Airlines Slash Prices to Convince Americans to Vacation Closer to Home - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- JetBlue Airways Corp., Alaska Air Group Inc. and other US carriers expected the post-pandemic travel boom to send ticket prices soaring this summer. Instead, they’re getting battered.
Travelers are showing an unusually strong preference for international trips, forcing domestic-focused carriers to discount prices. At the same time, many of them are facing higher costs from new labor contracts, flight disruptions and inflation.
As a result, JetBlue has slashed its yearly outlook. Southwest Airlines Co. and others have signaled they’re under pressure — a reversal from a few months ago when industry leaders promised high demand would endure. While domestic ticket sales may pick up again in a few months, with holidays encouraging people to take trips closer to home, it’s still been a tough reality check and a sign the end-of-lockdown travel frenzy is cooling for some.
“If you don’t cater to premium, if you can’t bank on loyalty and if you don’t fly internationally, this year’s third quarter is likely to disappoint,” Jamie Baker, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst, said in a report.
There are a number of reasons why travelers have become especially enamored with trips abroad. In particular, looser Covid-19 restrictions mean for the first time in years Americans can visit far-flung destinations without expensive tests and the threat of lengthy quarantines.
The shift has been larger than the industry expected, and occurred after plans to boost available seats were already in motion. That’s weighed on prices. US round-trip fares are down about 11% compared with 2022 and 2019, and will remain slightly below 2019 levels until the winter holidays begin and carriers are able to boost fares as demand increases, according to booking app Hopper.com.
Adding to the pressure, Frontier Group Holdings Inc., a major discount carrier, is increasing capacity by 23% this quarter, compared to a year ago.
The tougher environment was a major reason JetBlue slashed its adjusted profit outlook to between 5 cents and 40 cents a share, from its earlier outlook of as much as $1. It also said it won’t earn as much this quarter as analysts had estimated.
Fares that were “really strong” through June have declined from record levels in 2022, Alaska Airlines said last week, but remain above pre-pandemic prices. It forecast revenue this quarter will be flat to up 3%, with a midpoint below Wall Street’s expectations.
“It’s not that people aren’t traveling, it’s just on the domestic system fares have come in lower than everyone in the industry had expected,” JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes said on a call this week.
Southwest shares tumbled the most in almost a year on July 27 after it warned that higher-than-expected costs would pressure earnings. The Dallas-based carrier this week offered a buy one, get one 50% off fare deal for the first time. The three-day sale was for travel in August and September.
Spirit Airlines Inc., the largest deep discount carrier, on Thursday missed Wall Street’s second-quarter earnings expectations and said in a statement that it would generate total revenue this quarter of $1.3 billion to $1.32 billion, well below the average analyst estimate of $1.52 billion.
“The current setup is simply not favorable to a domestic focused airline,” Spirit CEO Ted Christie said on a call. The executive blamed a “dramatic” demand shift to long-haul international markets not served by the airline and weather-related challenges, adding circumstances are unlikely to change in the near future.
In April, the airline had “sold-out flights every day” to Cancun, Mexico, but conditions are now completely different, Spirit Chief Commercial Officer Matt Klein said. “Demand just fell off” starting in June, he told analysts.
The differences between their fortunes and that of global carriers is stark. United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. each said they would earn more this quarter than analysts expected. The companies, along with American Airlines Group Inc., all improved their full-year forecasts.
Investors appear to be rewarding the global carriers as well, with United shares increasing 40% this year through Wednesday, Delta 36% and American 25%. Alaska and JetBlue are up more modestly, while Southwest has slipped slightly and Frontier has dropped 18%.
Hayes and others have tried to soothe investor worries by suggesting the dip in demand could be temporary. Though they’ve stopped short of promising sales will improve after summer vacation season ends.
“We actually believe a lot of the demand is going to spill into the fall, and therefore, we have not made an assumption that this environment changes before we get into the heart of winter,” Frontier Chief Executive Officer Barry Biffle said Tuesday. “Although I do know that once we get to January, February, it’s a heck of a lot better to be in Florida than it is in most parts of Europe.”
And Wall Street isn’t betting on a rebound. Helane Becker, a TD Cowen analyst, said she was skeptical that domestic demand at JetBlue would recover sufficiently by year-end, and reduced her full-year adjusted earnings outlook for the carrier.
