Travel News

Travel, visa unaffected for international students in Canada - STUDY INTERNATIONAL

JUNE 22, 2021

International students in Canada will still be able to enter the country with a valid visa, despite the extension of its border closure until July 21. Exemptions are still granted to Canadian citizens or permanent residents and their family members, as well as work permit holders and certain international students. The extended border restriction will keep out all other non-essential travellers from other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, even its neighbour, the US.

Though Canada is no longer processing study permit applications for the fall 2021 semester, international students in Canada who submitted their application by May 15 will receive approval (or otherwise) by August 6. You should receive the final word on your student visa before making arrangements to fly there.

Our number one priority as we fight #COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe. In coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021. — Bill Blair (@BillBlair) June 18, 2021

International students in Canada who are studying at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with a COVID-19 readiness plan have been welcome back to the country since fall 2020. As per the latest rules, they must undergo testing upon arrival and await the result in quarantine. This openness could well increase the number of international students in Canada as many have chosen to switch their study abroad destination over the past year to the North American country.

International students in Canada to be vaccinated — but when?

Although there is no existing vaccination mandate for international students in Canada, more DLIs may soon require students to be vaccinated to access certain on-campus privileges. For example, students at Western University, Trent University and Fanshawe College must receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to be admitted into residence halls.

international students in Canada

Healthcare workers from Humber River Hospital administer Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations in Toronto. Source: Cole Burston/Getty Images/AFP

The same applies to students at the University of Toronto; though they have 14 days from the time of arrival to get their shot. This gives them a chance to access free vaccines in Canada if they were unable to do so back home. “This requirement, which is endorsed by our local public health authorities, will enable us to give our students the residence experience that they expect – and that is so important to their growth and development – without compromising on their health and safety,” said Sandy Welsh, vice-provost of students at the University of Toronto.

Canada recognises four vaccines right now: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson. According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, there are two phases for travellers to prove vaccination status in Canada. The first phase involves uploading vaccination documents to the ArriveCAN app, while the second will eventually come in the form of national certification status — one that will be recognised anywhere in the world.

Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Canada said the government will soon announce further measures for fully-vaccinated Canadians and other exempt travellers, including international students in Canada. More updates to come.

Another tanker explodes on Lagos-Ibadan expressway - PREMIUM TIMES

JUNE 22, 2021

Last November, at least two people died while 29 vehicles were razed following a tanker explosion at the Kara Bridge of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says a number of vehicles have been destroyed in a tanker explosion at Ogere on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Tuesday.

The FRSC Sector Commander in Ogun, Ahmed Umar, who confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that it occurred at about 6.20 a.m.

Mr Umar said the explosion occurred in front of Romona trailer park at Ogere.

“The fire is serious; the number of vehicles involved cannot be ascertained yet.

“Ogun State Fire Service has arrived the scene, while FRSC operatives are on ground managing the traffic situation,’’ he said.

Last November, at least two people died while 29 vehicles were razed following a tanker explosion at the Kara Bridge of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.


U.K. Poised to Ease Travel Curbs for Fully Vaccinated in August - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 23, 2021

BY  Tim RossBloomberg News

Passengers wait at check-in desks in the departures hall in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport in London.

Passengers wait at check-in desks in the departures hall in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport in London. , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson’s government is preparing to allow Britons who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus to travel to more than 150 countries without the need to quarantine on their return to England later this summer.

Officials expect the new policy to be signed off by government in the next few days, paving the way for the reopening of international journeys to popular destinations in Europe and the U.S.

But the change is unlikely to come into force before August, and ministers are expected to keep a tight limit on the number of destinations on the so-called green list for quarantine-free travel when they provide an update this week.

Final decisions on the quarantine policy and the green list have not yet been taken inside government, and both will be subject to scientific advice on the status of the pandemic.

“The whole point of the vaccine program is to be able to remove restrictions,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio on Tuesday. “We are working on a plan for double vaccinated people, using tests and to have that testing regime in place instead of having to have the quarantine in some circumstances.”

Industry Suffers

The aviation and tourism industry has been hammered since the start of the pandemic, after governments were forced to close down international leisure travel to try to stop passengers importing the virus. A campaign from the travel industry is expected to be stepped up on Wednesday, amid warnings that up to 218,000 jobs are at risk from the ongoing restrictions.

