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Expert: Airline Business In Nigeria Prone To Losses - NEW TELEGRAPH

JUNE 01, 2022

Chairman, HRG (Nigeria) and travel management consultant, Mr. Femi Adefope, has described aviation in Nigeria and, by extension, airline business in Nigeria and other places, as prone to losses, saying that Nigeria is a tough country to do such capital intensive business.

 

Adefope, who spoke to New Telegraph at the APG IET DAY in Lagos at the weekend, noted that the carriers were using largely imported products, even with uniforms, adding that if the uniforms were properly made, they are supposed to be fire retardant uniforms, which are not manufactured locally.

He reiterated that the sector was being subsidised, even with deregulation of the industry like the subsidy in the petroleum downstream sector. He expressed the concern that many airlines were operating in Nigeria today because of a lack of proper feasibility study and based on the perceived success of other airlines.

 

His words: “People are not doing proper feasibility studies before they venture into the airline business.

Again, when you go to borrow large sums of money, the interest rate is a lot. “I am not querying how people put funds together; there should be more cooperation between airlines. There should be a local clearinghouse, but because people don’t trust each  eraother, you can’t enforce anything, because you do not have a national identification card system here and that is one of the biggest drawbacks we have here.

 

“People do certain things for the wrong reasons with government not obliged to subsidise Jet fuel because these things are paid for in foreign currency and that is why foreign airlines are not complaining because that is part of their costs because that is how they pay anyway. If you look at our business set up, a lot of people are going into airline business without proper business plans,” he stated.

 

Many of the country’s airlines lack corporate governance coupled with lots of greed just as over-taxation has equally been attributed to many factors bedeviling airline operations in the country.

Adefope admitted that the travel industry had, to a large extent, recovered 70 per cent from the pre-COVID-19 era, stressing that business travel was the slowest to recover for obvious reasons.

“So far, to a large extent, the industry has recovered. We are about 70 per cent of where we were in 2019. Business travel was the slowest to recover for obvious reasons. Technically, we are still in the pandemic because the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not declared the pandemic ended because of the implications on employees but tourism has picked up.

“If you go to Dubai today, you will see so many Nigerians there. You will think that we have all relocated. People are itching to go on holiday because it helps everybody mentally. That has helped to jumpstart the travel business. We are hoping that business travel would start which would be slowed down during the elections. We hope that things will work out well,” he noted.

African airlines seem to be re turning to profitability. The last three years were excruciating for airlines and the travel industry. It was a crisis that ‘crumbled’ literally the entire global travel industry. But since the relaxation of COVID-19 rules, airlines and the travel trade operators have dusted themselves up by posting fantastic financial results.

Although the carriers are not yet back to their pre-COVID-19 state, they have, however, shown remarkable signs to bounce back. Nigerian carriers are not doing too badly despite a very poor economy. With the high airfare introduced in the wake of the astronomical cost of Jet A1 and the harsh economic situation, they have been able to remain afloat, although they are not out of the woods yet.

Lagos int’l airport runway lights collapse, pilots warn FAAN - PUNCH

JUNE 01, 2022

BY  Oyetunji Abioye

The approach lights on the runway of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, have gone off, forcing pilots to depend solely on equipment onboard their aircraft to land, findings by The PUNCH have revealed.

An approach lighting system is a lighting system installed on the approach end of an airport runway and consisting of a series of light-bars, strobe lights, or a combination of the two that extends outward from the runway end, according to Wikipedia.  It is a lighting system that assists the pilot/aircraft to come in and land safely.

Impeccable airport sources said the approach lights collapsed on Monday evening and pilots were subsequently forced to rely solely on their onboard equipment to land airplanes.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the matter, said it was sad that the relevant aviation authorities did not issue a Notice to Airmen on the development until later on Tuesday.

A copy of the NOTAM which was sighted by The PUNCH showed that the document was issued by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s Aeronautical Information Services department.

The NOTAM, dated May 31, 2022, was signed by one Abah G.N, an official of the airspace agency.

As of 10:30pm on Tuesday, it was uncertain when the problem would be fixed.

The Acting General Manager, Public Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mrs Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, asked our correspondent to send a text message when she was contacted on the development.

A response to the text message sent by The PUNCH to her was still being expected as of the time of filing this report.