Views by the airlines that demand will swing back “may ultimately prove correct,” Conor Cunningham, a Melius Research analyst, said in a report. “But near-term, as industry capacity is set to ramp and fare sales become increasingly more common, fear on fares will only intensify.”
(Updates with Spirit Airlines executive comments starting in 13th paragraph.)
Nigeria Air To Launch Operations In October - SIMPLY FLYING
The carrier is set to be managed by Ethiopian Airlines.
- Nigeria Air is set to commence operations in October under the management of Ethiopian Airlines, aiming to be the country's national airline.
- The airline will be owned 49% by Ethiopian Airlines, 46% by Nigerian private investors, and 5% by the Nigerian Government.
- Obstacles, such as opposition from local carriers and the denial of an Air Operators Certificate, have delayed the airline's launch in the past.
Nigeria Air is set to commence its flight operations later this year in October under the management of Ethiopian Airlines. While the country is home to many airlines, Nigeria Air is set to be the country's national airline.
While the carrier is set to commence operations in October, the airline was first introduced five years ago, in 2018, during the Farnborough International Airshow. As reported by Within Nigeria, the new airline will be owned 49% by Ethiopian Airlines, 46% by Nigerian private investors, and 5% by the Nigerian Government.
Ethiopian Airlines have been brought into the operation on a management contract in order to replicate their own successful business model of operations into Nigeria Air's operations and make it a successful airline. The carrier will commence operations with a fleet of eight aircraft. Of these aircraft, six will be narrowbody aircraft, while the remaining two aircraft will be widebody.
Earlier this year, the carrier took delivery of its first aircraft, which is a Boeing 737-800 with retrofitted wingtips from Ethiopian Airlines, on May 26th. At the time, however, the plan was to try and commence operations by May 29th.
It is worth noting that, on May 27th, just a day after arriving in Nigeria, the aircraft returned to Ethiopia and has continued operation for Ethiopian Airlines ever since.
The airline's aim is to operate flights within the domestic market and to international markets in order to provide air connectivity for the citizens of Nigeria.
Obstacles in the way
While clearly a lot of work has been done towards trying to get Nigeria Air operational, it has previously been severely slowed down by various obstacles which kept delaying its operation commencement.
In fact, in October 2022, other local carriers in Nigeria were opposed to Ethiopian Airlines taking a majority stake in the airline that is set to be the national airline of the country.
The Airlines of Nigeria (AON) had insisted that Ethiopia is an economic rival, and thus, a 49% stake in Nigeria's national airline could potentially increase Ethiopian Airlines' influence in the domestic market and the Nigerian economy. The CEO of Air Peace went as far as to state that Ethiopian Airlines would try and destroy the competition among the Nigerian carriers.
Another major obstacle the startup faces is obtaining its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) which was denied to the airline earlier this year in May by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The denial of the AOC was following a lawsuit from the AON. The airline will not be issued the AOC until it can demonstrate its safety.
The delay was not helped by Azman Air, Air Peace, and United Nigeria Airlines launching a court case, through the AON, against Nigeria Air regarding the involvement of Ethiopian Airlines as a foreign majority stakeholder.
Ultimately the court ruled in favor of the AON and issued an order to the NCAA Director General, which stopped him from issuing the AOC for Nigeria Air. The order additionally prohibits the Director General from taking any further actions with regard to launching the new carrier.
Do you think Nigeria Air will succeed in commencing operations in October as planned? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
Nigerians in Diaspora demand sustainable trade, investment opportunities in Africa - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Environmentalists, business moguls and financial experts have called on African leaders to adopt the United Nation Global Development Plan in order to ensure increased sustainable trade and investment opportunities to fast track an equitable economic development and prosperity in Africa.
This demand formed the crux of the discourse at the second edition of the Global Sustainability Conference series recently organized by CleanCyclers Africa and held in the House of Lords, United Kingdom.
With this year’s theme tagged, “Sustainable Trade and Investment Opportunities in Africa – the PPP Approach”, the forum attracted various notable speakers and panelists not just from Nigeria and Africa, but across the world.
According to the convener and founder of CleanCyclers, Otto Canon, sustainable development is a process which improves the ability of countries to sustain a strategic plan to address the needs of today without jeopardizing the future generation, as we as to tackle common challenges and address shared goals.
