Travel News

EU green travel plan could cost Spain millions of tourists as flights get more expensive - EURONEWS

OCTOBER 01, 2022

European Union plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent before 2030 could discourage tourists from visiting Spain, according to new estimates.

The report from consultancy firm Deloitte looked at the potential impact of the European Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ plan on the tourism industry.

It predicts that environmental measures like ticket taxes and sustainable aviation fuel could mean the loss of 11 million international tourists to Spain. The country could also lose billions of euros in tourism revenue and 430,000 jobs that rely on the industry.

What green measures is the EU planning to introduce?

The EU is looking to cut its carbon emissions using a number of different measures - including many aimed at reducing the aviation industry’s impact on the environment.

The measures established by the European Commission under the Fit for 55 plan include a quota for the use of sustainable aviation fuels set at 5 per cent, tightening caps on carbon emissions, and higher taxes on aviation fuel and tickets.

Together, the report concludes, the introduction of these measures by 2030 would result in travel to Spain becoming more expensive. The higher costs could end up discouraging tourists from visiting the country.

A couple stands outside the security control section inside a terminal of the Barcelona Airport. AP Photo/Joan Mateu ParraA couple stands outside the security control section inside a terminal of the Barcelona Airport. AP Photo/Joan Mateu Parra© Provided by Euronews

How will the EU’s green measures impact Spain?

Overall, Deloitte predicts that 11 million international tourists could be put off by higher costs. Across accommodation, food, drink and other sectors that rely on tourism, this would account for around €12 billion of spending.

Looking at predictions for employment in 2030, the report also found that 430,000 jobs could be lost - mostly due to passengers lost from the tax on fuel and tickets.

Are the EU’s changes to the aviation industry worth it?

Though the EU measures may seem as if they come at a high price, they are necessary to achieve net zero - a goal many in the travel industry are dedicated to.

“In the aviation sector we are committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050,” says the president of Spain’s Association of Airlines (ALA), Javier Gándara.

“We share the goal with the EU and with our Government, but we believe that there are other solutions on the way to achieve that goal that are more effective and favourable for the economy and employment.”

Gándara has asked the Spanish government to reconsider a tax on jet fuel, instead calling for other “more effective and favourable” measures like sustainable aviation fuels.

Air Canada adds U.S. direct flights from Halifax, Vancouver - FINANCIAL REVIEW

OCTOBER 03, 2022

Air Canada will add new daily direct flights from both coasts to the United States in a push to meet travel demand and strengthen its trans-border partnership with United Airlines.

The airline announced Monday that year-round routes between Halifax and Newark, N.J., and Vancouver and Houston, will begin Dec. 16.

“These routes will give customers in Atlantic and Western Canada more convenient options for flying to the U.S.,” senior vice-president Mark Galardo said in a statement.

Galardo said the flights will provide Western Canada customers with more options for reaching destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean through United Airlines’ Houston hub, as well as reinforce links between Atlantic Canada and New York.

He said these will also facilitate many new one-stop connections from the U.S. to Air Canada’s domestic and global network.

The carrier said with the new routes, its U.S. network will expand to six per cent above its pre-pandemic capacity for summer 2023. It serves 51 U.S. airports.

Other major Canadian airlines have also recently announced added routes, as the travel industry recovers from a pandemic-induced slump.

Flair Airlines Ltd. said Wednesday it will expand its fleet to 27 aircraft in a bid to grow capacity by 50 per cent by next summer, with a focus on key domestic routes.

In June, the WestJet Group said it will add new routes and centre its existing wide-body 787 Dreamliner fleet around Western Canada.

London's Heathrow to lift daily passenger cap in late October -WSJ

OCTOBER 03, 2022

(Reuters) -London's Heathrow airport has told airlines it will lift a cap on passenger numbers at its terminals later this month, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the decision.

The airport capped the number of passenger departures at 100,000 a day in July and in August extended the cap until Oct. 29 in a move to limit queues, baggage delays and flight cancellations after struggling to cope with a rebound in travel.

A Heathrow spokesperson did not directly respond to a Reuters request asking if the cap will be removed on Oct. 29.

