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Green Africa Airways unveils routes - THE NATION

MAY 12, 2021

By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor

 

 

Lagos-based airline, Green Africa Airways, has unveiled its route network ahead of entry into service, its spokesperson, Oyinade Osobajo said in a statement yesterday.

With plans to commence operations from its Lagos base at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), she said the carrier will launch flights to   connect seven cities after completing its ongoing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) process with the NCAA which is now in advanced stages.

According to Osobajo, additional cities within Nigeria will be added as the value carrier scales its operations.

She said plans were underway to establish two more operational bases outside Lagos to stimulate air travel and provide more options to customers.

Osobajo said: “To facilitate increased economic and trade activities within Nigeria, Green Africa will offer new direct connections from the commercial hub of Lagos into these cities including Akure, Ilorin, Abuja, Enugu , Owerri and Port Harcourt .”

Its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Babawande Afolabi said starting with “our launch route network, we are crafting a network plan that will afford more customers the opportunity to pursue their economic interest or simply spend more time with family and friends. Our three key product offerings – gSaver, gClassicTM and gFlexTM will afford customers the value of choice and flexibility.

“Green Africa recently received its first aircraft with the second and third aircraft expected to arrive soon. Facilities and infrastructures are now in place to support commercial, flight, and airport operations.”

Germany Loosens Travel Rules as Covid Vaccinations Ramp Up - BLOOMBERG

MAY 12, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Germany loosened travel rules to allow people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter the country without needing to get tested or go into quarantine.

The rules, which also apply to those who have recovered from the virus, were approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet on Wednesday.

One-third of German residents have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and nearly 10% have been fully inoculated. As the pace ramps up, Germany has granted more privileges to people immune from the disease, including easing trips to hairdressers.

The looser restrictions come as Germany shows signs of containing a third wave of the pandemic. On Wednesday, infections over the past seven days fell to 107.8 per 100,000 people, the lowest in more than a month after peaking near 170 in late April.

The new travel rules don’t apply for high-risk regions, where faster-spreading mutations are present, Health Minister Jens Spahn said at a news conference.

He said there is “optimism” due to the falling infection numbers and the accelerating vaccination drive, but warned against “excessively high spirits” because the incidence rate is still too high.

Where Can You Fly Right Now: Brits Rerouted to Algarve With Spain and Greece Off Limits - BLOOMBERG

MAY 12, 2021

by  Siddharth Philip and Layan Odeh

People on Quarteira beach in Quarteira, Portugal. Photographer: Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg

People on Quarteira beach in Quarteira, Portugal. Photographer: Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Airline operators in the U.K. were prepared to quickly ramp up flights to popular destinations in Greece and Spain. They got Portugal instead. 

Even as carriers quickly shift capacity to Lisbon and Faro in the Algarve, they're pressing U.K. officials to add the two larger Mediterranean nations to the list of countries marked green in the traffic-light border system unveiled last week. Portugal is too small to single-handedly deliver a summer travel boom for airlines at risk of missing a second straight high season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The big prize would be Spain, the most popular holiday destination for Brits, who along with Germans make up the largest source of tourists in Europe. Carriers had bet heavily that Spain or at least its islands would be green-lit. They added almost 70,000 seats on flights headed there for the week of May 17, when U.K. borders will start to loosen, according to data from flight tracker OAG. From the U.K. to Greece, the schedule exploded by 1,600% week-to-week.  

“Airlines were certainly second-guessing what would happen,’’ said John Grant, chief analyst at OAG. The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson held off on the announcement till May 7, after elections were over. The timing “gave airlines less than a week to change their schedules and make any adjustments necessary.”

Now they’re doing just that. Ryanair Holdings Plc has added 245,000 seats from the U.K. to Portugal since last Friday. Similar moves came from discount rivals EasyJet Plc, Wizz Air Holdings Plc and tour operator TUI AG.