A pilot with one of the domestic airlines, who chose to speak on condition of anonymity on the matter, said the collapse of the approach light could inhibit pilots’ capability to land airplanes safely in bad weather.

According to him, the approach lights assist pilots in landing on the runway.

“It is sad that the relevant authorities are just issuing NOTAM on the development over 24 hours after the light collapsed. That is very dangerous. This is very annoying,” the pilot said.

A pilot and President, National Association of Private Aircraft Owners, Mr Alex Nwuba, said there was no reason to panick over the development but stressed that there an urgent need for the authorities to fix the lights as soon as possible.

Last year, some parts of the runway lights at the MMIA collapsed, forcing British Airways to divert its flight to the Abuja airport.

The development then forced the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation industry regulator, to downgrade the landing procedure at the Lagos airport from Category Two to Category One.

BA passengers whose flight was diverted to the Federal Capital Territory were forced to pass a night in Abuja before being flown back to Lagos.

The unserviceable state of the runway lights made it impossible for BA, which flies a large plane, to land at the Lagos airport at night. Other foreign airlines with relatively smaller planes can land.

Also, last week, the international wing of the MMIA was temporarily shut after the mangled body of a dead man was found on Runway 18R of the nation’s flagship airport.

During the temporary shutdown of the runway, international flights were prevented from landing and taking off from the airport’s international terminal.

Among the flights that could not land due to the shutdown was an Ethiopian Airlines flight 3907, a Boeing 77F aircraft with registration number ETAVN, which was coming from Lome, Togo to Lagos, Nigeria.

The flight was later diverted back to Lome after holding for a while.

Airport officials said the corpse was suddenly found on Runway 18R during a routine runway inspection by FAAN personnel.

As of the time of filing this report, FAAN had yet to confirm the identity of the corpse.

Shanghai Braces for Long Road to Recovery as Lockdown Ends - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 01, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Shanghai faces weeks, if not months, of slow recovery until economic activity can fully bounce back from the crippling Covid lockdown that began in March.

Based on the experiences of other Chinese cities like Wuhan in 2020 and Jilin earlier this year, it will take time for shops to reopen or factories to secure supplies and ramp up production. Labor shortages could emerge and the knock to business and consumer confidence will likely linger. 

Even though the majority of Shanghai’s 25 million people are able to move freely in the city from Wednesday and some shops are resuming, many factories and businesses are still closed or operating below capacity. The world’s largest port in the city remains backed up and truck traffic is at about a quarter of pre-pandemic levels.

In Wuhan, it took until 2021 for the economy to recover from the damage sustained from the initial Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 and the more than two month lockdown that followed. And the economy of Xi’an took months to rebound from the lockdown that ended in late January this year: retail sales in the city through the end of March were down 15% on last year and in the whole province of Shaanxi it fell 2.4% this year through April, according to official data.

“We’re talking about long supply chains that have been disrupted for more than 8 weeks so it will take some time to stabilize,” said Eric Zheng president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. The shutdown has been a “huge test” for global supply chains, he said, and while the government has been working on reducing transport bottlenecks, there are still restrictions on drivers crossing into Shanghai or leaving the city to go to other provinces.

While the Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai wasn’t as severe as the one in Wuhan in 2020, Shanghai’s economy is bigger and it’s more connected to global supply chains than Wuhan. Shanghai and its surrounding provinces are one of China’s industrial heartlands, with car and electronics manufacturers located there to access the port. The effects on supply chains of the two-month shutdown have rippled across the country and around the world, impacting supplies of critical components.

“One of the biggest challenges is around inland logistics, in particular trucking to get goods from the factory to the port,” Heath Zarin, chief executive officer of logistics investment company EmergeVest, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. The port is also backed up, with as many as 300,000 containers sitting on the docks, he said.

Long Recovery

The city’s government itself expects the recovery to take weeks at best, with Shanghai’s Vice Mayor Zong Ming saying in mid-May that authorities aimed to return to normal life and restore full production by mid-to-late June. 

Truck traffic in Shanghai has started to gradually pick up as the city relaxes Covid restrictions for drivers, but it’s still less than 30% of the weekly average in 2019. Nationwide, truck traffic in the week ending May 29 was 21% below the same period last year, and trucking capacity in Jilin province is still not back to normal more than a month after the lockdown there officially ended. 