The spokesperson, in an emailed statement, said, "The cap resulted in fewer last-minute cancellations, better punctuality and shorter waits for bags. Our focus has always been on removing the cap as quickly as possible – but we will only do so if we are confident that adding in more passengers will not erode the service levels that the cap has secured."

Airlines and airports across Europe struggled to cope with the rebound in post-lockdown travel, with many failing to recruit enough staff to handle check-ins and baggage.

(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama and Kanjyik Ghosh in BengaluruEditing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)

FG warns against fake recruitment agencies for Nigeria Air - BUSINESSDAY

OCTOBER 04, 2022

BY  Ifeoma Okeke-Korieocha

The federal government has announced that the attention of the Management of Nigeria Air Limited has been drawn to some recruitment advertisements and announcements by certain unscrupulous elements claiming to be agents or staff of the upcoming airline.

James Odaudu, the Special Assistant, Public Affairs to the Minister of Aviation, in a statement, on Tuesday, said the so-called agents have created a host of fake websites and links supposedly for the submission of applications by unsuspecting members of the public.

“We wish to inform the general public, especially those who have applied for the earlier officially advertised positions that no recruitment interviews or tests have been scheduled. All such announcements or invitations for such should be disregarded as they are the handiwork of fraudsters and scammers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the official website is www.nigeriaair.world, and only those pre-qualified as meeting the B737 requirements will be contacted by the management of Nigeria Air Limited individually, and certainly not by public announcements,” Odaudu stated.

He stated that all those concerned are therefore advised to ignore such announcements or invitations, as responding to or dealing with them in any way, will be at their own risk.

“Management appreciates the unprecedented level of interest shown by Nigerians in the airline which has resulted in the receipt of over 20,000 applications for positions in the organisation so far, and wish to state that the recruitment process for other positions will begin in due course,” he added.

Controversy trails Ethiopia’s visa on arrival ban - PUNCH.

OCTOBER 06, 2022

Ethiopian Airlines has said it will no longer issue visas on arrival to Nigerian citizens and those of other African countries.

According to a document sent by the airlines and made available to The PUNCH, the aviation company stated as thus, “Please be informed that effective immediately, no more visa on arrival for Nigerian Citizens.”

The circular explained that “passengers are to obtain their visa at the Ethiopian embassy in Abuja before travelling.”

The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed that Ethiopian Airlines emerged a core investor in the Nigerian National Carrier, Nigeria Air, following a bid. Sirika, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja, said Ethiopian Airlines won the bid with a consortium and would have 95 controlling shares in the airline.

Speaking on the latest developments, an expert in the industry, Olumide Ohunayo, noted that Ethiopia’s decision was not in fair interest of its partnership process with Nigeria.

“I doubt if Ethiopia has given us some respect. Here is an airline that is trying to partner us as a national carrier, who already has about three points of entry into the country using the Togolese national carrier.”

Flooded Lokoja Road Causing Fuel Scarcity In Abuja, Others – NMDPRA - DAILY TRSUT

OCTOBER 06, 2022

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has said the current fuel scarcity in Abuja and other states in the North is...

    By  Simon Echewofun Sunday

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has said the current fuel scarcity in Abuja and other states in the North is caused by flooding in Lokoja, Kogi State.

According to a statement, water has submerged a greater part of the city and grounded all vehicular movements.

The NMDPRA said the development had affected distribution of petroleum products to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and environs.

It, however, noted that as part of measures to mitigate the situation, trucking via alternative routes is currently ongoing.

The statement read, “The Authority assured the public that there are sufficient petroleum products inland.
Consequently, the general public is advised to avoid panic buying at fuel stations as the NMDPRA is working assiduously with relevant stakeholders and Government agencies to ensure product availability across the country.

“In the same context, Marketers are advised to desist from hoarding the product so as not to inflict hardship on Nigerians.

“The Authority wishes to reiterate its commitment to Nigerians to ensure seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide.”