The U.K. government currently codes foreign destinations in a so-called traffic light system based on assessments of pandemic risk, including vaccination and infection rates. The safest countries are on the “green list,” and passengers arriving in England from them do not need to quarantine.

People arriving from 167 destinations on the amber list are required to quarantine at home for 10 days and take tests after arriving, while those landing from red list countries -- rated the worst-hit by Covid -- must quarantine in a hotel.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to publish an update to the lists on Thursday, though officials do not expect him to announce any major expansion of the list of safest countries.

Rule Changes

The government is also due to give an update on rule changes, including exemptions for people who have been fully vaccinated, and this could also come on Thursday or on June 28, officials said.

U.K. Covid Data Looking Good for Lifting Curbs, Johnson Says

Johnson said Monday ministers will be examining how to give more freedom to vaccinated travelers, but warned “this is going to be, whatever happens, a difficult year for travel” with disruption and delays likely to continue.

“The priority has got to be keeping the country safe and to stop the virus coming back in,” he said.

Lagos airport landing procedure remains downgraded, says NCAA - PUNCH

JUNE 23, 2021

BY  Juliana Ajayi

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said that the downgrading of the landing procedure at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, remains effective.

The Lagos airport landing procedure was downgraded after the collapse of the runway lights on Thursday.

The PUNCH had reported over the weekend the diversion and rescheduling of flights due to the collapse of the runway lights.

In response to the development, the NCAA downgraded the landing procedure at the airport to Category one from Category two.

The General Manager, Public Relations Department, NCAA, said “when a runway is downgraded in an airport, a notice to airmen would be issued to announce to the whole world that they have taken that decision so that whatever is needed to come, the preparations needed for its arrival would be done.”

He explained that downgrading a landing procedure did not pose a threat in any way to the safety of aircraft nor the landing process of other aircrafts.

He also noted that there could only be issues when the landing procedure ought to be downgraded without it being downgraded.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, told our correspondent that the authority would ensure that the lights were serviced regularly to avoid a recurrence.

She said, “To avoid such from happening again, we will ensure the lights are serviced all the time and make sure our staff are always available.

“What happened last weekend, we are hoping it won’t happen again.”

American Airlines cutting flights as summer season starts - THE CANADIAN PRESS

JUNE 23, 2021

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines will cut hundreds of flights over the next three weeks to avoid overloading its operation as demand for summer air travel rises faster than once expected.

Spokeswoman Sarah Jantz said Tuesday that the cuts could average 50 to 60 flights a day the rest of June and between 50 and 80 a day in the first half of July. That is potentially more than 1% of American's schedule.

On Tuesday, the airline had scrubbed about 130 flights by late afternoon Central time, according to tracking service FlightAware. Jantz said up to 40 were due to bad weather.

Jantz said the cuts are “building in additional resilience and certainty to our operation.” She said American is making the most cuts on routes where it has multiple flights to provide options for rebooking passengers.

The union representing American's pilots said company management failed to move quickly enough to retrain 1,600 pilots who were temporarily sidelined last year or replace some of the 1,000 who took early retirement.

American and other U.S. airlines have been barred from furloughing workers during the pandemic as a condition of billions they received in federal aid to help cover payroll. American and United furloughed thousands of workers in October, when the aid and the ban on furloughs expired, then brought them back in December when Congress renewed the pandemic relief.

American’s management “did not maintain its own infrastructure in preparation for our industry’s recovery,” said Eric Ferguson, president of the Allied Pilots Association. The union has since found ways to fix “the pilot training and staffing shortfalls that the airline now faces,” he said.

Jantz said American has reserve employees it can use, but stormy summer weather in places like Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina can cause crews to exceed federal limits on how long they can work. She said the airline is also affected by labor shortages at vendors that provide catering drivers and people who push wheelchairs.

The cutbacks come as leisure travel is picking up. With more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 and states easing travel restrictions, airports are busy again. More than 2 million travelers passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints Sunday and again Monday, with Sunday’s crowds marking the highest number in 15 months, although still below 2019 levels.

American had scheduled around 5,800 flights a day through July, about 87% of its schedule for the same period in 2019, according to data from aviation researcher Cirium.

The airline industry’s difficulties this month haven’t been limited to American, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas. Last week, technology problems caused Dallas-based Southwest Airlines to delay several thousand flights and cancel hundreds more. Over 800 Southwest flights were running behind on Tuesday, according to FlightAware, far more than at any other airline. Southwest blamed bad weather.