U.K. airlines and airports are now lobbying for the government to add Greece and Spain to the green list. The Greek tourism minister was in London this week to meet with U.K. counterparts and airlines about reopening links. In a sign of optimism, IAG SA flagship British Airways is adding more than 90,000 seats to sunny spots including the Greek islands of Corfu, Kos and Kefalonia, along with Spain’s Canary Islands and Bodrum in Turkey. But the flights won’t start until June 21. 

Read more:  Brits Finally Traveling Again Means Long Lines and Costly Tests

What’s Happening in Air Travel This Week

Globally, air travel is still struggling to gain traction in its recovery from the pandemic. Capacity remains at about 57% of pre-crisis levels — unchanged from the previous week — based on Bloomberg’s weekly flight tracker, which uses OAG data to monitor the pulse of the comeback.

 

While frustratingly slow for airlines, the progress in the U.K. has helped Europe establish some momentum restarting air travel after lagging behind Asia and North America throughout the health crisis. In the European Union, infection rates are dropping and vaccine campaigns are advancing. The bloc’s Green Digital certificate should provide a boon to regional travel by the end of June.

On Tuesday, Moody’s Investors Services weighed in, revising its global outlook for the industry to positive from negative. 

“We expect increasing vaccinations will lower border restrictions and increase demand for air travel over the next 12 to 18 months,’’ said Jonathan Root, a senior vice president at the credit-ratings firm. “Leisure traffic will lead the charge to the boarding gates, while corporate trips and international long-haul will follow, initially at a slower pace.’’

U.S. Ascending

Among regions, a changing-of-the-guard is at hand, with North America gaining steam over the past week while activity in Asia dropped precipitously.

Major markets including Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan have seen air-travel recoveries reverse direction as authorities try to stem rising infection levels. A massive Covid-19 outbreak in India has already led to a plunge in flights there. 

In the U.S., the number of seats being offered jumped 5%, according to OAG. Higher bookings are being fed by rising vaccination rates and an easing of travel restrictions, according to Airlines for America, the industry group that counts American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. among members.

While a domestic travel rebound has helped — along with hops to the Caribbean — executives at U.S. and U.K. airlines lobbied the countries’ transportation secretaries on Tuesday to reopen highly profitable trans-Atlantic routes. 

Like with many aspects of the pandemic, the air-travel recovery appears K-shaped, with carriers in a handful of countries flying at pre-pandemic levels or above, and hubs in other countries still quiet. The contrast is especially true in Asia, where — as in the U.S. — Chinese airlines are being buoyed by strong domestic market as other national markets fall away. 

The stakes are extra high in Japan, where Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended a state of emergency with less than three months to go before Tokyo hosts the summer Olympics. The edict covers the capital city and two more regions hit by rising virus cases, in an attempt to stem infections.

Bitcoin Isn’t Behaving as an Inflation Hedge. Its Move Still Makes Sense - BLOOMBERG

MAY 12, 2021

BY  Joe Weisenthal

 Bloomberg

Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- There’s no question that Bitcoin often gets sold as an inflation hedge. So much of the story is about the Fed printing all this money and how there’s only 21 million bitcoin, and so something something something, the number will go up due to inflation. You’ve heard it a million times.

Well, today we got one of the hottest inflation prints in years. By one measure, the consumer price index had its fastest gain since 2009. So how’s Bitcoin doing? Not great. Here’s the intraday chart, with the time of the CPI print marked by the vertical line

Now you might say, well sure, but the hot inflation was well-known, it was priced in, in some way. And that the number we got today helps explains the extraordinary gains over the last year. But that’s pretty weak. It’s clear that the CPI reading did, in fact, surprise other assets. Five-year yields are up substantially on the day, showing traders did not anticipate such a big increase in inflation. 

