operations, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Osita Okonkwo, said during the period, they carried 25,000 passengers and that the passenger load was currently 3,200 per week. He reechoed that they would not be in a hurry in increasing their capacity to do things, but rather, it would be gradually, organic and systematic. 

“We have four aircraft, we could have started all the four aircraft the same day, but we are an organisation that is very, very deep rooted in learning and in knowing our limitations and growing into our experiences. So, step by step, we are creating the necessary systems, processes institutions and organs that will help us achieve the target we have set for ourselves,” he added.

Air Peace Pilots, Others Receive Vaccine - THISDAY

APRIL 19, 2021

The pilots, cabin crew and other personnel that interface with customers of Air Peace have started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine to help curtail the spread of the virus and give passengers more confidence to fly with the airline.

This was disclosed by the airline’s spokesman, Stanley Olisa, who stated that the vaccine was being administered by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Olisa, who commended the federal government for making the vaccine available, stressed that Air Peace prioritises the well-being and safety of its staff and customers, adding that all frontline personnel had been directed to receive the vaccine.

“We directed that our staff, especially those on frontline duties, get vaccinated to protect them and make the flying public feel more confident and reassured whenever they fly Air Peace,” Olisa said. He added that Air Peace was committed to providing best-in-class flight services and observing strict standards of safety.

Air Peace happens to be the first airline to announce the vaccination of its personnel, a move that accentuates its position as an industry leader in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in protecting its staff and passengers.

MMIA Recorded One Million Passenger Movement in Q1 - THISDAY

APRIL 19, 2021

BY  Chinedu Eze 


The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has announced that over one million passengers were processed through the international and domestic terminals of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMIA), Lagos between January and March this year.

Statistics made available by the agency indicated that the airport recorded a total of 323,751 passengers out of which 149,557 passengers and 174,194 passengers respectively arrived and departed through the international wing during the period.

At the domestic wing, 402,519 arrived while departure recorded 337,041, bringing the total number of passengers on the domestic routes to 739,560 between January and March 2021.

Also, in terms of aircraft movement, a total of 17, 286 aircraft were recorded at the airport during the first quarter of the year with records showing domestic aircraft movements 12,744 while international aircraft movement was 4,542.

Commenting on the statistics, the Airport Manager, South-west, Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba said there was no significant drop as Lagos remained the business nerve centre of the country as most flights terminate at the airport.

Shin-Aba explained that there was a gradual reawakening from the COVID-19 lockdown, noting that despite fears of second wave of the pandemic, air travellers are not discouraged to travel.

“It is like a gradual reawakening, a gradual restart away from the COVID-19 issue, there came the second wave but that did not discourage people from travelling so, it is growing gradually.” On COVID-19 protocols, the Airport Manager stated, “As soon as you get into the airport environment the COVID-19 protocol is activated.

“You can get to town everywhere, you don’t see people obeying it but as soon as you get to the airport, we enforce it, people would not want to cooperate but we are enforcing it both for staff and passengers, people are cooperating.

“If you don’t put on your mask we wouldn’t allow you into the terminal building and even if you are in the terminal building and you remove it we have some task force going around correcting people, asking you to please mask up, so there has been a lot of cooperation from the passengers as well as other airport users” She, however, condemned the number of family members that follow travellers to the airport, saying this has constituted a challenger in managing human movement at the airport.

“We have been having some challenges along that area. You know our culture the way we do things, one person is travelling, ten people will follow him, but we still try as much as possible to discourage people,” she said.

Chanchangi Airlines mulls ‘come back’ - THE NATION

APRIL 20, 2021

Nine years after closing shop, Chanchangi Airlines Nigeria Limited is set to return to the  airspace.

With its head office in the Chanchangi Office Complex in Kaduna, the airline had operated scheduled domestic passenger services.

The Director-General (DG), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Musa Nuhu, made this known.

He explained that the high demand for air travels in the country, saying: “Chanchangi wants to come back and they want to use ATR.They are planning to come back. The demand is there.”

Capt Nuhu observed a new trend in airline operations where operators are  shifting to smaller aircraft against the bigger ones.

The DG said: “You mentioned the issue of not using the right fleet. Yes, but with the new trend, I see people going for Embraer, CRJ, ATR42. So, there is a paradigm shift. People are beginning to realise you can’t use 737 for short flights. I can see Air Peace had got an E2195, he is got two and he said on the long term, he is going to replace all its 737. United Nigeria is using Embraer 145. Green Africa is using ATR 42, 72.

“There is one that has started processing its documents. He wants to use Embraer 145. The thinking is changing because this 737 business is not working for us. It is going to take a while. The economics is forcing the change. It is a positive change in the industry.”

Also, Capt Nuhu noted that the issue of Azman Air was being settled.

He added that the NCAA will not release anybody until they are satisfied.

Nuhu also added that recent responses from Azman had been very encouraging.

“They are taking what we have explained to them. Now they understand it is even better for them to improve their business model,” Nuhu stated.

