Travel News

Europe Braces for Heat Following Greek Fires and Swiss Floods - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 24, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- European capitals are bracing for heat wave conditions, following wildfires in Greece and flooding in Switzerland over the weekend. 

High pressure over southern Scandinavian will bring the highest temperatures this year to the UK, with London and parts of the southeast nearing heat wave thresholds by the middle of the week, according to the Met Office. Yellow health alerts for hot weather have been issued for most of England.

Berlin and Paris will approach 30C (86F) early this week, with the German capital peaking at 31.5 on Thursday, according to Maxar Technologies Inc.

Power demand for cooling is expected to be slightly higher than usual over the next five days, according to Maxar, before temperatures ease by the weekend. At the same time, German solar output is expected to peak at 43,148 megawatts on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg models.

Greece, which has been battling wildfires since the middle of last week, remains at the epicenter of Europe’s heat. Temperatures in Athens will reach 37C on Monday and 38C on Tuesday, after the country recorded its hottest June day earlier this month.

Climate change means this year is on track to be the hottest on record, with the death toll from searing temperatures and extreme weather events climbing from India and Saudi Arabia to the US and Brazil.

By contrast, Switzerland remains on alert after heavy rainfall caused widespread flood damage in recent days, including a landslide that buried part of a village in the southeast. Water levels in Lake Constance are level 4, indicating great danger.

That flooding comes weeks after parts of neighboring Germany were submerged following persistent rainfall, disrupting rail services and shipping on the key Rhine and Danube shipping routes.

Massive Power Blackout Hits the Entire Nation of Ecuador - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 24, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- A blackout hit the whole of Ecuador on Wednesday, leaving the nation of 18 million without power. 

Energy Minister Roberto Luque blamed the massive outage on a incident with a transmission line in southern Ecuador which triggered a “cascading disconnection.”

The blackout was the first of its kind in 20 years and “shows how fragile our system is, and reflects the energy crisis we’re experiencing,” Luque told reporters in Guayaquil.  

At 7 p.m. local time, 95% of power service was restored and full service is expected to resume before midnight local time, according to the government. 

Quito’s Mayor Pabel Muñoz said that the capital’s recently-inaugurated subway, which has an independent backup power supply, also stopped running. 

Ecuador last suffered a series of rolling blackouts early this year amid a severe drought. Heavy rains in recent days however also forced the disconnection of the nation’s biggest hydroelectric plant because of a risk from erosion, which also led private pipeline operator Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados Ecuador SA to shut down its pipeline and declare force majeure.

With proper investment and maintenance of transmission lines, this incident would have been avoided, Luque said. Plans to prevent a total blackout were prepared two decades ago after the previous one and never implemented, he added.

(Updates with additional comments from Energy Minister Luque throughout)

High Airfares to Persist as Travel Booms, New AirAsia Boss Says - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 24, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- There’s no end in sight to the high airfares that are a mainstay of the world’s post-pandemic travel boom, according to Asia’s biggest low-cost carrier.

Travelers may see a little reprieve next year as jet fuel prices decline and the airline’s flight capacity rises, said AirAsia Aviation Chief Executive Officer Bo Lingam, who will head a new listed entity called AirAsia Group following a merger between the company’s short and long haul operations in September. But strong demand means airfares are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels any time soon, he said.

“My load factor is around 90% — this was unheard of pre-Covid,” Lingam, 59, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Sepang, Malaysia.

The global aviation industry has been transformed as the post-pandemic reopening unleashed a wave of pent-up travel demand that’s sent ticket prices surging faster than inflation in many parts of the world. At the same time, a series of supply chain constraints from aircraft delivery delays to unplanned engine maintenance has left many airlines struggling to roll out enough flights.

For AirAsia, the demand is underpinning ambitions to establish the world’s first low-cost carrier network by 2030, using its Southeast Asia bases as a hub. So far this year that’s seen it add flights to Almaty in Kazakhstan and the start of operations by its Cambodian unit. Next up will be to start flying to Nairobi, Kenya, from October.

Its further-afield routes will be serviced by Airbus SE’s new long-range A321 models, which can fly further at an economical cost. Lingam said the company intends to convert its entire 377-plane orderbook to the A321 LR models and has made a separate order for 50 XLR models. 

“The cost of operating the aircraft is much cheaper — at least 25% to 30% cheaper — because it’s single aisle and you don’t need to worry about filling up 500 seats, as opposed to 240 seats,” Lingam said. 

Lingam also said there will be “no changes” in the way AirAsia is run when founder Tony Fernandes moves to an advisory role following the merger and shifts his focus toward non-aviation businesses under Capital A Bhd. 

