Airline launches ticket sales for Gatwick-New York return flights from £255 - EVENING STANDARD
BY Neil Lancefield
A Norwegian airline has started selling tickets for budget transatlantic flights from Gatwick.
Norse Atlantic Airways is offering return trips to New York JFK from £255.
Daily flights on the route begin on August 12 using Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Other US destinations to be served by the carrier will be announced shortly.
The airline is hoping to succeed where Norwegian Air Shuttle failed.
Norwegian operated transatlantic flights with low fares but axed its long-haul operations in January 2021 due to heavy losses.
Related video: Gatwick reopens south terminal as airlines ramp up schedules (Wales Online)
It was founded by Bjorn Kjos, who resigned as chief executive in July 2019 and holds a minority stake in Norse.
Bjorn Tore Larsen, boss of Norse, said: “We are very pleased to now be able to welcome customers looking to book great value flights between London Gatwick and New York JFK.
“Customers now have an affordable option allowing them to book a last-minute trip or a holiday of a lifetime with an airline that offers choice and flexibility.”
The launch of Norse flights from Gatwick will be a major boost for the West Sussex airport, which has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
It closed one of its two terminals between June 2020 and March due to the collapse in passenger numbers.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “We are delighted to welcome Norse Atlantic Airways to Gatwick.
“It’s always great to see a new tail on the airfield but the arrival of a new airline following the turbulent past two years for the industry, and one that will be offering fantastic long-haul routes across the Atlantic, is particularly exciting news.
“Passengers across London and the South East will now be able to benefit from another transatlantic service from Gatwick, with Norse offering excellent value for money for those flying out for a dream holiday, or important business trip, to New York, one of the world’s most famous and dynamic cities.”
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Flights diverted to Ghana, others over Lagos runway repairs delay - PUNCH
BY Fabunmi Funmilayo
There was pandemonium at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on Saturday night as a seven-hour closure of the international runway for repairs later turned to a total closure of the Lagos airspace for several hours due to unexpected delays in the rehabilitation work on the Runway 18R.
The seven-hour closure of the Runway 18R ( MMIA international wing’s runway), meant to last from 7am to 2pm, was later extended to 6:30 pm due to unexpected delays in the repair works.
While this lasted, arriving and departing flights were diverted to the local runway (Runway 18L/36R).
However, the situation became worsened when officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria fixing the runway discovered the rehabilitation works would last beyond the sunset, contrary to the programme.
Unfortunately, the domestic runway where local and international flights had been diverted does not have lighting facilities for night landing of flights.
The development caused a temporary pandemonium among officials of FAAN and the Nigerian Airspace Management Authority.
However, NAMA later issued a third Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)- an electronic message to pilots and the entire global aviation community-informing that the Lagos airspace had become closed till 11 pm.
The first and second NOTAM had informed pilots of the temporary closure of the runway of the international wing of the airport between 7am and 2pm, and subsequently between 2pm and 6:30pm.
As a result of the temporary closure of the Lagos airspace, several flights due to depart and arrive at Lagos airport in the late evening were hit by several hours of delays, a situation that forced pilots to divert some local and international flights to Abuja, Accra (Ghana) and other airports.
Specifically, a KLM flight from Amsterdam coming to land at the Lagos airport around 7pm was diverted to the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana.
Also, some inbound local flights which were caught up by the sudden closure of the Lagos airspace were forced to divert to Abuja and other airports.
Other flights meant to depart Ilorin, Benin, Port Harcourt and other airports across the country in the late evening were delayed until around 10pm when the Lagos airspace was eventually opened.
Also, international flights meant to depart Lagos between 7pm and 9pm were hit by several hours of delays, with some of the pilots complaining that their passengers would miss their connecting flights.
Specifically, Dubai-bound Emirates Airlines, Instanbul-bound Turkish Airlines and Doha-bound Qatar Airways, meant to depart between 7pm and 8pm did not depart until around 10pm when the Lagos airspace was opened.
Airport officials confirmed the majority of the passengers would miss their connections.
FAAN had in a letter dated May 24, 2022, said the closure of the international runway (Runway 18R/36L) would last from 0600hours to 1300hours-UTC on 28, 2022.
According to the letter, rehabilitation works to be carried out on Runway 18R/36L will hold on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) from May 28 to 29, 2022, and June 4 to 5, 2022.
The agency, however, said the runway of the local wing of MMIA, (Runway 18L/36R) would be available for departures and arrivals.
However, the unfortunate development of Saturday appeared to have affected the airlines badly. Officials said FAAN should get its acts together in subsequent closures of the runway on Sunday and next weekend.
Unconfirmed sources said the delays were caused by the late arrival of the contractor to the site while officials said some of the equipment meant for the repair works broke down.
The spokesperson for FAAN, Mrs Faithful Avokerie Hope-Ivbaze, was not available for comments as of the time of filing this report.
