Exorbitant Airfares, Passenger Traffic Attracts International Airlines to Nigerian Airspace - THISDAY
BY Chinedu Eze
Aviation industry experts have lamented that international airlines are taking undue advantage of the exorbitant airfares and surge in passenger traffic in the Nigerian aviation sector to operate in the country.
The experts are of the view that international airlines are cashing out on Nigeria, thus making the country the most profitable destination in Africa.
The failure of foreign airlines to repatriate all their revenue from Nigeria and the devaluation of the naira with the merging of official and parallel exchange rates, have made airlines to charge high inventory fares, making the airlines record the highest profit per passenger on the Nigerian route.
According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), 16 international airlines operate into Nigeria and in 2022, the total inbound and outbound passenger traffic was 3, 503, 692, but industry experts projected that international passenger traffic in 2023 would surpass that of the previous year.
According to them, the first quarter of 2023 data indicated that more people travelled out of the country than the same period last year.
THISDAY gathered that economy class ticket from Lagos to London and Lagos to Paris and most European destinations, which cost around N1.5 million a month ago, now cost an average of N1.9 million to N2.2million depending on the airline.
For instance a Lagos to Paris economy class ticket on British Airways cost about $2,500, but using the N770 exchange rate to a dollar, it will amount to about N1.92million. Lagos to London economy class ticket on British Airways cost about $2,800 which amounts to about N2.15 million and Lagos to London economy class ticket on Qatar Airways cost around $2,900, which amounts to about N2.23 million.
Also, economy class ticket from Lagos to United States through connecting flights, which cost about N1.7 million a month ago is currently between N2.2 million and N2. 6 million and economy class ticket from Lagos to Atlanta, United States on Delta Air Lines cost about N2.4 million. The same ticket on Lufthansa and Qatar Airways, now cost around N2.6 million.
A Business class ticket from Lagos to London, Lagos to France and most European countries which cost about N2 million, now cost an average of N2.9 million to N3.4 million; while a Business class ticket from Lagos to London on Lufthansa Airline cost about N2.9 million and N3.4 million on Qatar Airways.
Also a Business class ticket from Lagos to the United States, which cost an average of N2.4 million a month ago now cost about N4.9 million on Qatar Airways and N6.9 million on Ethiopian airlines. Air Maroc appears to have the cheapest ticket on the route, costing about N2.4 million.
It is also observed that direct flights to destinations without connecting flights from airlines’ operating hubs cost more, but industry experts express surprise that instead of such high fares discouraging passengers from travelling, the airlines are witnessing surge and high load factor.
Former President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) and the Group Managing Director, Finchglow Holdings Limited, Mr. Bankole Bernard, told THISDAY that the high fares are not discouraging Nigerians from traveling because of three key factors.
Bernard said that other Africans do not have the same travelling culture as Nigerians, remarking that Kenya and Ghana, for example, have good quality schools so many of their students don’t travel overseas for education.
“Not travelling overseas for study can reduce the number of people who travel out of the country by 50 per cent. So, if Nigerians stay back from traveling overseas for studies it will significantly reduce passenger traffic. Also, Nigerians travel overseas for medical reasons and then we have a huge population, the biggest population not just in Africa but in the black race; so, you expect more people to travel from Nigeria,” Bernard said.
The former NANTA President also explained that it is the true that airfares from Nigeria is high but it is determined by supply and demand principles.
“Airlines are not charging high fares; it is demand that is pushing up the fares. We who sell the airlines ticket, we don’t do promotions because it is when you don’t have patronage that you do promotions; you don’t expect airlines to sell promo tickets when there is high demand,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, travel expert and the organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ambassador Ikechi Uko, told THISDAY that every airline operating into Nigeria is charging maximum fare and the flights are still recording full load.
“International passenger traffic rose in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year, while there was slump in passenger traffic on domestic travel in the same period. One can explain the reduction in domestic passenger traffic. After the election many people were disappointed so, there was reduction in movement. Things just slowed down. When you look at the airfares in Africa you will notice that Abuja and Lagos are the highest for the same flight period. The exchange rate and the airlines’ trapped funds prompted international carriers to charge maximum fares,” he said.
The Managing Director of Flight and Logistics Solutions Limited, Amos Akpan, said that Nigeria has huge passenger traffic, noting that there are also high expatriate population in Nigeria that also travel, like the Indians, Lebanese, Chinese and others, noting that Indians alone can fill flights to India three times a week.
He added that unlike Ethiopia that operates a hub, where Ethiopia Airlines may bring one million passengers and only 200, 000 would be dropping in Ethiopia while 800, 000 would connect flights to other destinations, but Nigeria constitute about 80 per cent of the travellers from Nigeria, while expatriate constitute the remaining 20 per cent.
“So, Nigeria has high number of air travellers. We don’t have a hub like Ethiopia and Kenya; if we have a hub, the population of the travellers at the airport will double because those connecting flights from other parts of Africa, especially West and Central Africa will grow the travelling population to double what it is today,” Akpan said.
Top destinations for Nigerian travellers amid soaring ticket prices - BUSINESSDAY
As ticket prices to Europe and United States continue to rise, Nigerians who are keen on exploring tourist attractions for summer are beginning to look at African destinations that offer cheaper fares and ease of accessing visas.
BusinessDay had reported that Nigerians have had to suspend their travel plans to the United States and Europe as a result of the increase in fares which has tripled as a result of the high exchange rate for ticket pricing.
Cost of air fares from Nigeria to various destinations have seen a sharp rise since exchange rate for ticket pricing hit over N760/$,
The development came few days after the Central Bank of Nigeria floated the naira and directed commercial banks to sell foreign exchange at market-determined rates.
An economy class tickets from Nigeria to Europe and United States cost as much as N2.2 million.
