Travel News

X-raying FAAN‘s Roles As Airlines Grapple Under Heavy Burden Of Bird Strikes - LEADERSHIP

OCTOBER 01, 2023

There seems not be an end in sight for frequent bird strikes on aircraft at airports across the country as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), seems overwhelmed by the challenge that cost airlines several millons of dollars yearly, YUSUF BABALOLA writes.

Written by Yusuf Babalola

One problem that has remained unresolved at the nation‘s airports over the years is incessant bird strike. Bird strike though, is a global challenge but it enjoyed little or no attention from regulators at the airports.

This has, however, put local airline operators in a dire strait situation as they lost multi-billion naira to this challenges yearly, thereby, affecting there bottom line and leading to delay and in extreme situation cancelation of flights by local airlines.

For instance, local operators in 2021, lost $60millon to birdstrike while 96 cases of bird strike were recorded in the first six months of 2022.

Giving details of the attack and the attendant loses recorded, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), disclosed that they lost $60 million to bird strikes in 2021 with Air Peace recording 14 bird strikes in 2021 alone.

Also, in 2022, Nigerian airlines experienced a significant number of bird strike incidents, with 96 recorded incidents in the first 6 months of 2022. 54 of the recorded incidents for the January to June period were reported in the vicinity of Lagos Airport.

Also, during a webinar on ‘Repositioning the Aviation Sector for Revenue Generation and Growth: The Role of The Legislation,’ organised by Messrs Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL), the Air Peace Chairman, Allen Onyema, on Tuesday, lamented that since the beginning of 2023, the airline, suffered an average of five bird strikes every month, saying, the airline loses aircraft engines to most of the incidents.

Onyema, explained that in a situation where an engine is damaged beyond repair during a bird strike incident, the engine could cost about $2 million to $3 million, depending on the aircraft type.

“Air Peace had 26 bird strikes between February and June this year. In fact, on the average, we suffer about five bird strikes every month. There was a day we had two bird strikes. It is not the duty of the airlines to chase birds at the airports. If an engine is damaged in the process by the bird, that engine depending on the type of aircraft, repair of the aircraft can cause you between $2 million to $3 million. If it happened to a Boeing 777 aircraft for instance and damaged its engine, it could cost you about $10 million.

“However, bird strike may not damage the engine in total, it might damage some things that you need to change in the engine, but in all, the most important thing to take away from bird strike is the fact that it grounds your operations immediately because you are not certain if that aircraft is not affected,” he explained.

According to www.simpleflying.com, a US based aviation website, bird strikes can pose a significant threat to flight safety (though most don‘t), potentially resulting in diversions, emergency landings, and, in worst scenario, a water landing.

Also, the impact of hitting birds during key sequences like takeoff or landing can damage the engines, windscreen, and nose cone, usually forcing the plane to return.

The medium stated that 90% of bird strikes occur at or near an airport while a plane lands, takes off, or is at a low altitude. The amount of damage the bird does to the aircraft depends on the size, weight, and speed of the bird and aircraft. The heavier and faster the bird is, the more potential damage there likely will be to the aircraft.

However, aviation experts frowned at the increasing number of refuse dumps in Shasha, Akonwonjo, Onipelesi-Mangoro, Ejigbo and Ikeja, which are communities bordering the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

They argued that the refuse dumps attract birds, which are unwanted guests in an airport because of their damage to an aircraft.

They posited that if nothing is done to clear the refuse around the airport, bird strikes would be recurrent, thereby calling on FAAN to halt looming danger.

However, FAAN has blamed airline pilots for high rate of bird strike occurrences, claiming many potentially violated Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) instructions whilst trying to hasten departures.

Head of Unit, Bird Control at FAAN, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Adetunji Adetutu, said the problem of bird strike was not peculiar to Nigeria, disclosing that it was a global phenomenon, noting that no airline was immune from it.

Adetutu blamed some pilots for being in a hurry to depart and violate the instructions of Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).

“The final say on what happens to the aircraft lies with the pilots. Until the ATC gives clearance for pilots to depart or land, it is necessary for pilots to listen to their advice. Airline operators should have a change of culture in how we carry out our duties. It’s the suitability of the environment that bring birds to the airport environment. We have water, shelter and food around the airports. The runway should be free of activities at take-off and landing,“ he said.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the chief executive officer, Centurion Aviation Security and Safety Consult, Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), disagree with FAAN and queried the Standing Safety Programmes developed by FAAN for the controls and management of birds at the airports.

He stated that FAAN use to have a department responsible for the control of birds at Lagos airport but are no more available in current dispensation.