David Koenig, The Associated Press

Saudi Wealth Fund Weighs New Airport in Riyadh for Tourism Drive - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 24, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia is considering building a new airport in the capital city of Riyadh, according to people familiar with the matter, a facility that would serve as a base for a new airline the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund is looking to launch as it targets a vast increase in tourist arrivals.

The $430 billion fund said earlier this year it plans to invest in aviation to help capture the tourist boom envisioned by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The new airline, reported locally earlier this year, would serve tourists and business travelers, while existing flag carrier Saudia would focus on religious tourism from its base in Jeddah, said the people, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The Public Investment Fund is also exploring the idea of investing billions in a new international airport in Riyadh, according to the people. The size of the facility and timeline for its construction haven’t been set and the PIF could decide not to move ahead with those plans.

A spokesman for the fund declined to comment on the plans for a new airport in Riyadh. He referred to earlier commitments to invest in the sector and to study establishing a new company to “support the aviation sector aspirations locally and regionally.”

The project, still in early stages of development, would further Saudi Arabia’s goal to attract 100 million tourists a year by 2030, a sixfold increase from 2019. Opening up the country to visitors is a key part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s strategy to diversify the economy away from a reliance on oil sales.

State-owned Saudia is the biggest carrier in the nation. During the annual Hajj religious pilgrimmage, it deploys aircraft configured with praying areas to accommodate visitors heading to Mecca, served by Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport.

Other airlines in the country include low-cost carrier Flyadeal, owned by Saudia, and Flynas, owned by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud’s Kingdom Holding Co.

King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh served more than 28.5 million passengers annually before the pandemic, according its website.

Tourism Plans

The crown prince’s economic transformation plan has identified Islamic pilgrimage as a key source of non-oil revenue. Officials want to attract 30 million religious travelers per year by 2030. Religious tourism, which also includes year-round pilgrimages to Mecca, brought in more than $20 billion in 2018, equivalent to 2.7% of GDP.

Until tourist visa applications opened in September 2019, Saudi Arabia had long been one of the hardest countries in the world to visit unless coming on a pilgrimage. Plans to expand leisure-oriented visits include a vision for a new city called Neom that’s expected to cost some $500 billion.

While easing some Covid-19 travel restrictions, Saudi Arabia hasn’t yet re-opened for tourists. It decided to only allow nationals and residents to attend Hajj, which falls next month, for the second year in a row to contain the spread of the coronavirus and its variants.

Air fares spike as aviation fuel nears N300/litre at airports - THE GUARDIAN

JUNE 24, 2021

By Wole Oyebade

• Logistics challenges, weak Naira push Jet A-1 to N215 in South, over N300/per litre up North
• Apapa ports’ congestion costs importers extra $10,000 to $25,000 daily
• It’s a shame no refinery produces Jet A-1 locally, says Joji

Despite an upswing in the global price of crude oil and attendant blessings for oil-producing countries, the price of aviation fuel has spiked nationwide and much to the pains of airlines and travellers in Nigeria.

A fact-check by The Guardian showed that aviation fuel, also called Jet A-1, has lately sold for between N215 at airports in the South and N300/per litre in low traffic aerodromes in the Northern region of the country. The price had risen in April 2021 to between N250 and N275 per litre, which was about a 200 per cent increase from 2016, when it was sold at N110. It rose to N200 in 2018, hovering around N160 and N170 in 2019.   An average 50 per cent surge in fuel cost, a critical component of airlines’ operation, has also forced airlines to increase airfares with an average Economy Class ticket on less than an hour flight selling for over N65,000.     There are fears of fuel contamination in some quarters, which experts say, could threaten flight safety. Engr. Femi Adeniji of Tropical Arctic Logistics, a helicopter operator, said any jet fuel cheaper than N270 could have been contaminated.

Chairman and CEO of United Nigeria Airlines, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, decried the development, which he said, has added to the cost of operation.

Okonkwo, whose airline debuted about four months ago, said: “We started operations at N160 per litre barely four months ago and when you move from that price to over N270 within two months, you should expect whatever we are experiencing now. Aviation fuel alone takes between 30 to 40 per cent of airlines’ costs. This is cause for grave concern to everyone.”   The Guardian learnt that the extra burden on end-user airlines and travellers alike is not unconnected with the naira-to-dollar exchange rate, logistics hiccups of importing the product through chaotic Apapa ports, and more expensive distribution to nationwide airports by road.  