Nigerian travellers quickly had to respond to the increase by suspending their travel plans to Europe and United States.
However, African destinations have continued to gain traction as a result of their affordable fares and access to visa on arrival and e visas.
Susan Akporiaye, the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) president said Nigerians are now beginning to open their minds to exploring destinations in Africa.
“People are still traveling to South Africa despite the visa issues and the visa online platform that has been opened up is helping too; so that people can just do their online applications and travel.
“Other African countries that are opening up are Namibia, Kenya and Egypt. Egypt had been open since Dubai suspended flights into Nigeria. The Egyptians were very smart. They introduced some new innovations in their visa policy which really helped because Egypt was an alternative for Nigerians but the visa was the problem because people had to wait for almost three months for their visas. But this is no longer the case anymore.
“Egypt now has visa on arrival for people that have either a Schengen, UK, US or Canada visa. If you have any of these visas, no need going to the embassy. Just jump on the plane and you get your visa-on-arrival which is 50 dollars. This has helped a lot. Some travellers travelling to US, now stop over at Cairo for few days just to have fun, then proceed to US because of the ease of visa on arrival,” she explained.
She also mentioned that Rwanda is also very easy for Nigerians because it doesn’t require visa, adding that more Nigeria has ceased this opportunity to do business and go on holidays in Rwanda.
The e-visa systems mark a significant milestone in improving visitor experiences and promoting tourism.
By embracing digital advancements, these countries below have demonstrated their commitment to enhancing travel convenience and attracting more visitors from Nigeria.
South Africa Nigerians have continued to visit South Africa for tourism. Tourist attractions in South Africa include Table Mountain in Cape Town, Kruger National Park, The Garden Route, Robben Island, Cape Winelands, Blyde River Canyon, The Cradle of Humankind, The Wild Coast.
South Africa offers E visas to Nigerians. Economy class return ticket from Lagos to South Africa cost N975,000 on South African Airways, N1.1million on Ethiopian airlines and as high as N2.9million on KLM.
Business Class tickets on South African Airways cost between N2.9million, N2.7milliom on Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines
Known as the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills,’ Rwanda has numerous captivating tourist attractions that Nigerians have continued to crave to see. These attractions include Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Lake Kivu, Kigali Genocide Memorial, Akagera National Park, Inema Art Center, King’s Palace Museum, and Musanze Caves.
The country also provides E visa to Nigerian citizens.
Economy class return tickets from Lagos to Rwanda on Ethiopian Airlines cost N1.4m and on Qatar N2.4million. Business class tickets cost N3.1 million on Ethiopian Airlines and as high as N7 million on Qatar Airways.
Egypt is a country with a rich history and iconic landmarksnwhich include the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Museum, Luxor, Abu Simbel Temples, the Nile River, Alexandria (Egypt’s largest city, Sinai Peninsula, White Desert.
The country offers E visa to Nigerians and cost of economy class return ticket range from N1million on Qatar Airways and N4.2 million on Turkish Airlines. Business class tickets are sold for N3.2 million on Qatar Airways and N7.8million on Turkish Airlines.
Kenya is known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage also offers breathtaking sites for tourist such as: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Mount Kenya, Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Tsavo National Parks, Lamu Island, Nairobi National Park.
Kenya offers E visas for Nigerians. Economy class return tickets for Lagos to Kenya cost N922,000 on Rwandair, and about N1.1 million on Kenya Airways.
Business Class tickets cost N2 million on Rwandair and N3.1m on Kenya Airways.
Mauritius is a beautiful destination with a variety of tourist sites to explore. Some popular ones include Port Louis, Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, Seven Colored Earths, Le Morne Brabant, Black River Gorges National Park, Ile aux Cerfs, Grand Bassin, Casela World of Adventures.
Mauritius does not offer E visas to Nigerian citizens, but the country offers visas on arrival.
A return economy class ticket on Kenya Airways cost N1.2milliom, N1.6million on South African Airways, N1.8million on Ethiopian Airlines and N2.4million on Air France.
Business class tickets cost N2.8 million on Kenya Airways and N3.3 million on Air France.
Seychelles is a stunning destination with plenty of tourist sites to discover: Anse Source d’Argent, Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, Beau Vallon, Morne Seychellois National Park, Anse Lazio and Victoria amongst others. The capital city of Seychelles, Curieuse Island is a nature reserve and home to giant Aldabra tortoises and an array of unique wildlife species, Aldabra Atoll.
Seychelles offers E visas to Nigerian citizens. A return economy class ticket cost N700,000 on Ethiopian Airlines and N880,000 on Qatar Airways. Business class ticket cost N2.3 million on Ethiopian Airlines and as high as N5.2 million on Qatar Airways.
Cape Verde Cape Verde is a beautiful country with plenty of tourist sites to explore. The country boasts of tourist attractions such as Praia, Santiago Island, Mindelo, São Vicente Island, Sal Rei, Boa Vista Island, Cidade Velha, Santiago Island, Fogo Island, Santo Antão Island.
Cape Verde offers Nigerian travellers E visas but ticket prices are unavailable presently.
The Maldives offers stunning destination with breathtaking tourist sites such as: Male (its capital city) where travellers can experience the vibrant local culture.
Hulhumale, a man-made island near Male, is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters. There is also Maafushi, Baa Atoll, Ari Atoll, Vaadhoo Island.
Maldives offers E visas to Nigerian citizens. A return economy class ticket cost N1.4million on Qatar Airways. Business Class tickets cost N3.3 million on Qatar Airways.
Despite Guidelines, Nigerian Airlines Not Paying Compensation for Delays - DAILY TRUST
By Abdullateef Aliyu
- Remain Notorious For Cancellations, Other Infractions
- What Regulations Say
- Operators Kick As NCAA Mulls Full Refund For Passengers
- Lawyers Speak
Air travellers are appalled that owners of commercial airlines are getting away with infractions like undue delays, cancellations, among others in Nigeria, at the detriment of their passengers without being punished, Daily Trust on Sunday reports.
