Travel News

Ryanair cabin crew in Spain announce 12 new days of strikes in July - REUTERS

JULY 03, 2022


  • Spain-based cabin crew at Ryanair plan to strike for 12 days this month to demand better working conditions, the USO and SICTPLA unions said on Saturday.
  • The strikes planned for later this month raise the prospect of travel chaos as the summer tourist season gets under way.
  • The announcement came on the final day of the crews’ current strike, which began on Thursday and forced Ryanair to cancel 10 flights in Spain on Saturday.

A Ryanair aircraft, which was carrying Belarusian opposition blogger and activist Roman Protasevich and diverted to Belarus, where authorities detained him, lands at Vilnius Airport in Vilnius, Lithuania May 23, 2021. A Ryanair aircraft, which was carrying Belarusian opposition blogger and activist Roman Protasevich and diverted to Belarus, where authorities detained him, lands at Vilnius Airport in Vilnius, Lithuania May 23, 2021. Andrius Sytas | Reuters

Spain-based cabin crew at Ryanair plan to strike for 12 days this month to demand better working conditions, the USO and SICTPLA unions said on Saturday, raising the prospect of travel chaos as the summer tourist season gets under way.

The announcement came on the final day of the crews’ current strike, which began on Thursday and forced Ryanair to cancel 10 flights in Spain on Saturday.

Cabin crew will strike on July 12-15, 18-21 and 25-28 across the 10 Spanish airports where Ryanair operates, the unions said in a statement.

“The unions and crew of Ryanair ... demand a change of attitude from the airline,” they said in a statement, calling for Ryanair to resume negotiations over issues including payment of the minimum wage.

The unions also urged the government “not to allow Ryanair to violate labour legislation and constitutional rights such as the right to strike”.

In a statement on Saturday, Ryanair said it expected “minimal (if any) disruption to its flight schedules in July as a result of minor and poorly supported Spanish labour strikes”.

It added that “Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes and airport staff shortages across Europe (which are beyond Ryanair’s control) may however cause some minor disruption and passengers whose flights are disrupted... will be notified by email/SMS.”

Ryanair cabin crew unions in Belgium, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy had taken strike action in recent days but the low-cost airline said less than 2% of its flights scheduled over last weekend had been affected. 

Airline workers across Europe have been staging walkouts as the sector adapts to a resumption of travel after pandemic lockdowns were lifted. Staff shortages have been blamed for lengthy delays and queues.

Spain-based cabin crew at easyJet are striking for nine days this month for higher pay. The airline cancelled five flights from Spain on Saturday.

Workers at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport went on strike on Friday and into Saturday, forcing cancellation of about 10% of flights. 

In Portugal, also a top holiday destination, there are no ongoing strikes but 65 flights to and from Lisbon were expected to be cancelled on Saturday due to “a set of constraints at various European airports”, said airport management company ANA.

The Portuguese situation has predominantly affected services of airline TAP, which did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Long lines formed at TAP’s support desk in Lisbon as frustrated passengers tried to either re-book or get a refund.

Cedi to cross GH¢8 per dollar amid cost-of-living protests - GHANAWEB

JULY 03, 2022

*UK pledges IMF reserves for African post-COVID recovery*

The UK is the first of the world’s wealthy nations to assign its special
drawing rights to the African Development Bank to channel cash to the
continent’s poorest economies.

The IMF last year allocated $650bn of funds to member nations to help
tackle the coronavirus pandemic, but poorer countries received a
significantly smaller slice of the funds because the IMF split the SDRs
in part according to the size of a country’s economy.

That meant African nations received $33bn in total—the same as France
and Italy combined and less than half the amount for the US. African
leaders say the continent needs at least $100bn.

The plan builds on an initiative of the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa for SDRs to be utilised to enhance the IMF´s
capacity to support countries in need, leveraging the multilateral
development banks and creating a new Liquidity and Sustainability
Facility (LSF) to lower the liquidity premium on sovereign bonds offered
by developing countries.

