Travel News

Gatwick Airport: £5 drop-off charge in force from today - THE ARGUS

MARCH 09, 2021

By Connor Stringer 

People dropping off travellers will pay £5 to access the airports North Terminal forecourt.

People dropping off travellers will pay £5 to access the airports North Terminal forecourt.

FG introduces temporary passports for Nigerians abroad - PUNCH

MARCH 09, 2021

BY Adelani Adepegba, Abuja

The Federal Government has replaced the emergency travel certificate with a temporary passport for security reasons.

The temporary passport is a new genre of travel document that will be issued at the Nigerian Embassies abroad to Nigerians wishing to return home but whose national passport was not available.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, inaugurated the temporary passport at the Nigeria Immigration Service headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday.

According to a statement by the NIS spokesman, Sunday James, titled, ‘Nigeria Immigration Service launches the Nigerian Temporary Passport,’ the minister stated that the temporary passport was designed for a one-way travel to Nigeria only and that the new document replaces the hitherto Emergency Travel Certificate which was issued to Nigerians in emergency situations for the purpose of returning home.

‘’He maintained that the temporary passport is ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) compliant and is valid for only 30 days before the date of travel and it is not in any way a replacement for the Nigerian passport as it will only serve a temporary purpose in the case of loss or misplacement of the Nigerian passport by a Nigerian abroad,’’ the statement noted.

The Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, stated that the replaced ETC was a huge security threat to Nigeria and the global community “because it was an ordinary paper devoid of necessary security features of a travel document.’’

He said the TP has a chip and surface personalization which is an enhancement of the Electronic Passport Management System.

FG launches E-Temporary Passport to replace ETC - NAN

MARCH 09, 2021

The Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated an electronic Temporary Passport to replace the Emergency Travel Certificate (ETC), for effective identity management. Speaking at the event in Abuja, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, explained that the Temporary Passport was an electronic document with all the features of a regular passport. 

According to Aregbesola, the difference is that it is temporary and valid for one trip, and will be retrieved from the user at the entry point. “The Temporary Passport is ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) compliant and is valid for only 30 days. “It is a replacement for the hitherto Emergency Travel Certificate (ETC) which was issued to Nigerians in emergency situations where their Passports were not available and had the need to travel to Nigeria. 

“This new document is not a replacement for the Nigerian Passport; it will only serve a temporary purpose in the case of loss or misplacement of the Nigerian Passport by a Nigerian abroad. “In the light of the present security challenges faced by the country, the Temporary Passport will no doubt help to checkmate the excess of criminal elements that takes advantage of the ETC to infiltrate the country,” he said. The minister further assured Nigerians having difficulties with obtaining the Nigerian passport that the challenge would soon end. 

“We are putting measures in place that will make it very easy to obtain the passport, once they come to fruition,” he said. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, commended the Federal Government for the initiative, stating that it was a step in the right direction. 

Onyeama, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Gabriel Aduda, stated that oftentimes when there were issues with passport and travels, Nigerians tended to point accusing fingers at the ministry. He added that with the temporary passport, there would be an organised, serialised and verifiable system of issuing the temporary document.

 “This is a commendable achievement not just to the Nigerian Immigration Service but the country as a whole,” he said. The Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, said that the temporary passport would be valid for 30 days from the day of issuance, adding that once you arrived in the country you cannot travel back with it. “Embassies have been complaining to us on our temporary passport which does not have a database or biometric features. 

This, however, has been a huge security threat to us and the host country. “The temporary passport is a document with blue colour and contains four pages which have passport photograph inside. “ It has enhanced our data system that means, it is connected to our data page and there is an end to end connectivity with what is captured and what is in our data page,” he said. [NAN] 

 Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/20...

Kano international flights suspension causing revenue losses – FG - PUNCH

MARCH 10, 2021

BY Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The continued suspension of international flights to and from the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, is denying the Federal Government a lot of revenue, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said on Tuesday.

Sirika said this in his office in Abuja when he received a delegation from Kano State led by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

The minister told his guests that it was the desire of his ministry to reopen the airport for international flight operations, as it made no economic sense for government to spend so much on the facility and decide to leave it inoperative.