Findings revealed that the situation is not the same in other countries in Europe and the Americas, where passengers are heavily compensated by airlines once there is delay or cancellation outside what aviation regulations stipulate.
In Nigeria, the problem of flight delays and cancellations has become a hydra-headed monster in the aviation industry.
Many passengers who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday said the provisions on passengers' rights are being observed in breach. According to them, despite the provisions explicitly stipulated in the regulations, airlines usually delay flights without providing any form of succour.
Hajara Ismail, who works in Lagos, said she was delayed for more than eight hours by one of the airlines notorious for delays.
"I came to Abuja for weekend and booked with the airline to go back on Monday. It was an 8am flight and I was at the airport around 6:30am, but sadly, we were waiting until 9:30am when they announced that our flight had been delayed for two hours because of technical glitch.
"It was that so-called glitch that lingered until 4pm when we were evacuated. There was no serious apology and no refreshment. It is sad, Nigerians are being taken for a ride," she said.
Michael Miha said he missed a job interview because of the delay he suffered from Port Harcourt to Abuja.
"I am from Borno State and have a modest job in Port Harcourt, but I applied for another one in Abuja when a friend advised that I should go for it.
"Considering that the interview was scheduled for 10am, I booked a 7am flight and another one for 2:30pm to come back to Port Harcourt. To cut the story short, the one for Abuja delayed for 3 hours, and by the time we arrived, it took me over an hour from the airport to the venue. Everything was over and I missed the opportunity; and there was no compensation," he said.
Another passenger who shared an experience with our correspondent said, "I travelled from Lagos to Uyo recently and had an initial one hour delay due to weather. Finally ready to board at 0800, at the tarmac, all passengers were informed that no baggage would be loaded on the flight. Reason? The flight would operate with EMB-145. There was no fuel in Uyo, so they would lift fuel sufficient for Lagos-Uyo, plus next flight destination from Uyo.
"We were told that our bags would be sent to Abuja to connect the Abuja-Uyo flight, estimated to arrive in Uyo by 12:35. We arrived in Uyo at 0930. On arrival at Uyo, a fuel bowser came and refuelled the aircraft that brought us.
"What really was the reason for not carrying any of the passengers' baggage? Why would passengers wait for three hours plus in Uyo airport to receive their baggage from a flight they are not sure would bring the bags? Passengers are really suffering," she said.
Some of the passengers also blamed the regulatory authority for not being up and doing in addressing some of these challenges.
Otunba Ademola, a passenger said, "I had a bad experience with a Nigerian airline when it was still flying to London. Our flight was cancelled, and up till today, I have not been able to get a refund because the airline has stopped operating that route. I have made up my mind that I would not have anything to do with the airline again. Nigerian carriers need to wake up. They ought to have perfected this a long time ago."
Situation in other countries
This is, however, different from what is obtainable in developed countries, especially the Unites States and Europe, where passengers can claim huge amounts of money in compensation for delays.
For instance, in the US, there is a maximum of $700, roughly N525,000 at N750/$ (excluding accommodation and food costs, which airlines may have to cover) for delaying passengers.
But even short delays can incur penalties of $200 or more. Delayed flights can take off or land in any European Union (EU) nation, along with associated nations like Switzerland, Iceland and Norway (or the UK).
It was, however, gathered that for the compensation to be made, the airline must be at fault to some degree. Claims probably won't be accepted if extreme weather situations were to blame, which is classified as force majeure.
A Nigerian passenger told our correspondent how he was paid a compensation of $872, now N654,000 (including cost of feeding) by an airline in the US for delaying him for over three hours after the flight he was supposed to travel in was over-booked. He wondered why it is a different scenario in Nigeria.
"I was scheduled to travel from Washington to Pittsburgh and I was at the airport on time. I checked in my luggage and collected my boarding pass. However, when it was time for boarding, they discovered that there was no seat number on my boarding pass. They apologised and asked me to wait. After about 10 minutes, they discovered that my seat was given to a different passenger and the aircraft was fully booked.
"The man at the counter sincerely apologised and said it was a rare occurrence. He gave me another boarding pass to Pittsburgh en route New York, and at the same time, a cheque of $872 dollars as compensation. It was unbelievable. All these were completed in minutes," the passenger said.
Sunday Henry, who also suffered delay in the US, said he was compensated. "I was given money for the delay and refreshment while waiting for the next flight. It was awesome. It was very difficult to argue with the airliner because they treated you well and they genuinely apologised for the delay," he said.
"Here in Nigeria, passengers go through very traumatic experiences without any form of compensation. Very few airlines would bother to give you water and biscuits while waiting," he said.
Over the years, there has been a running battle between airlines and passengers over undue delays and cancellation of flights.
This has resulted in passengers going haywire and attacking staff of airlines and equipment at the airport.
The major attack was in April last year when some passengers of Max Air at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, went berserk over the delay of their flight, venting the anger on the airline staff while facilities of the airline were destroyed.
The same attack was recorded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos as Lagos-Kano passengers also took on the airline's staff for delaying the flight.
The situation angered the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), which issued a strongly worded statement, saying, "The unruly passengers that went after Max Air and destroyed the computer reservation systems further exacerbated the problem for other passengers going to other destinations."
The president of the AON, Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina added, "Such acts are completely unacceptable."
The several attacks on airline passengers have, however, not solved the problem of flight delays in the country's aviation sector, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered.
A report compiled by some aviation professionals estimated that over $52.7 million was lost annually to flight delays.
