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Wizz Air Abandons No Fuel Hedging Policy as Oil Prices Surge - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 18, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Wizz Air Holdings Plc said it will reinstate its jet-fuel hedging policy as volatile oil prices add to other surging costs for the airline industry and threatens to upend the sector’s recovery from the pandemic. 

Eastern Europe’s biggest discounter will “mirror” the hedging levels of its main peers and put additional jet fuel price caps in place for the second half of 2023, the carrier said in a stock exchange filing Thursday. The airline will also hedge its dollar exposure with regard to jet fuel, a sign of the increasing pressure on oil consumers. 

Wizz became one of the only major carriers in Europe to not hedge oil after a crash in demand at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic led to significant financial loss. Europe’s biggest discounter Ryanair Holdings Plc is 80% hedged at $63 a barrel and has said the policy will help keep costs down and gain an advantage of its rivals.

Ideally, airlines hedge prices before they rise because doing so is then much cheaper. The cost of protecting against Brent crude for December 2023 reaching $130 a barrel has climbed almost fivefold this year as oil prices have surged.

Europe’s airline industry is struggling to cope with the massive rebound in demand as rising inflation is pushing up costs for everything from fuel to staff, after two years of virtually no travel. 

Tourists dump cars on streets 'for up to eight weeks' to avoid airport parking costs - METRO

JUNE 19, 2022

Frustrated homeowners have hit out at the number of cars left in their streets, as holidaymakers look to avoid airport parking charges.

Parts of South Bristol have been turned into a ‘giant unregulated car park’ (Picture: BPM)© Provided by MetroParts of South Bristol have been turned into a ‘giant unregulated car park’ (Picture: BPM)

People in Bristol say more and more vehicles are clogging up their their streets as summer approaches.

The south of the city has allegedly been turned into a ‘giant unregulated car park’.

Kings Head Lane, Marguerite Road and Poplar Road are key residential areas targeted by thrifty travellers.

Mike Willcox, who lives on Kings Head Lane, told ITV News: ’Last week, practically every car parked at the top of Kings Head Lane was for the airport with hardly any room for residents to park.

‘We get cars coming and going in the middle of the night, banging their car doors and boots, keeping people awake.’

Many are parking on the affected streets before catching the Airport Flyer bus to reach the airport.

Cars have used nearby residential areas for years, but there was a noticeable drop in traffic during the coronavirus pandemic.

Holidaymakers are leaving cars to catch the bus to Bristol Airport (Picture: Bristol Live/BPM Media)© Provided by MetroHolidaymakers are leaving cars to catch the bus to Bristol Airport (Picture: Bristol Live/BPM Media)

But now, the situation has led to breaking point for some disgruntled residents.

Conservative councillor Richard Eddy has been trying to raise the issue with airport bosses.

He told ITV: ‘The number of airport passengers parking free of charge in residential streets has soared.

‘Householders have to endure motorists parked 24/7 outside their homes for a week or a fortnight.

Nigerians Fleeing Ukraine Offered Admission By Bulgarian Universities – Envoy - NAN

JUNE 19, 2022

Bulgarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Yanko Yardonov, has said that Bulgarian universities are offering admission to Nigerian students whose academic pursuits in Ukraine were cut short by Russia’s invasion.

Yardonov also said that some Nigerian citizens had been offered jobs by Bulgarian universities.

The Bulgarian ambassador disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Prior to the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, approximately 4,300 Nigerian students were studying in the eastern European country.

The number was the fifth-largest (5.4%) of the 80,000 international students in Ukraine, according to data from Ukraine’s ministry of education and science.

The students have said before that they found Ukrainian education’s appeal mostly in its affordability, a better standard of life, and the safe environment it provided.

Although the envoy did not say how many Nigerian students have been offered admission, he said the decision was to help create an atmosphere conducive for the scholars to study without interruptions and to solidify the bilateral cooperation agreement in place between Nigeria and Bulgaria.

“Let me say that Bulgarian universities have already offered admissions to Nigerian citizens who started their studies in Ukraine but cannot graduate from there due to the war.

“It is only for Nigerian students that have this kind of offer from Bulgaria Universities throughout the world.

“I think that this fact alone is a clear manifestation that Bulgaria is very serious in developing the bilateral cooperation in every possible way, including in education, by admitting Nigerians citizens legally to study and work in Bulgaria,’’ he said.

He acknowledged the good relationship that Nigeria and Bulgaria have enjoyed over the years, saying that available statistics indicated that a significant number of Nigerians had been allowed to travel to Bulgaria and reside in the country either on a short-term basis or for the long term.

“There is a lot of good news in this regard as well, but what I am proud of is the gracious offer that Bulgaria has made.

