Deportation - Hundreds of Nigerians in Kuwait Beg Govt to Fast Track Passport Process - DAILY TRUST
By Rejoice Iliya
About 600 Nigerians residing in Kuwait are at the risk of being deported over the failure to get their residential permit renewed.
This, according to some of the affected Nigerians, is because their passport is less than one year to expire and Kuwait authorities do not accept such for the renewal of residential permit.
Some of the residents said their means of livelihood is at risk while students among them may also face similar treatment.
"At the moment, we have about 600 Nigerians in Kuwait who are at the risk of being deported with their families. All for no fault of theirs."
The Nigerian Embassy in Kuwait does not issue or renew passports and due to COVID restrictions in Kuwait, airports were only opened this October since closure in March 2019.
"So, Nigerians here haven't been able to seek other alternatives. Residencies here are only renewed if passports have at least one year validity. Most people's passports are already expired or less than a year, so, effectively they are without valid residencies. Meaning they could be accosted by security officers and deported as illegals," some of the affected Nigerians.
They, however, disclosed that the Nigerian Immigration Service sent an official to Kuwait in July he has not been able to meet up with the task on ground.
"They captured data and we were made to believe we would get our passports within two months etc. It's four months now and no signs. If nothing is done, we may not get anything till next year
In his reaction, the consular officer at the Nigerian embassy in Kuwait, Muhammed Abdullahi Ahmed, said the embassy has been trying to help adding that it is not their fault as the problem affects all the Nigerian missions abroad.
He said, "It is a wrong time because the covid-19 affected all the missions abroad including Nigeria Embassy in Kuwait. The head of immigration came to Kuwait so as to assist and their data had been captured for onward processing.
"What is delaying the work is because of the number of passports they are attending to. The immigration are working on them alphabetical on about 145 missions. All missions abroad have similar issue and the production would be marathon. Capturing is done already, issuing from Nigeria and still waiting for them."
Ahmed added that some of them who have been coming to the embassy are being give papers to cover for them until their passports are ready.
162 stranded Nigerians in Libya return - THE NATION
A total of 162 Nigerians comprising 98 women, 28 men, 24 children and 12 infants, who were stranded in Libya have been repatriated back home, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Wednesday morning.
The returnees, who arrived the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) from Tripoli, Libya, were brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) through the Voluntary Repatriation Programme.
The Nation reports that this programme helps distressed or stranded migrants who left their home countries in search of greener pastures in Europe but got stuck on the way return to their respective countries.
Since 2017, the IOM has assisted about 21,000 Nigerians stranded abroad to return home.
According to acting Southwest Coordinator of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, the returnees left Libya at 10:10pm on Tuesday and were received by the Federal Government officials at 2:10am upon arrival of their flight.
He said five of the returnees were discovered to have different health-related issues after screening by Port Health Officials.
Ayade: We’re building airport with longest runway to boost businesses in Obudu - THE CABLE
Ayade said this during an inspection of the site on Wednesday.
He said the airport, situated close to the iconic Obudu mountain resort, will rank the state as a world tourism destination, adding that the federal government should come and inspect it.
“That is why we are building the airport with 5.6 meters runway, the longest in Nigeria to enable both tourism and business thrive around the Ranch environment with the airport,” Ayade said.
“We started March 2021, and the stage we are now is impressive with major requirements on the ground, and we are almost done in terms of other utilities like the observation tower — which is at the last stage.
“The firefighting and utility buildings are at the last stage, and the main terminal building is almost completed.
“The cutting of the hard terrain of the airport is by no means a small job, and the federal government should come and look at what we are doing with serious attention.”
The governor lauded Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, for promising to support the cargo wing of the airport with facilities when functional.
At the inspection, Eric Akpo, senior special adviser on technical matters to the governor, said that the completion target set for April 2022 was feasible.
Nigerian Immigration And The Mode Of Visa Application In Nigeria - MONDAQ
Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL)
Immigration is generally the process through which individuals become permanent residents or citizens of another country. Historically, the process of immigration has been of great social, economic, and cultural benefit to states.