In the analysis of the cost impact of flight delays released by the General Sales and Solution Management Limited (GSSM), an aviation consultancy firm, the experts estimated that $4.3million was lost monthly to arrive at the yearly loss of $52.7m or N24.2 billion
The report released by the Founding Partner/Executive Director of GSSM, Babatunde Adeniji, came a few days after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) released the 2022 Executive Summary of International and Domestic Flight operations, indicating massive flight delays by the domestic airlines.
The summary indicated that 11 domestic airlines operated 80,328 flights with 47,144 of the flights delayed between January and December 2022.
The 11 airlines included Aero Contractors, Arik, Azman, Dana Air, Overland, Air Peace, Max Air, Ibom Air, United Nigeria, Green Africa and Value Jet.
Adeniji, in his analysis, explained that "report card was filled in red, showing that we failed as an industry to even make the pass grade.
"Domestic airlines as a whole were only punctual for 41 per cent of operated flights, with Ibom Air and Green Africa and Value jet (new entrants) being the outliers among the 11 operators," he said.
We're not exclusively responsible - Operators
However, airline operators insist that flight delays were inevitable in the circumstances they operate.
According to them, apart from unexpected technical glitches to aircraft, there are also occasions of force majeure, which might cause flight delays. These include heavy downpour, the harmattan haze, which reduces visibility during aircraft landing and take-off.
On its part, the AON listed other causes of flight delays to include inadequate parking space for aircraft on the apron sometimes leading to ground accidents, inadequate screening and exit points at departure, inefficient passenger access and facilitation, natural and unforeseen circumstances, such as weather and catastrophic failures (bird strikes and component failures), and restrictions caused by sunset airports, among others.
Also listed among the causes is VIP movements, especially in Abuja, the seat of power, which have often triggered massive flight delays and cancellations in some instances.
Efforts to speak to some of the airlines individually were not successful as all of them said they didn't talk in isolation as they have an umbrella body.
When contacted, the vice president of AON, Mr Allen Onyema, told our correspondent that 95 per cent of causes of flight delays were outside the control of the airlines.
He alleged that this is why passengers should always exercise restraint when flights are delayed because they are mostly not caused by them.
He said, "I still say it and I stand by it. The AON also stands by it. Ninety five per cent of the delays Nigerians experience flying domestic operations are caused by things beyond their control.
"Let's start with when you have your aircraft on ground and you need to get a spare part. To clear with Customs might take you days or weeks. There is another one called end user certificate. My aircraft was on the ground sometimes for three months to get an end user certificate because some parts of the aircraft are classified as dangerous goods. I am not exaggerating and other airlines are facing the same thing. Things like this deplete your capacity.
"Secondly, you talk of airport infrastructure. I have told you what is happening in Abuja. Once your flight leaves on time from here to Abuja during that peak time in the morning, all the airlines are cramped into one small place, which has no conveyor belt and you are given two counters each when Air Peace alone is doing 28 to 30 flights out of Abuja alone, not to talk of other airlines.
"Again, most airports don't have night landing facilities. So what you do in order not to cancel flights is to sacrifice Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt or Abuja, where you have night landing facilities. This is happening every day. Is that the fault of the airlines?
"You also have the issue of bird strike. Who is supposed to pursue the birds? Once you have a bird strike, where the aircraft is scheduled to go for that day would be affected," he said.
He decried that airlines and their staff had suffered undue attacks over the delay of flights, saying, "We need to be protected."
Existing regulations on flight delays, cancellations
The immediate past Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, once said the passengers' rights were protected in the existing civil aviation regulations.
According to him, on domestic flight delays beyond one hour, the carrier should provide refreshment and one telephone call, one text message or e-mail. They should send you an SMS or email, or call you to say, 'I am sorry, I am delaying for one hour.'
"For a delay of two hours and beyond, the carrier shall reimburse passengers the full volume of their tickets.
"Delay between 10pm and 4am, the carrier shall provide hotel accommodation, refreshment, meal, two free calls, SMS, email and transport to and from airport," Sirika said, noting that the same rules would also be applied to international flights.
Part 19.6 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CAR) 2015 as amended, which talks about domestic flights delays states, "When an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure, it shall provide the passengers with reason for the delay within 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time and the assistance specified thus: after two hours, refreshment as specified in section 19.10.1, and telephone calls, SMS and e-mails as specified in section 19.10.2 ; beyond three hours, reimbursement as specified in Section 19.9.1(i) ; and at a time beyond 10pm till 4am, or at a time when the airport is closed at the point of departure or final destination, the assistance specified in sections 19.10.1(iii)and 19.10.1(iv) (hotel accommodation and transport)
In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers concerned shall, according to section 6 of the part: (i) Be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with sections 19.6 and; (ii) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with sections19.9.1(i) and 19.9.2, as well as, in the event of re-routing when the reasonably expected time of departure of the new flight is at least the day after the departure as it was planned for the cancelled flight, the assistance specified in Sections 19.9.1(ii) and 19.9.1(iii) ; in respect of domestic flights, have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier in accordance with section 19.10 unless they are informed of the cancellation at least twenty-four hours before the scheduled time of departure."
An aviation analyst, Sheri Kyari, an engineer, said it would be a welcome development if the new regulations stipulated 100 per cent refund to passengers.
He said, "Definitely, this will help to wake up airlines to their responsibility to their customers. Secondly, it should make them see the necessity to go into code sharing, where they can check in passengers into other airlines rather than cancel flights and refuse to refund passengers their money for them to move on to other carriers. This will be great for passengers. In fact, not only refunding 100 per cent but with a 10 per cent of the air fare to fully compensate them.
"To be sure passengers are well compensated requires full implementation by the Authority and, may be, passengers having class actions in courts against erring airlines. When airlines find out they are losing a lot they will sit up. This can also lead to airlines reducing their flight schedules to manageable numbers because as it stands today, airlines try to operate very unrealistic schedules with fewer aircraft in the fleets."
