Some air tickets not eligible for refund – NCAA - PUNCH
BY Juliana Ajayi
Some passengers who demand for a refund after experiencing a flight delay or cancellation at the airport may not be eligible to receive a refund, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said.
Passengers who fall into this category are those who book their flight tickets without reading the terms and conditions applied to see if they are entitled to ask for a refund or not.
The spokesman for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Sam Adurogboye, speaking on Aviation Runway – Metro FM on Friday, said there were terms and conditions on every ticket booked which may render some passengers ineligible for refund.
The NCAA had said recently that passengers delayed for three hours were entitled to refund.
However, Adurogboye noted that some passengers who buy their tickets at the counter and those who purchased theirs earlier would not be entitled to the same terms.
He said, “Every ticket has terms and conditions and refund is subject to certain conditions. There is a saying that if you do not want people to know, put it in black and white.
“The terms and conditions are attached at the back of the tickets. Most people are not even aware and that is not excusable.
“There are terms and conditions applied to every ticket booked. The terms and conditions attached to booking a flight early may not favour a refund.
“If the ticket is not refundable, the terms are there.
“The terms are written there and the period in which the tickets are refundable. People have to know that when you are asking for a refund, you have to ask if it is in your interest.
“The transaction has taken place, the bank has also taken their own; so when you are being refunded, it cannot be the full amount again.”
He identified some of the causes of flight delays and cancellations to include natural occurrences, which nobody has control over.
Adurogboye said, “In aviation, weather is not a friend to airplane because an airplane is designed to go in a stable atmosphere. When adverse weather sets in, it becomes unstable.”
He explained that technical issues could make a plane develop a fault, and following the rule, such a plane should be brought down and checked all over again.
He also noted that when flights were delayed or cancelled for whatever reason, the passenger deserved to be informed.
Adurogboye said, “In fact, if the passenger has not arrived at the airport, as an airline, you need to get across to your passenger by mail, phone or text messages so that they don’t bother coming to the airport.
“But when checked in at the airport, and all these are happening, you also need to compensate them with refreshments and the likes.
“International flights are different. If you have checked in passengers for international flight, and there is a delay, you need to put them in a hotel.
“Not all delays are uncalled for, some are excusable.”
He added that an airline that did not care about losing a passenger would end up losing all.
U.K. Tightens Quarantine Rules for Travelers From France - BLOOMBERG
The U.K. government reimposed quarantine rules on travelers returning to England from France because of concern at the number of Covid-19 infections there, drawing immediate anger from tourism bodies and airlines.
From Monday, anyone arriving from across the Channel will have to isolate at home for up to 10 days and complete two coronavirus tests even if they have two vaccinations, the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement Friday.
The new system, dubbed “Amber Plus” to draw a distinction from the government’s Amber list of restricted countries, will apply to all English travelers currently in France. Spain and Italy -- both major holiday destinations for Britons -- remain on the Amber list.
The move adds a further level of complexity for English families trying to plot their way through the summer after the end of a torrid school year, and comes days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to lift most Covid restrictions on Monday. The decision also delivers another setback to a tourism industry that was beginning to look to the future with guarded optimism.
“This decision adds yet more confusion to a travel system already complex enough,” said Tim Alderslade, chief executive officer of Airlines UK. “These random rule changes make it almost impossible for travelers and industry to plan ahead, and can only further undermine consumer trust at the very peak of the summer season.”
The government cited what it called the “persistent presence” in France of cases of the beta variant first identified in South Africa for its decision.
“With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.
The announcement came hours after official figures showed the U.K. had more than 50,000 new infections for the first time in six months, the bulk of them being the delta variant. France reported more than 10,000 new cases Friday, with more than 60% of them delta.
“The U.K. has no coherent policy on international travel,” said Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association. “The U.K. is entrenching itself as outlier in its confused approach to travel. This, in turn, is destroying its own travel sector and the thousands of jobs that rely on it.”
Canada Will Open Borders To Fully Vaccinated Americans As Of August 9 - FORBES
The Canadian government announced today, Monday July 19, 2021, that Canada will allow fully vaccinated Americans into the country as of Aug. 9. Furthermore, border restrictions will be eased for other foreign nationals as of September 7.
The press release states that: “On September 7, 2021, provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable, the Government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.
As a first step, starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans.”
Though fully vaccinated travelers will be permitted to enter the country, they will have to follow strict requirements. Subject to few exceptions, travelers must use the ArriveCAN app to submit their travel information. Fully vaccinated travellers who meet specific criteria will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada. Furthermore, “the three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air as of 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9. Fully vaccinated travellers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine; however, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.” Note that the vaccine must be from an approved source (you can see a list of approved vaccines here).