The guiding force of the Nigerian immigration is principally from statute and also supported by policy. These laws and policies governs the administration of immigration laws and Visa in Nigeria. The fundamental law is the Immigration Act of 2015 (the 2015 Act), which is supported by the Immigration Regulations of 2017 (the Immigration Regulations).
In addition, is the New Visa Policy (NVP) which was formally launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in February 2020, introducing a reformed visa regime. With respect to the administration of immigration control, the provisions of the 2015 Act specifically designate the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) as the principal body charged with responsibility for administering the Act, under the headship of the Comptroller General of Immigration (CGI). This article takes a critical look at the guiding force of immigration in Nigeria both legislation and body in charged vis a vis Visas and Visa policy.
Regulatory Framework Guiding Immigration in Nigeria.
The Immigration Act, 2015
This is the Act that gives the power of administering the Act, control of persons entering or leaving Nigeria, border surveillance, issuance of travel documents and due enforcement of all laws relating to the immigration and emigration into and out of Nigeria on the Nigerian Immigration Service headed by the Comptroller General of Immigration.
The Immigration Regulations, 2017
The key objective for issuing the Regulations is to create a legal framework for the implementation of the Immigration Act 2015 ("Act") and a repeal of the Immigration Regulations 1963.
The Regulations came into effect to raise a myriad of compliance issues, which corporate entities that have foreign nationals, as employees, need to be abreast of and strictly comply with. This regulation also contains various compliance matters and red flags that both the body corporate and foreign national employees must be aware of.
The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020.
The new policy was introduced in line with the government's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 - 2020, which aims to remove the barriers that have historically inhibited innovation and economic development in the country. The policy was implemented to improve the business environment, attract Foreign Direct Investment and boost tourism without compromising national security in Nigeria. The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 is intended to attract innovation, specialized skills and knowledge from abroad to complement locally available ones. This article will also address the innovation of the policy.
Types of Visa and Permit in Nigeria.
The two legislation, that is the 2015 Immigration Act and the Immigration Regulations provide for the issuance of various types of visas and permits by immigration authorities to non-Nigerians for entry to and residence in Nigeria. Also, the New Visa Policy most especially widens the scope of visa classes in the Immigration Act and delineates the following three main categories: (1) Short Visit Visas (SVVs), (2) Temporary Residence Visas (TRVs), and (3) Permanent Residence Visas (PRVs).
What the New Visa Policy(NVP) has done is to provide a class of visa for almost every conceivable purpose for entry into the country, increasing the number of classes of visa from six to 79 in total, with each class of visa now having a code for ease of processing.
Categories of visas identified under the New Visa Policy
Short Visit Visa
The Short Visit Visa provides an avenue for foreign nationals to enter Nigeria for a maximum period of 90 days for various short-term purposes, including visits, tourism, business meetings, sport, entertainment, and specialized services. The number of classes of visa are 28.
Temporary Residence Visa
Permanent Residence Visas
PRVs enables individuals to reside in Nigeria for up to five years or more, providing an avenue for obtaining permanent residence status in Nigeria available to investors, retirees and highly skilled individuals, among others.
How to Apply for a Visa
Most application for visas and most permits are made to the Comptroller General of Immigration or to the appropriate Nigerian diplomatic mission established abroad. However, the recently launched NVP promotes the use of two additional visa application channels whereby travelers wishing to enter the country can apply for visas.
The following are mode of application as set out in the NVP:
Application via Visa on Arrival
This mode is available at the Nigerian port of entry, (at the desk marked 'Visa on Arrival') for those whose visa application falls within the qualifying classes of visas; these include frequent business travelers, emergency relief workers and holders of passports of African Union (AU) countries. Once the application has been submitted at the port of entry, the applicant will be required to make an online payment through the NIS website and undergo biometric enrolment to be issued the entry visa.]