Aside from the multiple taxes and charges on the product, the monopoly of marketers at less viable airports has also raised the price by some notches – making the product one of the most expensive in the West African region.
Indeed, aviation fuel is the oxygen of the airline business. Though an oil-producing nation and the sixth largest producer in the world, Nigeria’s perennial inability to refine the product locally has made jet fuel susceptible to dictates of the exchange rate, and therefore expensive, accounting for between 30 to 40 per cent of airlines’ operating cost.
Of dire consequence is the recent appreciation of crude oil price to $73.5 per barrel in the world market, and Naira’s free-fall to N500/$1 at home. At these rates, the landing cost of all imported products, including aviation fuel, could only reach for the rooftop.  

But the dynamics of aviation fuel is more complicated. As a deregulated arm of the dollar-dependent aviation industry, jet fuel price is directly proportional to the price of crude oil. However, during the plunge of crude oil price late last year, aviation fuel prices did not fall accordingly.

Chief Operating Officer of CITA Petroleum, a major marketer in local aviation, Olasimbo Betiku, said Nigeria is a “situational economy” where pricing is heavily hinged on logistics cost elements.
Betiku said besides the dollar and liquidity constraints, transporting the product through poor infrastructure readily keeps the price comparatively high.  

He explained that the product, like others, comes into the country through the Lagos ports, while intractable congestion at Apapa causes a delay in cargo clearance of between four and seven days or more.      Stakeholders were unanimous that for each idle day, an importer pays between $10,000 to $25,000 extra charter cost per vessel. At more efficient ports, like Cotonou in Benin Republic where clearance takes between three to four hours, such add-on costs do not apply.   The risk of conveying the product in trucks remains a challenge in the sector. Since the early 90s, moving aviation fuel from the Mosimi pipeline to Lagos airport has been abandoned for more expensive road transport. While the cost of transportation within Lagos is about N3 per litre, it is about N15 per litre travelling up North as far as Maiduguri.

Similarly, the Federal Government statutorily earns N2:50 fuel surcharge tax per litre. In addition are operators’ permits, ground rent for tank farms, and access permits for equipment into airports.
Betiku said all of the cost elements, the majority of which are avoidable in a functional system, are passed on to consumers as the product price.  
“Apapa delay is one of the infrastructural problems, with heavy cost implications. I remember in February 2015 at the first African supply chain optimisation conference in South Africa, it was the time crude price was going down. Because the pricing of the product (Jet-A1) is directly proportional to crude price, people (on the continent) thought because Nigeria is a crude-dependent country, there will be an advantage for them to come to Nigeria to do the ad-hoc lifting.    

“But I had to explain to them that ours is a situational economy because of the challenges of infrastructure that are not in other countries. Our own peculiar situation is making the product to be higher than what it should be around the coast of West Africa,” he said.
Notwithstanding the comparative disadvantage, the dynamics of the aircraft operations and required fuel load-factor, either at landing or take-off, readily compels operating aeroplanes to patronise local suppliers.  
Betiku noted that marketers would not cluster in most of the airports, as they do in major airports especially in the South, given the huge capital outlay involved and viability of the facilities.
“The frequency of flight to a particular airport is the primary factor. Another is the cost of capital outlay to have a supply system in any airport. The product is available down South and you can move it at lower cost. That means people can easily site the asset down South than in the North.

“The solution is to have an economy that is growing across all layers. To grow the economy, we also need to develop the infrastructure along with the growing population. What of the support services from public and private sectors to oil the economy at large? We need to have a holistic view of the economy,” Betiku said.
Chief Executive Officer of Skypower Express Airways, Capt. Mohammed Joji, said it was unfortunate that the sector still imports aviation fuel 100 per cent. Joji said aviation fuel is just refined kerosene and should not continue to elude local production.   
“It is sad and unbelievable that a country with three refineries cannot refine Jet A1 for local use. Someone must be sabotaging the system; otherwise, we have no business importing fuel. The refineries are strategically located. Kaduna refinery takes care of the north, while Warri takes care of the south.  