The press release notes that: “All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result. However effective August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is adjusting its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travellers. Using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers.”
The government of Canada is still also encouraging Canadians to avoid non-essential international travel. “While Canada continues to trend in the right direction, the epidemiological situation and vaccination coverage is not the same around the world. The Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada – international travel increases your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and its variants, as well as of spreading it to others. Border measures also remain subject to change as the epidemiological situation evolves. As Canada looks to welcome fully vaccinated travellers from the U.S., the federal government will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated travel advice to Canadians.”
London Is Open Again. Here’s What You’ll Find If You Head In - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- So long social distancing, goodbye working from home. That was the plan, anyway. Yet while almost all restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus have now been lifted in England, sharply rising levels of Covid-19 mean the country is nowhere near returning to “normal.”
“Freedom Day” — as part of the British press have dubbed today — is no end-of-pandemic celebration. Many major employers will go on limiting the number of workers who can enter their offices. Others, like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will continue making masks mandatory in their buildings even though the government has relaxed the rules. If you return to the office now, it will look very different to the one you left 16 months ago.
With cases and hospitalizations rising, the return to normality is likely to be slow and faltering. But if you do venture into central London, here are five things to watch for:
You Risk Being Told to Self-Isolate
There’s one key reason why London-based workers are expected to remain reticent about heading into the city over the next month: the risk either of contracting Covid-19 or coming into close contact with an infected person.
Daily positive test numbers in the U.K. hit 54,183 on Saturday, the highest number since Jan. 15. The Office for National Statistics estimated on Friday that 1 in 95 people in England has the virus.
Those numbers explain why a record 520,194 people in England were “pinged” by the National Health Service Covid-19 app and advised to self-isolate in the week ending July 7. More people are expected to be notified as cases rise. Self-isolation for fully vaccinated people will not be ended until Aug. 16, with businesses, retail , hospitals and even transport networks struggling with staff absences as a result.
Offices Aren’t Filling Up
Offices themselves, the reasons so many millions of people leave their homes and travel into cities each week, remain some 30% less busy than they were before March 2020.
Data from Google Inc.’s wide-ranging Community Mobility Reports, which aggregate location data for a host of global cities, show that while London recovered somewhat by late 2020 after the initial pandemic slump, the winter lockdown reversed all those gains. Workplace activity has increased in recent weeks, but the city is far from operating “normally.”
The Tube Is Still Unpopular
Crowded spaces with poor ventilation are almost tailor-made for spreading Covid-19. Despite London’s transport authorities’ best attempts to reassure travelers, busy Underground services around peak-time travel are impossible to make entirely safe.
Travelers seem to agree, with experimental journey data from Transport for London showing that almost half the number of Tube journeys were taken in early July compared to the weeks before the pandemic began.
Lunchtime Isn’t What It Used to Be
Shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs were allowed to reopen in stages over the spring, and most are counting on commuters to return to their offices for their survival. But it’s been a slow process.
Bloomberg is tracking the recovery using data from London-based global sandwich chain Pret A Manger Ltd. Our weekly Pret Tracker shows a solid recovery in London’s West End and suburbs — but in the City and Canary Wharf, home to a number of large banks, trade has plateaued after breaching the 50% barrier.
But You Might Be Able to Get a Table
Indoor dining reopened in May across England, and outdoor dining has been legal since the chilly days of spring. But data from restaurant booking provider OpenTable Inc. shows that reservations in the capital are picking up more slowly than in the rest of the U.K.
While bookings in the country as a whole have recovered strongly as diners regain their interest in eating out, London destinations remain on the wrong side of OpenTable’s 2019 baseline.
U.S. government tells individuals to avoid travel to the UK as Covid cases rise - CNBC
- The State Department and CDC said to avoid travel to the U.K., lifting their advisories to a “Level 4.”
- The CDC advised travelers to be fully vaccinated if they must travel to the U.K.
- Cases are rising on both sides of the Atlantic.
A United Airlines passenger aircraft arrives over the top of residential houses to land at Heathrow Airport in west London, Britain, March 13, 2020. Matthew Childs | Reuters
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department on Monday said to avoid travel to the U.K. as the delta variant of Covid-19 continues to spread.
The warnings are “Level 4,” the CDC and State Department’s highest. While not binding, they come after airline executives and other members of the travel industry have pressed the Biden administration to loosen existing Covid travel restrictions that have devastated demand for international bookings.