Some of the local flights reportedly hit by the delays, especially in Abuja include Dana Air, Ibom Air, Max Air, United Nigeria Air, Aero Contractors, and Air Peace. They were forced to delay their arrivals in Lagos.
Airfares surge by 52% over forex, jet-A1 crisis - PUNCH
BY Edidiong Ikpoto
The average airfare paid by passengers on specified routes for a single journey has increased by 52 per cent in the past 12 months, the National Bureau of Statistics data have shown.
In a new report titled, “Transport Fare Watch (April 2022),” the NBS said airfares recorded a 19 per cent increase when gauged on a month-on-month basis.
On state profile analysis, Taraba recorded the highest air transport charges (for specified routes single journey) in April 2022 with N65,000.00, followed by Kogi with N64,258.91, while Kano recorded the least with N50,000.00.
Analysis by zone also showed that the North-Central recorded the highest airfare in April, 2022 with N57,552.54, followed by the North-East with N56,800.16, while the South-East had the least with N53,402.58.
The significant hike in airfares, according to findings, is not unconnected to the recent challenges faced by local airlines, ranging from energy price hikes to lack of access to foreign exchange.
The PUNCH had earlier reported how domestic airline operators threatened to ground their operations due to a substantial increase in the price of Jet A1, also called aviation fuel.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, an official in the Corporate Affairs Department of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, the umbrella body for local carriers, Mr. Ewos Iroro, described the factors behind the increase of airfares as obvious concerns which the operators had clamoured about over the past few months.
According to him, the onus of relieving the sector of the bottlenecks affecting the operations of the airlines is a responsibility the government should take more seriously.
He said, “We know what has been happening in the sector in the last few months. The price of jet fuel has gone up. There are so many factors. All the factors are already out there. Airlines don’t determine most of the factors. Airlines are also operating in a system.”
The Chief Executive Officer, TopBrass Aviation, Captain Roland Iyayi, also blamed the inability of the government to solve certain fundamental challenges as the reason behind the spike in airfares in the last one year.
According to him, energy costs constitute about 50 per cent of airlines operating cost. This, he said, would invariably give rise to a corresponding hike in airfares.
Iyayi said, “I think the solution is actually in the hands of the government. If for instance, our refineries were working, the cost of fuel would have been lower than what it is today. Fuel, for airlines constitute about 50 per cent of their direct operating cost. So, if you take that fuel increased from N150 to about N700; that’s about 400 per cent increase, but nobody is talking about that. If fuel increased by 400 per cent and airfares increased by 52%, and fuel comprises 50 per cent of the direct operating cost of an airline’s cost of production, then there is something very significantly wrong. I would assume that based on those numbers, airlines may not even be breaking even.”
Also speaking, an economic expert at the Pan-Atlantic University, Associate Professor Emeka Osuji described the hike as inevitable considering recent events in the aviation sector and the attendant economic consequences of these events.
He said, “Aviation fuel has gone up. I don’t blame the airlines. When aviation fuel goes up like it has done, you have to expect an increase. The politicians have taken all the dollars for their political activities. Everything about an aircraft is dollarised, now the dollar has gone up to N600. When that happens you don’t need anybody to tell you what it will give rise to.”
Osuji also said the economy had been badly managed and decried Nigeria’s continued inability to refine fuel for local consumption.
According to him, much of the energy crisis that has led to increased cost of production would have been tackled if the government had been alive to their responsibilities.
Ecobank Updates Retail FX Transactions for Foreign Schools - THISDAY
As part of its commitment to providing optimum banking experience, Ecobank Nigeria has shared updates to serve its clients better regarding retail foreign exchange transactions for international school fees, accommodation, and upkeep payments, as well as PTA/BTA requests.
The Head, Consumer Banking, Ecobank, a Korede Demola-Adeniyi in a signed statement said “Due to current market trends, we require a 30-day window to complete requests for school fees, accommodation, and upkeep, stating that part of the process involves a review of all documents to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
The statement added that “In order to ensure smooth service and allow disbursement of PTA/BTA within the timeline, we request that applications are submitted with the required documentation.”
For PTA/BTA, the requirements include duly completed Form A; duly confirmed return ticket; Nigerian passport bio-data page; letter of authority to debit account; valid visa to destination country and account should have been opened and operational for at least 6 months
In addition to the above, the bank requires the following for BTA requests; letter of invitation from the overseas partner, letter of introduction from the company stating the employee going on the business trip and certificate of incorporation
For School fees, upkeep and others, “we require duly completed Form A; students valid Nigerian passport bio-data page; letter of admission for course/programme; recent school bill; students valid visa/residence/study permit (for returning students); bank/remittance details of the school; photocopy of 1st degree (in the case of post graduate studies); evidence of relationship if fees are paid by a 3rd party and letter of authority to debit your account, among others.