“As it is, you cannot travel from Maiduguri to Lagos by road anymore. So, you need to fly and you need fuel. We only need to refine the product locally and make it cheap, and about 40 per cent of the cost will be reduced,” Joji said.
Secretary-General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said concerns over the state of fuel infrastructure borders more on safety than the cost of the product.
Ojikutu noted that local operators and European Union Civil Aviation Authority (EUCAA), on behalf of European carriers flying to Nigeria, had reported contamination in fuel that they bought in Nigeria.
The former Commandant of the Lagos Airport was particularly worried about how the authorities could exercise safety oversight and quality assurance on over 200 trucks that transport Jet A-1 between depots and airports.

He called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to deepen its oversight on aviation fuel suppliers to ensure that the quality of fuel is not compromised. The aviation analyst also noted that the price could be controlled if the damaged pipelines supplying fuel to the airport were repaired.

“When these are done, you remove the cost of bridging the supply and contamination through trucking with tanks; you remove demurrage on the tanks for the period of waiting before discharge. All these are in addition to the cost of fuel and airlines operational costs,” he said.    He observed that trucks came into the fuel supply chain when pipelines that supplied fuel to the airport ruptured in 1992. Since then, there has been no appreciable effort from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to repair them.

MEANWHILE, there had been repairing proposals to the NNPC to partner with marketers under the Joint Unified Hydrant Installation (JUHI) to repair the pipelines. Also, there was a proposal for JUHI and airlines to jointly repair the pipelines. Or that the repair, operation of the pipelines and hydrants be given a concession to a private company for a period of 20 to 30 years. None of these is heeded to date.  

“Except the repairs are done or the NNPC/DPR and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) enforce quality assurance on JUHI, the contamination through truck tankers transportation that have caused not less than eight serious incidents could begin resulting into serious accidents in future or even now,” Ojikutu said.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a clearinghouse for over 280 airlines worldwide, in 2018, ranked Nigeria and other African countries as some of the most expensive places to do aviation business in the world.
The then Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac, at the 50th Annual General Assembly meeting of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), held in Rabat, Morocco, said Nigeria and others need to ease the aviation business environment, by paying more attention to infrastructure for massive growth. 
“There is no shortage of examples illustrating the heavy burden that governments extract from aviation. Jet fuel costs are 35 per cent higher than the rest of the world. User charges, as a percentage of airlines’ operating costs, are double the industry average. And taxes and charges are among the highest in the world. On top of that, $670 million of airline funds are blocked. Too many African governments view aviation as a luxury rather than a necessity. We must change that perception,” de Juniac said.

Immigration Bars 20 Nigerians From Travelling Over Poor Documentation - THISDAY

JUNE 24, 2021

By Chinedu Eze

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has barred not less than 20 Nigerians from travelling overseas because of poor and unconvincing documentation about their destination.

The travellers were stopped from travelling last week at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

Meanwhile, the NIS command at the MMIA command received another mentally challenged female Nigerian, Ms. Motunde Oluwatobi Victoria, 29, from Saudi Arabia.

A source close to the command disclosed to THISDAY on Wednesday that most of those stopped from travelling out failed to give tangible reasons for wanting to travel out of the country and could not give details of their travels.

The source said that most of those stopped could not provide documents to support their claims while it was observed that some of them used travel agents to perfect their papers to travel out of the country by all means.

The source said that thorough interrogations by immigration personnel stopped these travellers from soiling the image of the country abroad, adding that most of such travellers end up returning to Nigeria with complicated medical and health issues.

The source advised those willing to travel out of the country by all means to get proper education on job availabilities in any country they intend to go and should have deep knowledge about such environment, remarking that most of them are not knowledgeable about their travel plans.

However, the command reunited a mentally-challenged female Nigerian, Motunde, with her family members at the airport yesterday.

It was gathered that Motunde who had been in Saudi Arabia since 2018 and engaged as a house maid in Saudi Arabia, returned aboard Egypt Air at 1:30pm on Tuesday with incoherent speech, which prompted the command to search for her family members through the social media and were able to locate her immediate elder sister, Ms. Titilope Deborah Babatunde.

Also, Motunde's sister, Titilope, commended officials of the NIS at the airport for reuniting her with her sister.

"I am very grateful to the Immigration Service, MMIA Command for reuniting me with my sister. Initially when I received the call, I concluded that it was a scammer at work. What immigration has done has further reinvigorated my belief about Nigeria. It shows that to some extent, we are still secure in Nigeria. If not for the immigration, I will not know that my sister has been brought back to Nigeria. We will still think she was in Saudi Arabia," she said.