AfDB will use the pledged reserves to leverage 4 times as much in funds.
With the AfDB in talks with other countries including Canada and France,
there is hope for meaningful amounts being deployed, providing much
needed relief.

*Record low Naira to see further losses*

The Naira slumped to a fresh record low against the dollar this week on
the unofficial market, trading at 615 from 611 at last week’s close.

Nigerian bakers are threatening a two-week strike in July unless the
government intervenes to tackle the rising cost of flour and other
baking ingredients.

Meantime, large fuel subsidy payouts by Nigeria’s national oil company
have constrained its ability to make full contributions to the
government for a fifth straight month. This was exacerbated by higher
global fuel prices, forcing the federal tax agency to step in and fill
the gap. We expect to see further Naira depreciation in the near term as
FX scarcity in the unofficial market persists.

*Cedi to cross 8 per dollar amid cost-of-living protests*

The Cedi edged back from a record dollar low this week, trading at 7.97
from 7.98 at last week’s close. Demonstrators clashed with police in
Ghana’s capital Accra this week amid protests over the worsening
economic environment and surging inflation, which hit a record 27.6% in May.

Ghana’s debt currently stands at 78% of GDP. With more than half of that
debt in external borrowings, the rise in interest rates globally is set
to make the country’s sovereign debt harder to service. We expect this
to put further pressure on the Cedi, which we anticipate will cross the
8.00 threshold in the near future.

*Electricity outages to increase Rand pressure*

The Rand weakened against the dollar this week, trading at 16.08 from
15.80 at last week’s close. That weakness was fueled by concerns about
South Africa’s power supply, with Eskom announcing longer electricity
outages due to worker strikes.

The stage six loadshedding measures will see South Africans around the
country go without power for roughly 12 hours at a time on a rotational
basis, putting stress on the Rand and the country’s credit rating. Given
that backdrop and the broader risk-off mood persisting, we expect the
currency to remain under pressure in the near term.

*Egyptian Pound stable with rates on hold*

The Pound was steady against the dollar this week, trading at 18.78—in
line with last week’s close. Egypt’s central bank has kept interest
rates on hold despite surging inflation due to higher import
costs—notably wheat—caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The central bank said there is little it can do about external price
shocks. We expect the Pound to remain stable at or around its current
level over the coming days.

Hajj 2022: Several intending pilgrims stranded as officer diverts funds in Niger - VANGUARD

JULY 04, 2022

By Miftaudeen Raji

The Pilgrims Officer (APO) of Bida Local Government Area of Niger State, Nma Ndagana has left intending pilgrims from the State stranded as several would not be performing this year’s Hajj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KSA due to the officer’s failure to remit millions of naira paid into his account.


According to reports, about 150 intending pilgrims had paid into the APO’s personal bank account.

Ndagana had allegedly directed that the Hajj fee be paid into his personal bank account instead of the official designated account domiciled in the Jaiz Bank.

Confirming the development, the Secretary of the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Umar Maku Lapai, told newsmen that a committee had already been instituted to investigate the matter.

However, Lapai did not give the number of affected intending pilgrims. But the Secretary explained that the committee had received batches of complaints, with more people still coming forward with similar complaints.

The Secretary of the Committee also said that the APO registered more than the allocation given to his local government, adding that Ndagana only remitted for the assigned number of people for Bida local government.

Lapai said, “There are two ways to do it. For us in the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, we have paid money for the 2, 265 people but we are yet to receive complete visas. It is the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria that is responsible for giving us the visas.

“In the case of Bida, the number of pilgrims that he (APO) registered were above the slot he was asked to register. Those that he paid their money to us have been given visas. Those that paid their money to his account were the ones with problems.

“We have set up a committee to find out what actually happened. The committee is still investigating. The affected people are coming in batches. In the first place, we registered 28 complaints. Later more people came and they are still coming,” he said.

