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South African firm, Southern Sun, to exit Nigerian market - RIPPLES

JUNE 05, 2022

South African investment company, Southern Sun Africa, has concluded plans to leave Nigeria’s hospitality business amid financial troubles.

The firm is expected to sell off one of its subsidiaries, Southern Sun Hotels in the Ikoyi area of Lagos to offset its debt.

The COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted Southern Sun Africa’s revenue and in a bid to cut its losses, the company will sell its 75.55 percent stake in the hotels to Kasada Albatross Holding for $30.4 million.

The deal currently awaits the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s approval.

Southern Sun Africa chose to save its Mozambique subsidiary with the sale of its business in Nigeria.

The deal will provide the firm with enough cash to offset its $26.6 million debt owed foreign creditors in the Southern African nation.

It will also free Southern Sun Africa from the $12.8 million debt owed by the Ikoyi Hotel, and allows the South African company to restructure its operations following the financial loss induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ripples Nigeria gathered that the new owner of Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotels, will change the name to Novotel, falling under the French-owned multinational hospitality conglomerate, Accor Group.

The Accor Group is one of the investment vehicles backing Kasada Albatross Holding’s parent firm, Kasada Hospitality Fund LP.

Kasada Hospitality Fund LP also draws capital from the Middle East sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority.

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Nigeria Air To Get Operating License On Monday - CHANNELS TV

JUNE 06, 2022

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is expected to present Nigeria Air, the country’s proposed national carrier with Air Transport Licence (ATL) on Monday.

The licence will be presented to the interim management of the airline at the headquarters of the aviation regulatory body in Abuja.

This was made known on the Instagram handle of the Ministry of Aviation @fmaviationng which reads, “The @NigerianCAA will on Monday, June 6th, 2022 present the Air Transport License (ATL) to the interim management of the #NigeriaAir, Nigeria’s national carrier at the NCAA’s Corporate headquarters, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja”.

The new national airline is expected to provide scheduled and non-scheduled services. It is one of the licenses received by airlines before they can commence operation just as they await the all-important Air Operator Certificate (AOC) that fully guarantees them the right to begin air services.

Nigeria Air Limited, the country’s proposed national carrier had in April 2022 applied to the NCAA for a license to operate scheduled and non-scheduled passenger and cargo services.

Wizz Air to Shut Doncaster Base Amid UK Travel Squeeze - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 06, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Wizz Air Holdings Plc said it will shutter its base in Doncaster, England, beginning Friday after failing to secure guarantees over commercial terms at the airport, where it’s been flying since October 2020.

The Budapest-based discount carrier said Monday it will cancel all Wizz UK operations from the hub, known as Doncaster Sheffield, and that pilots and cabin crew have been offered the opportunity of flying out of another base in the country.

The move will help stabilize operations at other locations in the UK, minimizing disruption in light of staff shortages within air traffic control and at airports, the company said. Britain has suffered travel turmoil in the past week, with hundreds of flights canceled across a number of carriers.

Wizz said it remains committed to long-term growth in the UK and that affected passengers can rebook, get a full refund, or take a credit worth 120% of the original fare.

Indonesia Plans to Lure Digital Nomads to Bali with 5-Year Visa - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 06, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia plans to issue a special five-year visa for remote workers and business-leisure travelers to lure visitors to back to Bali and other destinations. 

Around 95% of surveyed “digital nomads” have said Indonesia is their “top of mind” destination for remote work and they are ready to travel, Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Yvonne Man and Rishaad Salamat on Monday.

The ministry has mulled this special visa since early 2021, but the plan was derailed by coronavirus resurgences, stringent border controls and a lack of flights to Indonesia’s tourist destinations.

“Now with the pandemic handled and all the ministries getting involved and cooperating from the health side to the immigrations office, we believe that this is an opportune time to relaunch this idea,” Uno said.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy has scrapped most of its travel restrictions, allowing fully-vaccinated visitors to come without testing or quarantine requirements, as Covid-19 cases stay low and booster doses are rolled out. Tourist arrivals jumped 500% to 111,000 in April, its highest monthly tally since the pandemic.

Indonesia expects to hit its target of 3.6 million tourist arrivals this year, with events like the Group of 20 meetings and various sporting competitions on the calendar. This should create over a million jobs for Indonesians and help propel economic growth after the pandemic, Uno said.