Online e-visa application
This service is an online process requiring intending visitors to apply online via the NIS website. Following successful consideration and processing of the application, the applicant will receive by email approval confirmation and an Electronic Travel Authorisation Letter (eTAL) within 48 hours of the application; the applicant is required to obtain this pre-approval before coming into Nigeria. Application by e-visa is available for specific classes of SVVs, including the transit visa, business visa, tourism visa, journalist visa and visas for staff of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs).
Application at the Nigerian diplomatic mission or embassy or authorised visa application centre
The submission of an application at the Nigerian diplomatic mission or embassy is an avenue available in respect of all classes of visas, including the categories of visa that qualify for VoA and e-visa applications. To use this channel, application and payment is initially effected online, with the requisite supporting documents to be submitted at the embassy and, if necessary, the applicant will be required to attend an interview; if the application is approved, the visa will be issued. Applications for Nigerian visas requiring submission at Nigerian diplomatic missions can also be submitted at established visa application centres, which are available in some countries and are authorised to receive applications and submit these to Nigerian embassies on behalf of the visa applicant.
Prerequisites for Entry
Section 18 of the 2015 Act stipulates that, unless the Minister or the CGI directs otherwise, an immigration officer shall admit into Nigeria a person who:
- has in their possession a valid passport or such other travel document as is approved by the Minister or CGI for admission into Nigeria; or
- is in possession of a valid visa, residence or work permit, or any other permit, or other form of approval.
An individual who has the requisite documents for entry into Nigeria should, therefore, ordinarily be admitted into the country. Entry can, however, be denied to a foreign national by the immigration officer in the following circumstances: where the requisite visa or permit needed for entry or admission has not been validly obtained; where, on the advice of a medical inspector, it is undesirable for medical reasons to admit such a foreign national; or where the national seeking entry is classified as a prohibited immigrant. Entry can also be validly denied to those considered a risk to public health, public interest or national security and those who should not be admitted into Nigeria on any other grounds as may be prescribed from time to time by the Minister or the CGI.
Regulatory Bodies in Charge of Immigration in Nigeria and their Functions:
The Nigerian Immigration Service
This body is designated under the 2015 Act as the principal body charged with responsibility for administering the Act, with the power to both sue and be sued. The responsibilities of the NIS are clearly stipulated under Section 2 of the 2015 Act and encompass the following:
- control of persons entering or leaving Nigeria;
- issuance of travel documents, including Nigerian passports, to bona fide Nigerians within and outside Nigeria;
- issuance of residence permits to foreigners in Nigeria;
- border surveillance and patrol;
- enforcement of laws and regulations with which it is directly charged; and
- performance of such paramilitary duties within or outside Nigeria as may be required of it under the authority of the 2015 Act or any other enactment.
The provisions of both the 2015 Act and the Immigration Regulations also provide clarity regarding the structure and composition of the NIS, with the head of the NIS designated as the CGI; the duties of officers in the NIS and the procedure for the appointment of immigration officers are also clearly defined, whereby the CGI and the Deputy Comptrollers General are to be appointed by the President from among serving officers in the NIS, on the recommendation of the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board, with the Board responsible for the appointment of assistant comptrollers general and comptrollers of immigration to assist the CGI.
The Federal Ministry of Interior
The Ministry of Interior (the Ministry) formulates and implements policies related to border management and supervises the NIS. Its mandate is to foster and maintain internal security and citizenship integrity for the promotion of good governance. The Ministry is also responsible for matters related to the granting of Nigerian citizenship and the granting of expatriate quotas, among other functions.