Meanwhile, if the allegations were found to be true, the Secretary said the officials involved would not be allowed to travel, adding that the board would not take responsibility for money paid into individual accounts.

Lapai, however, could not explain the whereabouts of Ndagana.

12,000 American Airlines flights briefly didn't have pilots scheduled after a glitch allowed them to drop assignments - BUSINESS INSIDER

JULY 04, 2022

  • Thousands of July American Airlines flights briefly didn't have pilots scheduled, the Allied Pilots Association said.

  • A glitch in its trip-trade system had temporarily allowed pilots to drop assignments, the APA said.

  • American says that it doesn't expect the glitch to impact its flights or any customer travel plans.

Thousands of American Airlines flights set for July briefly didn't have pilots scheduled after a glitch allowed them to drop assignments, its pilots' union said. The glitch has since been resolved and American says that it doesn't expect it to impact travel plans.

On Friday night, American's trip-trade system allowed pilots to opt out of some of their scheduled flights, Ed Sicher, the president of the Allied Pilots Association(APA), said in a statement on Saturday. He put this down to "AA's operational mismanagement."

The union told news outlets including CNBC and The Wall Street Journal that as a result of the glitch, up to 12,075 flights scheduled for July were missing a captain, first officer, or both. The union said that American had reinstated about 80% of the trips, per reports.

"Our pilot trip trading system experienced a technical issue. As a result of this technical glitch, certain trip trading transactions were able to be processed when it shouldn't have been permitted," the airline told Insider.

"We already have restored the vast majority of the affected trips and do not anticipate any operational impact because of this issue."

American didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, made outside of regular working hours.

APA told pilots on Sunday that if the airline added the flights back to their schedules it would violate its contract, but said that it was working with American to find a both short- and long-term fixes, per The Journal.

Sicher added that American CEO Robert Isom had called him four times that day "to commit to mitigating the damage from this debacle," and said that they had discussed paying an "inconvenience premium" to pilots who took on those flights, per The Journal.

American has around 15,000 pilots.

The scheduling issues at American come amid a period of travel chaos. Flights have been canceled, delayed, and changed and passengers have in some cases been left standing in line for security for hours or arriving in their destinations without luggage because of a combination of labor shortages at both airports and airlines, staff strikes, technical problems, and bad weather.

According to flight-tracking site FlightAware, 50% of flights from Toronto, nearly half of all flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Frankfurt International, and 42% of flights from Montreal-Trudeau and London Heathrow were delayed on Sunday.

In the US, 27% of flights from JFK Airport, 23% of flights from Dallas-Fort Worth International, and 22% from Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta were delayed.

Canadian airlines, airports top global list of delays over the weekend - the canadian press

JULY 04, 2022

MONTREAL — Canadian airlines and airports claimed top spots in flight delays over the July long weekend, notching more than nearly any other around the world.

Air Canada ranked No. 1 in delays on Saturday and Sunday as two-thirds of its flights — 717 trips in total — took off late, according to tracking service FlightAware. It was more than 14 percentage points above the three carriers tied for second place.

Jazz Aviation — a Halifax-based company that provides regional service for Air Canada — and the lower-cost Air Canada Rouge both saw 53 per cent of flights delayed, putting them in the No. 2 spot alongside Greek regional airline Olympic Air.

On Saturday, WestJet and budget subsidiary Swoop placed third and fourth at 55 per cent.

On the airport front, Toronto's Pearson claimed the No. 2 spot Sunday after 53 per cent of departures were held up, below only Guangzhou's main airport in China. Pearson beat out Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Montreal's airport placed sixth Sunday at 43 per cent of takeoffs delayed, on par with London's Heathrow, according to FlightAware figures.

Air Canada said last week it will cut more than 15 per cent of its summer schedule, nearly 10,000 flights in July and August, as the country's aviation network sags under an overwhelming travel resurgence.

Bookended by statutory holidays in Canada and the U.S., the weekend saw scenes of long lines and luggage labyrinths flood social media as airports across the globe grappled with the start of peak travel season following two years of pent-up demand.