The Director of Training and Research, Zenith Travels, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo said the regulations had been there but there has not been compliance and sanction.
"I think it has always been there. I just hope the airlines would see how they would comply with these regulations and also avoid this issue of cancellation by going into code-sharing with other airlines to lift their passengers and then work out remittance. So the rules have always been there to help passengers in terms of distress and flight cancellations and delays, but sanction for non-compliance has always been the issue," he said.
The general manager, Public Relations of the NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, in a chat with our correspondent said, "The NCAA position is that passengers are the reason we are in business.
"The NCAA will back an operator of a flight that is to be delayed on account of bad weather or have issues with fuelling or engine problems or any other snag. But passengers must be carried along. Anything short of that will not be allowed by the Authority. Violation of our regulations is viewed seriously in the NCAA and appropriate sanction is meted out accordingly."
'Why we're against new regulation'
Onyeama said the issues he raised were partly the reason airline operators expressed reservation over the new regulations being proposed by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which stipulates 100 per cent refund for passengers who suffered flight cancellations.
Recall that the director-general of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Captain Musa Nuhu recently hinted about the proposal to ensure that air passengers would get 100 per cent instant refund anytime an airline cancels a flight.
He said, "We are currently reviewing our regulations to review what's done in the past that gives some days for refund if my flight is cancelled.
"What we have in the new regulation that will be signed into law very soon when it is all cleaned up is that if you cancel my flight you should put me on another flight or give me the option of getting a refund immediately so that I can make other plans," he said.
Passengers can sue airlines if ...
An Abuja-based lawyer, Chinelo Ogbazor Esq said airlines could be sued for damages if they breach the contract with their customers through cancellation of flights or inability to mitigate the loss incurred by a customer.
"If it is the act of God or acts or state beyond the control of the airlines, then parties will bear their respective costs," she said.
However, Kenechukwu Ifekwe said airlines may not be liable if they expressly stated in their terms and conditions what may happen in the course of the transaction.
"They are very smart and cover their failings using the terms and conditions. In Nigeria the refunds and lodgements are not made as of asking, it is very hard" he said.
Passengers can sue airlines if ...
An Abuja-based lawyer, Chinelo Ogbazor said airlines could be sued for damages if they breach the contract with their customers through cancellation of flights or inability to mitigate the loss incurred by a customer.
"If it is the act of God or acts or state beyond the control of the airlines, then parties will bear their respective costs," she said.
However, Kenechukwu Ifekwe said airlines may not be liable if they expressly stated in their terms and conditions what may happen in the course of the transaction.
"They are very smart and cover their failings using the terms and conditions. In Nigeria the refunds and lodgements are not made as of asking, it is very hard," he said.
Travelers groan as international air fares skyrocket - THE NATION
- Airlines’ $812.2 million remains trapped in Nigeria
Nigerians traveling abroad are now struggling to meet up with rising air fares as the fluctuation of foreign exchange bites the air travel sector.
Many of the passengers have now resorted to booking and paying for their oversea trips in neighbouring countries including Ghana , Benin and Republic of Togo where lower fares are obtainable.
An investigation by The Nation showed that fares on international routes from Nigeria have been on the rise over the last few months and especially so since the introduction of the single forex market.
Most hit by the development are flights to Europe , Middle East and the United States.
Passenger traffic,which usually peaks on the approach of summer,has dipped considerably owing to the rising air fares.
The spike in fares is one of the direct results of the depreciation of the naira brought about by the cancellation of the parallel forex market.
International air fares are often denominated in the US Dollars.
A passenger who does not want to be named said the situation has forced many intending travellers to weigh their options before embarking on any trip.
The global airlines’ body International Air Transport Association (IATA) said, last week, that the increase in fares was inevitable since they are denominated in dollars and converted into the local currency, for sale in the Nigerian market.
These conversions, IATA said, use the official prevailing exchange rate provided by the country’s financial system.
These conversions, IATA said, use the official prevailing exchange rate provided by the country’s financial system.
” IATA simply applies the spot rate at which the Central Bank of Nigeria sells USD through banks to the market, at its fortnightly retail foreign exchange auctions,” it said.
“The rate is not static. If the rate at which the CBN sells US Dollars goes up, the exchange rate applied to airfares will follow and vice versa.”
Under the new dispensation, a Lagos / London return trip now attracts an average of N1.4million,according to the booking inventory by a travel management company.
A July 2,2023 booking for direct flight costs N1.2 million for a direct flight.
A direct / transit / connecting flight on Royal Dutch KLM Airlines on the same day goes for N1.3 million.
On Air France, booking for the same date for direct flight costs N1.4 million . Transit / connecting flight on the Lagos / London route is going for N3.4 million.
On Lufthansa German Airlines, booking for the same date on direct routing is going for N1.5 million. Connecting / transit flights are going for the same amount.
On Ethiopian Airlines, booking for direct flights on the same destination is going for N1.5 million.
Connecting / transit flights on the same destination is going for N1.6 million.
Booking options to Dubai,UAE, a favourite destination for many Nigerian travellers, offer intriguing rates.
Direct booking on Ethiopian Airlines for July 2, 2023 is N1.2 million while transit / connecting flights for the same routes for July 2, 2023 has on offer a fare structure of N1.6 million.
On Qatar Airways, booking for the same travel date is offering a fare regime of N1.8 million for direct routing. Connecting/ transit flights for the same date present same fare.
For travels to continental United States- Lagos / New York for July 2, 2023 the fare offering on Royal Air Maroc is going for N1.6 million , Ethiopian Airlines N1.9 million , Air France N2.5 million , Delta Airlines N2.5 million and Kenya Airways N2.7 million; which are on direct routing regime.
Foreign carriers say they currently have over $812.2 million from ticket sales trapped in Nigeria.
