Travel News

Hail damages cockpit windows and nose on Austrian Airlines flight from Majorca - SKYNEWS

JUNE 11, 2024

The jet managed to land safely in Vienna and officials say the storm cell was not visible on the radar.

A plane's windscreen and nose were badly damaged by hail on a flight from Majorca to Vienna.

It happened on Sunday afternoon as Flight 0S434 flew through a thunderstorm cell that Austrian Airlines said was not visible on radar.

It said the jet made a mayday call on its way back from the Spanish island but landed safely in Vienna with no injuries.

Images on social media showed the nose of the Airbus A320 partially disintegrated and dozens of impact marks on the windscreen.

Austrian Airlines said it was assessing the damage and stressed that passenger and crew safety was its "top priority".

It comes as Singapore Airlines announced compensation packages for people hurt during severe turbulence on a flight last month.

Briton Geoff Kitchen, 73, died in the incident from a suspected heart attack despite flight crew trying to revive him for 20 minutes.

IAG’s Aer Lingus Pilots to Protest Over Pay Unless Demands Met - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 13, 2024

BY Olivia FletcherBloomberg News

Aer Lingus passenger jets at Dublin Airport. Photographer: David Gannon/AFP/Getty Images

Aer Lingus passenger jets at Dublin Airport. Photographer: David Gannon/AFP/Getty Images , Photographer: DAVID GANNON/AFP

(Bloomberg) -- Aer Lingus passengers face possible travel disruptions from protests after pilots voted for industrial action amid a pay dispute. 

Talks between the airline, a subsidiary of IAG SA, and employees are set to resume on Thursday following the vote, state broadcaster RTE reported. 

“Aer Lingus pilots have not had a pay increase since 2019. Company is making bumper profits,” the IALPA union wrote on X ahead of the ballot. Almost 98% of members backed the industrial action, including possible withdrawal of labor, according to RTE.

The dispute would cause disruption for Aer Lingus should any action go ahead during one of the carrier’s busiest periods as holidaymakers travel abroad for the summer.

RwandAir increases flight frequency to Nigeria - BUSINESSDAY

JUNE 13, 2024

RwandAir, the national carrier of Rwanda, has said it will be increasing flight frequencies from five to seven weekly flights from Lagos to Kigali, Rwanda.

This is as the airline plans to expand operations in Africa and beyond through codeshare and other partnerships in a bid to connect the continent with the rest of the world.

This was disclosed by Owie Best, the chief commercial officer of the carrier, during a press conference on the milestones achieved by the carrier in the past two decades of operations while announcing the return of the airline’s daily flights to Lagos from Kigali, Rwanda.

RwandAir currently operates five times a week but plans to increase to seven. Best stated that RwandAir, the national flag of Rwanda, wants to improve connectivity from Africa and the rest of the world.

Best said, “What we are doing is to ensure that we have traffic and connectivity in Africa. We realised it is easier for you to fly to Europe than for you to fly from one African country to another. For you to fly from one African country to another, most times you have to fly out of the continent.

“What we are trying to do is to improve this intra-connectivity. That is why we started thinking about how we should identify these issues. We are so keen on improving Africa with airline partners. This is very strategic for us.

“If we cannot fly to a destination, there has to be a partner that is already there so we connect with that partner and can provide the connectivity. The driving force behind all of these actions is the need to advance intra-Africa connectivity. We need to be able to do so.”

Best said that there is no need for people who want to go from Nigeria to Morocco or any part of Africa to leave the continent and come back again, adding that this is completely unacceptable and that is why RwandAir wants to change the narrative.

“We know we cannot go everywhere, it’s not possible to operate everywhere but we can do it through healthy partnerships. We cannot stand alone so we need to be able to operate with other partners, identify these partners, talk to these partners and have a strong integration even in Nigeria,” he added.

He said that RwandAir is very strategic in its network expansion by holding discussions with one or two Nigerian carriers for passenger distribution to the domestic market from anywhere in the world.