He, however, stated that the decision to suspend international flights to and from the airport, like the ones in Enugu and Port Harcourt, were for health and security reasons.

Sirika in a statement issued by his ministry’s spokesperson, James Odaudu, promised that all that was necessary for the resumption of international flight operations at the airport would be fast-tracked to ensure that it resumes sooner than later.

He challenged Kano indigenes to create activities that would make the airport more viable through increased passenger traffic.

In his address, Ganduje said he was in the ministry to appreciate the Federal Government for the completion of the international wing of the airport and to appeal for the resumption of international flight operations at the facility.

The governor expressed concern over the effect of the continued suspension of international flights to and from the airport by passengers and service providers.

'Ticket to recovery': Australia to offer subsidised flights to support tourism - REUTERS

MARCH 10, 2021

By Colin Packham

Ganduje requests immediate opening of Aminu Kano Airport International Wing - DAILY POST

MARCH 10, 2021

By Muhammad Bukar

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has requested the Federal Government to open the international wing of Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA).

He made the request when he visited Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika in his office, Abuja, Tuesday, explaining that the continued non-commissioning of the international wing, would not augur well for the State.

“On behalf of the government and people of Kano State, I am urging the federal government to kindly consider the immediate commissioning of the expanded section of International Wing of Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA),” he pleaded.

He also urged for the resumption of international flights to operate in Kano, adding that, “As the COVID-19 debut forced for the closure of Airports across the country, which also included Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, we are urging for the opening of our expanded International Wing. We are very grateful for the uplift of the international wing.”

Responding, the Minister, Sirika assured that the uplifted international wing would be commissioned soon.

“Very soon the international wing of Malam Aminu Kano International will be commissioned. I am also from Kano, Your Excellency. Kano is my State also. I, therefore, urge Kano people to cooperate well in this direction,” he assured.

At the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment, governor Ganduje met with the Minister, Mr Otumba Niyi Adebayo and State Minister, Mrs Maryam Yalwaji Katagum.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the developmental projects the federal government executed in Kano, explaining that, “Such and similar projects are drivers for our state economy. More economic development will be possible with such gigantic projects.”

“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari’s show of love to Kano and the country in general, is one of the major reasons we are witnessing progress and development in the State. We are grateful with the Dry Port project and rail projects from many parts, that are also linked to our dear state, Kano. So also the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas project, ” he appreciated.

All those projects, according to the governor, would help in boosting the economy of the state, insisting that, “We are urging the federal government to uplift our Trade Fair ground to comply with the global outlook.”

After putting the request, the Minister agreed that federal government would look into the request and act appropriately.

While at the Ministry for Communication and Digital Economy, the governor commended the good working relationship between the state government and the Ministry in developing the state, while complying with IT-based initiatives.

On that basis, according to the governor, “Kano state is soliciting for effective partnership in the areas of digital infrastructure, digital agriculture, capacity development, eGovernance, digital skills and digital literacy. All these areas will augur well for the socio-economic development of our state.”

While appreciating the good working relationship between his Ministry and the state government under governor Ganduje, the Minister, Ibrahim Ali Pantami, assured the governor and his entourage that he would respond positively to the governor’s requests.

Buhari inaugurates Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line, others, plans economy revival - PUNCH

MARCH 10, 2021

BY  John Alechenu, Abuja

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway would revive economic activities along the Eastern corridor.

Buhari said this during a virtual ground-breaking ceremony of three projects namely: the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Port Harcourt– Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge railway project, Bonny Deep-sea Port and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt, in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Railway will reactivate economic activities on Eastern Corridor – President Buhari’, signed by the Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina.

He explained that economic activities along the eastern corridor were adversely affected by insecurity.

According to the statement, the President said the country’s aspiration for nationwide transport infrastructure and railways would be significantly enhanced by these three projects conceived to be integrated in their operations.

It quoted the President as saying, “The connection of the railway to a new seaport in Bonny Island and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt is designed to increase the viability and boost trans-shipment of cargo and freight locally, across the West African sub-region and in the Continental Free Trade Area.