While he hasn’t yet started his new role, Lingam, who has worked with Fernandes for more than three decades, said he’s already looking at his own succession plans. He intends to transfer his know-how to his two deputy CEOs, Chester Voo and Farouk Kamal over the next five years. 

“I’m no spring chicken,” he said.

Other key takeaways from the interview:

  • AirAsia is looking to raise at least $400 million in debt financing and 1 billion ringgit ($212 million) through equity once its merger completes.
  • The company is looking to refinance its dollar debts into ringgit, and will also seek lower interest rates once it’s removed from the Malaysian stock exchange’s financially distressed classification.
  • AirAsia is in discussions to start a unit in Vietnam, adding to its presence in Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Cambodia. The company won’t look to start units in any countries outside Southeast Asia.

FAAN Set Up Task Force To End Touting, Extortion At Airports - NAN

JUNE 24, 2024

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Saturday said it had set up a task force to eliminate touting, extortion and illicit activities at airports.

The FAAN Managing Director, Mrs Olubunmi Kuku, disclosed this while speaking with journalists on Saturday, in Lagos.

Kuku expressed her worries over reports of harassment and extortion of passengers at airports.

She vowed to crackdown on perpetrators of such illegal activities, emphasising her commitment to ensuring a seamless and pleasant experience for travelers.

Kuku said that Mr Henry Agbebire, Director of Special Duties at FAAN, was to spearhead the initiative as the chairman of the task force.

The FAAN MD also declared her intention to personally engage with all government agencies operating at the airports to ensure compliance with the anti-touting and anti-extortion measures.

Kuku said that strict disciplinary actions would be taken against anyone found engaging in illicit practices, stressing that it was no longer business as usual.

She highlighted the administration’s zero-tolerance policy towards misconduct.

Kuku announced that as measures to ensure the zero tolerance policy, magistrate courts would be established at international airports to expedite the legal process for prosecuting offenders.

“The task force has been mandated to enforce discipline among airport staff and maintain a culture of professionalism at all levels.

“In addition, dedicated phone lines and QR codes will be set up to provide passengers with a means of providing feedback on their airport experience.

“All airport personnel must prominently display their on-duty cards and name tags for easy identification and accountability,” she said. (NAN)

Immigration to drive Canada's population boom over next 50 years - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 25, 2024

BY Randy Thanthong-Knight and Jay Zhao-MurrayBloomberg News

, Statistics Canada

(Bloomberg) -- Immigration-fueled population growth is set to increase the number of people in Canada by more than half over the next 50 years.

The country’s population is expected to increase 57% to 62.8 million by 2073, up from 40.1 million last year, according to forecasts released Monday by Statistics Canada. That translates to an average annual growth rate of about 0.9%, the agency’s “medium-growth” scenario shows.

The agency also included low and high growth projections, with population estimates ranging from 47.1 million to 87.2 million. The average annual rate would range between 0.3% to 1.6% in those scenarios, compared with an average of 1.1% over the past three decades.

In the main scenario, Canada’s natural population growth — births minus deaths — will turn negative by 2036, making immigration the sole driver of future population increases.

Temporary Residents

An influx of non-permanent residents, including foreign students and temporary workers, has underpinned the recent boom of Canada’s population. However, Statistics Canada sees steep outflows of these newcomers from now through 2027. 

Faced with strained infrastructure and services, housing shortages and soaring rents, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau aims to reduce the number of temporary residents by about 20% over the next three years.

Currently, there are about 2.8 million temporary residents in the country — about 830,000 more than last year. 

The net outflow of non-permanent residents will temporarily slow annual population growth to 0.7% between 2024-2025 and 2026-2027 versus 3.2% last year, the agency said in its medium-growth scenario. 

Dallas Will Feel Like 107 With Heat and Humidity: Weather Watch - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 25, 2024

Brian K SullivanBloomberg News

<p>Power lines run in front of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas, Texas.</p>, Bloomberg

Power lines run in front of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas, Texas.

, Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- This is from the Green Daily newsletter.  Sign up to receive it in your inbox.

Heat advisories are in place across the central and southern US — from South Dakota to Texas.

Dallas is forecast to see highs above 98F (36.6C) this week, but the humidity through Tuesday will make it feel closer to 107, according to the National Weather Service. 

The worst conditions look like they will center around Fort Smith, Arkansas and just over the state line into Oklahoma where the temperatures and humidity will produce heat index values of 111.

Temperatures like this will create a high demand for electricity as people turn to air conditioning to keep cool, as well as raise health risks for anyone who cannot get away from the heat.

The heat is leading to moderate air conditions across a large part of the eastern and southern US, AirNow.gov said. The worst air, however, will be in California’s Central Valley around Fresno and Bakersfield where conditions are forecast to become unhealthy later.