He however stated that the carrier cannot continue to expand if they do not add enough aircraft to the 14 it already has in its fleet, adding that the carrier is expanding its network every day with collaboration with many carriers that have strong networks as well.

“We are progressively expanding in the fleet and we want to be able to double it in the next five years. We don’t want to bring all the aircraft and dump them in one place; every year we keep bringing new aircraft and five years from now, we have doubled the aircraft and we have a lot of routes that we have earmarked for these aeroplanes.”

“Today, we operate five times to Lagos and we want to do it every day of the week. As of last year, we were operating five or six times to London but today we are doing it daily. Any of the flights you take in Nigeria today you can connect to London. It’s only an hour and thirty minutes you have to stay to be connected. It’s not that you are dropped and you’d have to wait for a long time before you continue your journey. As soon as you get there you are connected. We have a very healthy, robust transit desk”.

Canada to reduce post-graduate work permit for international students - VANGUARD

JUNE 17, 2024

Federal and provincial immigration officials in Canada are in talks to significantly revamp the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility criteria.

The PGWP, an open work permit, is currently available to international students who complete an eligible program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

According to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Deputy Minister Transition Binder 2024, Canada’s immigration system aims to align PGWP issuance with labor market demands.

This alignment would facilitate easier access to work permits for students entering occupations facing shortages while restricting access for graduates from other programs.

Implementation Timeline

The binder indicates that “advice on this issue will be provided by the Minister in spring 2024, with the goal of implementing changes in January 2025.”

The proposal was further emphasized in an internal survey document recently sent to relevant stakeholders by IRCC.

This document outlined methods to align educational programs with PGWP availability and solicited feedback from stakeholders.

Proposed Implementation Strategies

While specific implementation details are still under wraps, notes from the internal survey reveal some strategies. IRCC, in collaboration with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), has mapped job titles to programs of study to identify which educational programs equip international students with skills needed in high-demand sectors of the Canadian economy.

This alignment was achieved by synchronizing Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) system with the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) system. For instance, the internal document illustrates that the “carpenter” NOC is mapped to three programs of study: construction trades, carpentry, and woodworking/general.

Rationale Behind the Changes

IRCC states that the primary objective of re-aligning labor market needs is to facilitate access to work permits for students in shortage occupations while reducing access for graduates from other programs. The PGWP program, last updated in 2008, has seen a 214% increase in work permits issued between 2018 and 2023.

Recent policy shifts by IRCC, including a cap on international students announced in January 2024, suggest further motivations.

The historic move to include temporary resident levels in the annual Immigration Levels Plan aims to prioritize permanent residents and citizens for jobs and reduce the strain on Canada’s social systems, such as healthcare and housing.

Immigration Implications

Gaining Canadian work experience through the PGWP is crucial for international graduates to build eligibility for many permanent residence (PR) programs. These federal and provincial economic PR programs often require at least a year of relevant work experience.

If these proposed changes to the PGWP program are implemented, they will likely have significant implications for international students currently studying in Canada. The potential restriction of PGWP access could affect their ability to gain necessary work experience and, consequently, their eligibility for permanent residence.

Qatar Airways Closing In on Major Stake in RwandAir, FT Reports - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 17, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- Qatar Airways is set to finalize its purchase of a major stake in RwandAir as early as next month, the Financial Times reported, citing senior executives close to the negotiations.

The partnership would boost the central African country’s aviation sector and allow RwandAir to expand its operations and fleet, tapping into Qatar Airways’ network and expertise, said RwandAir’s chief executive Yvonne Makolo, according to the newspaper. Qatar Airways declined to comment, the FT said.

Qatar and Rwanda have been working for five years on a deal, which has been delayed in part by the Covid-19 pandemic and Qatar hosting the Fifa World Cup, according to the newspaper. Intra-African passenger traffic is set to more than quadruple over the next 20 years, the FT cites projections by Boeing.