“The sum of the socioeconomic and environmental benefits of these projects includes creation of massive employment locally.

“In addition, there will be further utilisation of local content and technology transfer, increase in internally generated revenue and would serve as a fulcrum for the achievement of the Federal Government planned Integrated Development Masterplan.’’

Buhari also urged all Nigerians especially industrialists, manufacturers and businesses within the zones to take maximum advantage of this infrastructure in planning for expansion and building new factories.

He also said when completed, the projects would raise Nigeria’s economy to the global stage while reaffirming its leading role in Africa.

The statement further read, “The President explained that the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri railway reconstruction project with new branch lines to Owerri, Imo State and Damaturu, Yobe State would resuscitate the once vibrant railway transportation in the eastern railway corridor of the country.

“We are further expanding it to achieve contemporary demand for transport in the North-East and Southern geopolitical zones of the country.

“It is also designed to link other standard gauge rail lines under construction through the provision of trans-shipment centres.

“The funding of the railway is through loan to fund 85 per cent project cost and the Federal Government contribution of 15 per cent as counterpart funding,” he said.

Buhari further explained that the Bonny deep sea port and the railway Industrial Park were to be constructed through direct investments from Chinese partners and international financing agencies.

He said these projects would serve transportation and supply chain networks for domestic needs and export as well as support imports into the hinterland of the country through the new deep sea port in Bonny Island.

The President also said, “This improved port is designed to be a regional and international transport hub. In line with the global trends, the Railway Industrial Park will have the capability for processing exports of raw materials with value addition and also export of locally made goods.

“In planning this project, prudent use of resources has been given priority, as by this endeavour, Nigeria will retrieve the old narrow gauge that has been lying in neglect for years and bring it to full functional state commensurate to a National railway service at a rational price.”

The President, who requested the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to cut the tape and unveil the plaque for the projects on his behalf, assured the nation of prudent use of resources in executing the projects.

Earlier in his address of welcome, Amaechi said the Bonny Deep-sea Port and Railway Industrial Park, Port Harcourt were being developed through direct investment by a conglomerate led by Messrs CCECC Nigeria Limited with a total investment portfolio of $700m.

On the railway, he said upon completion, trains on the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Eastern Narrow-Gauge Railway will run at 60 – 80 kilometres per hour and 80 – 100 kilometres per hour for freight and passenger respectively.

“The Bonny deep sea port has a container terminal of 500,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) per annum capacity and 100,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) Berth.

“The Railway Industrial park, Port Harcourt will be supported by necessary infrastructure including power, water, waste disposal, ICT and gas distribution as well as transportation, logistics centres and ancillaries,” he added.

Amaechi affirmed that the ministry was working in line with the president’s directives to implement the Nigeria Railway Modernisation project and progressively expand the railway network.

‘‘In this regard, the rail line connection from Enugu to Awka – Onitsha and Abakaliki is undergoing necessary feasibility studies and preparation of conceptual design,’’ he said.

Again, UAE Extends Ban On Nigerian Flights Till March 20 - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

MARCH 10, 2021

By Shola Adekola 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has again extended the ban on Nigerian flights to March 20, 2021.

The latest extension came after the UAE authorities had on February 14, announced the extension of the suspension of flights from Nigeria till March 10, 2020.

A statement issued by UAE to back the latest ban which was sighted by Tribune Online declared: “In line with government directives, passenger services from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) to Dubai are temporarily suspended until March 20, 2021. Customers from both Abuja and Lagos will not be accepted for travel prior to or including this date. Passengers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not allowed entry into the UAE (whether terminating in or connecting through Dubai).

“Emirates flights from Dubai to Lagos and Abuja will continue to operate as per the normal schedule.

“We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call centre for rebooking. Emirates remains committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services to Dubai for our customers when conditions allow.”

ALSO READ: Bayelsa proposes anti-grazing law, to prosecute herders carrying firearms

The back and front game overflights between the two countries was caused by the decision of the UAE government to ban airlines from Nigeria carrying Nigerian passengers into the United Arab Emirates’ country.