Nigeria is ahead of Bangladesh with $214.1 million , Algeria with $196.3 million , Pakistan with $188.2 million and Lebanon trailing fifth with $141.2 million.
IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Willie Walsh, said at the recent Annual General Meeting & World Transport Summit of the world’s airline body in Istanbul, Turkey, that rapidly rising levels of blocked funds constituted a threat to airline connectivity in the affected markets.
The industry’s blocked funds , Walsh said, increased by 47 percent to $2.27 billion in April 2023 from $1.55 billion in April 2022.
Walsh said, “Airlines cannot continue to offer services in markets where they are unable to repatriate the revenues arising from their commercial activities in those markets.
“Governments need to work with industry to resolve this situation so airlines can continue to provide the connectivity that is vital to driving economic activity and job creation.”
IATA urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate these funds arising from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.
Speaking on the development, an industry analyst and Head, Strategy, Zenith Travels, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, said international fares out of Nigeria were on the rise because of Nigerian carriers’ inability to compete on international routes.
According to him, foreign carriers, having suffered from the trapped funds and based on the international trade agreement to remit revenue at the time of sales of tickets have lost money to the new rate of exchange.
He said : ” Except there is compliance with that condition, higher fares will continue on Nigerian routes.The consequence of this is that travel agencies are losing patronage, which could get worse, triggering loss of jobs. Intriguingly, many passengers are running to neighbouring countries , or friends and relatives abroad who could buy tickets for them directly with dollars or other foreign currencies on the website and send for their people to travel.
“These are the factors that affect passenger traffic in and out of Nigeria due to high naira rates for the air tickets. If you have dollars, it is cheaper to procure tickets than if you are looking at purchasing it in naira. Majority of Nigerians would have to use naira, this presents a downside to the development. The Nigerian market is peculiar , because of our penchant for travel and inability to analyse the market and reverse it to our advantage.
” Significantly, travel out of the country from the Lagos and Abuja axis is huge for first class and business class , which is building up irrespective of the fares.
” The only way we could bring this down , given that these foreign carriers are the only ones dominant on the routes , will trigger demand and supply disruptions.
” The lower demand for travel now is only on economy fares and private travel .”
On the way out of the crisis,Ohunayo canvassed increased capacity on international routes for Nigerian airlines either as flag carriers or national carriers must join the fray for partnership . “It is only at such points or conditions that air fares could witness some significant reduction.”
European Airline Passengers Face Risk of Another Traffic Overload Summer - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- European airline passengers risk another summer of travel chaos as destinations including Budapest, Marseille and Athens face an overload of air traffic during the peak travel season.
The warning was issued by Eurocontrol, the organization overseeing air space in Europe. According to a European Network Operations Plan published Friday, air traffic reached pre-pandemic levels last week, putting additional strain on the system as airlines and ground services still grapple with staffing shortages and strikes flaring up across the region.
“We have emphasized that the aviation summer could be very challenging, especially if higher traffic levels coincide with unforeseen events like bad weather or industrial action that hamper the smooth functioning of air traffic operations,” a spokesperson for Eurocontrol said.
There were more than 34,000 flights last week on Friday, and about 33,000 flights are set go ahead per day between July and August, Eurocontrol wrote in its plan. Although airports are predicting smoother operations, staffing issues could put pressure on hubs, especially if there are network disruptions, Eurocontrol said.
Airline executives have spoken out about the possibility of disruptions this summer as demand soars. Jozsef Varadi, the chief executive officer of Wizz Air Holdings Plc, previously said that airline operations won’t be perfect this summer following a chaotic travel season last year, but he expected the industry to be more robust and resilient to tackle any problems.
Meanwhile, Ryanair Holdings Plc CEO Michael O’Leary has lamented flight cancellations because of strikes by air traffic controllers in France. The Irish budget airline scrapped 130 flights last week and 400 flights in early June because of the protests.
This summer is set to experience an additional challenge because the Ukraine war has limited the amount of available airspace, Raúl Medina, Eurocontrol’s director-general, said during an Airports Council International meeting with delegates in Barcelona last week, according to The Times.
Nearly 2,000 Air Canada flights delayed, cancelled over long weekend - THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL — Air Canada delayed or cancelled nearly 2,000 flights over the Canada Day long weekend in what one expert said could be a taste of more troubles ahead for passengers.
Roughly half of all trips by the country's biggest airline — including its lower-cost Air Canada Rouge and regional partner Jazz Aviation — were disrupted Saturday through Monday, according to figures from tracking service FlightAware.
The 1,965 flight delays and cancellations stand in contrast to figures from some other Canadian carriers such as WestJet, Air Transat and Flair Airlines, which registered lower flight disruption levels.
They also mark an uptick from the previous weekend, despite an unplanned shortage of air traffic controllers at Nav Canada that snarled the travel plans of thousands during that period.
Posts and photos of snaking lines and bulging terminals at airports in Toronto and Montreal plastered social media over the past few days, as passengers vented their frustration about late takeoffs and customer service in a throwback to scenes of post-pandemic airport chaos a year ago.
“It is a sea of humanity and mayhem at the Montreal airport this afternoon," passenger Andrew Holland said in a Twitter post Monday evening.
"Stranded bags and delayed flights and huge lineup for taxis. Makes the experience at Pearson in Toronto last week feel like a picnic."
Air Canada pointed out that the air travel sector is now in the throes of its summer peak, with 140,000-plus customers boarding the airline's planes daily.
"Our top priority is to ensure everyone travels safely, even if it requires extra time," spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said in an email.
Bloated flight schedules and fewer spare planes play a role in travel turmoil, said John Gradek, who teaches at McGill University's aviation management program, adding that disruption figures are trending upward.
"There's a lot of people flying, planes are full, and there's there's very little operational reliability or operational backup," Gradek said.