Passenger flow at Canadian airports is already at 2019 levels during peak times, though closer to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic volumes overall, experts say.

"This is going to be with us all summer," said Helane Becker, an airline analyst for investment firm Cowen.

"Almost every airline encouraged people to retire early or take leaves. And those people that retired early maybe don't want to come back to work," she saidof airline employees.

"It's hard to rebuild off those lows."

Some pilots have not yet had their licences renewed, while positions with groundcrews and baggage handling remain unfilled — or quickly vacated — due to low wages and stressful work conditions, unions say.

Government agencies have been on a hiring spree for airport security and customs, with 900-plus new security screeners in place since April — though not all have clearance to work the scanners — according to the federal Transport Department.

"The airlines also used the pandemic to eliminate aircraft types from their fleet, and to ground and retire their oldest aircraft. It's hard to bring these aircraft back once you park them without doing a lot of maintenance," Becker added.

"As demand continues to surge, we're basically looking at an inability for the airlines to easily accommodate it. And I think that's true worldwide."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Despite assurances, petrol queues worsen in Lagos, Abuja - THE GUARDIAN

JULY 05, 2022

• Worse days ahead, stakeholders fear
• PPMC agreed to supply products to us directly, say, marketers 
• NARTO warns members against smuggling 
• NMDPRA, IPMAN move to steady PMS price at N165 per litre 

Despite assurances of supply and continuous provision of service, scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) has failed to abate in major cities in the country, especially in Lagos State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as motorists and businesses count losses. 

This is coming despite the agreement reached between Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC) and retailers of PMS for direct supply of the product to fuel stations in strategic locations in the country, especially Lagos and Abuja.
Though most stakeholders and marketers insisted, yesterday, that the worst days are ahead for the energy crisis in the country, the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigerian (IPMAN) dispelled such notion, saying an agreement had been reached to ensure petrol is sold at the approved N165 per litre price.
Across the highbrow areas of Abuja, including the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), black marketers are smiling to the bank, selling a litre of petrol for between N350 to N500.

In Lagos, the queues are longer at stations where the product is being sold at N165 per litre, while stations, mostly those belonging to independent marketers, witness lesser queues, as the product is sold at N180 and above.
There are, however, concerns over the growing smuggling of petrol into neighbouring countries, as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) warned that members engaging in the act would be prosecuted.
The President, of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said a meeting with PPMC has led to the direct supply of PMS to retail outlets in some key locations in the country with strict joint monitoring that would ensure that the product is not diverted.
At that, Gillis-Harry said the only sustainable solution to the growing fuel crisis in the country is for the Federal Government to allow full deregulation of the downstream segment of the petroleum industry. 

He said the queues lingered because marketers had to source products from private depots at prices that are not sustainable, adding that the product should not be selling below N600 per litre if market realities were allowed.
According to him, it now takes over N9 million to take delivery of a 45,000-litre truck, adding that the cost of diesel to transport the product as well as operate the stations is no longer sustainable.
“As a country, we do not have any other option than to deregulate. We can’t sustain the current situation, especially when you look at the difference between the landing cost and the pump price. The bridging rate has just been reviewed upward. That happened without an increase in the price of the products. That additional cost is coming from somewhere,” Gillis-Harry said. 
At separate meetings with IPMAN Northern and Southwest branches, the Authority Chief Executive (ACE), Ahmed Farouk, said both organisations are working towards settling the outstanding bridging costs. 

While welcoming the association as critical stakeholders in the energy sector, Farouk assured of the Authority’s support in the distribution of petroleum products to all parts of the country.
The ACE expressed concern about the rise in petroleum product theft and pipeline vandalism, especially line 2B, which services Mosimi, Ibadan and Ilorin depots, leading to revenue loss for the government. 
He urged Southwest IPMAN to assist in checkmating the unscrupulous act as they have done in the past. He also revealed that the Authority had received complaints of private petroleum depots selling PMS above the approved price, thereby, disrupting the value chain and leading to higher pricing in some areas. 
He called on the Association to report any depot selling products to its members, above the approved ex-depot price.

