Boeing Signals Optimism on Resolving Dreamliner, Max Issues - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co. is on the verge of surmounting issues that have held back deliveries of its two most important aircraft, the 787 and the 737 Max, an executive said on Saturday.
The planemaker is “getting close” to restarting deliveries of the 787, Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing, said in Dubai ahead of an air show that starts in the city on Sunday. The 787, known as the Dreamliner, is Boeing’s most advanced wide-body built with composite materials.
Restarting Dreamliner deliveries, which have been halted for most of this year, is key to a financial turnaround at Boeing, but the planemaker must first address quality defects and win approval from regulators.
“We continue doing meticulous work every step of the way,” Mounir said. “This is a case of Boeing being tough on Boeing. This is a case of us looking at every single aspect of the design and manufacture of the airplane making sure we’re complying.”
Boeing is also in discussions with Chinese regulators on re-certifying the single-aisle 737 Max workhorse, Mounir said. Following a successful test flight in August, the planemaker expects to restart Max handovers during the first quarter, Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun said last month.
China is the biggest country that is still grounding Boeing’s cash cow, about a year after U.S. regulators approved flight-computer fixes following two fatal crashes. The narrow-body plane, a critical U.S. export, is also caught in a greater tug-of-war over trade between Beijing and Washington.
Boeing is in advanced discussions on building an air-freight version of its 777X jetliner with a number of customers, Mounir said, but it’s not yet ready to announce the launch of the freighter.
Nigeria’s Ibom Air nears order for at least 10 Airbus A220 jets - sources - REUTERS
DUBAI, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Nigerian regional airline Ibom Air is close to a deal to buy at least 10 A220 jets from European planemaker Airbus, delegates at the Dubai Airshow said on Sunday.
One industry source said the deal could extend up to 20 aircraft. Airbus declined comment. The airline could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Edmund Klamann
FAAN’s Quest for Corruption Free Airports - THISDAY
BY Chinedu Eze
After series of criticisms and exposure on video, the nefarious activities of many officials who work at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and extort money from passengers, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) decided to end the unscrupulous practice, which has damaged its image globally.
The agency recently announced measures and regulations geared towards reducing extortion of travellers by officials at the airports to its ‘barest minimum’.
FAAN Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, while making the announcement recently in Abuja, said the new effort would go a long way in improving security and integrity at the country’s airports.
To show its seriousness this time, FAAN on Tuesday announced the apprehension of a staff of Nigerian carrier, Arik Air, for soliciting and collecting bribe from a passenger.
FAAN said, “Following an emergency FAAN management meeting on the incessant extortion of passengers by airport officials at the nation’s airports and steps being taken to address the situation, a staff of Arikairline had been apprehended while soliciting bribe from a travelling passenger at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), Lagos.” The agency immediately withdrew the On- Duty Card of the erring staff and handed her over to the relevant security agency for appropriate action in order to serve as deterrent to other bad eggs in the airport.
In reaction, Arik Air management announced the suspension of the staff in a statement, signed by the airline’s spokesman Adebanji Ola, it stated: “The management of Arik Air (in Receivership) has suspended with immediate effect one of its staff caught by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria for soliciting bribe at the domestic wing of the MurtalaMohammed International, Ikeja, Lagos, pending further investigations.
“While the management conducts its own internal investigation, we wish to reassure FAAN of our cooperation on this matter if further investigation is required. We fully support what FAAN is doing to rid our airports of this menace of corruption.” FAAN also noted, “Recent embarrassing online videos where passengers complained of acts of extortion at the nation’s airport had necessitated the need to devise multi level strategies to curb the menace.”
But THISDAY findings indicate that this new determination by FAAN to eliminate corruption at the airports, especially the nation’s gateway, MMIA is not going to be easy. Investigations carried out by THISDAY confirm that the major officials who carry out extortion and solicit for bribery from passengers operate in semi-autonomous manner, so are not directly answerable to FAAN management.
These include officials of Nigerian Customs Service, Quarantine, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) even security operatives attached to FAAN Aviation Security (AVSEC). These officials always claim that they get directives from their head offices and therefore are not obligated to abide by the rule of engagement directed by FAAN management.
On September 26, 2021, THISDAY carried out survey of activities at the departure of the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and found out those NDLEA officials, Immigration and Quarantine carved out spaces where they order passengers to come for the search of their luggage.
