Travel News

Nigeria-Niger Republic flights remain suspended, FG insists - PUNCH

FEBRUARY 07, 2024

By Justice Okamgba

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency has aid the ban on flights between Nigeria and Niger Republic persists.

NAMA clarified that authorised exemptions to the ban include over-flight aircraft traversing Nigerian airspace, aircraft in a state of emergency, and special flights.

On July 26, 2023, Nigerien military junta ousted its duly elected President, Mohamed Bazoum in a coup and replaced him with General Abdourrahamane Tchiani.

As a result, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS closed land their borders with the Niger Republic and declared it a “No-Fly Zone.”

However, a statement on Tuesday by the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NAMA, Abdullahi Musa, recalled that following the coup d’état, the Economic Community of West African States convened an extraordinary summit to address the situation.

Among the resolutions adopted during the summit was the closure of ECOWAS member states land and air borders with Niger, along with the establishment of a no-fly zone for all commercial flights to and from Niger.

Musa added that in retaliation, the Niger government suspended flights into Nigeria and overflying planes.

The statement noted that on August 2, 2023, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development directed NAMA to issue a Notice to Airmen enforcing the no-fly zone on all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria.

“The statement read in part, “As of 0600 UTC on August 3, 2023, aircraft departing from or arriving at aerodromes within the Niamey Flight Information Region (FIR-Nigerien Airspace) were prohibited from entering Kano FIR until further notice.

“Following standard procedures, the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) transitioned into an Aeronautical Information Circular, AIC, on January 29, 2024. The AIC reiterated the suspension of all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria, as well as flights overflying Nigeria to Niger.

“However, certain exemptions were outlined, including over-flight aircraft passing through Niger airspace, aircraft in a state of emergency, and special flights. It is important to note that special flights require authorisation from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

“It is crucial to highlight that the suspension of flights can only be lifted by the Minister of Aviation and AeroSpace Development as approved by the Presidency and ECOWAS.”

Niger was among the three ECOWAS members that left the organisation on Sunday, January 28.

Cashless transactions rise to N611tn – NIBSS - PUNCH

FEBRUARY 08, 2024

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System disclosed on Wednesday that cashless transactions in the country rose to N611.06tn in 2023.

 It said the payments grew by 54.55 per cent year-on-year from N395.38tn in 2022.

NIBSS Instant Payments is an account-number-based, online real-time Inter-Bank payment solution developed in the year 2011 by NIBSS.

It is the Nigerian financial industry’s funds transfer platform that guarantees instant value to the beneficiary.

An analysis of data from NIBSS showed that electronic payment channels were used 11.05 billion times in 2023, a 75.96 per cent increase from the 6.28 billion times they were used in the prior year.

It showed that the total value of instant payments in 2023 was N600.36tn, and Point of Sales transactions was N10.7tn and relied upon for 1.38 billion times.

The firm noted that the figures, which hit an all-time high, indicated improvement in the acceptance of cashless payments by Nigerians.

While the e-payment data showed a steady increase throughout the 12 months of the year, the highest value was recorded in December, which was a festive period.

In December, Nigerians transacted up to N71.9tn over electronic channels.

 The NIBSS data showed that e-payment volume hit an all-time high of 1.1 billion in March 2023, when the country experienced cash scarcity and were forced to transact through electronic channels.

However, the value for March was not as high as what was recorded in December.

 Meanwhile, the volume of transactions processed by NIBSS for the year also jumped to 9.7 billion during the period under review from 5.1 billion in 2022, representing a 90 per cent increase year-on-year.

 A look at the value of electronic transactions month by month showed that Nigerians spent N38.9tn on electronic platforms in January and in the following month,e-payment value stood at N36.8tn.

 Similarly, in March 2023, the value of electronic transactions jumped to N48.3tn, driven by the scarcity of cash at that time.

Kenya Airways Commences Daily Flight To Nigeria - LEADERSHIP

FEBRUARY 09, 2024

Written by Ejike Ejike

The acting Kenya High Commissioner to Nigeria, Samuel Mogere as part of the initiative aimed at opening up Kenya to the world, the Kenya Airways will commence daily flights to Nigeria.

The high commissioner stated this in Abuja on Wednesday at the Magical Kenya road show.

He said the present government in Kenya is determined to unite Africa and part of the process is to ensure that Nigerians can travel easily and on a daily basis to Kenya without stress.

He also said the government of Kenya has introduced an online e-visa process where one can apply and get his or her visa approved to travel to Kenya without the rigorous process involved in visa processing before now.

Also speaking at the event, the marketing manager, Kenya Tourism Board, Alex Tunoi said the roadshow was a diversification strategy by the tourism board to increase arrivals from Africa as Africa is the focus of Kenya tourism.