The United States has had an entry ban in place for non-U.S. citizens from the EU, U.K. and other countries for much of the coronavirus pandemic, though several European nations have recently opened their doors to international visitors. Canada, however, said Monday it will allow fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into the country for nonessential travel starting Aug. 9.
As cases rise, England lifts almost all Covid restrictions
The White House and the British Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The CDC said if individuals must travel to the U.K., they should be fully vaccinated against Covid. Meanwhile, England lifted remaining Covid-19 restrictions on Monday, allowing for indoor gatherings and the reopening of nightclubs.
But Covid infections remain high across the U.K. with 316,691 cases reported over the last seven days, up by about 43% from the previous seven-day period, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
U.S. airline stocks fell sharply on Monday as an increasing number of Covid cases raised concerns about the economic recovery and the potential impact on the recent resurgence in travel demand after a slump for much of the past year.
Covid cases in the U.S. have jumped by about 66% in the past week to a seven-day average of about 32,300 new cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins data.
-- CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this article.
Canada to allow cruise ships back starting November 1 - THE CANADIAN PRESS
The federal government will lift its ban on cruise ships and allow the large vessels back into Canadian waters as of Nov. 1.
Canada's Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said at a press conference in Victoria, B.C. Thursday that cruise ships will be able to return to Canadian waters if operators are able to fully comply with public health requirements. However, what those public health requirements will be have not been specified.
The ban on cruise ships had originally been extended to Feb. 28, 2022, but was moved up thanks to Canada's rising vaccination rate and changing public health advice, Alghabra said.
"This means that the cruise ship operators will be able to prepare and be ready for full operations by the start of the 2022 cruise season, if they can fully comply with public health requirements," Alghabra said.
"It also means that our timing will be aligned with our American neighbours."
Cruise ships have been banned from entering Canadian waters since March 2020, a major blow to Canada's $4 billion cruise ship industry that generates approximately 30,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Canada's ban on non-essential travel with the U.S. remains in place. Alghabra says discussions with the U.S. over the land border "are ongoing" but provided no timeline as to when restrictions may be eased.
Many groups welcomed Transport Canada's announcement on Thursday.
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, which manages the Victoria Cruise Terminal, says the decision will allow for a full resumption of the cruise season in 2022.
"Cruise lines and ports in Canada need time to prepare for the full resumption of cruise and this news from Transport Canada will signal that the industry is welcomed back for the 2022 cruise season," the organization said in a statement.
"We will increase our focus on major projects such as shore power with the understanding that we, and our partners, have a clearer line of sight on financial forecasts."
Anna Poustie, chair of the Victoria Cruise Industry Alliance, says the decision will help provide stability for businesses in the area.
"The financial impact has been crushing," Poustie said.
"Today, we can put that behind us. Now we know that crews will be welcomed back, our cruise partners know ships will be welcomed back to our ports, and our businesses know that they will be back to work."
Proposed U.S. law raises concerns
While cruise ships will be able to return to Canadian shores, there is concern about a proposed bill in the United States that could impact the industry in Canada if it passed.
U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law legislation that temporarily allows cruise ships to travel directly from Washington state to Alaska without stopping in Canada. U.S. law prohibits cruise ships from travelling between two American ports without stopping at a foreign port.
However, U.S. Senator Mike Lee has introduced legislation to make the temporary workaround permanent by repealing the law which forces cruise ships to stop in Canada. Lee says in a statement that "this arcane law benefits Canada, Mexico and other countries who receive increased maritime traffic at the expense of American workers in our coastal cities, towns and ports."
When asked about Lee's proposed legislation, Alghabra says the government will work to protect the cruise industry in Canada.
"We're committed to working with our friends in the United States to ensure that we maintain business as usual," Alghabra said.
"We're working with the administration, we're working with Congressmen and women on repeating the benefits that the industry gets, not only here in Canada, but in the U.S., by stopping here."
With files from the Associated Press
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.
China Unveils 600kph Train - THISDAY
China has unveiled a maglev train capable of a top speed of 600kph. The maximum speed would make the train, self-developed by China and manufactured in the coastal city of Qingdao, the fastest ground vehicle globally.
Using electro-magnetic force, the maglev train “levitates” above the track with no contact between body and rail, according to Reuters.
China has been using the technology for almost two decades on a very limited scale. Shanghai has a short maglev line running from one of its airports to town.
While there are no inter-city or inter-province maglev lines yet in China that could make good use of the higher speeds, some cities including Shanghai and Chengdu have started to conduct research. At 600 kph, it would only take 2.5 hours to travel from Beijing to Shanghai by train – a journey of more than 1,000 km (620 miles).