Otto said, “How is the world faring so far? How is Africa faring so far? Sustainable trade and investment opportunity is a plan we should achieve by 2030 but so far, I think we have a long way to go.
“There are loads and tons of unanswered questions to that regard and to do justice and respond to some of these questions, we have carefully selected some of the finest professionals and experts from their various sectors in the industry.”
Some of the notable speakers at the event include Kristin Sharpe who delivered the welcome address while the keynote speech was taken by Mrs Tuma Adama Gento-Kamara.
A special presentation on the Great Green Wall was delivered by the project coordinator, Jenovive Chinyere, the Chief Executive Officer Dream West Africa and another presentation by Titi Horsfall, Head, Diplomatic Corps, Permits & Licenses and Federal Parastatals, Nigeria LNG Limited who is also a writer, novelist & poet.
The first panel session was moderated by Canon Otto FRSA, and it had speakers like Viscount Lord Waverley, UK Parliament – MPs and Lords, Owen Omogiafo, President/Group CEO of Transnational Corporation (Transcorp), Dr. Olori Bove-Ajavi, President The Borderless Trade Network and Ibrahim Adejuwon Odumboni, MD/CEO Lagos Waste Management, Nigeria.
The panelists expressed their pleasure in participating in such an important discussion forum, and highlighted some of their strides in their various works.
The president of Transcorp Group, Owen Omogiafo, went on to mention a series of projects and programs her organization has executed. She emphasized more on the fact that they don’t just focus on profits alone, but also on the planet and people.
She explained that their corporate social responsibilities are not taken for granted at all, adding that Transcorp has set discounted schools for children across the various geopolitical zones in Nigeria and they’ve supported several entrepreneurs across the country.
The second panel session touched on “Understanding the Opportunities in Real Estate Investment in Africa: Strategies to Accelerate Africa’s Growth” and was moderated by Ezekiel Solesi.
The speakers were Hon. Atty. Dr. Samora P. Z. Wolokolie, Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Republic of Liberia; Dr. Oluwatosin O. Olatujoye, GCEO Zylus Group, Nigeria; Kenneth Raydon Sharpe, CEO, Westprop Holdings Zimbabwe; Dr. Tinashe Manzungu, Board Director Africa Business Council (ABS) and Mr. Akerele Ajewole, CEO, Gidi Real Estate Ltd.
Foreign airlines repatriate over $4bn in 15 months - PUNCH
BY Sami Olatunji, Damilola Aina, Lilian Ukagwu and Funmi Fabunmi
Lagos-London fares 49% higher than Accra-London, 162% higher than Cotonou-London
Nigeria Air project stalls, airfares skyrocket over foreign exchange shortage
Nigerians have spent about $4.66bn on foreign air travels in 15 months, according to findings by The PUNCH.
Data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed that the amount was sold to foreign airlines between the first quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023.
Foreign airlines buy foreign exchange from the CBN to enable them to repatriate their ticket sale proceeds to their various home countries. About 25 foreign airlines currently operate into Nigeria
A breakdown of the CBN data showed that $496.44m was sold to foreign airlines in Q1 2022; $1.03bn in Q2 2022; $1.36bn in Q3 2022; $887.17m in Q4 2022; and $890.3m in Q1 2023. The figures indicate an increase of 79 per cent between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023.
The PUNCH observed that the highest amount was recorded in Q3 2022, with about $1.36bn.
Despite the amount sold to the carriers, foreign airlines have been struggling to repatriate their funds.
In March, the International Air Transport Association, the top global trade association of international airlines, appealed to the Nigerian government to allow international airlines to repatriate their funds trapped in the country.
IATA said airlines’ trapped funds in Nigeria rose to $743.7m in January from the $662m recorded last December.
“For over a year, Nigeria has been the country with the highest amount of airline-blocked funds in the world,” the IATA said.
Since the amount increased from $450m in May 2022, to $464m in July of the same year, the trapped funds have been linked to some of the higher fares on Nigerian routes.
The PUNCH also observed that it is more expensive to fly from Nigeria than other West African countries like Ghana and the Benin Republic.
Findings by one of our correspondents showed that passengers flying via Turkish Airlines from the Murtala Muhammad Airport in Lagos to Heathrow Airport in London paid $3,295 for a one-way economy ticket while passengers from Cotonou International Airport in Benin Republic paid $1,256 for a one-way economy ticket to London, representing 162.3 per cent difference in air ticket price.