The regional sales manager of Sarova Hotels and Resorts, Kenya Steve Biko said they are in Nigeria because Nigeria is an important market for Kenya with the large population and constant travellers. 

Recall that Kenya Airways had announced that direct flights between Nairobi and Abuja would begin on June 6, 2014.

The airline currently flies four times a week between its hub at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.


The direct flights to Abuja were usually on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Finnair: Airline starts weighing passengers with luggage to ensure a safe take-off - SKYNEWS

FEBRUARY 09, 2024

Finnair says the weigh-ins are "voluntary and anonymous" and will help it to ensure the airline does not exceed the set maximum weight an aircraft can bear before it takes off.

Finland's flagship airline has announced it is now weighing passengers - not just their luggage.

Finnair said the weigh-ins are "voluntary and anonymous" and will help to ensure the airline does not exceed the set maximum weight for a safe take-off.

Volunteer passengers will be weighed with their carry-on baggage, and only the customer service agent working at the measuring point will be able to see the total weight.

The collected data will not be linked in any way to a passenger's personal data, the airline said.

The voluntary weigh-ins have started taking place at the departure gates at Helsinki Airport.

The weight of the aircraft includes the weight of the plane itself, the fuel, checked baggage and cargo, onboard catering, water tanks - and passengers.

While airlines know the weight of all other aspects, the weight of passengers and their carry-on baggage is calculated using average weights provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The alternative option is for airlines to either use their own measurements or standard weights defined by the European Aviation Safety Authority EASA.

Since 2018, Finnair has used average weights determined by its own measurements, but the authorities require these figures to be updated every five years.

It said the time had come to collect new data to optimise the airline's aircraft balance calculations.

"In the previous measurements five years ago, a good number of volunteers wanted to participate in the weighing, and we hope to have a good sample of volunteers, both business and leisure travellers, also this time, so that we can get the most accurate information possible for important balance calculations," said Satu Munnukka, head of ground processes at Finnair.

Japa: Health Workers Kick As Nursing Council Introduces New Rules - DAILY TRUST

FEBRUARY 09, 2024

By Bisola Fatoye

Nigerian health professionals, including nurses, have condemned the new requirements set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) for anyone wishing to verify their certificate(s) with overseas nursing boards or councils.

The new standard requires Nigerian nurses and other health workers seeking verification of certificate(s) to foreign nursing boards or councils to have two years post-qualification experience.

In a memo dated February 7, 2024, the council said the updated criteria and procedures must be fulfilled by all applicants seeking the verification of certificate(s) to international nursing boards/councils.

The memo, which was signed by the NMCN Chief Executive Officer and registrar,  Dr Faruk Umar Abubakar, stated that “eligible applicants must have a minimum of two (2) years post qualification experience from the date of issuance of permanent practicing licence. Any application with provisional license shall be rejected outright.”

The notice also said that applicants must have an active practicing licence with a minimum of six months to expiration date.

Applicant must upload Certificate(s) of Registration only. Notification of Registration is not acceptable.

“Please note: Processing of verification application takes a minimum of six (6) months. All applicants shall ensure that complete requirements are met before initiating verification application as incomplete documentation shall not be processed,” it added.

However, nurses and other healthcare professionals have referred to the guidelines and standards as a violation of human rights.

They claimed that had been no instance of regulatory authorities demanding years of service or requiring work experience as a prerequisite for verification.

Below are some reactions from medical professionals:

@Ademidamolla said, “Aren’t we supposed to be moving forward? Verification that used to take 2 weeks is now 6 months. E buru leeyan o. Which one is post qualification experience again? Indirectly, a new qualified nurse can’t apply for verification niyen o… Olorun a re’ joda o.”

“So me that used to work in a military hospital would have gone to a General, a whole general to write NMCN because I want to relocate, a different healthcare professional. Oh, I see. They must be kidding.” stated @tana_lifted.

Also, @Nursebassey lamented, “Nurses are not the cause of the country’s current economic problems; we are neither sponsored nor trained by the government.”

“It is absolutely wrong to attach Nigerian nurses’ verification conditions to Chief Executive Officers who are always Medical Doctors,” stated a public health nurse on X under the handle @DTechNurse.

“Currently, nurses must have a doctor’s approval before they may advance in their careers. This choice needs to be overturned,” she said.

Additionally, @AlongeElijah said, “Stupid! We will notify @ICNurses, @WHO, and @UNHumanRights about this violation of human rights. I have been verified by different nursing body around the world. There has never been an occasion where regulating bodies asked for work experience or mandated years of service.

In response to these developments, Nigerian nurses also plan to hold a rally at the NMCN office in Abuja.

Nigerian nursing council demands 2yrs experience for overseas practice - THE GUARDIAN

FEBRUARY 09, 2024

The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria has announced revised guidelines and requirements for individuals applying for certificate verification with foreign nursing boards/ councils.