The Authority assured the association of its commitment to ensuring product availability and sustainability of the industry.
In his remarks, the Zonal Chairman, IPMAN Southwest, Dele Tajudeen Lamidi, said the purpose of the visit was to seek collaboration and support the Authority, in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA 2021).
The zonal chairman identified product sharing, rise in penalties, difficulty in getting tax clearance, and high cost of doing business in the country as challenges confronting their members.
He pledged to the Authority and Nigerians that despite all the challenges, it has resolved not to embark on any industrial action as a conflict resolution technique.

He added: “As far as we are concerned in the Southwest, we have gone beyond the strike. The strike is not the solution to any problem because if there is a strike, it affects the masses and our businesses.
“We will work together to ensure free flow of petroleum products and also make sure that products are sold at the government-regulated price if we get them at the normal price.”
National President of NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman, who commended the Federal Government for acceding to increase the freight rate by reviewing upward the national transport fund by N10, said the association would improve the level of service delivery in the face of the difficult operating conditions occasioned by the high rate of inflation, insecurity and dilapidated road infrastructure in the country.
He asked all members of the association to keep away from smuggling petroleum products across Nigeria’s borders, stressing, “we have given Nigerian Customs our full-pledged commitment that our members are law-abiding and patriotic, therefore, they will not be involved in this unlawful practice. Any member that is involved in this unwholesome practice would be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

Olufemi Alo, an Abuja resident, said the current fuel scarcity was unnecessary, accusing filling stations of deliberately not selling fuel or at least not selling to their maximum capacity.
“In recent weeks, I’ve had to buy black market for my generator at the rate of N350 because filling stations won’t sell and those that sell will have a very long queue. That means, I spend a lot of money on just my generator on a weekly basis.
“It is similarly difficult to fuel my car, it takes an average of two hours in a queue to get fuel on a very lucky day. It is so stressful and time-consuming. I wonder why everything gets so difficult nowadays. Hopefully, the government will wake up to their responsibility,” Alo said.
An entrepreneur, Akwu Obaje, said the development has resulted in a hike in transport and cost of baking items.

“The stress of queuing for so long just to get fuel when you have other things to do is stressful. Delivery companies that usually charge N2,000 to deliver products within Abuja now take more. Some end up cancelling orders, even e-hailing drivers,” she stated. 
Energy consultant, Henry Adigun, said the current situation may not abate given prevailing economic indexes.
Adigun noted that the country is practically spending its earnings on fuel subsidies, adding that the low state of external reserves is worrisome.
A motorist, Oyindamola Yinka, who was in the queue at Nipco Station in the Banex area of FCT, said she spent the major part of her productive day in the fuel queue.

She had earlier spent about an hour in the queue at a different station but was unlucky as the fuel finished before her turn.

British Airways Pulls More Flights as UK Eases Slot Rules - BLOOMBERG

JULY 05, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- British Airways will pull more flights from its summer schedule as the carrier looks to reduce last-minute cancellations amid continuing staffing shortages and long queues at airports.

The unit of IAG SA has now reduced its timetable by 11% through October, compared with a 10% cut for the period announced in May. The UK government has waived rules that require airlines to use takeoff and landing slots or lose them the next season, urging companies to scrap services where necessary.

“As the entire aviation industry continues to face into the most challenging period in its history, regrettably it has become necessary to make some further reductions,” a BA spokesman said by email.  “We’re in touch with customers to apologize and offer to rebook them or issue a full refund.”

Airports and airlines across Europe are slashing capacity and canceling flights after being caught flatfooted by a surge of demand following two years of virtually no travel.

British Airways cancels hundreds more summer flights - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

JULY 06, 2022

LONDON (AP) — British Airways said Tuesday it will cancel hundreds more summer flights, saying it was necessary after previously announced moves to cut back on scheduled flights proved insufficient to ease travel disruptions.