There are also other relevant authorities that are indirectly involved in immigration matter. They are:
- The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)- the NIPC was established in 1995 as a federal government agency created to promote, coordinate and monitor all investments in Nigeria, as well as to maintain liaison between investors and ministries, government departments and agencies, institutional investors and other authorities concerned with investment;
- The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) - which administers the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) - the principal legislation that governs the incorporation and regulation of the companies in Nigeria. By virtue of the provisions of the CAMA and their applicability on matters relating to foreign participation in enterprises in Nigeria, the CAC, by default, has an impact on the administration of the 2015 Act and some of the provisions therein.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) - SEC administers the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act 2007 and issues guidelines on the regulation of foreign investment in the Nigerian capital market. All foreign investors investing in securities of Nigerian companies - except those of private companies - are expected to register with SEC;
- The Federal Inland Revenue Service- The FIRS is responsible for the collection of relevant corporate taxes as well as the individual state internal revenue services, which are responsible for the collection of personal income taxes of foreign employees working in Nigeria.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
How Aircraft Underutlisation Affects Airlines’ Profitability - THISDAY
Chinedu Eze writes that due to infrastructural, environmental and managerial factors, Nigerian airlines underutilise their aircraft, which has negative impact on their profitability.
Pilots and engineers agree that a Boeing B737 can be operated about 16 hours a day. In Nigeria, most aircraft on scheduled commercial service barely operate for 11 hours when ground turn around is considered. This is because most airports are daylight airports so airlines cannot operate to those airports after 6:30 pm.
There could be infrastructural hiccups at airports, which cause delays, especially on busy airports such as Lagos and Abuja airports. Other factors could include delays in the supply of aviation fuel and also bad scheduling by airlines.
Industry expert and data analyst who is also flight dispatcher, Shadrach-Swante Kambai, explained recently in an article that there is generally gross underutilisation of aircraft capacity, which has great negative implication on the profitability of airlines in Nigeria. He stated that the number of seats occupied in a commercial flight is directly related to the profitability of that flight.
“With the addition of four new airlines, competition for passengers is inevitable therefore the need for airlines to ensure effective utilisation of their capacity cannot be over emphasis because the unusual increase in demand for seats in December will meet adequate supply but what will now happen in January when demand will drop sharply while operating cost remain the same?” he asked.
Movement and Passenger’s Volume Kambai observed that Nigerian airlines record more aircraft movement in January but with less volume of passengers. He explained, “For the purpose of this article I am making the following assumptions. Average operating cost of $5352 per block hour (Source: 2018 Form 41, Schedules P-5.1, P-5.2 and T-100). Every flight is equal to 1 block hour. Every flight has 100 seating capacity 20 per cent of total flights are private executive jets. Now in December 16,448 flights moved 988,619 passengers while in January 18,787 flights moved 852,444 volume of passengers, this means there was excess 2339 flights which is equal to 15 per cent increase of aircraft movements in January but with 136175 less passengers than December.
“In view of the above assumptions, we will have 1872 excess domestic flights in January at a total value of (1872 * $5352 = $10,018,944 USD) operating cost, and this implies $10,018,944 USD of gains made in December was lost in January operating 1872 flights that added no profit to the airlines.
“Also looking at the average seat occupied per aircraft based on the above figures, there is an average of 60 passengers per flight in December and 45 passengers per flight in January, this reveal that there is about 40 per cent underutilisation of aircraft capacity in December and 55 per cent in January which means the aviation industry lost 15 per cent seating capacity in January but operated 2339 more flights than in December,” he said.
Proactive Measures Kambai therefore recommended proactive operational intelligence measures by airlines such as increasing their number of flights by 15 per cent in December to take advantage of the unutilisedseat capacity while maintaining average price of tickets and reducing their number of flights by 15 per cent in January to avoid incurring losses due operating cost without reciprocal increase in passengers; instead of crashing down ticket price to a ridiculous amount.
He also recommended effective collaboration and interlining by airlines, noting that to sells services to customers that are provided by another airline would help airlines reduce cost by merging passengers in one flight instead operating two flights with 45 seats occupied each. He said one flight could accommodate 90 passengers at once like the partnership signed recently between Dana Airlines Limited and Ibomair. Kambai recommended aircraft type’s variation and leasing, remarking that these would help significantly, explaining that an airline operating smaller planes could lease bigger planes to use only in the peak period like in this case from late November to December.
“Now as an Aviation Business Developer, I will advise Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) of airlines in Nigeria that instead of crashing the price of tickets in January, I will rather increase my frequency by 15 per cent in December at an average market price because I will reduce operational cost in January by reducing frequency seeing that increasing flights in January does not translate to increase in profit. Even though this data is for 2015 alone, the pattern will still remain the same or even get worse with the coming of four additional airlines in the industry,” he stated.