The investigation revealed that beside the x-ray machine which screens all passengers luggage at the entrance of the terminal, officials of the NDLEA, the Department of State Service (DSS), Quarantine and AVSEC located themselves in a booth where they direct every passenger to bring his luggage for physical search immediately it comes out of the x-ray machine. This forces the passengers to queue in disorderly manner and form a crowd at the entrance of the terminal and the security operatives take time to search every bag.
THISDAY gathered that the same old routine of forcing some passengers to pay money or some of the things in their luggage would be seized, was being carried out by the security operatives and the passengers who were obviously in a hurry were paying so that they would be allowed to go to the airlines processing counter to check in.
But the General Manager, Public Affairs of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, told THISDAY that adequate measures have been put in control to check the excesses of the security operatives who are not directly answerable to FAAN. She said that if there was any infraction, FAAN would withdraw ON-Duty card from the official and then he would have to go and explain to his office why the card was withdrawn.
She also said that there is new directive that every official must wear his name tag clearly on his chest so that passengers would see it and passengers have also been given numbers to call or send messages towhen there is unfavourable interface. In addition, cameras exposing areas of activities have been activated along with signage, which warn officials that cameras are zeroed on them.
Reacting to the new development, aviation security expert, the CEO of Centurion Securities and former Commandant of MMIA, Group Captain John Ojikutu (retd) warned, “Without involving the Airport Security Committee, FAAN may bring conflicts within the multilateral government security agencies in the airports. National Civil Aviation Security Committee and the Airport Security Committee should see into the issue of extortion in the airports, which cuts across all the government agencies in the airports. With the level of homegrown terrorism, poverty, poor salaries or remuneration of staff in the country, we should begin to have the fears of insider threats.
“The Airport Security Committee consists of: FAAN, Customs, Immigration, police, DSS, military airport Commandant, AON, Foreign Airlines Representative. Although the Nig CARs Part 17 (Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulation, 2006, as amended) designates FAAN to coordinate the government security agencies in the airport security programme, but that has been a Herculean task for an agency established more for airports development and management than security.” He added that all the government security agencies in the airport are together more than four times the strength of FAAN security personnel
ALLEN ONYEMA: Multiple Agencies at the Airport are Killing Businesses - THISDAY
THE EXECUTIVE Interview
The aviation industry is no doubt bedeviled with challenges, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, which recently put airlines at their lowest. As it stands, these are not the best of times for operators in the sector. Nevertheless, amidst the inclement operating environment, some airlines are weathering the storm, scaling up in profile. One that readily comes to mind is Air Peace, which is arguably the biggest private commercial airline, not only in Nigeria but Africa. As the yuletide, the busiest season of the year, approaches and flyers make travel demands, the CEO, Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, speaks with THISDAY on how the airline is surmounting hurdles and preparing to give passengers the best flying experience ever
Now we are approaching the Yuletide season, which is the peak period in air travel, there are fears that there may not be enough aircraft seats to meet passengers’ demand. How is Air Peace being the biggest carrier in the industry preparing to airlift travelers this Christmas?
A lot of people are scared that there are wouldn’t be enough flights. No, will be flights. We are yet to bring out our Christmas schedule, so people should not panic about flights.
On the 20th of this month, we are receiving two more planes. Before the end of the month, we will have another plane. We are receiving two Airbus A320s on the 20th. Airbus A320 carries about 160 passengers. Two will arrive on the 20th November; then before the end of the month another brand new Embraer E195-E2 will arrive and two of our Boeing B737s will come. So, some of the planes that have gone for C-check will start coming in, so we are yet to roll out our Christmas packages. People should not rush and be in a panic, there are enough flights.
Air Peace has enough flights to go around for the Christmas, December schedules and we are yet to roll them out. And we are going to roll out the Christmas schedule soon. People will get flights so they should not panic.
You said you are expecting some aircraft. I have been a victim of Air Peace flight cancellations or delays and people complain about flight cancellation, given what you have said, the season is coming, what do we expect?