Look, to be fair, this is just one day and you can’t make big sweeping conclusions about the role an asset plays in global portfolios from four hours of trading. Nonetheless, we do have a few more clues out there. In addition to Bitcoin selling off, we’re seeing tech get hammered (down 2%) and the real speculative stuff like the ARKK exchange-traded fund down over 3%. So from that perspective it looks like Bitcoin is simply behaving as a risky, speculative asset, which both explains its action today and also over the last year. Gold is also down on the day (speaking of assets mis-sold as an inflation hedge).

Of course, gold, highly speculative tech, and Bitcoin all have something in common, which is that they don’t generate cash flow in the here and now. When economic growth is sluggish, that’s not really a big deal, of course, ‘cause nobody’s making much money in the first place. But when the economy is red hot, and you can make good money with lumber or gasoline or chips or labor, then why put your money in such future-oriented assets that aren’t paying anything today?

Italy Considering Further $121 Million Cash Injection for Alitalia - BLOOMBERG

MAY 12, 2021

BY  Alberto Brambilla and Alessandra MigliaccioBloomberg News

An Airbus SE A320 passenger aircraft, operated by Alitalia SpA, aircraft taxis on the runway as it prepares to take off from Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. Alitalia shareholders approved Etihad Airways PJSC investment of up to $231m, Etihad became Alitalia's largest shareholder in 2014 as part of the Persian Gulf carrier's attempt to gain a European foothold by strengthening struggling carriers in the region. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

An Airbus SE A320 passenger aircraft, operated by Alitalia SpA, aircraft taxis on the runway as it prepares to take off from Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. Alitalia shareholders approved Etihad Airways PJSC investment of up to $231m, Etihad became Alitalia's largest shareholder in 2014 as part of the Persian Gulf carrier's attempt to gain a European foothold by strengthening struggling carriers in the region. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Italy is considering a new 100 million-euro ($121 million) cash injection for bankrupt airline Alitalia, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi has already allocated 50 million euros to pay for the carrier’s April salaries, amid protests by workers on the streets of Rome and at Fiumicino Airport, the company’s main national hub.

Talks with the European Commission to set up a successor to the failed airline -- to be called Italia Trasporto Aereo SpA, or ITA -- remain deadlocked. The EU is demanding a clear separation between the assets and personnel of the bankrupt carrier and its replacement. As a result, the startup for the new company has been postponed from April until July 1, Chief Executive Officer Fabio Lazzerini said in parliament on April 27.

The most recent cash injection will likely be sufficient to keep the company afloat for the summer season, according to the people familiar.

Alitalia continues to operate flights, but the carrier has been under administration since 2017 and last month paid half-salaries to its 11,000 staff. The loss-making airline has been kept afloat by regular injections of public money and low-cost competitors have been taking advantage of its weakness by expanding in Italy before an expected summer travel rebound.

A spokesman for the Italian Treasury declined to comment for this story.

Passport pain: Immigration officials profit from FG’s failure, feed fat on Nigerians’ nightmare - PUNCH

MAY 13, 2021

BY  ADELANI ADEPEGBA, SAMSON FOLARIN, RAPHAEL EDE, JOHN CHARLES, ADENIYI OLUGBEMI and DENNIS NAKU

ADELANI ADEPEGBA, SAMSON FOLARIN, RAPHAEL EDE, JOHN CHARLES, ADENIYI OLUGBEMI and DENNIS NAKU capture the frustration of applicants for Nigerian passports in view of acute shortage of booklets and seeming inaction of the government on the intractable problem

Despite the scorching sun, the crowd at the Nigeria Immigration passport office, Ikeja, Lagos, kept swelling with exasperated Nigerians. Many of the applicants, who went with high hopes of getting their passports, however, left in frustration.

One of them was John, who needed the travel document urgently. Worry and anxiety were written on his face as he called his father on the telephone to lament his ordeal.

When he was done with the conversation, he told one of our correspondents how he had become frustrated after pursuing the document for over three months.

“I am not in a good mood at all. I have been coming here since February. They keep wasting people’s time. My parents paid for me through someone. Nobody applies online, because they will not attend to you. So many people are just sitting down and their files are unattended to. The documents for processing are not available; they say there are no booklets,” he said.