“The overall situation is still critical” although there has been a steady improvement of logistics and a slow improvement of raw material supply recently, according to Maximilian Butek, the executive director of the German Chamber of Commerce in China, Shanghai. Adding to that problem, if all companies go back into production from June 1, “everyone will want to get products shipped out but also receive the cargo they were waiting for over weeks. This will cause heavy congestion at the ports and will last for at least a couple of weeks.”

A swift rebound in the economy will also depend on a recovery in consumption. Shanghai is one of the richest and most important consumer markets in the country, and the lockdown has decimated the sales of cars, luxury products, and everyday goods.

Like most of the financial aid China has rolled out during the pandemic, much of Shanghai’s recovery plan is focused on businesses and the production side of the economy. Households haven’t been given the kind of direct financial support, like cash handouts, that have cushioned consumers from the blow of Covid lockdowns in other countries like the U.S. and in Europe. 

What Bloomberg’s Economists Say...

The city’s focus is primarily on reviving manufacturing and supply chains - “this may be ill-suited for driving a quick recovery in a service-based city like Shanghai.”

How key parts of the support policies will be implemented is missing, and this means “it could take weeks before production gets back to normal.”

-- Chang Shu and Eric Zhu, economists

See here for full report

The city has now told the neighborhood committees to let people out of their homes, but there’s little clarity about when restaurants or shops can fully reopen and people can start working to recover the income lost since March. It will take time for movement around the city to recover as well -- on Tuesday people took only 41,000 rides on the subway -- well below the 9.8 million rides people took on average each day in 2021.

With government stimulus and overseas and domestic demand, the city is well positioned to rebound, although due to the full quarter of lost growth it will be challenging for China to meet the annual growth target of around 5.5%, according to AmCham Shanghai’s president Zheng. 

Rich Nations’ Toxic Habits Bring African Refugees to Their Doors - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 01, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Osman Ali grew up near southern Somalia’s Shabelle river that was once deep enough for him to dive in for a swim. But in the last three years, droughts have thinned it into a dirty stream. After his sheep and goats were reduced to skin and bones and his corn and sesame crops wilted in the fields, he was left at the mercy of armed extortionists he couldn’t pay.  The 29-year-old sold his family’s land and bought a ticket to Brazil. A two-month-long trudge through jungles, rivers and cities brought him to Tapachula in Mexico,  with hopes of heading to the US southern border. 

Like him, Ibrahima Coulibaly was in Tapachula, hanging around in the sweltering heat on a sidewalk outside the city’s immigration office in a yellow Lakers basketball jersey. He left his home near Tambacounda in eastern Senegal when he could no longer farm his five-acre plot of land. A series of droughts destroyed his millet, peanut and bean crops, leaving his family with little to eat and prompting him to sell his 32 head of cattle and embark on a long journey to the Americas. Arriving in Brazil earlier this year and robbed in the Darien Gap — the dense jungle between Colombia and Panama infested with poisonous snakes and bandits — he waited desperately for a permit to continue crossing Mexico to get to the US border.  

“At some point leaving is better than staying; you can walk until you drop dead, but you can’t just sit still until you die from hunger,” the 37-year-old said in an interview in April. “Every year is worse than the previous one.”

The number of Africans trying to make it to the US southern border is on track to hit a potential record this year. Coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Somalia and elsewhere, many are escaping livelihood-destroying climate events. The continent they’re fleeing is facing natural disasters at a faster rate than the rest of the planet, and is largely unprepared to deal with them. Africa, which has done the least to cause the global climate crisis — producing just 4% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — is being hit by record storms, floods and droughts as the earth heats up. That’s driving millions to migrate, mostly to urban slums on the continent but also to Europe and the US. 

By 2050, 86 million Africans, or about 6.6% of the region’s 1.3 billion people, will be forced to migrate by climate change, the World Bank estimates. That’s on top of those fleeing conflicts and persecution — often linked to climate-related skirmishes over scarce resources. And with Africa’s population expected to double by 2050, those numbers can only rise.