Flight cancellations or delays happen for several reasons. I don’t think any airline will cancel flights for the sake of canceling flights. And for Air Peace, other airlines may be doing about 20 flights or 25 flights in a day and if they cancel three flights or two flights, nobody will know about it. In Air Peace, we are almost doing 100 flights a day. So, if you cancel four, it will be all over the place. But the thing is that we fly more than any other person. And if we start flying at full capacity, we will be flying over 130 flights daily. So, there are so many reasons for cancellation, like yesterday (Monday, November 8, 2021) on the brand new plane, Embraer E195-E2, we had a bird strike and this is the second time we are having a bird strike on the brand new plane and that grounded the aircraft. Now, one of them is grounded, we have called on the manufacturers and they are sorting it out. Now, waking up during operations and a bird struck and flew into your engine, you can’t recover from it. You must have disruptions; some of the disruptions might go into cancellations, not only delays. When it happened yesterday, already people have bought into today’s schedule, what are we going to do? We now decided to bring out our Boeing B777 to mop up everywhere in order not to get people stranded. So, the good thing about Air Peace is that we can play with aircraft. If anything goes wrong, we bring in another one.
So what we did today was to roll out our B777 to take over some flight destinations because the other one had a bird strike. But it comes with some changes. So, these are some of the reasons why you have delays or cancellations. Nobody will cancel a flight for the fun of it.
And one thing in Air Peace is that we don’t joke with safety. If we notice any problem, we ground that plane. Maybe it is something that could be managed elsewhere, but we ground our plane if there is any reason to do so. It is not as if the tech might be so serious, but you don’t know when it becomes more serious. We don’t joke with such. One thing you can be sure of with us is that when you go with us, you come back with us. Again, you talked about weather, rains, and thunderstorms. If you wake up in the morning and you want to go to Abuja by 6:30 am and the meteorologists now report thunderstorms en-route and thunderstorms on the destination, you have to wait. So, if you waste two hours or so, the whole day must be affected and every other place that the aircraft is programmed to operate to will be affected. But one thing I discovered is that Nigerians are highly critical of their airlines, especially Air Peace. Maybe it is because it is growing into a big airline, but I am aware that the way Nigerians attack their airline and say bitter things about them is not the way they complain about foreign carriers that come into this country. When they are flying with international airlines and you ask them to wait for five hours, they will wait without complaint. But two hours wait with Nigerian airline; they will start fighting the airline staff. Why is it so? There seems to be so much bitterness and antagonism against Air Peace, which is very disturbing and very worrisome.
Recently I saw an airline, a foreign airline skid off the runway, some five months ago, here in Lagos, nobody published it. And I was happy that nobody published it because writing about it would overheat our system. The aircraft ran into the grass, no publication on it. Nobody saw it on social media. But if Air Peace is moving and a nail enters the tyre, they will use the word crash. In everything about Air Peace, there is sustained negative publicity against the airline.
In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, you are also known as a philanthropist who has intervened in critical periods of our national life, like the South African evacuation of Nigerians and the Covid-19 evacuations. What informed your interventionist approach?
I have always been a man with no inhibitions right from birth. All these things I am doing, I started doing them right from age nine and that is the truth. I am not doing these things for any considerations at all; it is just my nature. That is what makes me happy. When I was in secondary school, I was sharing my little provisions with others that were less privileged. If I noticed that I have and you don’t have, I will give you my own or we share. Fellow students attested to that. I started this right from childhood. When it comes to interventions and making peace, I have been doing that, even between my father and his immediate elder brother. They were feuding for over two years. It took me to stop them at the age of nine. I ran after my uncle. I ran away to his place. My people went to the motor park and said I was missing. My uncle was headmaster of one primary school in Amanike in Anambra State then. I left Onitsha, a city to go to a village and they were looking for me, the police and everybody and they were announced on the radio; I am the only son of my father.
When I got to Amanike my uncle asked me, “Who brought you here?’ I said nobody, I just want to live with you. He now sent a message to my father that your son is here with me. My father left me with him. My father did not even say this man was my enemy and he might kill my son. That was what brought the family together. So, I have been doing this act of seeking peace at all times right from childbirth. So now, God has blessed me, I use what God blessed me with to seek peace in my nation because I believe in peace. So, I use that part of my nature to do what I am doing, intervention in any way possible for others to promote peace and development. Because I believe that if there is peace there will be development and the country will be better for it.
Do you think Nigerian airlines or the industry need tax incentives?