Another applicant, Patience, was also dejected when one of our correspondents approached her and introduced himself as a journalist. She sneered, wondering how the reporter could help her situation.

After some persuasion, she opened up. “I gave up on Nigeria a long time ago. Nothing can be better. For the past three weeks, they have been asking me to bring one document or the other. My house is far away and I need the passport urgently. But they are saying there is no passport booklet.

“The officers said if I needed express (service), then I must add something to the fee they had already charged; they demanded between N10,000 and N15,000. But I am ready to even pay, except that there is a problem with my name that I needed them to correct. You know how things are done in Nigeria. Online, the fee is N17,000, but I was asked to pay N40,000, and that was because I went directly to an officer I knew. And on top of that, they are asking for extra money for express.”

Several other applicants lamented how they could not secure their passports because the officials claimed the booklets were not available.

The PUNCH, however, noted that despite the scarcity of the booklets, a few individuals seemed to be getting theirs. Some immigration officers around the security office near the main gate were observed counting naira notes collected from some applicants.

While our correspondent could not tell the purpose of the payment, it was observed that many applicants paid directly to the immigration officers to ease the process of the application. Several applicants confirmed this to our reporter.

A woman, who did not identify herself, said the process of the passport application had been hitch-free for her because “an uncle paid directly into the account of the officer handling it.”

The PUNCH also overheard an agent discussing with a client on the phone and talking about how he had been haggling the price for a 10-year passport for N95,000. He claimed that his link in the immigration office was demanding N120,000.

A student of a private university, identified simply as Bimbo, said an intermediary, who collected N50,000 from her for a five-year passport, promised that everything would go smoothly. She said the agent connected her with an immigration officer, who called her for data capturing.”

Long wait, scarcity characterise passport applications in FCT

In the Federal Capital Territory, the situation is not different. Findings indicate that passport applicants generally go through unofficial routes to obtain the booklets and pay exorbitantly. Checks show that many NIS officers are taking advantage of the scarcity to engage in passport racketeering.

Many applicants have yet to get the passports weeks after going for biometric capture after paying the stipulated fees. Officials blamed the scarcity on inadequate supply of booklets by the contractor, Iris Smart Technology Limited.

A passport applicant, Anselm Ansadi stated, “I discovered that getting the e-passport isn’t as easy as it sounds. After paying the necessary fees and doing the biometric capture, I was informed that the passport would be ready within a week.

“After waiting for over two weeks without getting any response, I contacted an immigration officer at the NIS headquarters, who helped in fast-tracking the issuance. I had to part with additional money.”

A businesswoman, who was asked to pay N100,000 for the 10-year booklet, blamed the government for giving room for the unending exploitation of Nigerians by passport officials.

Extortion, touting by NIS officers at play in Enugu

At the Enugu NIS passport office, an official asked one of our correspondents to pay N30,000 against the official N18,500, while an urgent passport application went for N35,000.

In a move to cajole our reporter to patronise him, the officer said, “If you want a passport, you must go through an immigration officer to get it in record time. Otherwise, if you apply online, you hardly get the passport. One person I know, who applied online, has not received it since November last year. Another one, who applied since the first week of February hasn’t obtained his passport till date.

“However, there is scarcity of passports now. But if you go through an immigration officer (unofficially), you will finish your application and receive the passport booklet.”

At the Federal Secretariat, Enugu, more than five immigration personnel accosted our correspondent, saying, “Oga do you want a passport? Is any immigration officer processing your passport?’’

The State Controller of Immigration, Mr Joachim Olumbah, promised to investigate and fish out those behind the passport racketeering in the command. He said such unprofessional acts could not be denied, but noted that it was not an official endorsement from the command.

Travel agents, NIS officers levy passport applicants in Benue

Nigerians seeking to obtain the e-passport have decried the non-availability of the travel document in Makurdi, Benue State. They also frowned on the activities of middlemen and travel agents, who go about extorting money from intending travellers on the pretext of assisting them to facilitate the issuance of passports from the Nigeria Immigration Service office.