By comparison, the journey would take three hours by plane and 5.5 hours by high-speed rail. Countries from Japan to Germany are also looking to build maglev networks, although high costs and incompatibility with current track infrastructure remain hurdles to rapid development.
Nigeria, Barbados to strengthen bilateral ties - THE GUARDIAN
Nigeria and Barbados are hopeful of improved ties by leveraging the partnership between TelNet Nigeria Limited and Barbados companies, Global Integrated Fintech Solutions (GIFTS) and IPayAnywhere (iPAY).
The move by the organisations was to transform seamless electronic payment in Africa through anti-money laundering payment processing services, fraud reduction, as well as iPayAnywhere solution, an end-to-end mobile-based payment solution that services the government, private sector and consumers.
The partnership was sealed at a signing ceremony between the companies, hosted by Barbados High Commission, Ghana, and Caribbean Export, in collaboration with Export Barbados/BIDC and CBC TV Channel 8.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Barbados, Dr. Jerome Walcott, who emphasised his government’s commitment to building and deepening commercial diplomacy with countries in Africa, stated that he looks towards enhanced bilateral trade relations between Barbados and Nigeria.
While commending the partnership with TelNet, the Nigerian-based tech company, he said that government’s exploration of a new and dynamic ethos of national development through the stimulation and encouragement of private sector partnerships, was evidenced through the signing ceremony.
According to him, “It allows GIFTS to have access to an initial market of over 200 million people by utilising TelNet’s large database of customers, and permits TelNet to extend its operation’s competencies into the Nigerian fintech space.
This initiative also presents GIFTS with an opportunity to expand the operation of Barbadian homegrown technologies in the near future, as part of the government’s strategy of economic diversification.”
Group Managing Director, TelNet Nigeria Limited, Folorunsho Aliu, said with the partnership, it was sure of expanding anti-money laundering and card services portfolio of products in the financial services.
He said as the fintech space is growing in Nigeria, there was the need to ensure that transactions, consumers, and the financial systems are protected for sustainability and integrity.
He mentioned that Telnet and its subsidiary companies had been at the forefront of technology-enabled business innovation in Nigeria with key projects that had transformed the Nigeria economy.
Founder and Executive Chairman of GIFTS and iPay, Dave Sahadath, who expressed confidence on the decision to go into business and form a partnership with TelNet, said the firm has the knowledge of the local market with the reputation of delivering great products and services to the marketplace.
Chairman of TelNet Nigeria Limited, Samaila Aleyodeino, described the signing as a significant milestone for closer collaboration between Barbados and Nigeria.
“Business opportunities abound in Nigeria, and the fintech sector is growing. I am confident that this international partnership will drive a new wave of world-class developments in fintech solutions,” he said.
Executive Director, Caribbean Export Development Agency, Deodat Maharaj, described the partnership as a clear indication of the opportunities for commercial relationships between the Caribbean and Africa.
Noting that rising Africa represented a bright new frontier for Caribbean business, he expressed the Caribbean Export’s commitment to help deepen business relationships between the Caribbean and Africa.
Chief Executive Officer, Export Barbados/BIDC, Mark Hill, who said the partnership opened up an export market opportunity for Barbados in West Africa, added “Our support for this initiative is aligned with our strategy for the African market which represents a priority market for Export Barbados/BIDC.”
Travellers bemoan travel rules, high cost of multiple tests - THE GUARDIAN
By Wole Oyebade
Despite the fresh concerns posed by the new wave of COVID-19 pandemic, air travellers have bemoaned frustration posed by various travel rules, testing requirements, and excessive test costs.
The travellers, in a new survey conducted by the body of international airlines, showed a higher preference for, and confidence in mask-wearing protocols.
This is coming amid anxiety that countries may begin to impose fresh border closure and lockdown to safeguard citizens from raging delta variant.
The variant is now the dominant strain worldwide and surging rapidly, even in countries with high vaccination rates. For instance, new coronavirus infections in the United States rose nearly 70 per cent in a single week, officials reported Friday, and nearly every state has reported an increase in cases.
The Guardian earlier reported at least 100 per cent spike in airfares on traditional tourism destination routes, though not unconnected with local decline in worth of the naira. Multiple tests of about N200,000 for a round-trip international flight have also made fares out of reach for travellers.
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) survey showed that the complaint is not peculiar to Nigeria, as a majority, globally, is also frustrated with the “hassle factor” around COVID-19 protocols and “unnecessary” add-on costs.
The survey of 4,700 travellers in 11 markets around the world shows that 85 per cent believe aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. About 65 per cent agree that the air on an aircraft is as clean as an operating room.