Of course, the airlines are suffering in Nigeria. The ease of doing business here is almost zero. The federal government has been fighting tooth and nail and trying to engender this ease of doing the business programme, but some of the actors are not helpful. Some of the government agencies are not being helpful at all. For example, to clear your goods in Nigeria at the seaports might take you three weeks. In the Republic of Benin, it is within 48 hours and you can plan with that. It is known that when you have anything there within 48 hours it is cleared. In Nigeria, at the seaports, you have Customs, you have police, you have the Navy, Quarantine, Immigration, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Drug Enforcement Agency, and others. I am sure there are Boys Brigade and Boys Scouts. No country will survive like that, and none of them want to move or allow things to move. You bring in something; it will be there for weeks or months. So, you have all manner of agencies there. People celebrate being posted to the port, it should not be so. It is killing business. Investors are going to other places to invest, creating wealth and jobs for other countries.
We should think of job creation here. That is the only way the private sector must be encouraged. Like in aviation, the federal government listened to us. Immediately we got the National Assembly to pass all those zero VAT, zero custom duties for the acquisition of commercial aircraft and aircraft spares, Mr. President did not wait 24 hours before signing it into law. So, the government was ready to help aviation, but the implementation is now where certain agencies did not follow through. However, the Customs are beginning to understand that aviation is a catalyst for growth. They are cooperating with us, but there is also room for improvement. They even allow us to take our aircraft until we sort out a particular problem of this 7.5% charge on it. That is noble. I applaud the Customs for doing that. That is how it is supposed to be.
We noticed that in your operations, to cut off these flight delays, you have introduced a stricter boarding protocol in the mornings, which is when delays begin to build up, as many passengers turn late to the airports…
Yes, you see, sometimes we live in this part of the world and sometimes your environment determines the kind of approach you apply to certain issues. The rule all over the world is that passengers should be at the airport one and half hours before their flight time. That is in domestic operations. Somebody may have left his home at 4:30 or 5:00 for a 7:00 am flight, depending on where the person is living. And you run into this early morning traffic, you will come to the airport sweating.
You see some people at times going to board Okada with their luggage just to catch the flight. You see that even at your counter closing time, you notice that at the back end, this aircraft is full, but the people that have checked in are not up to 60 per cent of the expected passengers that booked the flight. Others will be on their way. When they get to the airport, they will want to let you know that you should have known that there was traffic and they will start making trouble. So sometimes you wait for them to your detriment. And the same passengers, when he is not late, he would not know that it is his type that caused the lateness. So we now decided that enough is enough. It is giving us a bad name. We must close our gate.
Some people, for a flight of 7 a.m. they all come by 6:50 a.m. and will still say it is still 10 minutes to the time. So, they don’t know that as at that time, no counter will be opened. So, what we need is education for the traveling public in Nigeria.
When there is such delay occasioned by weather or other factors, some people will come and start destroying our systems, our computer systems. Why? Recently one said the flight was not announced because the flight had left him.
He checked in and had a boarding pass. Maybe these days, people get absorbed in social media and he will be there, an announcement will be made, he won’t know. He will be absorbed in his phone, calling on people and watching events, when he must have finished, he will now realise that he is travelling. And they will go to the boarding gate and be complaining and threatening our staff and start destroying things that we did not make an announcement. If we did not make an announcement how come people have boarded the flight? Maybe it was a full aircraft. How did the other people travel?
So, when they destroy your things before you get another set of things to do the job, the next day will be delayed.
Some passengers come to the airport with luggage of about 70 kg when they know that the luggage allowance is 20kg. Although they know that one needs to pay for excess luggage, yet they will come and say be pleading. They will be there and people will be queuing up. And when you want to ask them to move aside, they will start fighting. These things delay flights too. Somebody will get to the foot of the aircraft carrying 20 kg of luggage that was supposed to be checked in. When you tell him to check it in, he will say this bag is expensive; it should not be checked in, why must I check it in? Things Nigerians will not do at any airports aboard, they want to do it here. At any airport abroad, if you shout, they will arrest you, but here the in-thing is to be shouting at people, beating other people’s children, husbands, and wives because you paid money to fly.
The other day in one of the airports in this country, one of the ground handling companies, rammed their staircase onto our plane. The plane just landed when the ground handling company, not Air Peace, drove their truck into the aircraft and tore a part of the aircraft. Passengers were told to come down that this plane would not fly anymore. They started beating my staff. You want to fly a plane that is damaged. Do they want to die? Now, that plane was going to Abuja. It was initially programmed that it would go to Abuja and from Abuja to another destination before coming to Lagos. When in Abuja, my people announced some three hours delay, because we now wanted to route another aircraft to go and do all those things. After explaining what happened, passengers started to beat the duty manager to the extent that he almost lost his life. So, things like this should be discouraged. Nigerian passengers should also know that airline workers have lives and families too. You will see somebody trying to force very big luggage like a woman going to the husband’s house for the first time into the cabin.