According to a circular which emanated from the Dubai Airport Operations Control Center then, titled ‘Dubai Travel Protocol Update-Travel From Nigeria’ and dated, Friday, January 2021, the Dubai authorities had declared: that from February 1, 2021, that all passengers departing from Nigeria to Dubai are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 certificate. The PCR should be conducted within 72 hours of the date of departure.

With the new UAE policy, all Nigerian passengers are required to conduct a rapid COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result within four hours of their departure time even while the Dubai government insisted that passengers from Nigeria must travel directly from Nigeria to Dubai while adding that; “No passengers may enter Dubai from any other country /station if they have visited or transited via Nigeria in the last 14 days.”

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had in return suspended the operations of Dubai based Emirates airlines into Nigeria.

The decision of Nigeria to reciprocate the negative attitude of the UAE towards the Nigerian travellers and the only airline operating into the foreign country jolted the authorities who since then has been playing games with the Nigerian government.


Again, UAE extends ban on Nigerian flights till March 20

Australian government offers half-price flights to local tourists - AFP

MARCH 11, 2021

Almost one million Australians will be able to enjoy half-price flights to domestic holiday destinations, under a government plan announced Thursday to boost tourism as Covid border closures keep international travellers out.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would spend Aus$1.2 billion (US$929,000 million) to subsidise 800,000 flights to areas outside major cities that were "heavily dependent on international tourists".

Half-price airfares will be offered to entice Australians to book holidays at places like the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Gold Coast.

Australia has been effectively sealed off from the rest of the world since shutting its border last March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and is yet to announce when it will reopen to overseas visitors.

International tourism was worth about Aus$45 billion (US$35 billion) a year to the country's economy before the pandemic hit.

A massive funding package subsidised millions of jobs over the past year but will finish at the end of March, raising concerns thousands of people in worst-hit industries like tourism will be left out of work.

The discounted airfares will be available from April, as the government looks to cushion the blow and put the onus on Australians to help support the sector.

Several lesser-known holiday spots typically more popular with locals than international tourists are also among the 13 supported destinations.

The initiative has been welcomed by struggling airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia, but others in the travel industry as well as workers' unions have complained it does not go far enough.

Morrison has called the scheme "a bridge to a more normal way of life for Australians", adding that tourism businesses "don't want to rely on government support forever".

Heathrow passenger numbers fall to lowest level since 1960s - PA MEDIA

MARCH 11, 2021

By Julia Payne

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Thursday on a weaker dollar as fears of rising U.S. inflation eased while a steep fall in U.S. fuel stocks meant a crude glut would be short-lived as refiners restart in Texas after last month's freeze.

Brent crude oil futures for May rose $1.04, or 1.53%, to $68.94 a barrel by 1006 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April was up $1.02, or 1.58%, at $65.46.

"Fears of inflation are receding as the February U.S. CPI was at 1.7%. Consequently, bond yields fell and equities stabilized with the Dow hitting an all-time high. The dollar, therefore, is weakening, which helps oil," Tamas Varga, senior analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said.

U.S. Treasury yields fell on Thursday as concern about a strong pick-up in inflation eased and focus turned to an auction of 30-year government debt. The dollar is at its lowest level in a week.

Varga added that the massive draw on U.S. gasoline stocks has also helped to boost oil prices.

"(It) implies that refiners' crude intake will keep growing, reversing the recent stock builds we have seen in the last three weeks due to Winter Storm Uri."

U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 11.9 million barrels in the week to March 5 to 231.6 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, compared with expectations for a 3.5 million-barrel drop.

Crude inventories, however, rose by 13.8 million barrels in the week to March 5 to 498.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for an 816,000-barrel rise, as the nation's oil industry continued to feel the effects of a winter storm mid-February that stalled refining and forced production shut-ins in Texas.

Globally, stocks also remain ample with crude oil in storage at major land and sea hubs rising last week, according to analysts and ship trackers.

As the pace of inoculations picks up, several states such as North Carolina and California have moved to relax COVID-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday to one of the largest economic stimulus measures in American history, a sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that gives President Joe Biden his first major victory in office.

(Reporting by Julia Payne and Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)


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