Among those who have travelled since June 2020, 86 per cent felt safe onboard owing to COVID-19 measures. About 89 per cent believe protective measures are well implemented, and 90 per cent believe airline personnel does a good job of enforcing the measures.
Passengers strongly support mask-wearing onboard (83 per cent) and strict enforcement of mask rules (86 per cent), but a majority also believe the mask requirement should be ended as soon as possible.
IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, said Air travellers recognise and value the safety measures put in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission during air travel.
“They support the continuation of these measures as long as necessary, but they also don’t want the measures to become permanent. In the meantime, we all need to respect the rules and the safety of fellow passengers. It is unacceptable that unruly passenger incidents have doubled compared to 2019, and the increase in physically abusive behavior is a particular cause for great concern,” Walsh said.
At the same time, participants admit that they struggle with the COVID-related rules and requirements and that these impact their willingness to travel.
About 70 per cent thought the rules and the accompanying paperwork were a challenge to understand. 67 per cent saw arranging testing as a hassle and 89 per cent agreed governments must standardise vaccinations/testing certifications.
“These responses should be a wake-up call to governments that they need to do a better job of preparing for a restart. Almost two thirds of respondents plan to resume travel within a few months of the pandemic being contained (and borders opened). And by the six-month mark, almost 85 per cent expect to be back to travel. To avoid overwhelming airports and border control authorities, governments need to agree to replace paper-based processes with digital solutions like the IATA Travel Pass for vaccine and testing documentation,” said Walsh.
Almost nine out of 10 respondents like the idea of using a mobile app to store their travel health credentials and 87 per cent support a secure digital system to manage health credentials.
However, 75 per cent say they will only use an app if they have full control of their vaccine/test data.
“IATA Travel Pass enables travelers to receive, store and share their health information with governments and airlines but they always keep control of the information on their own mobile device. Now is the time for governments to facilitate digital solutions like IATA Travel Pass to avoid chaos at airports as travel begins to return,” said Walsh.
Chief Executive Officer of Finchglow Travels, Bankole Bernard, said the aviation industry is dynamic and it should reflect the concerns of customers.
Bernard said the findings are a wake-up call for the Nigerian government to start restrategising on safe operation protocols, so as not to be left behind in global trend.
Oyo Govt Facilitates Air Peace Flights to Ibadan Airport - VANGUARD
By Adeola Badru
Ibadan — As part of its determination to uplift the standard of Ibadan Airport, the government of Oyo State has facilitated the commencement of flights from Ibadan by Air Peace Airlines.
Sources close to the airport confirmed on Wednesday that the airline decided to enlist the Ibadan route following what was called "encouragements" by the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde.
It was gathered that the airline has already flagged off ticket sales in all its outlets.
The airline, in a confirmation notice said to have been issued to authorities of Ibadan Airport, said that it will commence flight operations from Abuja to Ibadan and back starting from August 16, 2021.
"Air Peace Airlines is commencing operations into Ibadan on the 16th of August. It will run Abuja to Ibadan and back," the notice read."
Sources close to the government in Ibadan also confirmed that the Airline had concluded plans to flag off its operations from Ibadan.
A source close to the government who is in the know of the development said in Ibadan on Wednesday: "Of course, it is true that Air Peace is kick-starting flights to Ibadan from mid-August 2021.
"This is a good testament to efforts of Governor Seyi Makinde to turn around the Airport and help it to get the international standard it deserves."
"If all the Regional Airports established at the same time with that of Ibadan are already doing well, why won't the Ibadan Airport take advantage of its closeness to Lagos and take a slice of the goodies of Lagos.
"The governor is doing everything to ensure that and this is why Air Peace has finalised arrangements to start flying Ibadan route."
"You will recall that apart from the purchase of a sophisticated fire truck and other equipment which facilitated the Category Six Certification of the Airport, Oyo State government has also awarded the contract for the installation of a 500,000 litre capacity Aviation fuel facility at the Airport at the cost of N1.2billion."
"That is aside from other ancillary works including the repair works on the runway and the terminal building."
"I can tell you that the government of Oyo State is doing everything to ensure that Ibadan Airport not only attains the much needed international status but that it also begins to serve as the immediate alternative to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, in case of congestion and even weather challenges."
"It does not augur well for Nigeria that anytime international flights cannot land in Lagos, they go to Accra, Ghana, meanwhile Ibadan Airport can easily be accessed to serve that purpose and with the Lagos/Ibadan train fully operational and the reconstruction of Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, passenger's won't find it difficult to get to their destinations from Ibadan."