"If an airplane craps out, for whatever reason — mechanical things do happen — you've got to fix the airplane before you go. So you automatically take these these monstrous delays or you cancel."
Air Canada is running a more "tightly wound" schedule after the revenue collapse prompted by COVID-19 travel restrictions, Gradek added, with the company operating at roughly 90 per cent of its pre-pandemic flight capacity.
The carrier echoed that message, pointing out how it may take longer to recover from a wrench in the gears of any system operating at full tilt.
"For example, when thunderstorms halt our operation, as we saw over the recent weekend in the U.S. northeast, we may require more time than scheduled to get aircraft into position for their next flights," Fitzpatrick said.
He added that Air Canada is fully staffed, with more employees than in the summer of 2019, despite running fewer flights.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2023.
Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)
Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
Nigeria passenger traffic grew 60% in four years – Report - PUNCH
By Damilola Aina
The Bank of America has said the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank may need to increase interest rates by at least 700 basis points before the end of the year to curb inflation.
In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, the bank’s sub-Saharan Africa Economist, Tatonga Rusike, said the hike was necessary to tackle soaring inflation occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal and unification of foreign exchange.
Rusike explained that at the current trend, inflation may quicken to 30 per cent by the end of the year from 22.4 per cent in May, noting that the nation’s apex bank may need to push up the rates.
He further warned that if this decision was not taken, foreign investors might exercise caution before investing in the country.
“Inflation may quicken to 30% by the end of the year from 22.4% in May and that will require a monetary policy response from the central bank – effectively, interest-rate hikes by at least 700 basis points.
“If the negative real interest rate is not reversing, then it is less likely to see foreign inflows coming into the country,” Rusike said adding that “it is less likely they (CBN) will do such level of increases,” he said.
The PUNCH reports that the CBN, in record-breaking moves has been increasing the country’s interest rates since last year.
At its last Monetary Policy Committee meeting held in May 2023, the benchmark interest rate was further pushed forward by 0.5 per cent to 18.50 per cent from 18.00 per cent in March.
The raise has however not slowed Nigeria’s soaring inflation which hit 22.41 per cent in May 2023 compared with 22.22 per cent in April 2023.
In its report last month, the National Bureau of Statistics attributed the increase in the average prices of goods and services in the month under review to the 24.82 per cent jump in the food inflation rate.
Nigeria set to get its first electric taxi fleet shortly - ZAWYA
Possible EVS plans to expand to over 200 e-taxis across major cities by mid-2024
Abuja-based startup Possible EVS is set to launch its first fleet of electric taxis in Nigeria.
The company’s fleet will have 30 vehicles initially, with plans to expand to over 200 electric taxis across major Nigerian cities by mid-2024, Vanguard News reported.
The e-taxis will provide last-mile solutions for intra- and inter-city trips, offering shared travel options.
To support the operation of the electric taxis, the startup will establish charging stations across Abuja, serving as a pilot program for future expansion, said CEO and founder Mosope Olaosebikan.
(Editing by Seban Scaria [email protected] )
Nigeria’s average passengers’ airfare increased by 34% in May - THE GUARDIAN
By Oluyemi Ogunseyin
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that the average fare paid by air travellers in Nigeria increased by as much as 34% in May 2023.
The NBS disclosed this in its Transport Fare Watch Report for the month in question which was released in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to the report, Kebbi State recorded the highest air transport fare (for specified routes, single journeys) in May with N80,000.
This was followed by Bayelsa with N79,050 while Abia recorded the least with N69,800 as the average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes for a single journey increased astronomically within a year.
The NBS said further that the fare increased on a year-on-year basis from N55,906.86 in May 2022 to N74,948.78 in May 2023.
It, however, failed to disclose the reasons behind the significant rise witnessed in the prices of airfares within the period under review.
The NBS nevertheless stated that experts have attributed the high prices in airfares and transportation generally to the fluctuating prices of aviation fuel and forex scarcity.
“In air travel, the average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey increased by 0.002% on a month-on-month basis from N74,947.30 in April 2023 to N74,948.78 in May 2023,” the NBS said.
According to the NBS report, the Transport Fare Watch for May 2023 covers bus journeys within the city per drop in regular route.
It also covers 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.
The report said the average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city per drop increased by 0.23 per cent in May as N649.59 was recorded relative to N648.12 in April.
On a yearly basis, the NBS in its report said that the average fare rose by 11.66 per cent from N581.79 recorded within the same quarter in May 2022.
In another category, the NBS said the average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity per drop in May was N4,002.16.
“This signifies an increase of 0.19 per cent on a month-on-month basis compared to the N3,994.51 recorded in April,” the NBS noted.
On a year-on-year basis, the NBS said the bus journey fare rose by 9.09 per cent from N3,668.64 last year in May.
Similarly, the report noted that the average fare paid on motorcycle transportation in May was N464.55, a 0.49 per cent increase from the rate recorded in April (N462.29).
“On a year-on-year basis, the fare rose by 11.30% compared with the value in May 2022, which was N417.39,” the report said.
It said the average fare paid for water transport (waterway passenger transportation) in May stood at N1,045.15, showing an increase of 1.39 per cent from N1,030.83 in April.
Also, on a year-on-year basis, the rate increased by 10.99 per cent from N941.63 in May last year.
As the world gets hotter, millions of workers face up to the challenge of heat stress and productivity losses - CNBC
- The consequences of a warmer planet are going to be multifaceted, affecting billions of people.
- A recent report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers sketched out how workers could be affected as temperatures rise.
- Warmer working environments, especially for people who have roles outdoors, can create some very challenging scenarios indeed.
Europe was gripped by punishing heat waves in the summer of 2022, with wildfires, droughts and deaths highlighting what many around the world already know: Weather extremes can have devastating, real-world consequences.
When it comes to temperatures in warmer months, the direction of travel seems to be going one way.