Operational Time The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Captain FolaAkinkuotu, told THISDAY in a telephone interview that there is limited operational time in Nigeria compared to other parts of the world where aircraft could be utilized for a longer period of time. He said that security and societal values play roles in why flights do not operate late in the night in Nigeria, noting that it would be difficult in cities like Abuja and Lagos where there is relative security for travellers to go to the airport by mid night and travel to another destination by 2:00 am. This could be done in other countries but it would be difficult to do so in Nigeria.
He noted that it is true that lack of airfield lighting in some airports could be a limiting factor but stressed that it is the people’s disposition not to travel late in the night that is why most domestic flights end in the early hours of the night. “The major challenge is not airfield lighting. Many people don’t want to travel late. I agree that Nigerian airlines do not fully utilise their aircraft, but operational hours is dictated more by the situation of the society. Aircraft should fly for longer hours because they make money when they fly.
“I agree that Abuja and Lagos are relatively safe, but many people will not leave their house by 2:00 am. Another factor you have to take cognizance of is that many people who are coming to Abuja are coming to do business. If they arrive that early, where will they stay until the offices where they want to go are opened?” Akinkuotu asked. He recalled that in the past in order to fully utilisethe aircraft, Nigerian airlines operate to destinations in the West Coast like Dakar, Senegal in the night after operating domestic routes during the day. “We used to go to operate to West Coast in the night. We fly to Dakar because the city was a cross over point to South Africa,” he said.
Night Flights THISDAY learnt that some of the airports that have airfield lighting like Enugu and Calabar do not operate into the night; except when requests are made by airlines and then they would have to pay some money so that the staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and that of NAMA would wait for the airline’s flight to land and take off.
Captain Akinkuotu explained that the major reasons are that many of the airports use generators as source of electricity and there is inadequate manpower. So it is due to the high cost of operating the airports that they close by 6:30 pm or thereabout, but Akinkuotu noted that if the airlines come together and decide that they would maintain traffic on those routes late in the night, it could be arranged and the airports would adjust their operating schedule.
“A lot of these airports are run by generators. It would be a huge loss of resources if you keep operating them when there is no traffic and airlines are not coming in. So we have power and manpower issues. But if there is justified demand adjustments can be made to accommodate that demand. The airline operators, NAMA and FAAN can meet and agree that flight time can be extended to the airports. This will have to involve all the airlines; not for one airline; so if there is a guarantee for traffic in those late hours for the airlines, the agencies can bring in the needed manpower,” he said.
Loss of Profit The Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air, Obi Mbanuzuo, told THISDAY that the major factor that leads to the underutilisation of aircraft is environmental. He noted that there are airports that have airfield lighting but airlines cannot fly late in the night. He remarked that it might not be safe to fly to Port Harcourt by 11 pm in the night because it might not be safe for the passengers.
But he also observed that many of the airports do not have airfield lighting. For example, flights can land late in the night in Owerri but the airport does not have airfield lighting. Enugu has airfield lighting but the airport is shut by 6:30 pm because of paucity of manpower and the fact the airport largely runs on generator.
“We require airfield lighting in almost all the airports. In some of the airports if we have good weather and Visual Flight Rule (VFR), we can land by 10:00 pm. But the question that comes is, if there is slightly bad weather, do we have the landing aid? It is worthy to note that by 6:30 pmour aircraft have started returning to park. The one from Enugu returns by about that time. It is only Abuja you can deploy aircraft that late. We cannot operate to Port Harcourt after 7:00 pm due to security concerns,” he said.
Mbanuzuo also agreed with the NAMA Managing Director that airport cannot be kept open, wasting fuel on electricity generator when there is no traffic and suggested that airports and airlines should meet and agree on how to maximise operational time. He said that airlines have to request for time extension to many airports in the country before they are open for landing, noting that the airports in Asaba and Uyo, which are owned and operated by Delta and Akwa Ibom state governments respectively have airfield lighting.