When you talk to the person, he becomes angry. One story that trended some time ago was a similar thing that happened when security officials were invited to remove her. The woman delayed us for one and a half hours. She started using social media to be making noise, but we are not giving up. If they like they should keep blackmailing us.
In all of these challenges, and also the challenge of ease of doing business, what encourages you to continue to invest?
Like I said earlier, it all boils down to why did I establish the airline in the first place? It is just to create jobs and give back to society, that is all. My promise to God in the year 2000 is what I am trying to fulfil, that is the motivation. My motivation is seeing the over 4,000 faces of people working in Air Peace and knowing that they are feeding about over 20,000. So that is the motivation that makes me happy. In addition to that is the motivation of moving my country people from one place to another. The fact that I am helping with the development of the nation, trying to energise the economy, and energise the economies of some forgotten places through air connectivity helps. So, it helps in job creation not only Air Peace employing people but the multiplier effects of what we are doing are helping the country and that I know very well.
As another way of making money for the company, do you ever think of going into training, maintenance? And also local refining will soon be available in 2022, do you think that will help in the reduction of the cost of aviation fuel?
As long as the local refinery produces aviation fuel it will help a lot.
Nigeria’s Ibom Air nears order for at least 10 Airbus A220 jets – sources - REUTERS
DUBAI (Reuters) – Nigerian regional airline Ibom Air is close to a deal to buy at least 10 A220 jets from European planemaker Airbus, delegates at the Dubai Airshow said on Sunday.
One industry source said the deal could extend up to 20 aircraft. Airbus declined comment. The airline could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Edmund Klamann)
Porous borders escalating insecurity in Nigeria, Africa - NSA - THE NATION
By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) has blamed Nigeria’s security challenges, including organized crimes, illicit financial flows, money laundering and proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) on Africa’s porous borders.
The NSA who presented a paper titled ‘Combating Persistent and Emerging Threats to Regional Peace and Security in Africa: Pivotal Role of Nigeria,’ at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris, observed that these criminalities have continued to create security challenges in the region.
He maintained that, while illicit financial flow is a serious concern due to the linkage to terrorism and other transnational crimes; the proliferation of SALW has been a major challenge facilitated by porosity of borders.
According to him, “Africa’s porous borders remain a major source of concern as this has aided smuggling of prohibited items and irregular migration as well as other transnational organized crimes. Nigeria is bordered to the North by Niger, to the East by Chad and Cameroon, to the South by the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean, and to the West by Benin.
However, Nigeria’s extensive land and maritime borders are incredibly porous and poorly manned.
“This has placed added responsibility on the border security agencies. In this regard, the Nigeria Customs Service has developed the E- Customs strategy while the Nigeria Immigrations Service has equally put in place an Integrated Border Management System (IBMS).
Jordan, new tourism destination for Nigerians - THE NATION
• Offers unforgettable experience to Christian and Muslim pilgrims
By Gboyega Alaka
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is expanding its tourism offerings to Nigerian tourists to include leisure, education, wellness and other touristic activities. This is in addition to Christian and Islamic pilgrimage, for which the country has already started receiving pilgrims from Nigeria.
To achieve this, Jordan is holding a tri-state road-show to sensitise prospective Nigerian tourists on the tourism offerings in the country. The roadshow is being undertaken in partnership with one of Nigeria’s leading tour operator, Nigerians Travel Too (NTT) from 31st October to 8th November 2021 in Lagos, Kano and the Federal capital Territory (FCT).
A team of representatives of the Jordan Tourism Board, which include Dr. Justin Abu Anza, Medical and Wellness Tourism Unit head, Mr. Amer Essam Jmal Twal, Mass Tourism/Mixed Faith Specialist and Mr Ahmad Mohammad Al Khattab, Islamic faith consultant are in Nigerian for the roadshow.
According to Dr. Abdalrazzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, “Nigeria represents a new tourism target market for Jordan. The aim of our roadshow in Kano, Abuja, and Lagos is to increase awareness about Jordan as a tourism destination and highlight various tourism experiences such as Islamic and Christian faith, luxury/leisure, medical and educational tourism.”
Jordan is also home to one of the seven world wonders, Petra.