Applicants are now required to have at least two years of post-qualification experience from the date of issuance of their permanent practising licence.

The revised guidelines for verification of certificates was signed by the Registrar/Secretary General of NMCN, Dr. Faruk Abubakar, and posted on the council’s X page on Wednesday.

“Applicants are to visit https://licence.nmcn.gov.ng/ login to initiate verification application by clicking on the application link.

“A non-refundable fee per application shall be paid for verification to Foreign Boards of Nursing as specified on the portal. This shall cover the cost of courier services to the applicant’s institution(s) of training, place of work and Foreign Board.

“Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two years post-qualification experience from the date of issuance of permanent practising licence. Any application with provisional licence shall be rejected outrightly.

“The council shall request a letter of good standing from the Chief Executive Officer of applicant’s place(s) of work and the last nursing training institution attended and responses on these shall be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria. Please note that council shall not accept such letter(s) through the applicant.”

Greece to Raise Golden Visa Investment Amount in High-Rent Areas - BLOOMBERG

FEBRUARY 09, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- The Greek government is soon planning to increase the minimum amount that potential foreign property buyers must pay in areas with elevated rental prices in order to secure a Golden Visa, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday. 

“We are discussing a further increase in the threshold for investment which will cover all areas where there is significant pressure on rents,” Mitsotakis told lawmakers in Athens.

Greece has already doubled the amount needed to secure a Greek visa through property investment in popular destinations such as Athens and Thessaloniki as well as the islands of Mykonos and Santorini. In those places, investors must spend at least €500,000 in order to access the so-called ‘Golden Visa’ program. In the rest of the country, the threshold is still €250,000. 

While the premier didn’t specify the amount of the forthcoming increase, he said that in cities and islands where pressure on the housing market is acute, the threshold could increase to as much as €800,000. In areas where rents have remained stable, the amount could stay at the current level of €250,000. 

Since the Golden Visa program was introduced in 2013, Greece has received more than 25,100 applications and granted 17,184 permits to buyers seeking to live in the country. Chinese investors accounted for almost 60% of all visas issued, followed by 7% of Turkish investors. 

The program has boosted state revenues by “more than €2 billion since it started,” Mitsotakis said.  

Residential property prices in Athens have skyrocketed over the past few years, thanks in part to foreign interest, the country’s rebounding economy, and the low price points of the Golden Visa program. That in turn has led rental prices to increase. The price index for Greece’s capital city went up 11.9% in the third quarter of 2023 compared with the same period a year ago, according to Bank of Greece data. Previous quarters saw even higher hikes.

Booming tourism has also made it harder for locals to find places to live, as landlords have turned to short-term leasing of their homes through platforms such as Airbnb. To get a handle on the situation, the government introduced a program last year that grants low or interest-free loans to people younger than 39 who are seeking to acquire their first property.

Foreign airlines fear $200m loss over naira depreciation - PUNCH

FEBRUARY 09, 2024

By Justice Okamgba

The International Air Transport Association, the Geneva-based trade association representing world airlines, has expressed fears that foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, may lose about $200m to exchange rate depreciation.

IATA Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, Kamil Al Awadhi, said the issue of trapped funds was being exacerbated by the depreciation of the naira, which had dropped significantly against the dollar.  He spoke in an interview with CNBC monitored by our correspondent.

The IATA VP spoke against the backdrop of the over $700m foreign airlines’ ticket revenue reportedly still trapped in Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria last week said it had paid all verified debts owed foreign airlines but IATA in a swift response said foreign carriers operating in the country still had over $700m trapped in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, local travel agents under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies have asked foreign airlines in the country to release lower fares in their inventory or face severe consequences.

This came on the back of the CBN report of completing payments of foreign airlines debts.

However, IATA VP had insisted the CBN needed to complete all outstanding ticket revenue trapped in the country.

 “Airlines should not be unfairly penalised by the lower exchange rate,” the IATA VP warned in a statement last week.

But speaking to CNBC, AlAwadhi said, “You also have to take into consideration the blocked funds and the fair value of the blocked funds. If you have $720m blocked and then you devalue the naira by 30 per cent, you have wiped out over $200m of airlines’ money, and they have to compensate that.”

He added, “Airlines have lost a lot of money operating in and out of Nigeria and it continues to be so under the current environment.”

The naira has been in a free fall against the dollar in recent weeks.

Recently, the naira plunged from about 900/dollar to over 1,400/dollar at the official market.

The President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria, Mr. Kingsley Nwokoma, maintained that the naira was depreciating.

Nwokoma told The PUNCH, “I concur with IATA’s observation regarding the diminishing value of trapped funds. The worth of the naira today is different from its value five years ago or even last year. The crucial aspect is for the government to fulfill its payment obligations.”