Bloomberg News reported in February 2020 that Qatar Airways planned to purchase a 49% stake in Rwanda’s national carrier.

--With assistance from Kamlesh Bhuckory.

UAE to lift visa ban on Nigerians - THE NATION

JUNE 18, 2024

The visa ban on Nigerians by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will soon be lifted the Federal Government has disclosed.

The government said closure will soon be put on the matter as last minutes resolution on the matter was being concluded between Nigerian the Middle East country.

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo during a 44-minute interview with the Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu, Otega Ogra, on the State House YouTube.

He noted that a resolution has been reached between President Bola Tinubu and UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during Tinubu’s visit to the UAE in September 2023.

According to him, although the UAE had initially listed additional processes to be met before the ban could be officially lifted, the Nigerian government has since completed all processes, paving the way for an imminent announcement from the UAE government.

“After that high-level meeting, Mr. President, credited to him, made things very easy for us all. We did our follow-ups as his ministers. We have done everything. We have resolved everything. Just wait for the announcement from the UAE government, and that announcement is imminent,” Keyamo stated.

Keyamo further mentioned that he is aware of the specific date when the travel restriction will be lifted, but he emphasised that it is up to the UAE government to make the official announcement.

The lifting of the ban is expected to restore ease of travel for Nigerian citizens to the UAE, thereby enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.

German Port Strikes to Worsen European Cargo Bottlenecks - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 18, 2024

Disruptions at Germany’s biggest ports this week threaten to worsen shipping delays, land-side logistical snarls and inflationary pressures as local dockworkers halt work for better pay.

According to Maersk, the world’s No. 2 container carrier, strikes called Monday at the ports of Hamburg, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Brake and Emden may run into Tuesday.

“This will have widespread implications on our network, with multiple vessels already planned to be worked today and tomorrow,” Maersk said in a customer advisory Monday. “With current outlook on the vessels, we do expect a knock-on effect for all vessels. Consequently, this will cause further delays.”

Five German Ports Are Striking

Bremerhaven is a major hub for automobile exports and imports.

Hamburg is Europe’s third-busiest container port after Rotterdam and Antwerp, and also serves as a key gateway for industrial materials and bulk cargo. The strike could cause cargo bottlenecks through its facilities, already estimated to be running at 65% to 90% capacity.

“At the face of it, work stoppages lasting 24-48 hours could be seen as a minor event to the outsider — but not to the insider,” said Peter Sand, chief analyst at Xeneta, an Oslo-based freight analytics platform. “Shippers will get hit, carriers may need to omit port calls — discharging cargo in another hopefully nearby port — at a point in time when all container shipping supply-chain stakeholders are struggling to move cargo efficiently.”

Shipping rates into northern Europe are already rising amid strained capacity:

Shipping Rates to Northern Europe Are Soaring

Spot rate for Asia-to-Rotterdam 40-foot container hit $6,177 last week

Germany’s inland transport system suffered problems from heavy rain earlier this month in the southern part of the country. Flooding also took German hydroelectric plants offline or reduce their output, putting more pressure on the country’s power supply.

Meanwhile, IG Metall — Germany’s largest labor union — is seeking a wage increase of 7% for about 3.9 million workers in the metal and electric parts industries to make up for steep consumer-price gains over past years.

Far Apart

The recommendation by IG Metall’s executive board would cover a period of 12 months and follow a deal in 2022 that lifted compensation by 8.5%. In the run-up to Monday’s announcement, employer association Suedwestmetall had argued against raising pay at all.

Such sharply diverging views suggest that any compromise will be hard fought for. Negotiations are set to start in September and will be closely scrutinized by the European Central Bank, according to reporting Tuesday from Bloomberg’s Jana Randow and Alexander Weber.

Europe’s largest economy is set to remain weak after shrinking in 2023. Manufacturing in particular is struggling with sluggish demand and trade uncertainty amid looming US elections, strained relations with China and geopolitical threats.