The vast majority of climate victims migrate to other parts of their own country or spill into a neighboring nation, but those who can scrape together some funds venture farther afield.  With over 4,500 Africans crossing the Colombia-Panama border between January and April this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, they have become the second-largest group — after Latin Americans — to try to get to the US border. And although Europe has tightened controls, in the first two months this year, over 89,000 people crossed the Sahara desert in northern Niger, according to the IOM. A large majority were on their way to — or returning from — Algeria and Libya, the well-worn path to Europe, with nine out of 10 people the IOM spoke to citing climate change as one of the reasons for why they were leaving.

“People are like ‘OK, I can’t live here, I may as well die trying to get somewhere else,’” said Ayaan Adam, chief executive officer of AFC Capital Partners, the unit of the infrastructure-focused Africa Finance Corp. that’s raising $500 million for a climate-resilience fund this year. “This is happening now. We are seeing a preview of the movie that will unroll and that will be increasing in intensity.”

Helping Africans stay home by making the continent sustainable carries a hefty price tag —  $1 trillion to “climate-proof” the infrastructure it needs, which itself would cost $2.3 trillion, Adam estimates. China, the US and Europe, which collectively produce more than 50% of the world’s emissions, need to help finance this effort, African leaders say.  

“This is not a donation, this is a cleaning fee,” Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera said at COP26 in Glasgow in November. 

Richer countries can limit refugees at their borders by helping the continent adapt to climate change, said Lisa Lim Ah Ken, a migration and climate change specialist for east Africa at the IOM.

“Developed nations spend huge national budgets on building walls and creating and policing immigration policies that prevent migration, yet if those budgets were invested in the nations and communities who are suffering from the effects of climate change, supporting their sustainable development, then perhaps forced migration would be reduced,” Lim Ah Ken said. 

It’s been more than a decade since rich countries committed to help the world’s poorer nations cut emissions and adapt to climate change with up to $100 billion a year. They have yet to meet that target. 

African leaders estimate that adapting to climate change — by fortifying coastlines against rising sea levels, fighting desertification and building climate-resilient roads and bridges — would require an annual $33 billion, Patrick Verkooijen, chief executive officer of the Global Center on Adaptation, or GCA, said in an interview from Rotterdam. While the countries can raise $6 billion themselves, they’re only getting another $6 billion in aid, he said.

“This is a must have, not a nice to have, for Africa,” Verkooijen said, adding that adaptation finance will be a key focus of the COP27 climate summit in November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. 

The climate-adaptation money currently flowing in is too insignificant to make a difference. The African Development Bank has a fund with contributions from Europe and Canada, but has disbursed just $8 million for small operations in 16 countries. One ambitious project — the Great Green Wall initiative aimed at halting desertification by planting trees across the width of Africa — has received pledges of over $19 billion from organizations across the globe. But progress has been slow.

Extreme weather events have exploded in Africa. The Horn of Africa is currently dealing with the worst drought in at least four decades, putting 16 million people across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia at risk and raising the specter of a famine. In May, South Africa’s deadliest floods in almost three decades triggered landslides that killed 435 people and destroyed thousands of dwellings.

The number of floods in Africa has jumped five-fold since the 1990s, according to GCA. In 2020, the most severe flood in Sudan in 60 years displaced more than 500,000 people. In 2019, two of the strongest cyclones ever recorded hit east Africa. Cyclone Idai destroyed 90% of the homes in the city of Beira in Mozambique and damaged 1.4 million hectares (3.6 million acres) of arable land in Zimbabwe. That was followed by Cyclone Kenneth. Together, they killed 1,300 people and affected the lives of 3.5 million more. 

The floods that followed the cyclones provoked the worst locust infestation in a quarter century, leaving 9.6 million people in Sudan without enough food and driving thousands of farmers in Somalia to migrate. Africa loses 4 million hectares of forest each year to land degradation, Lake Chad has shrunk by 90% in the last 40 years and the glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro are melting.

“Climate change impacts are costing African economies between 3% and 5% of their GDPs,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the African Union on Feb. 6. “Despite not being responsible for causing climate change, it is Africans who are bearing both the brunt and the cost. The necessary financial flows to enable developing-economy countries in particular to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change remain vastly inadequate.”