“I agree with Captain Akinkuotu about manpower issues and the fact that some of these airports are powered by generators. But the management of the airports and airlines can meet. Airports meet airlines to canvass for business. Whenever we want to fly later than 6:30 pm to some of these airports we seek approval and pay about N150, 000 to N200, 000 to FAAN,” Mbanuzuo added.
THISDAY also learnt that obsolete infrastructure also add to the underutilization of aircraft because of the delays caused by passenger processing, as the airports, especially the busy ones in Lagos and Abuja have limited scanning machines and spends average of three minutes to process each passenger. Also the boarding gate at the General Aviation Terminal and that of Abuja domestic wing cannot enable the boarding of many flights at the same time; otherwise it would become crowded.
Mainland China Passengers to Be Segregated at Hong Kong Airport - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Passengers traveling from mainland China will be segregated at Hong Kong’s airport, in a move aimed at convincing the Chinese government to reopen the border with the city.
The airport will be split into different zones to avoid cross-infection among inbound passengers. The proposal was initially reported in the South China Morning Post and confirmed by Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan on Thursday.
“The airport is a high-risk place as there are so many cases around the world and nearly half of those imported are detected there,” Chan said in an interview with Radio Television Hong Kong. “We are considering segregating tourists from the mainland and other places to different zones or more at the airport.”
Details are still being worked out before the plan is confirmed on Nov. 10 and implemented soon after, according to the SCMP, which cited unidentified people briefed on the proposal last week.
“The segregation and infection-containment effort at the airport have to be precise,” Chan said, adding that some divisions are already in place. “We are now studying further segregation, like testing different visitors at different areas in the airport.”
Hong Kong and mainland China are the last bastions of Covid Zero, a policy abandoned by most other places as they open up and allow freer travel. The city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said restarting two-way travel with China comes above everywhere else, frustrating the business community and many residents unable to leave without the burden of weeks in quarantine upon return. As long as China persists with Covid Zero, Hong Kong is likely to follow.
In a separate report Thursday, the SCMP said Hong Kong travelers could be allowed to visit the neighboring mainland province of Guangdong, potentially from in mid-December.
With its strict border controls, Hong Kong has only had 12,352 confirmed Covid-19 cases in total, a figure topped on a daily basis by many countries. The death toll stands at 213. But the lack of urgency has helped fuel a lag in the vaccination rate, with only about 59% of the population fully inoculated.
Over the border, China is battling its most widespread outbreak of the delta variant, which has come despite the government’s aggressive containment efforts. On Sunday, nearly 34,000 people at Shanghai Disneyland underwent testing after one visitor tested positive for the virus.
According to its latest figures, Hong Kong airport handled 227,000 passengers in September compared with 4.9 million in the same month in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is operating at only about 13% of its pre-Covid capacity.
Foreign airlines threaten withdrawal as stuck funds hit N328 billion - THE GUARDIAN
•Adjust Rate of Exchange from N411 to N450/$
Foreign airlines operating in and out of Nigeria have taken their protest to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over difficulties in repatriating accumulated funds, now in excess of $800 million (N328.8 billion).
The airlines, about 30 in number, expressed displeasure over rising difficulties in repatriating earned revenue through an official window approved by the government.
Meanwhile, the fallout of the development is already affecting consumers as foreign airlines have adjusted the Rate of Exchange (RoE) from N411to N450, raising airfares some notches.
Though the repatriation is not peculiar to Nigeria, operating airlines have lately been having difficulties getting the dollar equivalent of tickets sold in Naira, for remittance to their home countries.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had in August, said approximately $963 million in airline funds are being blocked from repatriation in nearly 20 countries, including Nigeria that then owed $143.8 million.
An official of one of the airlines told The Guardian that the operators were compelled to meet with the CBN on Monday, to lodge formal complaints on the forex liquidity problem.