COVID-19, others delay acquisition of aircraft for national carrier – CEO - PUNCH

JUNE 07, 2022

BY  

The interim management of the national carrier, Nigeria Air, on Monday explained why the proposed new airline had not been able to take delivery of any aircraft required for its operations.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority after receiving an Air Transport Licence for Nigeria Air, the Chief Executive of the airline’s management, Capt. Dapo Olumide, categorically stated that “it is very difficult to get the aircraft,” attributing this to the effect of COVID-19 on the aviation sector globally, among other factors.

Olumide, who received the licence on behalf of the proposed new airline, however, stated that efforts were ongoing to get all the aircraft, as this was a basic requirement by the NCAA before the issuance of another vital certificate.

The PUNCH had reported on Monday that the civil aviation regulator would present an ATL to the interim management of Nigeria Air in Abuja.

The ATL with number NCAA/ATR1/ATL214, which was presented to the airline, was signed by the Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, and would run for a period of five years from June 3, 2022 to June 2, 2027.

An Air Transport Licence is issued as authorisation to airlines to provide scheduled and non-scheduled services.

It is one of the licences received by airlines before they can commence operations just as they await the all-important Air Operator Certificate that fully guarantees them the right to begin air services.

The issuance of an ATL to Nigeria Air on Monday came four years after the branding and livery of the new airline was unveiled by the Federal Government during the Farnborough Air Show in July 2018 in London.

Since then, there had been several efforts and promises by the Federal Government to get the airline functional, as the airline’s boss insisted on Monday that the national carrier was making progress, based on the presentation of an ATL to the airline by the NCAA.

However, in his response to an enquiry on the airplanes needed for airline’s operations, Olumide stated that it had been tough to get them.

He said, “The aircraft are available but there are all sorts of issues because this is summer peak period. And as you know, post-COVID, all the aircraft were parked in the desert. The airlines are bringing them out slowly. It takes time to bring an aircraft out of storage.

“And there is a further complication, a lot of flights in Europe are being cancelled or delayed because most people were laid off during the COVID and they don’t have enough staff in the airports to turn around flights. So there are lots of cancellations going on.

“So it is very difficult to get the aircraft but we have discussions going on with Original Equipment Manufacturers and we are just waiting for the right terms of the agreement. We already have the aircraft identified because that is one of the requirements for the NCAA, but we are just trying to perfect titles and so on.”

Olumide concluded that the airline was still sourcing aircraft, stressing that the national carrier was in a Public-Private Partnership process with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission based on the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

“So we have to comply with the terms of proposals. So the sourcing is still in progress,” he stated.

Commenting on the licence that was issued the airline and the next stage for the carrier, the NCAA boss described the ATL as a big step required by Nigeria Air in its pursuit towards commercial flight services.

Nuhu said, “The ATL process is a step and one of the certificates required towards schedule passenger operations and it is a big step forward in the processing of the Air Operator Certificate which is presently ongoing.

“We are the civil aviation regulator. We support all operators, those currently existing in the industry, we work together, and those aspiring and processing, we work together with them and support them to ensure they get all their documentation after meeting their requirements without exception.”

Nuhu told the management of Nigeria Air that the NCAA was looking forward to seeing the airline fulfill the remaining requirements for the issuance of an AOC.

Asked to state what would be required to get the AOC since the airline had been issued an ATL, the NCAA helmsman replied, “An ATL is part of the process of getting an airline schedule operator flying and issuance of the AOC is ongoing.

“Once all the requirements are made and we are happy with the compliance with all our regulatory requirements and applicable standards, they would be issued an AOC.”

Relocation Of Foreign Airlines To New Terminal To Be In Phases – MD FAAN - INDEPENDENT

JUNE 07, 2022

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said that foreign airlines operating at the old international terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos would be moved to the recently constructed terminal at the airport, despite their reluctance to move.

The agency also said that plans have reached an advanced stage by the management to decentralise essential operations, including the management and the welfare of staff for improved service delivery.

Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, the Managing Director, FAAN disclosed these in an interview with aviation correspondents over the weekend at the Lagos Airport.

Yadudu wondered why most of the foreign airlines declined to relocate their operations to the new terminal, alleging that some of the operators attempted to blackmail the country, but insisted the government would not succumb to such blackmail.

He, however, said that the management had so far relocated two carriers to the new terminal, especially those operating earlier morning and afternoon flights, stressing that this had led to mild decongestion of the old terminal.

Besides, Yadudu explained that the gradual relocation of the airlines to the new terminal would also prevent abrupt system collapse, citing the case of Heathrow Terminal 5 in London, which took the authority about six months to fully move operations of British Airways to the new terminal when it was constructed.