The U.K.’s Met Office is projecting that summers in the country will be between 1 and 6 degrees Celsius warmer by 2070, and as much as 60% drier. It adds that global heat waves linked to climate change are likely to increase. Just this week it said last month was the U.K.’s hottest June on record.
The overall picture is challenging. In May 2023, the World Meteorological Organization said there’s “a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.”
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The consequences of a warmer planet are going to be multifaceted, affecting billions of people — and the world of work is no exception.
A recent report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) sketched out how employees could be affected as temperatures rise.
“Thermal comfort is very important in a workplace and if it is not achieved, morale, productivity, health and safety will all likely deteriorate,” the analysis said.
According to those involved in the report’s production, warmer working environments can create some very challenging scenarios indeed.
“There’s a whole range of things in addition to just people becoming fatigued and exhausted and not being able to focus on the industrial tasks they’re trying to undertake,” Tim Fox, its lead author, told CNBC.
That includes “increased potential for accidents, because people’s cognitive thinking isn’t as sharp as it would normally be.”
Issues relating to productivity also apply to equipment, facilities and buildings, Fox said. “Overheating ultimately results in economic productivity loss, [it] impacts on national and international economics.”
Sectors bearing the brunt
Fox and his co-authors are not alone in highlighting the difficulties of a hotter world.
In 2019, the International Labour Organization published a report which contained some sobering details.
“The economic losses due to heat stress at work were estimated at US$280 billion in 1995,” the U.N. agency said.
This, it added, “is projected to increase to US$2,400 billion in 2030, with the impact of heat stress being most pronounced in lower-middle- and low-income countries.”
The ILO’s report also highlighted which sectors would likely bear the brunt of rising average temperatures.
Workers in Italy picking grapes, August 2022. People who work outdoors are expected to be significantly affected by rising average temperatures.
Marco Bertorello | AFP | Getty Images
Those working in construction and agriculture, it said, were “expected to be the worst affected, accounting for 60 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, of working hours lost to heat stress in 2030.”
Heat stress is a serious matter. The ILO describes it as referring to “heat received in excess of that which the body can tolerate without physiological impairment.”
Other outdoor jobs may be affected, too. In his interview with CNBC, Fox highlighted the potential challenges faced by workers in oil refineries, gas plants and chemical works.
All the above roles, he said, involve “quite a lot of external activity,” with workers also needing to wear personal protective equipment, or PPE, thanks to the nature of their job.
“This clothing can be quite cumbersome … and quite hot to wear, even under cold conditions,” Fox said.
That in turn makes employees “particularly at risk or vulnerable to … these sort of conditions.”
Factories are another area of concern. Fox noted that buildings of this type haven’t particularly been designed with heat ingress — especially extreme heat ingress — in mind.
“They’re full of equipment that’s generating a lot of heat, and it’s very difficult for factories, buildings, big warehouse buildings, to passively cool themselves,” he said.
Air conditioning is common in offices, but that’s not the case everywhere, he added.
Fox noted that office buildings in countries with temperate climates, like the U.K., “can get quite hot” because not a lot of air-conditioning had been installed.
Tackling the problem
The overall situation appears grave. For many, preparation and adaptation will be crucial.
The IMechE says this will involve “changes to the design of buildings, infrastructure and other physical assets and systems, both with regard to those that already exist and those that are yet to be built or manufactured, as well as the work, educational, leisure and other activities that humans undertake.”
In a statement issued alongside its report in April, the organization said it also wanted an urgent update to “guidance related to heat impacts on the workforce” so firms can come up with plans and enact changes in their working environments.
At the time, Laura Kent, the IMechE’s public affairs and policy advisor, referenced the challenges authorities face.
“We acknowledge that it would be difficult for the Health and Safety Executive to set a meaningful upper temperature limit due to variations between industries in both working conditions, required PPE and workload,” she said.
“However, HSE guidance needs to be updated to support sectors and industry in the development of appropriate strategies.”
The HSE did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment ahead of this story’s publication.
A street sweeper cools off at a fountain in Ronda, Spain, on July 21, 2022.
Jorge Guerrero | AFP | Getty Images
In other parts of the world, plans are being made to ban work when it’s too hot.
In May, for instance, Spain’s Minister of Labour and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, tweeted that carrying out “certain jobs during daylight hours” in extreme temperatures would be prohibited.
Speaking to reporters, Díaz said such prohibitions would take effect when AEMET, the State Meteorological Agency, issues red or orange weather alerts.
Citing Spain’s Labour Ministry, Reuters said the move would affect roles in sectors like agriculture and street cleaning. According to Reuters, in the summer of 2022 a street-sweeper in Madrid died from heatstroke.
Trade unions are also making their voice heard when it comes to working in extreme conditions.
Take Unite the Union, which has a presence in Britain and Ireland. It’s listed a range of advice provided by its health and safety representatives to both workers and employers.
Among other things, it stresses the importance of adequate ventilation for internal workspaces, the provision of cover for workers who are in direct sunlight, and stopping all work in extreme conditions.
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Among a wide range of actions, Fox stressed the importance of design in creating safe and comfortable working environments in the face of hotter weather.
He said there needs to be a completely new approach to cooling that does not rely on the use of air conditioning, which has a significant environmental footprint.
“We need to explore … more traditional solutions of natural ventilation, use of shade, internal courtyards,” Fox said.
He noted that there’s “an awful lot” that can be done to prepare for the future. Raising awareness would be key. “In many cases, industries and workforces are just not aware that this challenge is coming, and are not preparing for it,” he said.
On top of that, identifying priorities in research and development and updating engineering methodologies and approaches would be needed.
Unless something is done, there will be, “in the coming years and decades, an increase in the economic impact of more extreme heat waves and just the general raising of the ambient seasonal temperature,” Fox warned.