When our correspondent in Benue visited the NIS passport office located opposite the High Court in Makurdi, some applicants were sighted in a queue waiting to collect their passport booklets. But their hopes were dashed as they were turned back and asked to come back another time.

One of the applicants, who identified himself as Donald, said he applied for the passport on January 8, 2021, to enable him to travel abroad for his education.

“At first, I was told to go to the bank and pay N18,000 into a designated account and bring the printout, which I did; since then, it has been one excuse or the other. I was asked to come today, but when I got here, an officer told me that the passport control officer was not available and that I should come another time.

“This is not funny; some people, who applied at the same time as me, have collected theirs because they were able to grease the palms of officials. That is, after they paid N18,000 in the bank, they still came to the office and paid additional money to officials or travel agents to facilitate immediate issuance of the passport. Those of us who refused to bribe, the officials are unable to get ours.”

Another applicant, Mr Terna Suemo, said he paid for the 32-page booklet in the first week of March 2021 but could not get it due to non-availability of booklets.

He stated, “However, an insider told me that if I wanted to get it officially, it would take time, but if I needed it urgently and I pay extra money, he could get the passport for me.”

The NIS Public Relations Officer in the state, Mrs Ngufan Akaa, declined to comment.

Long queues of applicants waiting to do the mandatory biometric capture for the National Identity Number are features of the Rivers State passport office in Port Harcourt.

Though the new complex donated to the service by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, appears comfortable, it is usually crowded amid complaints of booklet scarcity and delay. No incidence of touting was noticed at the office located at No. 8 Aba Road, Port Harcourt.

Meanwhile, an applicant, who simply identified himself as Chidi, said he travelled all the way from Awka, Anambra State, to Port Harcourt, where he was referred to after paying N50,000 as express delivery charges for the 32-page passport, which ordinarily costs N25,000.

“A passport of 32 pages that costs N25,000, I was made to pay N50,000 for express service, because I needed it urgently. I came all the way from Awka, because there was no booklet at the office. I had also gone to Owerri (Imo State) and Asaba (Delta State), but there were no booklets in those states.”

 Checks indicated that over 1,000 booklets had yet to be collected by their owners. It was also gathered that Rivers was the only state in the South-South and South-East currently issuing the e-passport with a five and 10-year validity period.

Passport scarcity, violation of freedom of movement – Lawyer, CSO

A lawyer, Deji Ajare, of the Sterling Centre, Abuja, said the failure of the government to issue passport booklets was a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of movement of the citizens.

“Nigerians in the Diaspora, who are reportedly facing some form of difficulty over processing of their passports, can benefit from a renewal by postal service and the opening of more centres to cater to this need.”

Speaking in a similar vein, the Executive Director, United Global Resolve for Peace, Olaseni Shalom, argued that the passport scarcity was artificial and meant to subvert due process and enrich the pockets of a few corrupt officers.

The NIS spokesman,  Sunday James, failed to respond to inquiries about what the service was doing to curb the unethical conduct by immigration personnel. He did not respond to calls and a text message sent to his phone on Wednesday.

Apparently roused from its slumber by the loud complaints from angry Nigerians, the Federal Government announced a policy statement it hopes would assuage the problem. The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said all passport backlogs would be issued on or before May 31, 2021, adding that those with issues with their applications would be contacted.

Emirates to Participate in Arabian Travel Market - THISDAY

MAY 14, 2021

Emirates will be showcasing its premium economy seats for the first time at Arabian Travel Market 2021 (ATM). The region’s leading travel and tourism exhibition will run from 16th to 19th May, and will be the first in-person travel industry event to take place since the onset of the pandemic. The Emirates stand will offer travel industry visitors from over 60 countries a chance to experience the airline’s product and recently introduced service enhancements across every cabin class onboard its iconic A380 aircraft, and is a reminder of the elevated onboard experiences in store for travellers once they get back to the skies.