“Those who have been deprived of their rights to get access to their own universities in Ukraine to finalise their studies have been given access in Bulgaria. (NAN)

Foreign airlines kick as FG blocks $450m ticket revenue - PUNCH

JUNE 20, 2022

The International Air Transport Association has expressed concern over the decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria to block foreign airlines from repatriating ticket sales revenue running to $450m (N188.6bn) into their respective countries.

IATA, the Geneva-based trade body representing over 200 international carriers, spoke at a press briefing marking the opening of its 78thn Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Doha, Qatar on Sunday.

IATA’s Regional Vice President, Africa & Middle East,  Kamil Al-Alawadhi, said the Federal Government’s decision was unacceptable, adding that the development could have a negative effect on Nigeria’s aviation industry.

The amount of foreign airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria estimated at $208m in the third quarter of last year had risen to $283m in the first quarter of this year.

The reported foreign exchange shortage in Nigeria has forced the Central Bank of Nigeria to give priority to certain sectors of the economy in terms of approving requests for forex.

But Alawadhi told journalists that aviation was key to Nigeria’s economic growth and there was a need for the CBN to grant foreign access to repatriate their ticket sales revenue.

According to him, the aviation sector is responsible for the creation of thousands of jobs and it will be wrong for the Nigerian government to deny carriers the opportunity to repatriate their revenue.

Al-Awadhi said he had made come to Nigeria to meet with government officials over the blocked funds but he had yet to get the government’s commitment on it.

He, however, said IATA officials would visit the country soon over the development.

The IATA VP said, “Nigeria needs to start reducing the backlog. The Central Bank of Nigeria was not forthcoming on the blocked funds. It is sad that Nigeria owes the bulk of the entire blocked funds. This is very unacceptable”.

“We heard that there is a shortage of dollars. It has been a hectic ride. We met with the Vice-President. We will keep checking. This is going to damage the image of the country. We are hoping that it will go down well. The figure is huge”.

According to him, the development is happening at a time carriers are coming out of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic which has affected carriers globally.

Al-Awadhi said the situation had forced airlines to get funds from their reserves to finance operations.

Canadian employers willing to hire workers without direct experience, survey says - THE CANADA

JUNE 20, 2022

TORONTO — A new study shows Canadian employers are willing to hire workers without experience related to the job due to a tight labour market.

The research released today indicates that experience and education — once crucial to many positions — are becoming less important amid labour shortages.

The findings are based on an online survey of 1,000 employers across Canada conducted in May by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed, an employment website for job listings.

The survey found 77 per cent of Canadian employers see value in hiring a candidate based on their "soft" interpersonal skills and attitude toward learning rather than job-related knowledge and "hard" skills.

It also found four out of five employers say their company would consider hiring applicants who don't possess a degree or certification related to the job and would instead offer on-the-job training to new workers.

The poll suggests employers are also willing to sacrifice the need for relevant experience in light of the challenges finding candidates.

"We are quite honestly facing one of the tightest labour markets we've ever had," said Michelle Slater, director at Indeed. "There is a definite labour shortage."

Canada's unemployment rate fell to 5.1 per cent in May, Statistics Canada reported earlier this month.

It's the lowest rate since at least 1976, which is as far back as comparable data goes.

The tightening labour market is being driven by a robust pandemic recovery and changing demographics.

"An aging population and rapidly growing economy has meant the pool of skilled workers that's available is pretty low," Slater said. "Employers are having to be much more creative."

The survey of Canadian employers was conducted to find out what employers are doing differently to fill some of the labour gaps, she said.

The poll found employers are increasingly willing to hire based on skills such as communication, adaptability and attention to detail — rather than so-called hard skills such as technical knowledge or training.

"Canadian employers care more deeply about what the person can contribute to the team in terms of their attitudes versus what skills they have that they're bringing into the role," Slater said.

The findings are positive not just for young people out of school or starting their first job, but also for older workers switching careers, she said.

"It means that individuals who might not have that hard skill on their resume could still have an opportunity to get the job of the dreams."

While labour shortages are impacting all industries, the research found the hardest jobs to find candidates for required digital and information technology skills, project management, engineering, software development and coding skills.

The polling industry's professional body, the Canadian Research Insights Council, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press

Canada's house price boom strongest in suburbs as gap with downtown shrinks: Study - THE CANADIAN PRESS

JUNE 20, 2022

OTTAWA — New research shows house prices in Canada's suburbs grew faster than in downtown areas during the pandemic as remote work spurred a preference for bigger homes.

The Bank of Canada says in a study released today that the closure of many downtown services coupled with a desire for more living space increased demand and prices for homes in suburban areas during the pandemic.

The central bank says this shift weakened the so-called proximity premium typically associated with homes in more urban areas, which tend to be more expensive due to scare land, shorter commutes and better access to services.

The research shows that while house prices increased strongly in most neighbourhoods during the pandemic, the growth was strongest in the suburbs.