He expressed worry that some of the same foreign airlines had complained about the old facility’s baggage systems and other poor equipment, but wondered why the reluctance.

He said: “The terminal is open. When you commission a new terminal, you have to do an operational transfer before you can move. We decided to start moving in phases. We didn’t want everyone to move at the same time. If you remember, when Terminal 5 opened in London, it took others about six months because of some teething challenges.

Canadian vehicle prices hit record high in May – but it may be the peak - YAHOO FINANCE

JUNE 08, 2022

Buying a car continues to be a costly endeavour in Canada, with the price of used and new vehicles reaching new record highs in May, according to Autotrader.

Autotrader said the average price of a new vehicle in Canada reached $54,048 in May, a 17.3 per cent increase from last year and up slightly more than 1 per cent from April, when prices last hit a record high. The cost of a used vehicle also increased in May, reaching an average price of $37,984, up 36.4 per cent from 2021 and nearly 1 per cent from the previous month.

"We're still seeing in the market a supply and demand mismatch, so prices have remained on the higher side," Baris Akyurek, Autotrader's director of analytics, said in an interview.

Vehicle prices have been on a tear since the COVID-19 pandemic struck and disrupted supply chains, leaving dealerships with depleted inventories as demand surged and more people turned to private vehicle ownership.

The price increases have been especially prominent for larger vehicle categories, including light-duty trucks, SUVs and minivans. For example, the average price of a new minivan in Canada hit $59,592 in April, a 44.2 per cent increase from the previous year. Autotrader said minivan prices in particular increased at a faster rate than the cost of trucks (up 13.2 per cent year-over-year) and SUVs (up 12.2 per cent year-over-year) due to a 56 per cent annual decline in inventory.

One province that saw used vehicle prices surge at a faster rate than other regions is Quebec, where used cars are typically cheaper than in the rest of the country. Akyurek said anecdotal evidence suggests that dealers from outside the province have been purchasing vehicles from Quebec as a way to boost inventory and meet increasing demand levels.

Where prices are softening

Despite soaring prices, there are signs the market might be starting to normalize, Akyurek said, as the average price of vehicles declined on a monthly basis in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. While the decreases were small (0.9 per cent in B.C. and 0.4 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan), it is the first decline seen in Canada in months.

"We haven't seen a month-over-month decline in a while, so we believe that prices are probably at the peak or very close to the peak and that there is going to be some sort of normalization starting pretty soon," Akyurek said.

Canadian Black Book, which tracks vehicle prices, echoed that sentiment, and said wholesale vehicle valuations have finally hit "a blip" after 20 months of record growth. The company's used vehicle retention index, which measures used prices compared to the original price, remained flat in May after posting a decline in April.

“Given wider inflationary trends throughout the economy, skyrocketing gas prices, and rising interest rates, any relief in prices is a welcome sign. That said, our expectation at Canadian Black Book is that wholesale prices will remain high well into 2023," James Hancock, Canadian Black Book's director of analytics, said in a statement.

"We anticipate 2022 to see a plateau for prices, with a gradual decline over the next couple years. However, prices are expected to remain well above pre-pandemic levels into 2026 and possibly beyond."

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

Petrol prices surge in biggest one-day jump for 17 years - THE TELEGRAPH

JUNE 08, 2022

Petrol prices have surged by more than 2p in just 24 hours as the cost of filling up a full tank of fuel hurtles towards £100.

The average pump price hit 180.73p per litre on Tuesday, up from 178.50p a day earlier, marking the biggest one-day increase in 17 years.

Diesel prices were also up by more than a penny to hit another record high of 186.57p, according to RAC figures.

The latest jump takes the cost of filling up a 55-litre family car to £99.40, with prices set to break through the £100 mark as soon as tomorrow. Diesel drivers are already paying £102.61 to fill up a full tank of fuel.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman, said: “These are unprecedented times in terms of the accelerating cost of forecourt fuel. Sadly, it seems we are still some way from the peak.”

The motoring body said Asda had increased its average forecourt price by nearly 5p in a single day. It warned the move would likely spur rival supermarkets, which dominate fuel retailing, to raise their prices as well.

But rival AA blamed RAC’s ‘reckless speculation’ for rising fuel prices, plunging Britain’s two main motoring bodies into a row amid a deepening crisis for drivers.

Earlier this week, the RAC warned motorists to brace for prices hitting £2 a litre after Goldman Sachs forecast average oil prices of $135 a barrel for the rest of the year.