The highly-anticipated Emirates premium economy seat will be on display for visitors to experience. The seat boasts of an abundant pitch of up to 40-inches, and visitors trying out Emirates’ premium economy seat will also notice its generous width of 19.5 inches and ability to recline into a comfortable cradle position with ample room to stretch out. The seats are covered in cream-coloured anti-stain leather with automobile inspired stitching details and a wood panel finishing similar to business class, all designed to provide optimal comfort and support with 6-way adjustable headrests, calf rests and footrests.

Customers will also find other details including easily accessible in-seat charging points, a wide dining table and side cocktail table, as well as a storage area. Emirates will also showcase its Boeing 777-300ER game-changer First Class fully enclosed private suites exhibit, Boeing 777 Business Class seat, the newly refreshed A380 OnBoard lounge, along with other iconic products such the First Class Shower Spa and the latest version of the game-changer Economy Class seats.

Greece Set to Open Doors to Tourists in Bid to Revive Economy - BLOOMBERG

MAY 14, 2021

BY  Pau Tugwell and Sotiris NikasBloomberg News

Customers sit at a terrace of a cafe by the sea during sunset in the Little Venice area of the old town in Mykonos, Greece, on Sunday, May 9, 2021. Airline operators in the U.K. are pressing U.K. officials to add Greece and Spain to the list of countries marked green in the traffic-light border system unveiled last week.

Customers sit at a terrace of a cafe by the sea during sunset in the Little Venice area of the old town in Mykonos, Greece, on Sunday, May 9, 2021. Airline operators in the U.K. are pressing U.K. officials to add Greece and Spain to the list of countries marked green in the traffic-light border system unveiled last week. , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Greece will open to international tourists this week, as the government tries to kick-start an economic recovery.

The nation is open for international visitors who have completed their vaccinations, have a negative virus test or show proof of having antibodies after infection. Greece recognizes all shots, according to the government, which also plans to introduce random testing.

“Priorities have been overturned lately in the lives of all of us,” Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis said Thursday. While this year will be an improvement on 2020, he also warned the government will close borders again if necessary.

The battered industry accounts for over a quarter of Greek jobs and around a fifth of the economy. It’s often the main employer in regions where other industries are absent, providing crucial income for families and support for local economies.

Greece will lift most remaining lockdown measures, including a ban on inter-regional travel on the mainland, this week. Trips to islands, where locals are expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of June, will be allowed with a vaccination certificate or negative test. A night curfew will be in place, beginning at 12:30 a.m.

‘Why merger of airlines will not work in local sector’ - THE GUARDIAN

MAY 15, 2021

By Wole Oyebade


A lot has been said about the defunct Nigeria Airways and its collapse. Some said it failed due to mismanagement, others blamed workers. What is your view? First and foremost, I will talk about the airline’s structure before talking about the staff and management. The truth is that Nigeria Airways was not created for profitability with the way it ran and the structure it had. The airline had a yearly budget. But how can the airline have a yearly budget? The government pays for all its A, B, C and D checks, and other mandatory obligations. But because the airline had a budget, every government department then flew Nigeria Airways with warrant officers for free. In the military, for instance, ranks from Colonel and above flew in First Class cabins. Those below got Economy Class. For government establishments, Directorship level also got First Class and the rest, Economy. That was how the airline ran. It wasn’t meant for profit. So, how will it survive?


Also, the presidency didn’t have an aircraft designated to it. Whenever the presidency had a function, they would just pull out an aircraft immediately, either for local or international operations. There was a time the scheduled flights of the airline were just disrupted midway. That was how even the government contributed to the death of the airline.