Comparison between Lagos-London flight and Accra-London flight showed a 49.6 per cent difference in air ticket price. Lagos passengers paid $3,295 compared to $2,202 paid by Ghanaians on the same date and airline.
Also, an economy flight ticket from Lagos to Toronto was pegged at $2,737 while Benin to Toronto was put at $2,018, representing 35.6 per cent increase compared with Accra to Toronto at $2,546, representing 7.5 per cent.
Checks on Turkish Airlines indicate that the Lagos-New-York one-way economy ticket costs $3,689 while Benin to New York was pegged at $2,493. Accra to New York trip was put at $2,562.
Meanwhile, a Lagos-Dubai flight was put at $944, while Cotonou-Dubai ticket was priced at $693. Accra-Dubai was put at $848.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation industry regulator, recently released a three-month report on the activities of local and international flights.
In its report, the NCAA noted that the 25 international airlines which operated within the reviewed period had 24 flights cancelled, with 9,087 baggage delayed/ missing.
Of this figure, the report said 7,942 baggage were found. Also, about 39 per cent of international flights (inbound and outbound) which operated in Nigeria between January and March were delayed.
According to the report, of the 3,073 international flights operated within the aforementioned period, 1,193 flight schedules across 25 airlines were delayed.
The 30-page report revealed 870,776 passengers (375,700 inbound and 495,076 outbound ) passed through the nation’s international airport wing between January and March.
A review of cancelled flights showed that out of 1,114 international flights operated in January, seven were called off. In February, 13 out of 887 scheduled flights were cancelled—the highest recorded in the period under review, while only four of 1,072 operated flights in March were cancelled.
The report showed that Lufthansa recorded the highest number of cancelled flights, with six of its 147 operated flights terminated in the first quarter of this year. Qatar Air followed with four, while Asky and Rwanda Airlines had three cancelled flights each, among others.
During the period under review, the NCAA noted that it received 27 complaints from international operations and nine cases were resolved.
“However, most of the cases were resolved after follow-up and additional backlog from the previous months,” the report said.
Experts have expressed concern over higher fares on Nigerian routes as the Nigeria Air project continues to face delays.
The controversial national carrier project has faced legal hurdles amid corruption allegations. The Federal Government has yet to invite the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to answer questions on the project.
Following the CBN forex reforms, air fares have increased by over 50 per cent on Nigerian routes. Airfares which used to be priced at 460/dollar, now went for 743/dollar as of Friday.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer, Centurion Security, Group Capt John Ojikutu, however, emphasised the need for Nigeria to establish three flag carriers in order to compete with international airlines.
He argued that the move would help to reduce capital flight and increase the country’s share of passenger traffic.
He said,”What we need to do is to establish at least three flag carriers to compete with international airlines that make an average of 30 flights daily to Nigeria. We should strive to make or reciprocate at least 30 per cent, if not 50 per cent, of the daily flights. This will enable us to share 20/30 per cent of the passenger traffic.”
He added, “The exchange rate has not necessarily made the figure high but the airfare is equally high. If foreign airlines can get forex at the official exchange rate, the airfare would not be as high as it is today. There is very little the government can do than to designate flag carriers among the domestic airlines to compete with the foreign airlines”
Also, a travel expert, Benard Bankole, highlighted several factors contributing to the foreign exchange shortage.
He said, ““First of all Nigeria is an import dependent country, which means that we will always have shortage of FX. Now, there is the balance of trade which we’ve not been able to do. For on our crude oil, we’re not producing enough and we’re not exporting enough.”
Bankole, who is also the CEO Finchglow Holdings Limited, however said the absence of a national or flag carrier was not a hindrance.
He noted that Air Peace, a local carrier, has been assigned numerous routes.
“However, the key concern is whether these airlines possess the capacity to effectively manage the additional foreign routes they request,” he added.
A airline expert and pilot, Capt. James Daniel, emphasized the need for Nigeria to reciprocate its Bilateral Services Agreement.
The Bilateral Air Services Agreement is based on reciprocity. Now, if foreign airlines have 20 rotations into Nigeria, then Nigerian carriers should have same into their countries. But unfortunately, Nigerian carriers are not exercising these privileges according to the BASA; so the foreign carriers have a monopoly and that is why the prices of tickets are so astronomical.”