While the AA said the pump price rises were “not unexpected”, it argued that its rival’s “reckless speculation” was only driving prices higher.

Luke Bosdet at the AA said: “Reckless speculation is leading to rip-off prices at the pump. Yesterday’s more than 2p-a-litre leap in average UK petrol prices is a huge shock and fuels concern that speculation of a £2 litre just gives the fuel trade licence to pile on extra cost and the misery.”

The RAC refuted the accusation and said retailers were basing their prices on wholesale costs rather than speculation.

Oil prices have climbed steadily over recent months as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparks supply fears, compounding a rebound in demand as economies recover from the pandemic.

Brent crude has risen past $120 a barrel this week amid doubts that increased output targets among major producers will help ease tight supply.

Surging costs on forecourts are exacerbating inflation and piling more pressure on household budgets as the cost of living crisis escalates.

Data published by the Business Department this week showed UK fuel prices have jumped at four times the rate of inflation.

Mr Williams at the RAC said further government intervention was “urgently needed”, such as a further fuel duty cut or a VAT cut.

He said: “As it is, drivers surely won’t be able to cope unless something is done to help.

“This is fast becoming a national crisis for the country’s 32m car drivers as well as countless businesses.”

Local airline signs pact to operate Sierra Leone’s national carrier - THE GUARDIAN

JUNE 09, 2022

Nigerian airline, Xejet Limited, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of The Republic of Sierra Leone to operate its new National Carrier – Air Sierra Leone.

By the pact, Xejet will operate regional and international flights from Lungi International Airport, Freetown.

The Guardian learnt that the government of Sierra Leone and Xejet have been in discussions and have now agreed that the company may establish and operate a national carrier for the Republic of Sierra Leone.

The parties further agreed to work together to successfully execute the project to international standards.

The MoU was signed by the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Kabineh M. Kallon, on behalf of the Government and Emmanuel Iza for Xejet in the presence of Dr. Rex Idaminabo (Consulting Associate) and Floyd Davis, Deputy Director of Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA).

In attendance at the signing ceremony from the Ministry of Transport and Aviation are the Deputy Minister, Mr. Rex Bhonapha; the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alhassan Kondeh; Technical Adviser, Dr. Adams Steven; Director of Transport, Hindolo Shiaka; and Policy Coordinator, Macmond Kallon.

Xejet Aviation was set up to provide Air Transport Services in the areas of passenger, cargo, aircraft maintenance, and aviation training. It was founded and run by a team of highly experienced technocrats with years of experience in airline and air operation.

Saudi Arabia Offers to Pay Airlines to Connect It to the World - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 09, 2022

BY  

Matthew MartinBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) --

Saudi Arabia is offering to subsidize airlines that fly unprofitable routes linking it to major global cities, as part of efforts to boost tourist arrivals and hit a goal of attracting 100 million visitors a year by 2030.

The government is offering the subsidy as part of its Air Connectivity Program and is in talks with airlines about the plan that’s open to any carrier to receive support, Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb said in an interview. The kingdom has already signed a deal with national carrier Saudia to fly to Zurich and Barcelona as part of the program.

“The main purpose is to create direct flights to our main target markets,” the minister said in Jeddah. “The program will compensate airlines to cover their losses from flying direct flights to these very important hubs for us.”

Funding will come directly from the government, though it wasn’t immediately clear how much it would cost. “We have to negotiate with every carrier to size it,” Al Khateeb said, adding that details on the program’s budget should be available next year.

Limited Options

Saudi Arabia only began offering tourist visas in late 2019, and subsidizing carriers to fly to the country is a recognition of how limited options are for travelers to get there. The move is the latest step in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s strategy to reduce reliance on the world’s largest crude oil exports and turn Riyadh into a global business center. 

The government plans to invest $147 billion to help turn the country into a transport and logistics hub that also includes developing a new airport in Riyadh, launching an airline, and increasing the number of direct destinations served from the country to 250 from about 100.

Having identified gaps in connectivity, the government asked airlines to start direct flights, Al Khateeb said. Eventually the launch of a new carrier owned by the Public Investment Fund would “fill a big gap in the number of routes flying to Saudi Arabia,” said Al Khateeb, who is also a board member of the fund.

The tourism ministry is targeting 12 million foreign tourists this year, with tourism on tack to contribute about 4% of economic output, Al Khateeb said. By 2030 the government wants to get that to 10% of economic output.

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