Airlines To Save Cost With New MMA Airfield Lighting - DAILY TRSUT

OCTOBER 06, 2022

By Abdullateef Aliyu

Airline operators in the country are set to heave a sigh of relief as the Federal Government is set to inaugurate the AirField Lighting for the domestic runway (18L) of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

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Daily Trust reports that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had shut down the runway since July 8 for the installation of the runway lighting.

The runway 18L/36R had been without the AFL for the past 13 years amidst grumbling from airline operators as evening flights land at the international wing before taxiing to the domestic. 

Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu about three weeks ago said the project is 90 percent completed. 

President of Aircraft Pilots and Owners Association, Dr. Alex Nwuba said the installation would enable airlines to save billions in cost of operation. 

He said, “It reduces waiting times in approach and landing, improves departure times both of which will reduce cost of operation, given the additional time in ground to 18R.  It will improve operating hours with reduced taxi times.”

Aviation analyst, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo said the completion of the domestic runway would “relieve everyone not only the airlines even the Air Traffic Controllers, their stress would be reduced because they now have two runways and can easily depart and give start up to aircraft and clear them for landing easily and more frequently. That is for ATCs.” 

Aviation consultant, Babatunde Adeniji observed that reducing the taxiing time for aircraft on ground would help a great deal in saving cost of operation. 

“The load factor can increase as a result with the increased flexibility to time and operate more flights to meet passenger demand. Hopefully the yield will improve as they exploit these situations maximally.”

Ireland Will Be Short of Power for Another Decade, Grid Says - BLOOMBERG

OCTOBER 06, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Ireland’s energy shortage will last until 2031, with unplanned outages making an bad situation even worse in the near term, the nation’s grid operator said. 

Power plant capacity remains poor and Eirgrid assumes that some generators that were due to shut in September next year won’t be available at all, the firm said Thursday in a capacity report covering Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

The island needs all the power it can get as the energy crisis is raging in Europe. Demand is forecast to increase by 37% by 2031, with 28% of that coming from data centers and other new large energy users. At the same time, most new capacity that was expected online over the coming years has been withdrawn, according to the report. 

“The number of system alerts will increase as our economy grows, electricity generators exit the market and demand increases, with significant new additional demand from the heat and transport sectors as they are electrified,” EirGrid Chief Executive Officer Mark Foley said. 

While the prospect of blackouts this winter cannot be ruled out this winter, “it will take an extraordinary confluence of events for the lights to go out,” Foley said on national broadcaster RTE on Thursday. 

To mitigate the shortage, the regulator plans to hold capacity auctions of flexible gas-fired generation capacity, procuring 700 megawatts of emergency generation, temporarily extending the operation of older generators, and introducing tariffs to reduce demand at peak times.

Eirgrid has had “very good engagement” with large energy users and has “absolute confidence” that they can make their own back-up generation available to keep the grid stable if needed, Foley said.

(Updates with comments from Foley from fifth paragraph.)

Travellers groan as more foreign airlines introduce restrictions - VANGUARD

OCTOBER 07, 2022

…NCAA yet to sanction airlines selling tickets in dollars

By Prince Okafor

Succour for travellers from Nigeria to foreign countries remains a far cry, as more foreign airlines introduce restrictive measures on their operations.

Restrictions such as selling of ticket in dollars, stoppage of ticket issuance originating outside Nigeria, reduction of inventories, among others.

The development is coming against the backdrop of over $456 million trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines.

Accordingly, most foreign airlines operating in the country have stopped receiving payment for air tickets in naira, which contravenes the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, directives.

The NCAA, had threatened to sanction any airline selling in dollar, but to date, no single airlineselling tickets in foreign currency have been sanctioned.

Aviation World gathered that foreign airlines collect Naira for their tickets to customers and exchange the same for foreign currencies for their operations. But recently they said they have been unable to do so through the official foreign exchange market due to the scarcity of foreign exchange in Nigeria.

Following the development, the Federal Government promised to release about $265 million of the over $456 million trapped funds to the airlines in August 2022.

However, findings by Vanguard Aviation World showed that only a few airlines have only received $133 million, representing 25 percent of the amount promised to date.