‘Average airfare up 18.71 per cent in one year’ - THE NATION

APRIL 21, 2021

• Increased by 0.10 per cent in March

By John Ofikhenua, Abuja

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday said average passenger airfare paid for specified route single journey increased by 18.71per cent year -on -year.

It made the disclosure in its document entitled: “Transport Fare Watch – March 2021”.

The document added that the average airfare rose to N36,495.41 in March 2021 from N36,458.11 in February 2021.

NBS said: “Average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey increased by 0.10 per cent month-on-month and by 18.71 per cent year-on-year to N36,495.41 in March 2021 from N36,458.11 in February 2021”.

The document also revealed that states with highest air fare were Anambra/Lagos (N38,600), Delta/Jigawa (N38,500), Bauchi (N38,450) while states with lowest air fare were Akwa Ibom (N32,700), Sokoto (N33,200), and Katsina (N35,150).

According to the Bureau, average fare paid by commuters for bus journey within the city increased by 4.42 per cent month-on-month and by 82.50 per cent year-on-year to N377.27 in March 2021 from N361.31 in February 2021.

States with highest bus journey fare within city were Zamfara (N618.23), Bauchi (N597.14) and Ekiti (N500.15) while states with lowest bus journey fare within city were Oyo (N197.55), Abia (N209.87) and Borno (N258.14).

It further said  average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity increased by 1.62 per cent month-on-month and by 42.58 per cent year-on-year to N2,411.29 in March 2021 from N2,372.87 in February 2021. States with highest bus journey fare intercity were Abuja FCT (N4,576.28), Lagos (N3,425.18) and Sokoto (N3,380.20) while States with lowest bus journey fare within city were Bayelsa (N1,700.19), Enugu (N1,720.45) and Bauchi (N1,725.35).

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The NBS explained that the “Transport fare Watch report for March 2021 covers the following categories namely bus journey  within the city per drop constant route; bus journey intercity, state route, charge per person; air fare charge for specified routes single journey; journey by motorcycle (Okada) per drop; and water way passenger transport”.

Continuing, the document noted that average fare paid by commuters for journey by motorcycle per drop increased by 1.76 per cent month-on-month and by 102.46 per cent year-on-year to N271.44 in March 2021 from N266.74 in February 2021.

States with highest journey fare by motorcycle, according to NBS, per drop were Rivers (N420.35), Taraba (N420.15) and Yobe (N420.10) while states with lowest journey fare by motorcycle per drop were Adamawa (N90.43), Katsina (N147.64) and Niger (N159.20).

On water way transport, the data revealed that average fare paid by passengers for water way passenger transport increased by 1.81 per cent month-on-month and by 43.52 per cent year-on-year to N808.38 in March 2021 from N794.02 in February 2021.

It said States with highest fare by water way passenger transport were Bayelsa (N2,300.80), Delta (N2,300.60) and Rivers (N2,285.67) while states with lowest fare by water way passenger transport were Borno (N250.30), Gombe (N320.15) and Abuja FCT (N350.79).


Lagos Airport security team returns passenger’s missing N2.3m - THE SUN

APRIL 21, 2021

The security team at the Murtala Muhammed Airport has been commended for tracing and returning N2.3million belonging to a passenger on Ibom Air, Mr. George Etuk.

Etuk, an Uyo-bound passenger, commended the Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel at MM2, operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) after receiving his lost baggage containing the sum of N2, 350, 000 and other vital documents. According to BASL AVSEC manager, Mr. Olatubosun Okeowo, the event occurred recently while the passenger who just returned from the United States of America was at the terminal to link up with an Uyo-bound airline. It was gathered that the passenger was at the Ibom Air check-in counter alongside other intending passengers and along the line, he got carried away and lost concentration on his bag.

During the CCTV investigation by BASL AVSEC team, it was discovered that the bag was accidentally picked up by a fellow passenger. According to Okeowo, “during our CCTV investigation, it was discovered that the bag belonging to George Etuk was accidentally picked up by another intending passenger with the same airline. They were not aware at all. But after the flight was delayed, and the passengers had to find means to relax ahead of the rescheduled time, the anomaly came to the fore.

“The other passenger who took the baggage unknowingly, too, had disappeared. On receiving the prompt message, our AVSEC team immediately swung into action to unravel what went wrong. With the aid of the CCTV, we were able to identify what happened and my duty supervisor and his team quickly went after the man who picked the bag.

1.5 million people passed through Nigeria’s borders in 2020 - Babandede - PUNCH

APRIL 21, 2021

BY Adelani Adepegba


The Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, has said 1,579,773 persons passed through the nation’s borders in 2020.

The CG said passenger movement across the air borders was 1,256,652, while the land borders recorded 109,854, and the seaport, 213,161.

About 106 stowaways were intercepted during the period.