The Head of Research at Zenith Travels, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, said Nigeria needed strong airlines to compete against foreign carriers.
He said, “The Fly Nigeria Act did not see the light of day. Coming back to the issue at stake, it’s inevitable, the capital flight will continue until we build airlines that can compete, and meet the standards that international airlines can partner with. You cannot say until you have a national carrier, it is better to have flag carriers, the more the merrier. We must encourage our airlines to go out and move beyond single ownership. They must open up ownership and management to support this then we can now start talking about the Fly Nigeria Act.
He added, “The fares are high now because the demand is still very high, Nigerians travel a lot, we always have a reason to travel. The supply right now is meeting the demand, so we need to increase supply.”
Airlines Divert Some African Flights After Niger Airspace Closes - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Airlines were forced to divert some flights after Niger restricted its airspace on Sunday night, making it more difficult for planes to fly across parts of Africa.
British Airways was one of the carriers affected by Niger’s partial closure of airspace, with at least five flights to and from its London hubs diverting — including services from Nairobi, Cape Town and flights to and from Johannesburg. Air France, KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG also saw services diverted or delayed.
BA confirmed in social media posts that some flights, including one from London Heathrow to Johannesburg, had been diverted because of the airspace closure over Niger.
“We’ve apologised to those customers affected for the disruption to their journeys,” BA said in a statement. “Our teams are working hard to get them on their way again as quickly as possible.”
An Air France spokesman said via email that the airline has suspended all services to Niger until further notice, and to Mali and Burkina Faso until August 11. The carrier also said longer flight times of between 15 minutes and 2 hours were to be expected to and from several sub-Saharan destinations.
The sudden airspace closure in Niger makes it harder for airlines flying between Europe and southern Africa, adding an hour or more on to certain routes, according to tracking service FlightRadar24.
There are also airspace restrictions over Sudan and Libya, meaning commercial aircraft cannot fly over. This means airlines need to extend flight times and cater for more fuel.
Read More: Niger Closes Its Airspace as It Warns of a Foreign Attack
Some flights were already en-route when the airspace closed, causing them to make a diversion or reroute, per FlightRadar24.
Niger’s junta restricted access to the country’s airspace Sunday, citing warnings of an attack from foreign powers as a deadline issued by West African neighbors — warning they could intervene to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum — expired.
The junta that took power in a July 26 coup has rejected all calls to restore democracy and warned against any foreign interference. Hundreds of protesters gathered in the capital, Niamey on Sunday, in support of the coup leaders.
Niger’s airspace restrictions will remain in place until further notice, according to a statement from the junta on state television on Sunday.
--With assistance from Katarina Hoije.
(Updates with comment from Air France in fifth paragraph.)
NCAA: Why airlines must now have minimum of six aircraft to operate in Nigeria - THE CABLE
Musa Nuhu, director-general of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), says airlines must have strong financial capacity and a minimum of six aircraft to be allowed to operate in the country.
Nuhu spoke during a virtual meeting with aviation correspondents over the weekend.
He said the major problems facing domestic airline operation is due to lack of capacity to overcome challenges.
The director-general said the new policy is not only for new startups but also for existing operators, adding that existing operators have been given a deadline to comply with the policy.
Prior to now, domestic airline operators are required to have at least three airworthy aircraft before commencing operation.
“The problem is that a lot of the airlines don’t even have the capacity to meet current financial obligations,” Nuhu said.
“If you have three aircraft for instance and you lose one out of it, it has become a problem to meet up with your operations. Then, you start to have issues of flight delays, cancellations and all that.
“The number of aircraft you will have will depend on the kind of operations you want to do. You can imagine somebody who comes in with just one or two aircraft and one of the aircraft goes out of business, and sells tickets to the passengers, thinking of what will happen.
“For you to have six aircraft, it shows you have a very strong financial background of running an airline.
“It is not only for new entrants, but the old ones too have a period by which they have to comply. If everybody has one or two aircraft, we will keep having this recurring problem. We have to avoid that.
“People will criticise, but every country is different. We have to look at our own peculiar history and try and come up with solution, but regulations are not cast in stone.
“If the situation changes, the regulation would be reviewed accordingly. Whenever it is necessary, we don’t have to wait for five years before we make amendments.”
‘MORE AIRCRAFT IN NIGERIA’S REGISTRY THAN THE ENTIRE WEST AFRICAN’
Nuhu further said Nigeria has many airlines but only a few of them are operating with an insufficient number of aircraft.