African leaders haven’t helped, treating climate-driven problems as a “peripheral issue,” said Saliem Fakir, executive director of the African Climate Foundation. “Governments treat it as an environmental issue largely to be supported by donor assistance and not really integrated into the economic debate.” Poor planning, deforestation and the misuse of developmental funds have made matters worse.

In an index of 182 countries assessed by the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative for climate-change vulnerability, the bottom seven are African. That comes from the continent’s overwhelming dependence on subsistence farming. About half of Africa’s population relies on agriculture. In the eastern parts of the continent, that number rises to 70%. There’s little irrigation, leaving farmers at the mercy of rain. 

For many potential climate refugees, poor crops are where their migration journeys start. Mouhoumoudane Mohamed, 34, from a village in the Agadez region in Niger, left for Algeria in 2019, hoping to make it to Europe.

“One bad harvest followed another; the meager crops that you could squeeze from the soil weren’t enough,” Mohamed said. “The problem in Agadez is the lack of water. When it rains, it’s never enough. Or it’s too heavy and destroys the crops.”

He failed, and is back in Agadez, holding off trying again — for now. 

A record 4.3 million people were displaced in 2020 in Sub-Saharan Africa alone due to weather events and conflicts, GCA estimates. Migration within the continent creates problems of its own. Desperate farmers moving to greener pastures cause conflict with communities already there. Also, with few opportunities, youths are joining Islamist militants — providing fodder for groups that Europe and the US are trying to fight. 

Africa’s rapidly growing cities, to which many of the continent’s poor gravitate, are seeing climate-related problems of their own. About half of Africans now live in cities, and the urban population is expected to nearly triple by 2050, according to GCA. Seventy-nine African cities, including 15 national capitals, are at extreme risk of climate change, according to Catlyne Haddaoui, a global policy and research manager at the Washington-based Coalition for Urban Transitions. 

“An increase of 2 degrees Celsius in average world temperature doesn’t have the same effect in Nigeria as it does in the US where you have air conditioning from your car to your office to your house and everywhere,” Haddaoui said. “It would be way more difficult to deal with in Africa and way more deadly.” 

With extreme weather only likely to intensify and drive more people to migrate, “developed countries have both a responsibility and an interest in helping some of the most vulnerable countries,” said Taylor Dimsdale, director for Risk and Resilience at E3G, a climate think-tank.

It might stop migrants like Ali from knocking at their doors. The Somali farmer waited in Tapachula, about 900 miles from the nearest US border, to make the final stretch of his journey to America. With climate change destroying his livelihood, he’s keen to start over elsewhere.

“We depend on the rain and the river, but there was no water,” said Ali. “We lost everything.”

UK house prices rise despite sucessive interest rate hikes — and show no sign of a dramatic slowdown - YAHOO FINANCE

JUNE 01, 2022

The bouyant property market continues to defy gravity despite four interest rate rises from the Bank of England since December, latest figures show today.

Building society Nationwide, one of Britain’s biggest mortgage lenders, said the average price of home in the UK rose 0.9 per cent in May — the tenth successive monthly rise — to £269,914.

The annual rate of increase eased slightly from 12.1 per cent to 11.2 per cent but shows no sign of a dramatic slowdown.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Despite growing head-winds from the squeeze on household budgets due to high inflation and a steady in-crease in borrowing costs, the housing market has retained a surprising amount of momentum.

“Demand is being supported by strong labour market conditions, where the unemployment rate has fallen towards 50-year lows, and with the number of job vacancies at a record high. At the same time, the stock of homes on the market has remained low, keeping upward pressure on house prices.”

The lender said it expected the market to start slowing later in the year as double digit inflation increases the squeeze on household finances. further interest rate hikes are also expected over the coming months.

But property commentators described the continuing strength of the market as “absurd” and warned that it could come to be seen as “the calm before the storm.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “Although there’s a definite squeeze on people’s purses due to the higher cost of living and inflation across the board, we are still seeing a strong housing market with higher prices supported by low interest rates, even though these are rising, and strong employment.

“With homeowners looking to improve their homes, disposal income is being used intelligently to add value and improve quality of life. This will be something to watch closely in coming months with higher costs of such works and inflation hitting homeowner budgets.”

Anna Clare Harper, director of property technology platform IMMO, said: “Many will be wondering why house prices remain so buoyant, in the context of post-Covid, post-Brexit and mid-Ukraine turmoil.