Concerns over airports’ poor customer service, dilapidated equipment - THE GUARDIAN

JUNE 24, 2021

By Wole Oyebade

Poor customer service in local aviation and dilapidated equipment across the airports yesterday, drew the attention of aviation stakeholders.

The practitioners, at the Airport Business Summit and Expo Africa in Lagos, said not only are the dwindling infrastructure reducing Nigerian aviation’s competitiveness, but the operations are also as well getting unsafe for travellers.

Similarly, Lagos airport has deepened in viability, generating 58 per cent of total revenue in aviation for 2020. Prior to the pandemic disruption, the busiest airport raked in about 40 per cent of total earnings.

Indeed, customer experience has declined in local operations with almost two in every three flights either delayed or cancelled.

Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services at the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Adamu Abdullahi, said both the poor infrastructure and services are regrettable.

Abdullahi, however, said protection of consumers’ rights is paramount to competitiveness in the aviation sector.

He said consumers have rights to choose, to be heard, to redress, to a conducive environment, to value for money paid for service, and quality information.

Lamenting the infrastructure decay, Adamu said: “Our airports cannot compete favourably with world established airports; and the dream of turning Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, into a regional hub is far from being realised.

“Most of the nation’s terminal buildings require modern functional ones with state-of-the-art technology. Our apron spaces are congested and grossly inadequate, thus not being able to minimise timing in the area of facilitation.

“Runways are undulating and deteriorating and have outlived their design life. On the whole, critical safety support services are all stretched to their limits.”

Adamu added that associated services at the airport, such as Airport Rescue and fire fighting services, water and power supply are all outdated.

Director, Commercial and Business Development of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Sadiku Rafindadi, said they are committed to strategies to increase the status of the facilities and increase revenue base, through aeronautical and non-aeronautical sources.

Rafindadi noted that the new international terminals in Lagos, among others, would increase yearly passenger traffic to 15 million travellers nationwide.

He said among the 22 airports in the country, Lagos airport led the pack in 2020 revenue earning by 58 per cent. Abuja airport had 21 per cent; Port Harcourt and Kano had four per cent apiece, and the rest managed 13 per cent.

Rafindadi said: “Nigerian airports have enormous potential for high gross earnings if we will harness it. Each airport has its peculiarity in terms of tourism, agriculture, mining and aerotropolis to better improve their viability.”

He said further that FAAN was looking at increasing the share of non-aeronautical activities from below 30 per cent to 40 per cent, “by focusing on investments in airport infrastructures and technology solutions to drive cost optimisation, creating enabling environments and improving non-aeronautical revenue streams”.

We'll Regulate Drones to Ensure Safety and Security, NCAA Boss - NAN

JUNE 24, 2021

The Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, said there was a need for strong regulatory framework for the deployment of drones to ensure safety and security.

Nuhu said this in his presentation themed, 'Drone Essence, Growth and Regulations in Nigeria' at the Airport Business Summit on Cargo&Aero Logistics and Drone Technology Expo, in Lagos on Wednesday.

He said the huge demand for drones and the pace of development of the market was incredibly fast, hence the need for regulation.

He said drones were originally developed for the military and airspace industries, but were now being used for monitoring climate change, goods delivery, search and rescue operations, filming agricultural surveillance and so on.

Nuhu said the NCAA and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) would synergise with the government and stakeholders to mitigate risks to national security and public safety, posed by people who were wrongly deploying drones.

"Drones can be referred to as the following; Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs).

"Drones have a long and established history that dates back to centuries, but presently there is a paradigm shift.

"Their original use was as a weapon in the form of remotely-guided aerial missile deployers. However, today, drones have found a wide range of applications for civilian use. Its essence can be described with one word 'Versatility.'

"Currently, there is a huge demand for drones. The pace of development of the drone market, both recreational and commercial is incredibly fast," Nuhu said.

According to the NCAA helmsman, there is need for regulation of this versatile technology and regulations will create a level playing field for RPAS/UAV operators.

"Safety is key to the Nigerian Airspace System. Our goal for unmanned aircraft remains complete and total integration of safety and security is a shared responsibility for stakeholders and UAV operators.

"We must ensure that the Nigerian Airspace remains safe and that the benefits of UAV operations are well understood and implemented.

"I have no doubt that the current legal framework and collaboration with operators, stakeholders and Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) will provide a robust structure and system for the regulation of drone operation and its structured growth in Nigeria," Nuhu said.



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