The NCAA boss said any airline that could afford to acquire six aircraft has the financial capacity to operate scheduled service.
He added that with such capacity, it would not go under after a few years, while still having its name in the NCAA registry.
“There are more aircraft in Nigeria’s registry than the entire West Africa. The number of airlines, air operator certificate (AOC), airports and co. they have, are not as much as we have in Nigeria. It is very huge, complex, and there are huge demands to cope with in the industry,” Nuhu added.
“From records, about 12 years ago, we had only 16 AOCs, right now, we have 32, out of which 12 are scheduled operators.
“We cannot keep operating the way we are operating. Changes have to come in and we have started the process.
“We are acquiring a regulatory software and in the next one or two weeks, we are going to be ready with the software and training of our staff is going to start on the use of the software.
“We are going to make sure that 80 percent to 90 percent of NCAA processes are automated and also third parties are going to be automated.”
Thai Air and Turkish Air Plan to Partner on Asia-Europe Flights - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Thai Airways International Pcl and Turkish Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with the aim of forming a joint-venture partnership and working together on keenly-contested Asia-Europe routes.
Airline partnerships typically involve coordinating schedules and sharing revenue. Qantas Airways Ltd. and Emirates, for example, collaborate on Europe-Australia services. Tie-ups require approval from competition authorities.
Read More: Earnings Surge for Main Thai Airlines as Tourists Flock Back
An agreement would help the carriers expand their networks. Thai Airways said it plans to launch daily flights between Bangkok and Istanbul, with a start date for the service to be announced Wednesday. Turkish Airlines already flies twice daily to the Thai capital.
Thailand’s national carrier is still under court-monitored debt restructuring after filing for bankruptcy protection in 2020, when Covid added further strain to an airline that had already suffered multiple losses over a decade. It now operates about 65 aircraft compared with over 100 before the pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer Chai Eamsiri told told Bloomberg News in June that the company plans to order more jets, including 30 widebodies.
Read More: Turkish Air Says It’s About Two Months Away From Mega Jet Order
Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines are members of the Star Alliance, which has 26 members including Singapore Airlines Ltd., United Airlines Holdings Inc., Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and ANA Holdings Inc.. Founded in 1997, the Star Alliance is the biggest of the three major global airline groupings, which aim to help carriers better compete commercially as part of a larger bloc.
Air Peace becomes first Nigerian airline to fly to Antigua, Barbuda - BUSINESSDAY
Air Peace has again achieved another milestone by being the first Nigerian airline to operate a nonstop, direct flight to Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbeans.
The airline’s Boeing 777 aircraft with Registration Number 5N-BW1 departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport around 14:00hrs on August 5, 2023 on a special business trip to Antigua and Barbuda.
Stanley Olisa, spokesperson of Air Peace, disclosed that the flight concretises the airline’s relationship with the government of Antigua and Barbuda and signals more possibilities of socio-economic payoffs for Nigeria and the Caribbean nation.
Read also: 7 movies to watch in August on Netflix
Noting that the flight is not an inaugural flight, Olisa stated that Air Peace is looking to commence scheduled commercial flights into the two-island country and wants Nigerian investors to see the investment opportunities that abound in Antigua and Barbuda, especially in the area of tourism, and factoring her conducive business environment.
Olisa added that tourism is a major revenue earner for Antigua and Barbuda and hinted that the special flight which departed on Saturday is a 4-day trip featuring a key business conference for strategic discourses on investment opportunities, networking and other planned recreational activities around the Antigua Carnival.
Read also:La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort heads for Antigua and Barbuda
It can be recalled that in the last couple of months, there have been media reports about Air Peace being in high-level talks with the government of Antigua and Barbuda over aviation investment in their country. This flight to Antigua confirms these news publications.
British Airways operates 10-hour ‘flight to nowhere’ after Niger closes airspace - BUSINESSDAY
British Airways passengers on an Airbus A380 from Johannesburg to London Heathrow went on a 10-hour “flight to nowhere” when Niger’s airspace was suddenly closed late on Sunday night.
Other flights between the UK and South Africa have being re-routed or diverted to take on extra fuel or have returned to their starting points as a result of the closure.
After a military coup ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, the Ecowas regional bloc has threatened intervention to restore the leader.