‘Much like for the wider economy, house price inflation is being driven by shortages of supply. This shortage relates to housing in general, and to quality housing that people can afford, in the places they want and need to live, in particular.

“Suitable, affordable housing shortages are being made worse by planning backlogs from lockdown alongside labour and material shortages and inflationary pressures, alongside the fact that many new build schemes are unaffordable to locals.’

UK launches new visa for world’s top graduates - is your college on the list? - CNBC

JUNE 01, 2022

Graduates from the world’s top colleges, who are still early on in their careers, will now be able to apply for a short-term visa to stay and work in the U.K.

From Monday, the U.K. government has said people who have graduated, in the last five years, from one of the eligible leading universities listed on its website, will be able to apply for the U.K.’s “high potential individual” visa.

Successful applicants will be granted a two-year visa, while those with a PhD will be offered a three-year visa. Graduates granted a HPI visa will also be able to switch to other long-term employment visas, if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Graduates’ partners and children can also apply to join, or stay with them, in the U.K.

To apply, graduates will need a valid passport or other travel document that shows their identity and nationality. It will be available to those eligible regardless of their nationality or where they were born. Applicants will also have to prove they have at least a “B1” level of English, where they can communicate with native speakers without effort.  

The application fee for the visa is £715 ($904), along with £210 to verify that their qualification is valid, or £252 if they’re applying from the U.K.

In addition, applicants will have to pay a health care surcharge, so that they can use the U.K.’s National Health Service, which is usually £624 for every year they’ll be in the U.K. Applicants will also have to prove that they can support themselves by showing they have at least £1,270 in their bank account, though this is subject to exemptions.

Applicants will usually find out whether they’ve been successful within 3 weeks if they’re applying from outside the U.K. and 8 weeks if they’re already in the U.K., and are switching from another visa.

The list of eligible colleges is based on university rankings from around the world. Here’s the 2021/22 rundown of eligible universities.

‘High potential individual’ visa 2021 college list

  1. California Institute of Technology (Caltech) — U.S.
  2. Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) — Hong Kong
  3. Columbia University — U.S.
  4. Cornell University — U.S.
  5. Duke University — U.S.
  6. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL Switzerland) — Switzerland
  7. ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) — Switzerland
  8. Harvard University — U.S.
  9. Johns Hopkins University — U.S.
  10. Karolinska Institute — Sweden
  11. Kyoto University — Japan
  12. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) — U.S.
  13. McGill University — Canada
  14. Nanyang Technological University (NTU) — Singapore
  15. National University of Singapore — Singapore
  16. New York University (NYU) — U.S.
  17. Northwestern University — USA
  18. Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University — France
  19. Peking University — China
  20. Princeton University —  U.S.
  21. Stanford University — U.S.
  22. Tsinghua University — China
  23. University of British Columbia — Canada
  24. University of California, Berkeley — U.S.
  25. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) — U.S.
  26. University of California, San Diego — U.S.
  27. University of Chicago US — U.S.
  28. University of Hong Kong — Hong Kong
  29. University of Melbourne — Australia
  30. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor — U.S.
  31. University of Munich (LMU Munich) — Germany
  32. University of Pennsylvania — U.S.
  33. University of Texas at Austin —  U.S.
  34. University of Tokyo — Japan
  35. University of Toronto — Canada
  36. University of Washington — U.S.
  37. Yale University — U.S.

Emirates Set To Increase Weekly Frequencies To 21 In Nigeria - INDEPENDENT

JUNE 01, 2022

Emirates Airlines have indicated plans to resume 21 weekly frequencies to two destinations in Nigeria; the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.

This is as the airline recently hosted top travel agents in the country in recognition of their services and ongoing partnerships with the airline.

Mr. Badr Abbas, Senior Vice President (SVP), Commercial Operations, Africa, Emirates, while speaking on the resumption of the 21 frequencies to Nigeria, said that the airline, which currently operates 12 weekly flights to Lagos and Abuja intended to increase the frequencies by September 2022.

Currently, Emirates operates seven weekly flights to Lagos and another five frequencies weekly to Abuja. Emirates commenced flight services to Nigeria in 2004 with 60 destinations in its route network as at then, but have continued to increase its influence into the two major cities in the country.