A statement on Tuesday by the NIS spokesman, Sunday James, said Babandede noted that the service has put in place strategies to effectively “strike the nexus between trade and people facilitation, human rights and right of countries to protect its sovereignty and security, economic development and risk to life and prosperity of the nation, ensuring that it maintains active presence across the land, air and blue border lines of the country.’’

It noted that the NIS operatives were active in the 72 border patrol bases, six international airports, 11 sea/marine borders patrolling the nation’s 415 nautical miles (853 km), coastal areas and the Gulf of Guinea in the south.

The statement said, “’The CG promised that the Nigeria Immigration Service will continue to play the lead role in border management, migration management and control of human mobility through the deployment of human capital and technology, collaborations for safer migration through bilateral, multilateral cooperation, inter-agency collaborations and partnerships, training and retraining of its workforce to ensure safe border and safe nation.’’

Anambra’s new airport gains traction as first commercial flight expected April 30 - BUSINESS POST

APRIL 22, 2021

…State deflates alleged non-issuance of international licence by FG as misleading

…Said airport’s 5.7km long, 60m wide runway largest in Africa

…Yet to provide cost of project

 

 

Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt

 

 

Anambra’s new cargo/passenger airport which is in its completion phase, is expected to achieve its major milestone with the first commercial plane scheduled to land at the terminal on April 30, to test-run the facilities at the airport. 

The airplane is from the fleet of Air Peace airlines, owned and operated by Allen Onyema, who to date, operates the only Nigerian indigenous international air carrier. 

Anambra airport, by far the newest in the country, has a 5.7 km runway, a control tower sitting on an 11-storey building, the tallest in Nigeria. The state government says the airport is coming as the “most-modern in Nigeria,” designed to revolutionize particularly export and import business in Nigeria. 

Meanwhile, C. Don Adinuba, commissioner for information and public enlightenment, has deflated a report that the federal government through the ministry of aviation, has refused to give the Anambra government a licence to operate an international airport, but has rather offered it a licence to run a domestic airport. 

“The report is misleading and mischievous as it fails to state when the minister announced the alleged decision, how and to whom,” Adinuba said. 

He said, on the contrary, the minister of aviation Hadi Sirika has been exceptional in his support for the airport; adding that the State government and the people could not have asked for better cooperation from the minister and relevant agencies under his supervision like the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which approved the quality of the job done, and the commitment of the state political leadership. 

He said the state government was compelled to refute the report because of the anxiety it has created in millions of Nigerians, particularly Anambra people across the world who wait anxiously to make use of the airport.

Adinuba stated that Anambra cargo/passenger airport remains an international airport, which will be commissioned this year. “Like any other airport in the world, it will start with local operations, add regional operations later and finally international flights.” 

He listed that the airport’s facilities are strong and built to global standards, big enough to accommodate the biggest aircraft in the world. 

“The runway is 5.7 kilometres in length and 60 metres in width, the longest and the largest throughout Africa. Its facilities are the most modern in the whole country, and such pieces of equipment as the fire trucks rank among the most modern in the world. It is the only airport in Nigeria with satellite landing instruments. The implication is that planes can land there any time of the day or night,” the information and public enlightenment commissioner said.

Anambra cargo/passenger airport is the fifth airport to be built by any Nigerian state government. Others are: Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri built by Imo State; Ibom Airport, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State; Asaba Airport, Delta State; Bayelsa Airport, among other. 

But Anambra government said its airport is the only one conceived and built for international operations. It is the only Airport built in just one year three months, the state said. 

The government equally said it is completing the airport in record time without the authorities borrowing from any bank anywhere in the world, even at a time of acute global economic crisis which has seen the United Kingdom, for instance, in its worst recession in 300 years.

Till date, the state government has yet to come out with the cost of the airport. But said, it was up to date in meeting its contractual obligations to all the local and multinational firms involved in the project, despite the declining value of the naira against international currencies. 

The Willie Obiano government in Anambra finished its second and last tenure in November, with a state governorship election due for November 6. The outgoing governor noted that the state must always provide a glimmer of hope in governance in Nigeria.

Emirates Begins IATA Travel Pass Trials - THISDAY

APRIL 22, 2021

Emirates has commenced trials of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass– a mobile app to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with any government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information.

The first passengers travelling from Dubai to Barcelona on EK 185 recently trialed the ‘digital passport,’ to verify and share their pre-travel COVID-19 test status with Emirates.

The trials are a step towards making travel more convenient, enabling travellers to manage COVID-19 related documentation digitally, safely and seamlessly throughout the travel experience. In the future, travellers will also be able to share vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel.

Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, said: “The ability to process passengers’ COVID-19 relevant data for travel digitally will be the way forward. We are pleased to have been pioneers and partner with IATA in trialing this initiative in real time and soon will be launching other initiatives to further enhance our customer experience.”

The trial is being done on selected Emirates flights from Dubai to Barcelona and London Heathrow to Dubai; and will soon be expanded to include other routes. Eligible passengers are being personally invited to download the app and enroll for the digital travel pass ahead of their travels.

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