„Bird strikes are caused by the nature of the environment and activities of birds in the environment, therefore, airports environments within and outside need regular control and management if possible with the local and state government. For instance, some of our airports have water streams, rivers or pools within or around them while others have abattoirs around them and all these have birds around them.

„ What are the standing Safety Programmes developed for their controls and management? These must be in the various Airports Safety Management Programmes and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) must ensure the oversight and enforcement of the programme if approved.

„About 20 years ago, FAAN had a Department in Lagos that is responsible for the the management of birds in MMA, the question is what happened to the department?“ Ojikutu, a former commandant of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos asked rhetorically.

On his own, the general secretary Aviation Round Table Initiative (ARTI), Olumide Ohunayo, said insurance should be brought back to the FAAN act so that the authority can pay for any service it was supposed to render and it didn‘t render and affected operators‘ investment.

Ohunayo, also stated that FAAN must double up, saying even though bird can‘t be eradicated at the airports, it should be minimised to the nearest minimum.

„The responsibility of clearing birds around the airports rest on FAAN and not on ministry of Aviation. so as we demand non interference agencies with dedicated responsibilities should live up to expectations.

„FAAN needs to buckle up, the process and insurance that is not inculcated into the airport authority‘s act is giving them some leeway to leave some things undone. I think the Insurance is important to come back into the act because when they start paying insurance for responsibilities not carried out people will sit up and I look forward that insurance is brought back into the FAAN act. Bird can‘t be eliminated from the airport but it can be reduced to its barest minimum especially area prone to the attack,“ he advised FAAN.

Airline industry claims traveller safety at risk with proposed passenger rights rules - THE CANADIAN PRESS

OCTOBER 02, 2023

MONTREAL — Aviation companies are making the pitch to Ottawa that stricter rules designed to boost customer compensation and improve service could put passenger safety at risk — an argument consumer advocates reject as "ridiculous."

The push, made in regulatory submissions and meetings on Parliament Hill, comes on the heels of sweeping reforms to the passenger rights charter announced in April and currently being hashed out by Canada's transport regulator before going into effect next year.

The changes appear to scrap a loophole through which airlines have denied customers compensation for flight delays or cancellations when they were required for safety purposes. The sector wants that exemption restored, and says pilots shouldn't feel pressured to choose between flying defective planes and costing their employer money.

"We want our pilots to be entirely free from any financial consideration when they take a safety-related decision," WestJet chief executive Alexis von Hoensbroech said in a video chat from Ottawa this week, where he was meeting with federal ministers on the reforms. The Air Line Pilots Association raised similar concerns in a submission to the Canadian Transportation Agency.

"Regulation should never be punitive for safety decisions," the CEO said,adding that the would-be changes will drain carriers of cash after a financially devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

In the European Union, however, where rules and precedents comparable to the impending passenger rights charter are in place, flight safety remains uncompromised, advocates say.

“Did it make it less safe to fly in Europe? I don’t think so,” said Sylvie De Bellefeuille, a lawyer with the advocacy group Option consommateurs.

The EU code came into force nearly two decades ago, shored up by court rulings that require compensation even for trip disruptions caused by safety concerns, such as mechanical issues. No major accidents involving EU-registered planes have occurred in commercial aviation since 2015.

"It lays pretty ill in the mouth of the industry to say that if you ... take away that excuse, then we will therefore fly unsafe planes," said John Lawford, executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

"I'm surprised that they would have the chutzpah to say that."

Air Passenger Rights advocacy group president Gabor Lukacs called the claim "ridiculous," and NDP transport critic Taylor Bachrach also slammed the argument.

“It’s quite alarming that the airlines would suggest that if the government holds them to a higher standard of customer care, there’s going to be a risk to passenger safety," Bachrach said in a phone interview from northwestern B.C.

Nonetheless, organizations from Nav Canada to the International Air Transport Association — as well as Canada's main pilots union — maintain that safety will be jeopardized unless delays due to malfunctions or mechanical issues are exempted from what the Atlantic Canada Airports Association called "punitive measures."

"It adds operational pressure on the pilots, who are already dealing with enough pressure," said Jeff Morrison, who heads the National Airlines Council, which represents carriers including Air Canada and WestJet.

Proposed changes under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations would not exempt flight disruptions that are caused by "normal ... technical problems" from cash compensation given to customers. However, big delays caused by "airport operational issues" or "hidden manufacturing defects" would be considered beyond the airline's responsibility — and thus exempt from compensation — under the would-be reforms, most of which are still months away from being finalized.

The first phase of the overhaul comes into effect on Saturday, kicking off a more streamlined complaints process that currently creaks under the weight of more than 57,000 complaints.