With the planned increased, the airline intended to resume 14 weekly frequencies to Lagos; two flights daily and seven flights per week to Abuja.

Abbas, who stated that the airline only operates 70 per cent of its pre-Covid-19 pandemic services, stated that it is right now deploying more than one million seats network-wide per week, in line with surging demand for international travel. 

Abbas emphasised that the Dubai based airline hoped to bring back the rest of its network based on easing of restrictions in certain countries, and other operational factors, but noted it had recovered more than 90 per cent of its network.

According to him, the airline’s current services provides an opportunity for its trade partners to have more inventory to sell to customers, stressing that the airline has been adding more seats monthly.

He said: “Today, we operate to nearly 130 passenger destinations using our entire fleet of Boeing 777s and close to 70 Airbus A380s aircraft. This time last year, we were operating to 90 destinations.

“We are aiming that by the end of this year, we’ll be operating close to 90 A380s, helping Nigerian customers travel in style and experience our signature products as they travel across our network from Dubai.

“Today, we operate 12 weekly services to our two Nigerian gateways. And this is increasing shortly. By September, we will restore our services to pre-pandemic levels, which include double daily flights to Lagos and daily operations to Abuja. That’s 21 flights a week to and through Dubai.”

Also, Abbas lauded travel agents for their partnership with the airline, which he said had gone a long way to contribute to the success of the airline in Nigeria and its fast post-COVID-19 recovery.

He stated that the special travel industry initiative was another clear demonstration of the strategic importance of the Nigerian market to Emirates. 

Abbas said: “Emirates airline and Nigeria share a very special relationship that goes back to almost 20 years, and we have been connecting Nigerian travellers to a global network which now spans nearly 130 destinations, making it easier to connect with friends, family, trade and tourism opportunities.

“We have been eager to visit Nigeria, a market that is very important to us, to meet with the people that have supported us, even in the most difficult of times. Throughout this journey, you, our loyal travel agents have been an integral part of our rebuilding efforts, for which we are extremely grateful. We look forward to your continued support in the years ahead.”

The airline also organised a workshop in Lagos for close to 60 travel trade partners, which aims to provide them with the latest updates and information on the airline, its route network and fleet in service, the ramp up of operations in both Lagos and Abuja, new routes for the airline globally and updates on its new premium economy product among others. 

Emirates flew over 19 million passengers across its network in the last financial year. The event was the first to take place since the outset of the pandemic. 

Aregbesola: Nigerians in diaspora with expired passports can renew at airports - THE CABLE

JUNE 02, 2022

Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, says Nigerians in diaspora with expired passports can travel back home “without fear of harassment”.

The minister gave the assurance at a webinar organised by Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) on Saturday.

He said the establishment of front offices have been approved at Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt airports to help Nigerians “who arrive the country on expired passports to have their passports renewed immediately”.

“It is in this regard that the NIS recently granted a waiver for Nigerians with expired passports desirous of coming to Nigeria to do so without fear of harassment by airlines,” the minister said.

MAY 31 DEADLINE TO CLEAR BACKLOG

Aregbesola also said he has given a May 31 deadline to clear all backlogs of passport applications.

The minister said the delay in passport issuance experienced by Nigerians is one of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the federal government has reached an “advanced stage” of domesticating the production of passport booklets to avert a future recurrence.

He said: “The Nigerian Immigration Service in recent time has been facing challenges in passport issuing, particularly because of a shortage of booklet, both locally and abroad. The ministry and NIS have been frantically working to resolve this.

“I gave a May 31st deadline to clear all backlogs of passport application. To ensure a permanent solution to the recurrent scarcity of booklet, the federal government is at an advanced stage of domesticating the production of passport booklets here in Nigeria.

“So, with what we are commencing on June 1st, I am confident that we shall no longer experience any shortage of booklets and the issuance and renewal of passports will be seamless starting from the 1st of June.

“To ensure efficient and effective service delivery to Nigerians, we have recently reviewed the passport issuing process with a view to streamlining the process for better performance while also eliminating the activities of touts.

“All passport applications and issuance are to be made online. Effective June 1, all passport application and issuance will take a period of six weeks to enable the NIS to carry out due diligence on all applicants.”