Now, how did staff and management contribute to its death? It is corruption. Everybody was helping him or herself through the airline. Everyone was employed based on the quota system. But you will begin to get it wrong when you apply the quota system in the aviation sector. The management of the airline did employ mediocres into places they should not be; give people positions above their levels and qualifications, thereby demoralising other staff that are better qualified. There were cases in which Station Managers were sacked or recalled for not doing the biddings of some people in government, especially when they wanted their non-revenue luggage to be given priority above luggage of fee-paying passengers.

Is the quota system part of the reasons airlines still die? Quota system is killing the Nigerian system up till now. I am not against quota system in certain things, so that we can have equal presentation. But there are some certain things that will require technical qualifications. Those who put the quota system in place had a good intention, but when we start to play politics with it, then, it will continue to work against us.


What is your view about the call for local airlines’ merger? I think we are joking. We will never be able to merge where every operator comes with his own model. We will never agree on models. For instance, look at the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) today. We don’t have a body as far as I am concerned because some people think their ideas should be superior to others. In a group, you don’t think like that; you have to convince people to buy your idea.

If an airline is run professionally, first, it must have the dream of the founding fathers. What is the dream of the founding fathers because it plays a big role in a merger plan? The dream I had is that when I retire, I want to have a one per cent share of my airline. Even though I founded it, I want my great grandchildren to have shares in it. But the issue about merger in Nigeria is that people want to have ownership and die with it without transferring it to experts that can handle it.

What we need the most is the will of the government to have a robust aviation industry. That is not there. If the government is actually interested in developing aviation, it will be there in its policies. There will be deliberate policies to grow the industry and this General Aviation will be the solution to it. That is why for me, I advocate for complete autonomy of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) under the current administration. This will do a lot of good for the industry and some of these challenges will be checkmated. There are claims by some charter operators that a couple of private jet owners are converting their planes into hire and reward services (illegally).


I have been into chartered flights before I got the Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC) for the West Link Airlines. I was managing a company before I set up my own. Before then, I had always been in the advocacy of doing the right thing and that is why I decided to set up my own airline. I can tell you that it is true because as a certified operator, I know most of the passengers who are regular. There was a time some of them complained to me that I charge more, and they had got it cheaper.

The fact is that the government should be more worried because it is losing a lot of revenues. I pay the five per cent Ticket Sales Charge (TSC), even if I don’t have the cash with me. I owe it and I must pay; I can’t jump it.

But, those that are doing these sharp practices are not captured in the NCAA data. So, NCAA cannot go after them.

Then, I think the Department of State Security (DSS) should have intervened because this was purely economic sabotage for them to remain for this long, even when the former Director-General of NCAA suspended some of them.

That is why I felt that if the Director-General of the NCAA has full autonomy, he would do his job without looking at the body language of the minister.

Even, the passengers are also endangering themselves flying private jets because no insurance company would want to compensate the victims when an accident occurs. The NCAA should ask the DSS to check the operations. I can tell you that within three to four weeks, the truth will be known. What business do you operate when you fly three of four times in a day? Yet, the airline will claim it is flying private.


The Federal Government has an ambitious plan to set up an aircraft leasing company and maintenance facility that have not materialised in the last six years. Are you impressed? I remember that our panel advised the Federal Government to set up a leasing company that will help and strengthen the airlines here. We don’t have to be looking for dollars to pay our lease. We recommended that N500 billion should be set aside by the government in 2013, as aircraft leasing company for local operators to access and bring their planes in.

Also, the lessor is supposed to be a Nigerian leasing company. So, we will be paying here. All the income will be domiciled here and it will help to strengthen our naira. It will be only spareparts and training that we may worry about. If we intensify our things properly, we can even have our training reduced to Nigeria as we have all the airplanes simulators here.

Kenya has Life Safety there. It is because we have not put our acts together that is why all these things are all over the place. It should be in Nigeria because that is where the market is.

Covid tests for travel: how to get a green light for takeoff - THE GUARDIAN

MAY 15, 2021

BY  Rupert Jones


This summer, holidays could be a testing time if you are travelling overseas – many countries including the UK are demanding proof that you do not have Covid-19 before you arrive, which could mean taking tests on the way and the way back.