That backlog has continued to mount despite a slowdown in filings, which can take up to two years for the regulator to process. The new system will be managed by "complaint resolution officers" — 40 have been hired, with 60 more expected to be trained over the next year, according to the agency.

Among the provisions slated to kick in next year are fees imposed on airlines by the transport agency to recover some or all of the cost of handling those complaints. If a passenger files one due to a flight disruption or denial of boarding, the reformed rules put the onus on the airline to prove the move was for reasons outside it's control, such as bad weather.

Airlines, airports and local chambers of commerce make the case that regional routes would be pricier for customers — or simply cancelled outright — as slim profit margins would tip into red ink amid the higher costs from complaints and fees.

"There's always a trade-off," Morrison said.

The average profit on large airlines amounts to less than $10 per passenger, said WestJet's CEO.

"If we have to compensate a passenger, it's $1,000," von Hoensbroech said, citing the maximum amount. He noted that WestJet's average one-way ticket price hovers around $200. "You need many, many flights to recover."

In Europe, compensation for flights of less than 1,500 kilometres are capped at 250 euros per passenger, or about $359 — far below the ceiling in Canada, where the rules factor in airline size but not trip length. The $1,000 cap takes an outsize toll on regional markets "that are in large part served by shorter domestic flights," according to the Regional Community Airports of Canada.

Advocates Lawford and Lukacs characterized the groups' warnings about routes to smaller or far-flung communities as tantamount to "blackmail," while Bachrach framed the notion of pitting sturdier customer rights against regional flights as a "false choice."

Lukacs suggested subsidies to support regional trips, whose fares have shot up over the past four years even as ticket prices on busier routes fell.

Von Hoensbroech also said accountability for flight disruptions, including the cost burden, must be shared across the industry, not borne by airlines alone — an argument some advocates are receptive to, given the highly integrated nature global air travel that hinges on players ranging from baggage handlers to security and border agents to air traffic controllers.

The Canadian Transportation Agency is currently working on a draft of the new Air Passenger Protection Regulations, expected to be published this year before the new charter is implemented in 2024.

"The ultimate goal of air passenger protection shouldn't be to get compensation to passengers; it should be to incentivize airlines to treat passengers better," Bachrach said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2023.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Only 100,000 Of 1.4bn Africans Travel By Air - DAILY TRUST

OCTOBER 02, 2023

By Abdullateef Aliyu

The just concluded Aviation Africa Summit 2023 hosted by Nigeria has exposed the wide gap in air travel in Africa despite the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), one of the projects of the African Union to create a single market for air transport in Africa.

As of July, last year, 34 out of 55 countries in Africa have signed up for the SAATM as a platform to liberalise air transportation in Africa and increase aviation contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of African countries.

Five years after SAATM was established in January 2018, there are concerns over the efficiency of the project as it is yet to add up by increasing access to air travels in Africa and by Africans.

Of particular concern is how SAATM can enhance intra-African travel which is almost zero as travels within Africa could be highly traumatic.

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu, spoke about how he first travelled to Europe to come to Nigeria from South Africa because there was no direct flight from South Africa to Abuja.

Lagos Airport

For years, many Africans travelling within Africa for businesses and leisure have faced untold hardship in getting to their destinations due to poor connectivity.

Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Adefunke Adeyemi, at the summit, gave a vivid picture of the present situation in air travel in Africa. According to her, out of the 1.4bn population of Africans, only 100,000 fly by air. “It can take a day and half to get from Dakar to a part of Southern Africa,” she also observed.

Speaking at the summit, the AFCAC scribe said while the region has not attained the desired goal of easing air travels in Africa due to several challenges, the SAATM has achieved eleven 5th freedom routes since it started, which has helped in stimulating traffic among cities within the West, Central, North and Eastern Africa.

She said, “I want to talk about why this is important for Africa. Why is SAATM important to us? This brings me to the question of what is the African way? The African way is unique to all African countries because Africa itself is not a country. We are 55 but we have some unique qualities that are common to all 55. The African way common to all of these countries is family, community, adherence to culture and helping one another.

“So, with all of these qualities, you may wonder why these qualities are not translating to the air transport space, particularly from the point of view of SAATM and air connectivity. Air connectivity is really important to Africa.

“Because of those qualities I have mentioned, of family, of culture, of supporting each other and helping each other, let us put it in the context of African demographics. We have 1.4bn Africans living in Africa. Guess how many of them we can get on a plane and can do all the things that travel enables, it is just over 100,000.