He hinted that operators’ threats of temporary withdrawal from Nigeria were able to elicit commitment of the apex bank to make dollars available for repatriation.
“We left the meeting with an assurance that the situation will improve and some of our members have also pledged to keep selling tickets to Nigerian customers. It is such a commitment that we want to see as business concerns, to give us confidence that our businesses are safe,” the official said.
As at August, four countries: Bangladesh ($146.1 million), Lebanon ($175.5 million), Nigeria ($143.8 million) and Zimbabwe ($142.7 million), account for over 60 per cent of the stuck fund.
Travel expert and Chairman of Airline Passenger Joint Committee of IATA, Bankole Bernard, confirmed that the stuck fund was already in excess of $800 million, with dire implications for Nigerian travellers.
Bernard said that airlines have already increased the RoE on the GDS to N450/$ to bridge the gap created by the blockage.
“Unfortunately, it is the Nigerian public that will bear the brunt of it. They have no one to protect them. We have the laws but there is no one to protect anybody. It is sad,” Bernard said.
He noted that the stuck fund, like everything else in aviation, including aircraft, spare parts, crew training and fares, are quoted in dollars and a function of forex availability.
“As at 2019, the dollar rate was N360. Today, it is now over N500 (in the open market). You can forget the CBN’s exchange rate of N411/$1 because you can never get it. So, airlines are not selling at that rate because they are not buying at the official rate. So, airlines will increase the fares a little to be able to accommodate the RoE. Yet, forex is not available for the airlines to repatriate.”
He added that it was unfortunate that the government was yet to understand how the downstream sector of aviation works, to warrant the right intervention and priority of air travel as one of the mainstays of the economy.
Similar situation in 2016 had over $600 million (N120 billion) stuck in Nigeria, forcing some airlines like United Airlines to quit operations.
IATA, the global clearing house for 290 international airlines, had urged Nigeria and other governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate close to nearly $1 billion in blocked funds from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.
IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said governments were preventing nearly $1 billion of airline revenues from being repatriated. “This contravenes international conventions and could slow the recovery of travel and tourism in affected markets as the airline industry struggles to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
“Airlines will not be able to provide reliable connectivity, if they cannot rely on local revenues to support operations. That is why it is critical for all governments to prioritise ensuring that funds can be repatriated efficiently. Now is not the time to score an ‘own goal’ by putting vital air connectivity at risk,” Walsh said.
IATA encouraged governments to work with industry to resolve the issues that are preventing airlines from repatriating funds. This will enable aviation to provide the connectivity needed to sustain jobs and energise economies as they recover from COVID-19.
‘Nigeria-Emirates row stalls Kano Int’l Airport’s transformation’ - THE GUARDIAN
By Wole Oyebade
*NANTA honours Ganduje for travel, tourism devt
About nine months after Emirates Airline withdrew services from Nigeria, the lingering row has continued to hurt both Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
While the UAE has lost patronage and revenue from one of its global busiest routes in Lagos, Nigerians too are missing their easiest transit corridor in Dubai Airport, coupled with Emirates’ footprints in local partnerships.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, yesterday, lamented that since Emirates withdrew services over the COVID-19 test row, the partnership to transform the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, has been stalled.
Ganduje, at his unveiling as the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies’ (NANTA) Governor of the Year, said the state should have been better off with daily Emirates’ flights from Kano, but for the hiatus.
Emirates left Nigeria in March over diplomatic spat on account of additional rapid antigen tests imposed on Nigerian travellers as part of measures to check fake COVID-19 test results used in accessing Dubai from Lagos and Abuja.
Emirates, in July, hinted on the plan to resume Nigerian operation for summer travels. The decision was rescinded about 48 hours later. The UAE government has lately restored its open-door policy to Nigerian travellers, but the conflict of interest between the national carrier and Nigerian authorities remains unresolved.
Receiving the NANTA delegation in Kano, Ganduje informed that he had turned around facilities at Kano International Airport, with the desire to provide the best air transport services that would make MAKIA attractive to international carriers and further boost trade and tourism services in the ancient city.