He proposed that the Nigerian government should consider the possibility of establishing an arrangement with the airlines, considering periodic payments, either monthly or quarterly, as a viable solution.

“We have reiterated numerous times. The reality remains that the magnitude of trapped funds in our system is substantial,” he said.

Nwokoma added that as a result, passengers were opting to book flights from Togo and Ghana due to cost considerations.

Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced the completion of payments for all verified claims by foreign airlines, disbursing an additional $64.44m to the concerned parties.

The apex bank clarified that this recent payment brought the total verified amount disbursed to the air transport sector to $136.73m, adding that all verified claims from airlines had been settled.

Earlier, the President, NANTA, Susan Akporiaye, informed The PUNCH that the $61.64m paid to foreign airlines constituted a portion of the accumulated debts.

Akporiaye said, “The old debts are being settled at the prevailing rate when tickets are sold, with the exchange rate around N400/450 to one dollar. The debt, which was originally about $800m, has been reduced.”

Chart: Hajj registration slips to record low on naira devaluation - BUSINESSDAY

FEBRUARY 12, 2024

by  Folake Balogun 

Chart: Hajj registration slips to record low on naira devaluation

Hajj registration for the year 2024 is at the lowest level on record, with less than 50 percent registrations for the 95,000 available slots so far.

Latest data from the pilgrims welfare board show that only 16,000 have registered and at the high cost per pilgrim, the expectation is that some of those who have registered will pull out for inability to meet the financial burden made worse by the devaluation of the Naira.

The Naira devaluation has increased the hajj fare to N4.9 million for this year’s intending pilgrims from the initial minimum N4.5 million, according to data from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).

Fatima Usara, assistant director of Public Affairs of NAHCON said the low registration for Hajj is not peculiar to Nigeria. “Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries had also announced their inability to fill the slots given to them by Saudi Arabia.

“We don’t pray any action will be taken by Saudi Arabia for Nigeria not filling its slots, but I don’t think there will be any negative impact,” she said.

She called on Nigerians to embrace the Hajj Savings Scheme as it reduces the impact on the naira volatility. “The savings scheme, the way it is designed, is going to be the best solution to everybody, both the pilgrims and managers, because once you have your savings, you don’t have to be agitating on what to pay.

“Once your money is in the bank, it’ll be invested and with time and enough profit, the profit will be used to substitute whatever amount the hajj will cost,” she said.

In 2015, 91,000 Nigerian pilgrims performed hajj; while 77,000 people went in 2016; 70,000 people in 2017; 55,000 people in 2018 and 68,000 people in 2019.

International hajj pilgrims were barred in 2020 and 2021 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic but in 2022, Nigeria utilised all the 43,000 seats allocated to it. The country also filled all the 95,000 slots given to it in 2023.

Sequel to an adjustment in the methodology for setting the exchange rate, the naira slid to a record low on January 30, 2024 exchanging at N1,413 against the dollar at the official window.

NAHCON said in a statement that intending pilgrims for this year’s hajj from southern states were required to pay N4.9 million; those from northern states, N4.7 million and those from Yola and Maiduguri, N4.7 million.

The final dateline, which the commission gave intending for final payments to enable the commission to transfer the money to the service providers before the February 25 deadline set by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, elapses today.

The NAHCON had allocated a total of 75,000 hajj slots to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory and 20,000 to private tour operators.

Air Peace gets approval for international flights to New York’s JFK Airport - BUSINESSDAY

FEBRUARY 12, 2024

BY  Chigozirim Enyinnia 

The Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development has given the green light to Air Peace for international flights to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, USA. This decision comes after Air Peace submitted a request to the ministry on January 12, 2024, seeking approval for flights to New York.

In a letter dated February 9, 2024, the ministry, represented by director H.T. Ejibunu, conveyed the approval to Air Peace. The letter, referencing number FMA/ATMD/0186/S.5/X/696, highlighted that the approval aligns with the existing ‘Open Skies’ agreement between Nigeria and the United States.

The letter stated, “I am directed to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated January 12, 2024, on the above subject and convey the honourable minister’s approval for the designation of Air Peace Limited to operate commercial international flights into and out of John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, United States of America.”

Air Peace was advised to coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States for necessary documentation before commencing operations. The airline was also instructed to comply with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs) 2023 part 18.5.11 and liaise with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to fulfill requirements.

Currently, Air Peace operates regional and international flights. Some of the airline’s routes include Cameroon (Douala), Gambia, Ghana (Accra), Liberia (Monrovia), Senegal (Dakar), Sierra Leone, Togo, India, South Africa (Johannesburg), and Cote d’ivoire and now US.


This website uses cookies We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you've provided to them or that they've collected from your use of their services
Real Time Analytics