There will be elevated ground ozone in the area, the National Weather Service said. To help offset the bad conditions, residents are asked to minimize the use of gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment during the day and wait until nightfall to use household chemicals.

In other weather news:

India: Sunday’s high was 43.6C reported at Jodhpur (West Rajasthan), according to the India Meteorological Department.

Europe: European capitals are bracing for heat wave conditions, following wildfires in Greece and flooding in Switzerland over the weekend. High pressure over southern Scandinavia will bring the highest temperatures this year to the UK, with London and parts of the southeast nearing heat wave thresholds by the middle of the week, according to the Met Office. Yellow health alerts for hot weather have been issued for most of England.

South Africa: Confidence among South Africa’s agricultural businesses fell to the lowest level in almost 15 years as an El Niño-induced drought affected grain crops.

Lufthansa to Charge Up to €72 a Flight to Cover Clean Fuel Costs - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 26, 2024

BY  Anthony PalazzoBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s biggest airline group, will introduce a surcharge of up to €72 ($77) per flight next year to cover the rising costs of alternative fuels needed to lower aircraft emissions.

The added levies apply to all departures from the European Union, the UK, Norway and Switzerland, from Jan. 1, the company said in a statement Tuesday. They will start at €1, with the exact amount dependent on the route and fare. 

The new fees coincide with EU regulations that require airlines to use at least 2% of sustainable aviation fuels starting in 2025. Lufthansa said it can’t bear the costs on its own. In 2022, rival Air France-KLM instituted a surcharge of up to €24 euros on flights from France and the Netherlands. 

The airline industry has targeted reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, a goal that relies on a massive scaling up of so-called sustainable aviation fuels, which are typically made from plant or waste matter. 

Aviation is one of the toughest industries to decarbonize, and the costs, estimated to run into the trillions, are likely to be passed on to customers. While Europe has introduced mandates that increase gradually over coming decades, the US has so far relied on incentives to generate more SAF production.

A number of carriers, including United Airlines Holdings Inc., EasyJet Plc and Lufthansa itself, which also owns Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines, have previously introduced voluntary fees to cover costs such as SAFs or carbon offsets.

--With assistance from Kate Duffy.

Heat Wave Sears London and Paris as Greece Battles Wildfires - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 26, 2024

BY Sotiris Nikas and Rachel MorisonBloomberg News

Firefighters extinguish a wildfire, in Kitsi, near the town of Koropi, Greece, on June 19. Photographer: Costas Baltas/Anadolu/Getty Images

Firefighters extinguish a wildfire, in Kitsi, near the town of Koropi, Greece, on June 19. Photographer: Costas Baltas/Anadolu/Getty Images , Photographer: Costas Baltas/Anadolu/Getty Images

(Bloomberg) -- Heat wave conditions are baking north European capitals, while further south Greek firefighters are tackling dozens of blazes across the Mediterranean nation.

London and Paris are sweltering in the hottest conditions this year, with temperatures forecast to reach 29C on Wednesday, according to a report by Maxar Technologies Inc. Berlin will top 30C.

The yellow health alerts for hot weather issued for much of England come as junior doctors strike, raising concerns about older citizens. The heat will transition to cooler-than-normal conditions as July begins.

Climate change is putting 2024 on track to be the hottest year on record, with the death toll from searing temperatures and extreme weather events climbing from India and Saudi Arabia to the US and Brazil. Greece has so far been at the epicenter Europe’s summer heat, with the country recording its hottest June day earlier this month.

Strong winds and high temperatures have put the Greek authorities under increasing pressure over the past two weeks, with fire services tackling 55 new blazes in the 24 hours through Tuesday evening.

New fires broke out on Wednesday across Greece, including a blaze in Aspropirgos, west of Athens. Authorities alerted people for a potential evacuation as another fire flared close to Rethimno city in Crete, where more than 130 firefighters worked overnight to control a separate blaze.

Greece’s meteorological service is forecasting temperatures to climb as high as 40C (104F) on Wednesday, while winds could reach up to 61 kilometers per hour in the Aegean Sea. That’s put Athens plus the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Ikaria, as well as Crete, on very high alert for wildfires.

In Switzerland, Lake Constance is on the second-highest alert level for flooding after storms generated more heavy rainfall on already saturated soil. There’s also a moderate danger of flooding for Lake Geneva.

That follows violent storms over the weekend, triggering a landslide that buried part of an Alpine village in the southeast, with at least one fatality. The floods also damaged a stretch of a key highway connecting the country to Italy.

--With assistance from Eamon Akil Farhat.