“We consulted Emirate airlines and they worked with us to upgrade the Kano airport but for COVID-19 and the ongoing diplomatic efforts to resolve Emirates airline’s flight issues with Nigeria. The airline would have been operating out of Kano by now. That is how serious we are about making Kano a competitive destination,” Ganduje said.
On infrastructure that aids tourism, the governor reiterated that roads are critical to the movement of goods and persons. Hence, the commitment to eliminating road bottlenecks in the city via construction of flyover bridges and bypasses that brought relief to road users and made a tour of the city very attractive to the growth of cultural tourism in the state.
“This award of excellence from NANTA is most welcome and evidence of the true benefits of what we have done here. We must thank NANTA and assure you of our presence to receive the NANTA Eminent Persons Award in Abuja next week.
“We must add that security is the key to life and we invested heavily in community policing and no doubt, Kano is safe and home to all in Nigeria,” he said.
Ganduje, the first recipient of the NANTA Governor of the Year award, is recognised for creating an enabling environment for the growth of the cultural tourism economy in Kano through the provision of infrastructure and security.
President of NANTA, who was represented by her deputy, Yinka Folami, noted that tourism infrastructural development in Kano could not be overemphasised.
Folami said Kano has been able to encourage the business of travel and tourism trade, which impacted positively on the livelihood of the majority of NANTA members and Nigerians too.
“Your Excellency, your achievements resonate with us as an association, and we felt you deserve our encouragement and support by the way of this award of excellence. This is not driven by any pecuniary interest but out of strong resolve to discover and recognise leaders at the behest of building a new tourism industry in Nigeria.
“We are not living in denial of our security challenges but we doff our hat to a governor, who has beyond measure, proven that in Nigeria, a cosmopolitan state such as Kano can really lead in performance and verifiable developmental milestones, and that peace can be sustained and is possible, with cultural tourism a focal economic reality”, he added.
British Airways Owner Expects Turnaround With U.S. Opening Up - BLOOMBERG
BY Bloomberg New,
British Airways parent IAG SA said cash flows turned positive in third quarter and that North Atlantic bookings have begun to surge as the U.S. prepares to reopen its border to vaccinated Europeans next week.
Long-haul bookings are now recovering faster than short-haul sales, with the premium leisure segment performing particularly strongly at BA and Spanish arm Iberia, IAG said in a statement Friday. There are some early signs of a recovery in business travel.
IAG is more reliant on usually lucrative North America flights than most European carriers, and the company said it expects to post a 3 billion-euro ($3.5 billion) loss for the full year. Capacity should recover to around three-fifths of the pre-coronavirus level during the current three months.
“In the short term, we are focused on getting ready to operate as much capacity as we can and ensuring IAG is set up to return to profitability in 2022,” Chief Executive Officer Luis Gallego said in the release.
IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus of Ireland and discounter Vueling, reported a third-quarter operating loss of 452 million euros, after analysts had predicted a 567 million-euro shortfall.
European peers Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France-KLM both reported surprise profits in the quarter after they were able to open faster as the European Union eased Covid restrictions even as the U.K. retained rigid curbs.
Lagos Airport extremely corrupt – American vlogger, Sabbatical - DAILY POST
An American vlogger, Sabbatical has described the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos as “extremely corruption.”
Real name Tommy El Forastero, he said the facility and the activities going on perfectly detail corruption.
Sabbatical tours the world and shares experience with followers. He lamented how airport staff requested money at different points.
Forastero posted the video he made within the airport on his YouTube page.
“I have been around the world and I have never seen anything like this. I mean, it’s extremely corrupt. Picture corruption.
“The Nigerian airport, the Lagos airport is that very definition of corruption that would pop up in a dictionary. Literally everywhere”, he said.
Sabbatical looked worn out and was sweating which again confirms the minimal cooling system at the airport.
Nigerians and foreigners repeatedly complain they get hot, while having to endure workers that beg for money using delay tactics.
The criticism by Sabbatical came weeks after another American, Alina Oliver accused the workers of graft.