As a result, the bank says the real estate price gap between Canada's suburbs and downtown areas — already narrowing steadily pre-pandemic — shrank considerably.

Yet the bank warns that if the preference shift is temporary, house prices in the suburbs could face downward pressure.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press

Scarcity hits Lagos, Abuja, fuel sells N180/litre as NNPC cuts supplies - PUNCH

JUNE 21, 2022

Fuel queues hit major cities of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun on Monday, forcing motorists to spend hours at filling stations.

In Lagos and Ogun states, The PUNCH witnessed long queues at several filling stations such as Mobil, Capital, Fatgbems, Enyo, TotalEnergies and NNPC.

Though there were products at these filling stations, which also sold at N165/litre, motorists struggled to get gasoline with which to run their economic lives.

There were also queues in states bordering the FCT, including Nasarawa and Niger.

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In the Federal Capital Territory, there were long queues at various filling stations such as the NNPC, Mobil, A.A. Rano, AYA Ashafa, Enyo, among others.

Hundreds of motorists besieged the few filling stations that dispensed petrol at various states, spending hours on queues in a bid to buy PMS.

Oil marketers blamed the development on the drop in supply, stating that the demand for petrol was currently higher than what was being provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

NNPC is the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria, shouldering this responsibility for more then four years.

Speaking on the development, the President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry, said, “Lagos is having queues today, Kaduna is almost not having any PMS in its retail outlets.

“So, it is simply a situation of demand overwhelming supply. The supply process is not efficient to be able to meet the demands for products.”

Asked to explain whether there was not enough product, Gillis-Harry replied, “Well, clearly, if there is product, it should be delivered. However, I know the authorities are doing their best to make sure that everyone is monitored and encouraged to sell products at the approved pump price.

“But there are no products in the retail outlets, which is why there will be queues. So, it clearly shows that demand has overwhelmed supply.”

But lastThursday, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority had stated that there were over 32 days sufficiency of petrol by the NNPC.

Also, The PUNCH learnt that the NNPC intentionally cut down supply of products to fuel marketers.

A source familiar with the matter told The PUNCH that marketers, two weeks ago, had a meeting with the marketing arm of the NNPC and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, where they were quizzed on diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.

According to the source, the supply of products to oil marketers was subsequently reduced due to issues around product diversion.

“We had a meeting with PPMC two weeks ago where we were told that the volume of product we load is too high. So, the NNPC has reduced the volume they give to us,” the source said.

Nigeria consumes an estimated 60 million litres of fuel per day. However, findings showed that by PPMC’s record, marketers loaded as much as 106 million litres per day as of April.

“So, PPMC kept lamenting and asking us where the extra products go. Of course, we all know that they go to neighbouring countries where they are being sold at higher prices. Apart from the fact that diesel price for transporting products is on the high side, fuel is a product highly subsidised by Nigeria, and Nigerians are not allowed to enjoy the benefits,” our source disclosed.

Diesel is a deregulated product. Checks on Monday showed that the product was sold between N780-N820/litre.

“That’s why marketers find it difficult to take products to the North. I don’t know why Lagos is experiencing scarcity. Already, buying and transporting the product to my station is at N170 per litre. So, how much will I sell? That means price has increased itself. If you go to states like Ibadan, Ekiti, Akure, it’s impossible to see the price at N165 because cost of transporting one litre is already N20. So, by the time you take it to states like Ekiti, you already have it at N182,” our source added.

A former chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and Chairman/CEO, 11 Plc, Tunji Oyebanji, told The PUNCH that the scarcity was temporary.

“As of last week, there were some talks about low stock and suppliers not giving products, but I think it’s a temporary glitch because NNPC told us they have sufficient stock of fuel,” he said.

Fuel sold at N165/ltr in places like Ikorodu, Anthony, Surulere, Ikeja, Festac, Ago and VI in Lagos on Monday, but prices were higher at Isheri and its neighbouring towns.

In a telephone interview with The PUNCH, the National Operations Controller, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, said the scarcity was no fault of oil marketers.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Akeem Balogun, in a statement on Monday, said that considering the current price, it is impossible for the product to be sold at N180 per litre.

Balogun advised members to sell at a sustainable price within their environment adding that they should ensure that the price is on their pump.

“Distinguish marketers, the Chairman and executives in conjunction with some senior members of our unit, organised a press conference where we explained our predicament with the current price of PMS at private depot. We explained that with the current price, there is no way we can sell less than N180 per litre”

According to him, “On this note, members are hereby advised to sell at a sustainable price within their environment. Just make sure that the price is on your pump. Kindly contact the Secretariat should you have any authority challenging your operations”

Immigration issued 625,000 passports in five months, says Aregbesola - PUNCH

JUNE 22, 2022

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has said the Nigeria Immigration Service received over 750, 000 applications out of which a total of 625,000 passports have been issued to Nigerians since the beginning of the year.