More airlines have introduced restrictions – NANTA

In a chat with Vanguard’s Aviation World, the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, NANTA, President, Susan Akporiaye, lamented that the situation has gotten worse.

She said: “Some airlines that did not have any restrictions before now, have introduced more restrictions, making it more difficult for both travellers and travel agents.

“Qatar Airways, ASKY, Africa World Airlines, are the only airlines operating in the country without restriction on ticket purchases, both in Nigeria and their country.

“Ethiopian Airlines, along with a few other airlines have joined in placing restrictions for ticketing. “Currently, we cannot issue tickets originating outside Nigeria. Before now we could do Abuja to London but no more. “The foreign airlines have reduced inventories too. For instance, if the aircraft capacity is let’s say 250, they do not open all for travel agents. It’s either they open half or just 100.”

We didn’t increase any of our charges – FAAN

While there were insinuations that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, was responsible for the hike in foreign airlines ticket fares, the Authority has debunked the allegation.

A recent speculation noted that the authority charges stifle flight operations, as KLM, Lufthansa, Emirates, others increase airfares by 100 percent.

But in a swift reaction, FAAN’s Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Faithful Hope-Ivbaze noted that with respect to reports making the rounds on social media, the authority would like to inform passengers and the general public that it did not increase any of its charges.

She said: “The charges being collected by FAAN are statutory, and therefore cannot be increased without the knowledge of our esteemed passengers and other airport users.

“While it is true that the cost of aviation fuel has gone astronomically high and has adversely affected airline operators worldwide, culminating in an increase in ticket fares, we want to reiterate that FAAN has not increased its charges. “We are mindful of the challenges of our esteemed passengers and other airport users as a result of the increase in airfares, hence the need not to do so.”

Local operators have capacity to fly Int’l routes – Obiora

Following the development, domestic operators have frowned over the recent restrictions introduced by foreign airlines, as they maintained that they cannot stand by to see foreign airlines exploiting travellers in the country.

According to the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Obiora Okonkwo, “Why do foreign airlines charge so much? “In the aviation industry, one-hour flight fuel consumption is the same, the only difference is maybe different landing charges in London or Ghana, the rest is the same.

“I can assure you that if Air Peace goes to London today, Nigerians will fly to London with an Economy ticket of N500,000. Today the price is about N2 million, why should we pay such if they are converting from N450 to $1?

“We owe Nigerians this explanation. However, whatever is going on, this is a wake-up call that the local operators have to be supported as they have all it takes to operate internationally.

“Emirates have over $5 billion in support from their government. When we ask for support, it is not free, we pay back. American Airlines have equity of over $60 billion and a debt profile of $70 billion and those debts all come from government support.

“If the local airlines are supported, we can have the capacity that cannot be threatened globally. “The easiest flight to operate is a long haul. Short haul is even more difficult as it is stressful to both the aircraft and cabin crew.

“It is even easier to go to London, aviation is the same globally, you are audited by IOSA, IATA and that is, they prevented us and make us looks bad. They are also aware that our quality and regulatory standards are high. We get crews and captains coming to Nigeria and they fail our exams and we send them back.

“Captains come from abroad and we reduce them to first officer seat because they lack the quality. The only is that we are being outplayed politically, and I do not think our embassies oversee have this understanding of the politics of aviation.”

But, Akporiaye stated that there is a lot involved for local airlines to fly through the international space.

Despite Economic Hardship, Airfares Hike, Nigeria Records High Outbound Flights - THISDAY

OCTOBER 07, 2022

BY  Chinedu Eze

Despite the outrageous fares that foreign airlines charge Nigerian passengers, coupled with the economic hardship in the country, Nigeria still records high outbound flights, THISDAY investigation has revealed.

Some foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, who confirmed the development, said many citizens were still leaving the country adding that they recorded full load-factor in their outbound flights in recent times.

THISDAY findings revealed that it had become difficult to get seats at short notice from most of the foreign carriers that operate into Nigeria, even for economy class, which price has risen to average of N1.5 million to N2 million, depending on the airline and destination.