The good news is that prices for the tests are falling. The bad news is that trying to get your head around the complex rules and multitude of options is no easy task.

There are two things to think about: the test(s) you may be required to take before you travel from the UK; and the test(s) you must take before you return and after you get back.

Before you start your holiday you need to check whether your destination requires you to provide evidence that you are Covid-free.

The government says that from 17 May, people in England who have had both jabs will be able to demonstrate their vaccination status via the NHS app when travelling abroad. But with not many countries currently accepting proof of vaccination, for the time being most people will still need to follow other rules, such as getting a negative pre-departure test. You will need to monitor the UK government’s travel advice, and that of your destination country.

If you test positive, you may have to move into a quarantine hotel or extend your stay at your accommodation

This is a fast-moving situation. For example, at the time of writing, Spain required all passengers arriving from the UK to present a negative PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. There were widespread media reports that Spain will ditch this requirement for Britons from 20 May – but it is currently not on the green list, so the return trip is a different matter.

The new traffic-light system outlined by the UK government, with destinations placed on green, amber and red lists, relates to the requirements for people arriving in Great Britain from abroad.

Anyone arriving from a green list country will need to take two tests – whether they are a resident or a visitor. First, you must have a negative pre-departure Covid test – this must be done in the 72 hours before your flight back. Children under 11 do not need to take a test.

If you test positive, you may have to move into a quarantine hotel or extend your stay at your accommodation, depending on the other country’s rules. If you test negative you can travel. Then you will have to take a PCR test on or before day two after your arrival in the UK.

The PCR tests required by most countries are not the same as the free quick-result lateral flow tests you can order online or pick up from pharmacies. With PCR tests, the sample is sent to a lab for processing and analysis. It takes longer to get the results and tests can be pricey – £120 each or more – but holiday companies, airlines and airports are starting to offer much cheaper deals.

The cheapest way to get a test is if your airline or holiday provider offers a discount to its customers, says the consumer body Which?. Many airlines and holiday companies include links to Covid test providers on their websites.

Tui offers two kits that include outbound PCR tests if required by your destination country, costing £60 a person for countries on the UK’s green list and £90 for those on the amber list. The £60 kit contains one PCR test for the journey to your destination, with courier costs included, one pre-departure lateral flow test for your journey back, and one PCR test for day two after you return home.

For those travelling to green list countries that don’t insist on a negative result before letting you in, Tui’s kits start at £20 a person for a pre-departure lateral flow test for your journey back from your destination, and a PCR test on day two after their return. Needless to say, these kits are only available to the firm’s package holiday customers.

Which? says testing centres at airports are often cheaper than those on the high street

Ryanair and easyJet are offering reduced-price PCR tests – £60 for UK-based customers instead of £120, for example – as a result of linkups with the testing provider Randox.

The British Airways website highlights a range of options, including five PCR home test firms where discounts are available.

BA also offers deals on services at testing centres and airports. It has negotiated discounts with CityDoc and ExpressTest.

Which? says testing centres at airports are often cheaper than those on the high street, so check what deals the airport you are using is offering. For example, there are several testing providers based at Gatwick, including ExpressTest drive-through and walk-in facilities offering PCR tests for people travelling from the UK for £60. They aim to give the results by 10pm the next day but say it could take up to 48 hours.

However, you can’t just do the test and hop on your flight a couple of hours later, so for many people this won’t be a convenient option.

In terms of big retailers, Boots has launched an at-home PCR test kit costing £65 that is available online and in some stores, and which promises results within 24-48 hours of the lab receiving the sample. It also offers an in-store PCR testing service for £99.

With the window for having a test and travelling very tight, you may prefer to choose a service that does not involve posting your te so you know it should get to the lab in plenty of time.

If you are stuck overseas because of a positive test, your insurer may pay out to cover any extra accommodation bills. Check the policy details before you book.

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