The minister added that the NIS recently approved the revalidation of all payments for passports made by Nigerians sequel to the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is to enable the service conclude action on all pending passport applications,” he said.

Okada Ban: Lagos to crush seized motorcycles - PREMIUM TIMES

JUNE 02, 2022

The government has rolled out alternatives to cushion the effects of the ban in many areas.

By Oluwakemi Adelagun


The Lagos State Government, Wednesday, announced its plan to crush commercial motorcycles called Okada, seized during enforcement.

A statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, said the motorcycles will be crushed on Friday.

CMS, Lagos. No Okada riders were seen on the highway

“Law enforcement agencies seized many motorcycles today (Wednesday),” he said.

“They will all be crushed on Friday in the presence of the media.”

A fresh ban, which took effect on Wednesday, was imposed by the government following the mob attack that led to the death of David Imoh, a sound engineer in the Lekki area of the state.

Very few Okada riders standing by the Mile 2 bus station

The ban was imposed across six local government areas – Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa and nine local government councils areas.

It’s not the first time the government would impose the measure. In January 2020, the government banned the operation of motorcyclists in 15 local councils across the state.

Police enforcing the Okada ban in Oshodi

PREMIUM TIMES observed that many motorcyclists popularly called Okada in many parts of Lagos complied with the ban.

Alternatives

The ban, which is the first phase, was imposed following security and safety concerns, the commissioner said.

He said the state government has rolled out alternatives to cushion the effects of the ban in many areas.

“Many small buses, under the First Mile and Last Mile Scheme, were rolled out extensively in Surulere, Gbagada, Lekki, Lagos Island, and other parts of Lagos,” the statement reads.

Okada riders switched to inner streets in Oshodi due to the nan enforcement

“A number of taxicabs under the LAGRIDE scheme were deployed in Lagos Island, Ikeja, Surulere, Lekki and other places.

“The waterways were also busy as Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) put more ferries on their routes.”


Emirates prepares for 21-weekly flights, meets travel partners - THE GUARDIAN

JUNE 02, 2022

By Wole Oyebade

United Arab Emirates’ national carrier, Emirates Airline, is set to return to its 21-weekly flights schedule out of Nigeria, effective September 1 – in affirmation of its full recovery from the pandemic effects.

Senior Vice President of the airline, Badr Abbas, at an appreciation meeting with travel partners in Lagos and Abuja, said the carrier had recovered up to 90 per cent and the Nigerian market remains strategic to go full circle.

Abbas, in company of the Country Manager, Paulos Legesse, and the Emirates team in Nigeria, reassured the airline’s commitment to the “strategic Nigerian market” and personally hosted a historic travel industry workshop and recognition event in Abuja for the leading travel agents in Northern Nigeria.

Commenting on reconnecting in person with the travel industry for the first time since the outset of the pandemic, Abbas said: “Emirates airline and Nigeria share a very special relationship that goes back to almost 20 years, and we have been connecting Nigerian travellers to a global network, which now spans nearly 130 destinations, making it easier to connect with friends, family, trade and tourism opportunities.

“We have been eager to visit Nigeria, a market that is very important to us, to meet with the people that have supported us, even in the most difficult of times. Throughout this journey, you, our loyal travel agents have been an integral part of our rebuilding efforts, for which we are extremely grateful. We look forward to your continued support in the years ahead,” Abbas said.

He acknowledged that it has been a torrid two-year of pandemic effects for all parties. “Yet, together we are navigating the road to recovery, hopefully gaining an even stronger footing for the future. The word ‘together’ is key, and has always been for us at Emirates. Recovery is not a unilateral effort.”

It is through collaboration and meaningful partnerships that we move forward with recovery, and all collectively prepare to address the pent-up demand for travel to and from Nigeria and across our network.”

The specialised industry workshop in Abuja, aimed to provide the travel industry with the latest updates and information on the airline, its route network and fleet in service, the ramp up of operations in Nigeria, new routes for the airline globally, updates on its new Premium Economy product, up-to-date information on its customer and booking policies, the latest on Emirates Gateway partner portal, in addition to other topics.

Emirates currently operates 12 flights a week to Lagos, and Abuja. Emirates flew over 19 million passengers across its network in the last financial year.

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