Ms. Elizabeth Agboola, CEO and Founder of Nigerians Travel Too, while expressing her delight in the new partnership, explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious effect on the global tourism and travel sector, and that with many popular destinations being closed to tourists or having limited scope for entry for nearly one year, tourism stakeholders are keen to explore opportunities to get more people to travel once again.
Agboola declared that, “We are excited to be working closely with the Jordan Tourism Board on this project and we have prepared a diverse and creative programme for the roadshow that will facilitate direct engagement between members of the Jordanian and Nigerian tourism fraternity at various levels”.
This has been echoed by Dr. Arabiyat who has expressed appreciation for the “efforts and support of NTT in providing us with the opportunity to explore the true potential of the Nigerian market to Jordan”.
Nigerian airports record 6.4m passengers from Jan – June - NAN
A total of 6,420,820 passengers travelled through domestic and international airports in Nigeria between January and June this year, representing 50.5 per cent increase over 4,267, 409 recorded same period in 2020.
Passengers Traffic Statistics Report made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) indicates that the figure comprised of 5,513,098 domestic passengers and 907,722 international travellers.
According to the report, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos processed the highest number of international travellers with 670,938 passengers, followed by Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja with 225,985 in the first half of 2021.
NAIA Abuja, however, topped the chart for domestic air travellers with 1,974,249 passengers, closely followed by Lagos airport with 1,786,236. Others are Port Harcourt 377,679 passengers; Enugu 231,669; Kano 225,870.
The report indicates that Lagos and Abuja airports alone accounted for 3,760,485 out of a total of 5,513,098 or 68.2 per cent of all domestic arrivals and departures, and 896,923 out of a total of 907,722 or 98.8 per cent of all international passengers.
Malam Aminu Kano International Airport came a distant third with only 10,119 international passengers in the first half of the year.
On cargo, the five major international airports in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja Kano and Port Harcourt handled a total of 126.4 million kilogrammes of cargo between January and June this year, about 106 per cent increase over the 61.2 million recorded same period in 2020.
Lagos alone accounted for the lion share of 113.9 million kilogrammes or over 90 per cent of the total cargo throughput of the five international airports.
Lagos also accounted for 18.8 million kilogrammes out of 18.9 million kilogrammes or 98.9 per cent of all mails handled at the five international airports.(NAN)
We’re concerned about a fourth wave of Covid from Europe, Emirates president says - CNBC
- Airlines have been hoping that the Dubai Air Show marks a turning point for the industry after a devastating period.
- “I see a fourth wave coming through and we have all sorts of concerns about what may happen,” Emirates President Tim Clark told CNBC.
- Earlier this month, the WHO warned that Europe was once again the epicenter of the Covid pandemic.
Emirates president says the airline is making a profit — despite 80 aircraft still on the ground
The president of Emirates has said he sees a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic coming from Europe which is concerning the airline.
Speaking to CNBC at the Dubai Air Show, Emirates President Tim Clark said: “I see a fourth wave coming through and we have all sorts of concerns about what may happen.”
“We’ve got to look at it very carefully, because if the European markets — which have already started to open in a big way — start to go the other way we’re going to have to deal with that. But we will deal with it … we’re very good at working around problems, and we’ll just do what we have to do,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.
Earlier this month, the WHO warned that Europe was once again the epicenter of the Covid pandemic. The region’s biggest economy, Germany, is currently reporting around 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day, and France has also reported a surge in cases. Austria, meanwhile, is expected to shortly impose lockdown restrictions on millions of unvaccinated people in an effort to contain rising infections.
Airlines have been hoping that the Dubai Air Show marks a turning point for the industry after a devastating period. It’s the first major aerospace exhibition to take place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic which saw travel restrictions across the world decimate the industry.
We’re concerned about a fourth wave of Covid from Europe: Emirates airline president
The International Air Transport Association said last month that the global airline industry is expected to lose almost $12 billion next year. The IATA, which represents nearly 300 airlines that operate more than 80% of the world’s air traffic, added that industry losses in 2020 were worse than originally thought, coming in at $137.7 billion.
However, Clark said that Emirates was already experiencing a significant pick-up in demand and had started to turn a profit.
“We’re bouncing back with a high degree of, dare I say, robustness,” he said. “Demand is coming back at such a pace that we’re frankly having difficulty trying to supply the assets because we’re short of pilots, we’re short of cabin crew, we’re short of just about everything. But there’s no shortage of demand, it’s a really good story.”