The announcement will affect tens of thousands of travelers planning to fly from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

The airline announced in the spring that it would cancel 10% of its flights between April and October to avoid having to call off flights on the day of departure.

The latest cancellations take the figure to around 11%. British Airlines said it is offering customers refunds or rebooking on other flights.

“We took preemptive action earlier this year to reduce our summer schedule to provide customers with as much notice as possible about any changes to their travel plans,” British Airways said.

“As the entire aviation industry continues to face into the most challenging period in its history, regrettably, it has become necessary to make some further reductions,” it added.

Airlines and airports in Europe, the United States and elsewhere are suffering from staff shortages in jobs ranging from luggage handlers to security personnel. The shortages, combined with a surge in demand for travel following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in many places, have led to airport lines and flight delays.

The British Airways cancellations follow a vote by its workers at Heathrow Airport to stage a walkout in a dispute over pay. The workers, including check-in staff, are deciding on strike dates, but they are expected to take place during the peak summer vacation period.

The Associated Press

Air Peace expands wings to Asia - THE NATION

JULY 06, 2022

• Plans China, India launch this month

Air Peace has unveiled plans to extend its wings to Guangzhou, China and Mumbai, India, with scheduled flights in the month.

The airline has also made unveiled plans to kick off Israeli operations.

Spokesperson of Air Peace, Stanley Olisa, who made this known, stated that the new destinations were further testimony to the airline’s determination to connect Nigerians to other parts of the world and deepen socio-economic ties between Nigeria and both countries.

The airline will be launching its initial one weekly flight to China on July 13, and two weekly flights to India later this month, as it hopes to increase frequencies when operations garner momentum.

Olisa, stressing how Air Peace’s entry into both countries would strengthen their bilateral ties, noted that China and India are not new terrains for the airline.

“Guangzhou and Mumbai are not new terrains for Air Peace as we have operated a number of special/evacuation flights into both cities in the past. So, we are very familiar with the airspace and plans to launch Tel Aviv, Israel, are in top gear. This is also not a new space for us as you know, we have operated flights to and from the country.

“Air Peace is unflinchingly committed to reducing the air travel burden of Africans, and we will continue to grow our route network as well as modernise our fleet strategically. Air Peace has accomplished so much in just seven years of operation, as we now have a network of 20 domestic routes, seven regional routes and two international destinations, including Dubai and Johannesburg, which we launched in 2019 and 2020,” Olisa said.

Reiterating Air Peace’s resolve to continue providing peaceful and strategic network connections, in line with its no-city-left-behind mantra, which the airline is aggressively implementing, Olisa hinted that the airline also has in the works two other African destinations- Malabo in Equatorial Guinea and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Recall that in March 2022, Air Peace launched its Niamey route, and a few months before then, it flagged off Douala operations from Lagos and PH.

The airline parades an optimal, mixed, modern fleet of over 30 aircraft, including five brand new Embraer 195-E2s, and has the largest fleet in West and Central Africa.

Heathrow Refueling Workers Plan 72-Hour Strike, Adding to Chaos - BLOOMBERG

JULY 06, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Refueling workers at London Heathrow airport said they would stage a 72-hour walkout over wages beginning July 21, threatening to further disrupt operations at the hub.

The Unite union, which represents the workers, said in a statement Tuesday that the Aviation Fuel Services Ltd. employees voted to strike after the company hadn’t raised wages in three years and had sustained wage cuts for three years.

AFS is a joint venture among fuel companies BP Plc, TotalEnergies SE, Q8 Aviation and Valero Energy, and supplies fuel to over 70 airlines including American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Emirates, the union said. 

The latest announcement adds to the disruptions challenging the travel industry just as the peak summer travel season gets underway, with airports and airlines across Europe slashing capacity and canceling flights on staffing shortages and worker strikes. 

Read More: Summer Travel Chaos Hits Europe Hardest as Delays Escalate


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