Brendan Murray in London

Charted Territory

Liberia Is the World’s Largest Shipping Register

Flags are key to monitoring ship safety

Lowering the flag | The world’s largest shipping register withdrew its approval for Russia’s Ingosstrakh Insurance to provide a key document enabling ships to enter ports. The Liberian Register — under whose flag 16% of the world’s ships by capacity sail — said in a circular that it no longer authorizes Moscow-based Ingosstrakh to issue so-called blue cards. Blue cards provide proof of cover against risks including oil spills and collisions. They are essential for port entry.

Import duty: FG summons 80 private jets owners over operating papers - PUNCH

JUNE 18, 2024

BY Oyetunji Abioye and Olasunkanmi Akinlotan

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Customs Service has begun a fresh move to clamp down on operators of improperly imported private jets into the country, findings by The PUNCH have revealed.

Consequently, no fewer than 80 operators of private jets are expected to appear at the headquarters of the NCS in Abuja with their aircraft import documents.

The special aircraft import verification exercise, which begins on Wednesday (tomorrow), is expected to last for 30 days, according to a public notice issued by Customs.

The notice, sighted by one of our correspondents, read in part, “The Nigeria Customs Service announces a verification exercise for privately owned aircraft operating in Nigeria. This exercise aims to identify improperly imported private aircraft without documentation, ensuring proper imports and maximum revenue collection.”

According to the notice, owners and operators of private jets in the country are to come with some relevant documents.

These include aircraft Certificate of Registration, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s Flight Operation Compliance Certificate, NCAA’s Maintenance Compliance Certificate, NCAA’s Permit for Non-Commercial Flights, and Temporary Import Permit (if applicable).

The latest plan to clamp down on operators of improperly imported private jets came more than one year after the Federal Government suspended the action.

In the past three years, the government had planned to recover import duty running into billions of naira from some private jet operators who had used certain technical loopholes to evade the payment of import duty.

A few private jet owners paid the mandatory import duty after the Hameed Ali-led NCS took some significant steps to recover the revenue.  However, several owners and operators of private jets in the country have yet to pay the statutory duty.

Many private aircraft operators in the country have allegedly explored technical loopholes in the regulation to fraudulently obtain a Temporary Import Permit from the Nigeria Customs Service instead of paying the statutory import duty on their imported aircraft.

The TIP, which is valid for an initial period of 12 months, can be extended by six months twice, according to the regulations.

However, several operators of private jets in the country have continued to extend the TIP indefinitely, a development that prompted the Customs to effect past clampdowns.

According to new findings by our correspondents, no fewer than 80 private jet operators are expected to present their aircraft import documents for verification during the one-month exercise.

“Based on the data we have, we are expecting no fewer than 80 private aircraft operators for the verification exercise. These include operators of about 20 private aircraft that have been imported since the last verification exercise,” a top official close to the  verification exercise told The PUNCH on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter

The exercise is expected to lead to the payment of the mandatory import duty, while aircraft operators who fail to pay may have their jets grounded.

The TIP has been described by some stakeholders as a fraudulent means of evading the mandatory import duty. Importers of private jets, especially foreign registered private jets, are expected to pay five per cent of the value of the private jet as import duty.

However, due to the high cost of private jets, some owners often prefer not to pay the import, according to Customs officials.

Instead, the operators prefer to obtain a TIP under the guise that the aircraft is coming into the country for a temporary period, quoting the International Civil Aviation Organisation Convention Article 24 which focuses on Customs waiver for commercial aircraft operating in a country temporarily.

But the new leadership of Customs appears poised to get all operators to pay the import duty.

Unconfirmed sources said the government might get close to N100bn in unpaid import duty on imported private aircraft due to the high exchange rate.

This analysis is however dependent on whether the Customs chooses to implement the 25 per cent penalty fee such aircraft owners are meant to pay for delayed payment. The 25 per cent penalty fee is in addition to the statutory five per cent import duty.