Travel agents told THISDAY that there are higher load on the outbound flights than inbound flights because many Nigerians who travelled do not have the intention to return.

A travel blogger, Dozie Uzo, told THISDAY that last week his sister travelled overseas with her children; that it was only her that had return ticket; her children had one-way ticket because they did not intend to return.

THISDAY learnt that many corporate organisations have lost their technical and professional staff to the exodus because there is loss of confidence in the nation’s economy.

They added that the fears that the 2023 general elections might not provide succour are also fuelling the exodus.

It was learnt that foreign carriers jerked up airfares because of their inability to repatriate their funds from Nigeria as a result of scarcity of foreign exchange.

Studies carried out recently by Business Travel Management (BTM), the all- in- one business travel platform, explained that normally, foreign airlines that serve Nigeria would sell their tickets in Naira and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would convert that income to dollars for remittance back to their headquarter locations.

However, currently, due to scarcity of foreign exchange in Nigeria, foreign airlines have the equivalent of over $450 million sitting in Nigeria that cannot be repatriated.

According to the studies, “The consequence of this for Nigerian travellers is that it will lead to lower airline frequencies to, from, and within Nigeria. Several international airlines such as Emirates, British Airways, Air France/KLM, Lufthansa and others have reduced their flight frequencies into Nigeria.

“This leads to higher fares since demand is outstripping supply on both domestic and international routes. Fare quotations are rarely available when the client calls back to book. BTM recommends that clients call (not email) to book only when the journey is approved for purchase and instant ticketing. As a result, airlines are adopting a very rigorous churning policy against agents that hold seats without ticketing and issuing Agency Debit Memos (ADMs) for those that do.”

The report further stated: “Consequently, seats cannot be held and as it is always the case, fares are not guaranteed until purchased. Aviation fuel is in short supply in Nigeria since it all must be imported, and importation is being hampered by the economic challenges described above. Fares fluctuate daily and pricing currently seen and available is relatively expensive.”

President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye, told THISDAY that there are more passengers on outbound flights than inbound because many Nigerians are leaving the country and they don’t intend to return in the foreseeable future.

According to her, Nigerians pay for the outrageous tickets because they don’t have choices than to send their children back to school; some even sell their assets, especially those who don’t intend to come back.

“Those who are leaving the country permanently and those who have their children abroad are the ones that can afford to buy the tickets, which are very expensive. Those travelling on holidays are no more going due to the expensive tickets, which is about N2 million for the economy class.

“We are hoping that this will end soon, I pray that this problem does not linger till next year. It will definitely end this year. It is not as bad as COVID-19 that was clouded in uncertainty. No one knew when it would end but, by 2021 hope rose, especially in Africa that the pandemic would ease off. We are not selling tickets like before but whatever profit you make inflation will diminish the value,” she said.

The immediate past NANTA President and the Group Managing Director, Finchglow Holdings, Mr. Bankole Bernard, said: “What Nigeria is going through now is brain drain because the Nigerian environment is no more conducive. People are leaving for more favourable environment and some with their entire family.”

According to him, “Most of those moving are the middle class. The middle class is the engine room of any country. The more they wait the more the currency becomes lower. These people have been offered safer environment to earn higher emoluments and some will allow you come with your family. I have lost 20 staff to the exodus. They left for Canada. If you are paying somebody N120, 000 the value of the money has slumped so it cannot buy what it used to buy.  We are import-oriented nation, what we are exporting is insignificant compared to the volume of our imports. So there is so much pressure on forex.”

He said that airlines were guided by two factors in their pricing. One is volume and the other is yield. In Nigeria they have created a scenario whereby they will make profit if they airlift 100 passengers (volume) and make the same profit if they airlift 20 passengers (yield) by increasing prices.

He said that the airlines do this by increasing the fares; so the 20 passengers share the fares of the 100 passengers. This explains why some of the airlines cut down their frequency to Nigeria but increased the fares by over 100 per cent and they fly out of Nigeria with full load with the outrageous fares.

THISDAY learnt that many travellers who wished to book flights, have since discovered that many of the airlines were fully booked, and they had to postpone their trip.


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