In response, the ruling junta, led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, closed the vast country – which is six times the area of Great Britain – to overflying aircraft.
The closure took effect at 11.22pm British time on Sunday, when several UK-South Africa flights were already airborne.
Airspace over Sudan and Libya is already closed to commercial aviation. The addition of Niger means there is now a block to north-south flights across Africa stretching around 2,600 miles from western Niger to the Red Sea.
British Airways flight BA56 from Johannesburg flew as far as Chad before turning back to its starting point. It was operated by an Airbus A380 “SuperJumbo”, with space for nearly 500 passengers.
Flight BA64 from Nairobi to Heathrow took a similar path, turning back after three hours to return to the Kenyan capital.
British Airways flight BA58 from Cape Town to London Heathrow was also diverted via Lagos. It took off as normal early on Sunday evening and followed a normal track over Namibia, Angola, Gabon, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Azman Air Closes Shop Over Forex, Charges, More May Follow - INDEPENDENT
LAGOS – Nine years after it commenced scheduled operations, Azman Air has finally stopped operations.
But, Mr. Nurudden Aliyu, the Spokesman of Azman Air, said the management only suspended its operations due to its inability to return its four aircraft back to service.
Sources close to the airline confided in Daily Independent that its failure to access foreign exchange and high charges may have compelled the management to finally shut operations, saying more airlines may follow suit.
The sources confided in Daily Independent that Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa, the Chairman of Azman Air, had already informed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) of its decision to cease operations forthwith.
However, Azman Air still has a valid Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) with the NCAA, which expires at the end of August.
According to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARs), on AOC issuance, any operator that fails to renew its certificate would lose it after 90 days, while NCAA can go ahead to suspend such an airline.
After sometime, the NCAA also has the power to revoke such a licence.
Daily Independent learnt that Yunusa who is also the President, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), had conveyed the position to cease operations to NCAA through a letter, which was addressed to Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General Civil Aviation (DGCA).
It was also gathered that the NCAA management had been having a marathon meeting with the management of Azman Air since Tuesday on its decision to quit operations.
The sources claimed that Yunusa, in the letter, told the NCAA that he was tired of running the business due to the myriads of challenges he was confronted with since the airline was established.
One of them said: “Azman Air has finally thrown in the towel. Its Chairman, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa, has already informed the NCAA that he was tired of running the airline. The airline has been in troubled waters for many months. It has suspended operations more than three times in the last one year.
“The fact is that more aviation professionals will become jobless as a result of this decision. Remember that the airline suspended flight operations about four months ago due to its inability to return its Boeing 737 aircraft that went for maintenance abroad more than six months.”
When Daily Independent contacted Mr. Nurudden Aliyu, the Public Relations Manager, Azman Air, he debunked the cessation claim.
Aliyu, however, said that the airline suspended operations a few months ago due to its failure to return its four aircraft that went on maintenance in and out of the country.
According to him, two of its airplanes are stuck in Turkey, while the other two remained in Nigeria.
Aliyu, however, assured that the airline would return to service by October, hoping that two of the airplanes in Turkey would have returned to service, while the other two would return later in the same month.
He also told Daily Independent that the airline would today hold a meeting with the Directorate of Air Transport Regulations (DATR) of NCAA, assuring that the carrier would return to service.
He said: “We are not ceasing our operations. We only suspended it. We have pulled out four of our airplanes for maintenance. We had hoped that they will return immediately, but since we could not get them back, we had to send our staff on leave of absence. But we are coming back, I can assure you of that.”
Recall that NCAA had in the last two years suspended Azman Air’s operations for various reasons, which included its N1.2 billion debt to NCAA.
The airline had to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NCAA in the first quarter of 2022 on how it would be paying back the said amount.
The airline had accused it of non-remittance of Ticket Sale Charge and Cargo Sale Charge (TSC/CSC).
Just on August 3, 2023, a memo, signed by Magaji Misau, its Human Resource Manager, with the title, ‘Placement of Leave without Pay,’ asked all of staff to proceed on leave with an exception of an under listed eight names.
The letter read in part: “As you are aware, our domestic operations has been put on hold for a while due to the conveyance of our aircraft for C-checks and the MROs has given a longer time of completion.
“In view of the above, the management directed to write and communicate its decision that all staff have been placed on leave without pay with effect from August 1, 2023.”
Azman Air commenced operations in 2014.