Clark highlighted the difficulties Emirates was facing in hiring enough staff to meet this demand, after it laid of swathes of staff amid the pandemic.
“You’re talking about supply chain disruptions, you’re talking about gross distortion in the labor markets,” he said, adding that he expected some sense of normality to return towards the end of 2022 and into early 2023. “I think then … the heat will come out of the situation. I hope, anyway.”
Another potential headwind for airlines is higher oil prices. The demand shock sparked by the Covid pandemic saw Brent prices fall to $20 a barrel; they’re now trading over $80 a barrel.
But Clark said he was not fazed. “Of course, $80 – we’ve been there before. We’ve been much higher than that before,” he added. “At the moment, we’re managing it. It’s anybody’s guess what’s going to happen; I think we’ve got about 15 months of turbulence, but we’ll be alright.”
— CNBC’s Leslie Joseph contributed to this report.
Nigeria issues 61 visas to Japanese businessmen in new liberal application policy - VANGUARD
By Victoria Ojeme
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Japan, Abubakar Husaini has said that its new liberal policy on visa application is attracting business community from Japan to Nigeria.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Embassy marking the 100 days in office of the new ambassador and the 61st anniversary of Nigeria-Japan diplomatic relations.
Husani said “In the past one hundred days, there was an increase in visa applications that were processed by the Embassy. Sixty-one (61) biometric visas were issued during the period. This is an indication of the renewed interest by the Japanese business community to engage in trade and investment in Nigeria, despite the pandemic.”
Giving account of his stewardship, he said that the day was even more remarkable as it marked the 61st anniversary of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Japan.
“Today, 1st October, 2021 is Nigeria’s National Day – the day the country secured its independence from its colonial master. It is interesting to note that today also marks the 61st anniversary of Nigeria-Japan diplomatic relations.
“The day is also special to me because it marks 100 days of my stewardship in Japan as the new Head of Mission in the Embassy.
“These one hundred days have been eventful for me, notwithstanding the restrictions occasioned by the highly-commendable efforts of the Host authorities to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
Speaking on his interactions so far, the envoy pointed out that he had met with the leadership of the Nigerian Union in Japan (NUJ), the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (NCCIJ) and the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO).
“I am happy to observe that most Nigerians residing in Japan are projecting the image of Nigeria positively, in the Host country.
“This has further strengthened my resolve to express keen interest in the welfare of Nigerians in Japan,” he said.
The Ambassador also said that during the 100-day period, 140 passports had been issued without any negative complaints.
He added that the positive image of Nigeria in Japan was further consolidated by the brilliant performance of Team Nigeria at the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Paralympic Games.
He said that although he assumed office at a critical time when COVID-19 was taking a toll, the embassy had taken measures to curtail its spread through adherence to precaution.
Husaini observed that Japan was keen about its relations with Nigeria and would work to foster the advancement of relations.
“Japan is keenly interested in strengthening bilateral relations with Nigeria by paying greater attention to issues that affect our two countries with greater vigour and enthusiasm.
“I am happy to note that this period has opened a new vista in the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Japan.
“The Embassy is strongly committed to this too. We shall continue to demonstrate our commitment to improve on the existing relations between both countries in all ramifications and in the spirit of reciprocity.
“To further express my commitment to strengthen diplomatic, economic and trade relations with Japan, I had meetings with top government functionaries and very senior officials of some important organisations in the country. Strategic decisions were reached during the meetings. The officials I visited included the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; the Director-General of African Affairs in Host Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Chief Executive Officer of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and many others are in the pipeline, including the Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Tsusho and the Chairman of Honda.
“I have been featured in some Japanese and Nigerian-based media organisations. They include the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), other electronic and print media in Nigeria as well as the NIKKEI incorporated Newspaper and “The Japan Times.” My response to the different media interviews I granted them explains the clear path I intend to take to move relations between Nigeria and Japan to a new level during my tenure.
“I like to seize the occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of our country to re-assure Nigerians residing in Japan that the Embassy would continue to ensure that issues related to their welfare are accorded high priority.
“I would count on their support to achieve the aspirations before me as Ambassador of Nigeria to Japan, at this time.
“I also thank the Government and People of Japan; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; and indeed, all those who sent messages of Goodwill to our Embassy on the occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria.” he said.