He added that many of those yet to get their passports were a result of the failure of applicants to provide their correct data and could not be contacted because they patronised touts.

The Minister stated this at the rollout of the enhanced e-Passport for Delta and Edo States, which was held at the Passport Office Headquarters, Benin, Edo State on Tuesday.

These were contained in a statement by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Sola Fasure.

The statement partly read, “Our enhanced passport is the real deal in passport making. Today’s event is unique in many ways. The most important is making the enhanced e-Passport available to the good people of Edo and Delta States. The enhanced e-Passport comes in various categories, including the 64-page-10-year validity passport which is quite convenient for frequent travellers. It is a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance.

“This year alone, we have received about 750,000 applications out of which we have provided 625,000. The difference could have been due to many reasons, including failure of applicants to provide the correct information about themselves and matching their data with NIN. We could not contact them because they applied through touts who provided their own addresses or wrong ones altogether. But 625,000 is a huge and unprecedented figure, in less than half of the year, by any stretch of the imagination,” the Minister stated.

He also said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) was worried about the hassles Nigerians go through in securing the passports.

He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge to us is explicit. Make life easy as much as possible for every person you have to relate with and remove every hurdle hitherto in their way of getting business done.

“Last week, President Buhari expressed concern on report that some Nigerians, especially those abroad, were unable to obtain their Nigerian passports. I share this concern as well.

“I am asking therefore that the NIS do everything within its power to make this a thing of the past. Every Nigerian desirous of the travel document should be able to collect it within the stipulated time, without any stress whatsoever,” .

Passengers Groan Over Skeletal Operation Of Kaduna Airport - DAILY TRUST

JUNE 22, 2022

By  Lami Sadiq

Several passengers who use the Kaduna International Airport for domestic flights still have to travel to Abuja or Kano by road to board flights to Lagos and other states across the country since a security breach was recorded around the airport vicinity in March 26, 2022.

Daily Trust reports that the attack, which claimed the life of an employee of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Shehu Na-Allah, some three kilometres from the airport runway, had led to a temporary boycott by Air Peace and Azman Air. Azman Air however returned to the airport on May 23 and it is the only airline operating at the airport at the moment, coming four times a week.

 Emmanuel Ejike who frequented the Kaduna International Airport before the security breach said he now travels to Abuja by road to catch a flight to Lagos or Port Harcourt. Asked if he was aware that Azman had renewed the flight route, Ejike said he was but complained that the flight service was now four times a week to Lagos and sometimes conflicts with his travel schedules.

“The return of Azman has lessened the stress for people travelling to Lagos, but there is no flight on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. If you want to travel to Port Harcourt or anywhere in the country, you will still have to travel to Abuja or Kano. I for instance sometimes travel twice a week and so, depending on my travel schedule, I may have to travel to Abuja by road to catch a flight,” he said.

Barrister Hassan Kabiru, a resident of Kaduna, said he often travels to Kano to board a flight for Maiduguri or Port Harcourt, adding that even though traveling to Abuja could have been ideal, the risk of taking the Abuja-Kaduna Highway has made it a turn-off.

 “With the suspension of the rail line, I have no choice but to travel to Kano by road. Abuja is a shorter distance but there is too much uncertainty on that route,” he said.

He called on the government to beef up security within and around the Kaduna International Airport to give a sense of confidence to airline operators and passengers.

Our correspondent however observed increased security around the road to the Kaduna airport as staff of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) also confirmed that security presence has been beefed.

A staff member of FAAN told Daily Trust that the Kaduna State government through the state’s Pilgrims Welfare Agency had written to the airport notifying them that the 2022 hajj pilgrims will be airlifted from the airport.

 “Perhaps that will increase the confidence of other airline operators and other passengers. Once we are able to conduct a hitch-free airlift of pilgrims, the airport will return to its normal operations,” he said.

NIS unveils enhanced electronic passport facility in Benin - THE NATION

JUNE 22, 2022

Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has commissioned the enhanced ePassport production centre in the ancient City of Benin to take care of the production of passport applications for Edo and Delta States.

The Minister noted that the centre was specially designated for the Passport Offices in the two States because of the increasing volume of applications in the States in recent times.

He stated that with the commissioning of the facility, Edo and Delta passport offices have joined other locations in the southeast and southwest that have been successfully migrated to the enhanced ePassport platform.

The Minister maintained the enhanced ePassport offers sufficient options to applicants to choose from the 32-page five-year; 64-page five-year and 64-page ten-year validity Passport categories.

He noted that the enhanced ePassport is a product of improved technology especially additional security feature a polycarbonate data page which would make the document difficult to counterfeit or forge.

Aregbesola enjoined prospective applicants to avoid patronising middlemen while applying for passport as the process has been digitized to allow for the use of simple devices to apply and process passport at the comfort of one’s home or offices.

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