(Updates with new fires in Greece in sixth paragraph and Swiss flood alerts in eighth)

Nigerians with permanent residency in Canada highest in 14 months - BUSINESSDAY

JUNE 26, 2024


Nigerians with permanent residency in Canada highest in 14 months

Nigerians are making Canada their new home in record numbers. The country has now recorded its highest number of Nigerian permanent residents (PRs) in over a year.

According to recent data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, up to 1,905 Nigerians permanently reside in Canada as of April 2024, its highest since March 2023.

Nigerians migrating to Canada have steadily climbed in recent years. The number of new Nigerian permanent residents (PRs) in Canada from 5,445 in 2015 to 17,460 in 2023.

In the first 4 months of 2024, the number of Nigerians arriving in Canada as new permanent residents has already reached 6,600, according to the country’s latest immigration data, exceeding the total annual admission of new Nigerian PRs in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and a little over the admissions in 2020 when Covid-19 halted mobility.

The figures from January to April portray Nigerians as the fourth-largest international population with PRs in Canada in 2024 after India, Philippines, and China, who accommodate more than five times the population of the West African country.

Since March 2023, Canada has seen a steady increase in Nigerian permanent residents, averaging 1,392 admissions monthly. This trend, particularly strong since December 2023, suggests PR admissions in 2024 could surpass 2023’s numbers if it continues.

On April 30, 2024, the Canadian government increased the fees for all permanent residence applications by 10 percent. Fees already high due to a declining naira are now, more than ever, out of reach to the average earner in Nigeria.

However, this has done little to discourage determined Nigerians who continue to spend up to millions in naira to qualify for permanent residency status in Canada.

A PR status grants individuals who are not Canadian citizens the right to live and work in the country without time limits. It serves as an immigration visa and qualifies the holder for most social and healthcare benefits that Canadian citizens are entitled to, including protection under Canadian law.

The influx from Nigeria into Canada’s resident populations is largely attributed to its talent-focused policies, which have made it an attractive destination for skilled professionals seeking better opportunities and students.

Canada’s ageing population and low birth rate have created gaps in its labour force, forcing the country to intensify efforts to attract young and diverse immigrants by offering attractive travel policies.

In Nigeria, where many of its 115 million working population earn below $20 a month in an inflated economy, a major draw for Nigerians is the opportunity for higher wages.

A permanent residency in Canada qualifies caretakers for up $1,042 per month plus a $41.74 add-on on suites which can go up to $3,548.63 per month for a building and a $61 add-on.

And with the labour shortages in skilled trades and healthcare, salaries become competitive for qualified professionals.

Canada’s immigration framework prioritises professionals and highly skilled individuals, making it easier for them to obtain work permits and permanent residency, including post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) after completing studies in Canada and the Express Entry system that uses a skill-based point system to grant permanent residency.

This approach contrasts sharply with other countries, particularly the UK, where restrictive immigration policies pose significant challenges for Nigerians and other international talent.

With its Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot programs expired, Canada launched newer, fast-tracked care pilot programs from overseas- with Nigeria as part of its target population, granting professional care workers permanent residency status upon arrival.

Immigration data since 2023 provide indications of a continuous rise in permanent relocation to Canada from developing economies. The country has already exceeded its goal of attracting 500,000 immigrants by 2025, but has kept the gates open.

Number of Nigerians who can’t read, write, disheartening- Minister - PUNCH

JUNE 26, 2024

By Adetutu Sobowale

The Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu described as disheartening the number of young Nigerians and adults who are unable to read and write.

According to reports, 31 per cent of Nigerian’s population are said to be illiterate,

Speaking at the National stakeholders’ engagement towards achieving Pillar 4 of the Education for the Renewed Hope agenda in Abuja on Tuesday, Sununu said there was an urgent need to reduce the youth and adult illiteracy rate in Nigeria significantly.

The Minister said acquiring basic literacy skills was critical to developing any nation.

He said, “It is disheartening that such a huge number of adult and young Nigerians could not read and write in today’s rapidly changing and knowledge-based society. The acquisition of basic literacy skills, its advancement, and the application of such skills throughout life is critical to the development of any nation.”

    He noted that no country has achieved continuous and rapid economic growth without at least 40 per cent of its adults being literate.

    He added that “literacy is recognised as a basic right and the basis for lifelong learning.’’

    The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education, Akpama Simon Ibor, said it was an irrefutable fact that youth and adult illiteracy constitute the fountain from which the embarrassing out-of-school children syndrome emanates in the country.

    Ibor said, “Literacy is not merely the ability to read and write; it is the foundation upon which we build our future. It empowers individuals, strengthens communities, and promotes sustainable development.

    “The Road Map for the Nigerian Education Sector provides us with a strategic framework to tackle literacy challenges head-on. However, the success of this laudable initiative depends on our collaboration, innovative approaches, and relentless dedication.”


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