It is unclear If the private aircraft operators will be willing to cooperate with the government to pay the duty.

Some operators had in the past gone to court to stop the government from collecting the revenue.

Meanwhile, National Public Relations Officer, NCS, Abdullahi Maiwada, on Monday, confirmed the verification exercise, which is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

In response to enquiries by The PUNCH on what actions the agency would take after the verification exercise, Maiwada simply said, “All we are doing is to ensure maximum revenue collection for the Federal Government. Relevant sections of our extant laws and regulations will guide our actions and inaction during and after the exercise.”

Sometime in 2021, about 17 owners of foreign-registered private jets, comprising top business moguls, leading commercial banks, and other rich Nigerians, dragged the Federal Government to court, seeking to stop the grounding of their planes over alleged import duty default.

This came after the Federal Government approved the decision of the Nigeria Customs Service to the ground about 91 private jets over their alleged refusal to pay import duties running to over N30bn.

The NCS had in a letter directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency to ground the affected private jets with immediate effect.

However owing to issues bothering on inter-agency rivalry and disagreements, the relevant government agencies could not ground the private jets.

The jet owners who sued the government were seeking a judicial review as to whether it was lawful for them to pay the controversial import duty on their private jets or not.

They had sued the government using the foreign shell companies and trustees through which the foreign-registered jets were purchased.

Oftentimes, Nigerians and corporate bodies buy their foreign-registered private jets through foreign shell companies and trustees.  Experts believe Nigerians prefer to register their jets in foreign countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Isle of Man, among others, to preserve the value of the aircraft in the event they want to sell it. This also helps them to pay cheaper insurance premiums.

According to the court document, the 17 applicants, which are mostly foreign companies of the Nigerian jet owners are Aircraft Trust and Financing Corp Trustee, UAML Corp, Bank of Utah Trustee, Masterjet AVIACAO Executive SA, and Cloud Services Limited.

Others are MHS Aviation GmbH, Murano Trust Company Limited, Panther Jets, SAIB LLC, Empire Aviation Group, and Osa Aviation Limited.

The list also includes BUA Delaware Inc., Flying Bull Corporation Limited, Air Charter Inc., Sparfell Luftahrt GmbH, WAT Aviation Limited, and ATT Aviation Limited.

The NCAA and Customs were listed as respondents to the suit.

However, in a written address in support of the first respondent’s objector notice of preliminary objection, the court paper had read in part, “The brief facts of this case are that the first respondents, having discovered that some operators of aircraft imported them under the guise of Temporary Importation Permit, were permanently imported into Nigeria and given TIP status to evade payment of lawful customs.”

The NCS had in 2021 embarked on a review of import duties paid on private jets brought into the country since 2006.

Following the alleged discovery that several private jet owners, under the guise of Temporary Import Permit, had failed to pay the statutory import duty to the coffers of the government, the then CG of Customs, Hameed Ali, set up a verification panel to review all TIPs and the relevant aircraft import documents of all private jets in the country.

At the end of the 60-day exercise, 57 private jets, which had licences for commercial charter operations, were cleared and issued Aircraft Operators Certificates by the Customs.

However, 29 private jets, whose owners came for the verification, were found to be liable to pay the import duty.

The Customs also compiled a list of another 62 private jets whose owners failed to appear for the verification exercise but were found liable for import duty payment.

However, other private jet owners seeking to pay their import duty were given a 14-day ultimatum to clear the debts.

The number of jet owners who later paid the duty is still unclear. It is still unclear to what extent the new management of Customs is willing to get the powerful private jet owners to pay their import duty.

Millionaires are abandoning the UK in their droves, new research shows - CNBC

JUNE 18, 2024


  • The Henley Private Wealth Migration Report indicates that Britain will experience a net loss of 9,500 high-net-worth individuals in 2024 — more than double last year’s figure of 4,200.
  • The projections mark a stark turnaround for Britain, once viewed as a prime location for the world’s super-rich. And the upcoming election could accelerate the trend.
  • The Labour Party, which is projected to win the election, has said it will to target the wealthy in order to better fund public services.

LONDON — A record number of millionaires is expected to leave the United Kingdom this year, according to new research, with this year’s general election expected to further exacerbate the exodus.

The Henley Private Wealth Migration Report indicates that Britain will experience a net loss of 9,500 high-net-worth individuals in 2024 — more than double last year’s figure of 4,200 (which in itself was a record-high figure).

The U.K. came second to only China in Henley’s ranking, with the eastern Asian giant expected to see net outflows of 15,200 millionaires in 2024.

The projections mark a stark turnaround for Britain, once viewed as a prime location for the world’s super-rich. Henley, a consultancy that tracks migration trends, noted that between the 1950s and the early 2000s, the country saw swathes of rich families relocate to its shores from across mainland Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. 

“However, this trend began to reverse around a decade ago as more millionaires began to leave the country and fewer came in,” it said in its report.

“Notably, during the six-year period from 2017 to 2023 post-Brexit, the U.K. lost a total of 16,500 millionaires to migration. Provisional estimates for 2024 are even more concerning,” the research added.

Hannah White, CEO of the Institute for Government think tank, noted that the millionaire exodus could be accelerated by this year’s general election.


Wealth Tax and the Next Great Migration

Recent polls give the left-of-center Labour Party a striking lead over its rival right-wing Conservative Party. A poll by Savanta for The Telegraph newspaper, published at the weekend, gave Labour 46% of the vote, more than double the Conservative’s 21%, with populist right-wing party Reform not far behind with 13%.

Labour has positioned itself as a pro-business party with a focus on wealth creation. However, its election manifesto is also clear that it plans to target loopholes benefitting the wealthy in order to better fund public services. It has pledged to close tax loopholes for so-called nondomiciled individuals, reduce tax avoidance, remove tax breaks for independent schools and raise taxes on the purchases of residential properties by non-U.K. residents.

“The outflow of high-net-worth individuals already generated by the economic and political context is now being accelerated by policy decisions ahead of the election,” White wrote in Henley’s report.

“On top of the 40% duty already imposed on estates above a £325,000 [$412,420] threshold, the Conservative government has adopted the thrust of the Labour opposition’s policy of ending the U.K.‘s non-dom tax regime from 2025. And for those educating their children in the U.K.’s well-regarded private school sector, Labour’s commitment to removing the exemption from 20% VAT enjoyed by private schools will be a further unwelcome development,” White added.

The number of millionaires in the U.K. has fallen 8% over the past decade, according to Henley, in stark contrast to most other major economies across Europe and beyond. The number of high-net-worth individuals in Germany, for example, has risen 15% over the period, while the number in the U.S. jumped 62%.

Correction: The key points in an earlier version of this article misstated the U.K.’s net loss of millionaires in 2023.

— CNBC’s Jenni Reid contributed to this report.

WestJet cancels some 40 flights in anticipation of strike by mechanics - THE CANADIAN PRESS

JUNE 19, 2024

CALGARY — The WestJet Group has cancelled about 40 flights in anticipation of a possible strike by its aircraft maintenance workers on Thursday.

The airline says about 6,500 travellers have been affected by the decision covering flights on Tuesday and Wednesday. WestJet says it started cancelling and consolidating its flights in order to park aircraft in a safe and organized manner.

Some 670 WestJet mechanics, represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, are poised to walk off the job as early as Thursday night after serving the airline with strike notice earlier this week.

The flight cancellations came as WestJet waits for a response to its request that the Canadian Industrial Relations Board intervene.

If accepted, the move would refer the dispute to arbitration and prevent labour action by both sides, the company says.

The union, whose members voted overwhelmingly to reject a tentative agreement last week, opposes the move.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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