“So, it is not the African way that N1.3bn people cannot fly by air. It is also not the African way that people are denied the opportunities to fly by air and go to other countries – opportunity for education, opportunity for medical care, opportunity for travel, opportunity for learning. This is not the African way. It is not the African way that Africa cannot do business with each other after all we traded with ourselves all the time.

We are not able to trade among ourselves today because it is not easy to facilitate movement of goods. SAATM remains the key to unlocking the African potential.”

While the African aviation leaders are determined “to step up for business,” they have identified challenges bothering on airport infrastructures, multiple charges, non-implementation of the protocol on free movement, visa requirements within the African countries, among others. While other regions of the world have liberalised, African countries in the name of protecting their markets came up with stringent measures that are discouraging to operators.

Vice-President of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for Africa and Middle East, Kamil Alwadi, said African airlines have a set of unique issues that are not the same in other regions, lamenting that African airlines are only responsible for 2.1 percent of the global air traffic.

“An airline would need to pay roughly 25 or 26 percent interest rate on any loan, almost killing the chances of the airlines to move forward and again, this is a global industry. You are competing with other airlines who pay six to seven or eight percent interest rate. So, already these African airlines are at a disadvantage. Lease is three times more expensive, when you look at insurance and compared it with others, it is almost 10 times more expensive for African airlines.”

Minister of Civil Aviation, Egypt, Lt. General Mohamed Abbas Helmy, said collaboration is key to growing civil aviation in Africa.

“Egypt believes in the importance of joint cooperation and expansion towards opening new, more effective horizons with all African brothers in various air transport activities, especially in the field of training and exchange of experiences, as well as adopting all African initiatives that will enhance the organizational, institutional and financial capabilities of the countries of Africa, and aim to contribute to the development of the African air transport industry,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, said Africa is a region with huge and amazing potentials that are not being realised due to poor infrastructure, poor connectivity. According to him, “If we want a profitable and sustainable sector, we must work together. It is encouraging that we are seeing new collaboration initiatives.” He said the right regulatory environment and building the right infrastructure would help in unlocking African potentials.

The host of the conference, the Director-General of Nigeria Civil Aviation, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the summit was an eye-opener for Africa and it has helped in bringing together the big players in world’s aviation to explore the potentials of the African region.

He said, “The whole purpose of this was to bring the international aviation community to come to Nigeria and see what our country is all about; the opportunities in Nigeria and to clear the wrong perception of Nigeria being a bad and dangerous place and specifically for the aviation industry to come and see the opportunities in the sector in the country.

“You can see all the major big boys came, Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and many other organisations. In fact, tomorrow (Wednesday), there is going to be a signing ceremony between one of the Nigerian airlines, ordering about 10 planes from Embraer. So, it is an exposure and we have seen a lot of discussions between Nigerian organisations and the potential investors in the industry.

The government has said it wants to make Nigeria the Centre of African aviation and we need this kind of exposure for people to see the potential and come and invest in our country, Nigeria.”

But in implementing SAATM, the DG stressed the need for the harmonisation of the civil aviation regulations in Africa as obtained with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). According to him, coordinating with different agencies in Africa can complicate the matter.

“It is important we have regulatory harmonisation, policy harmonisation in order to achieve SAATM,” he said.

One issue of concern is the discriminatory posture of some African countries against others which is said to be inhibiting air travel. This concern was voiced out by Nigerian airline operators who reiterated that they are not against SAATM but the implementation must be mutually beneficial.

Chief Executive Officer of Overland Airways, Capt. Edward Boyo, said “We need to open up our routes and our countries to each other, not in a haphazard manner, not in a disorganised manner but by sitting down across the table and talking.”

Home Prices in Canada Are Too Rich for Higher Rates, Ex-Central Banker Says - BLOOMBERG

OCTOBER 02, 2023

BY  Derek DecloetBloomberg News

Paul Beaudry, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, speaks at the Bank of Canada headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, June 2, 2022. The Bank of Canada took another aggressive step in its hiking cycle, raising its policy interest rate by 50 basis points for a second straight time and warning that it may act "more forcefully" if needed to tackle inflation.

Paul Beaudry, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, speaks at the Bank of Canada headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, June 2, 2022. The Bank of Canada took another aggressive step in its hiking cycle, raising its policy interest rate by 50 basis points for a second straight time and warning that it may act "more forcefully" if needed to tackle inflation. , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Current home prices in Canada can’t be justified if medium-term interest rates stay elevated, a former Bank of Canada official said, underscoring the risk to one of the country’s most important sectors. 

Paul Beaudry, who spent four years on the central bank’s rate-setting committee, said the outlook for the housing market remains highly dependent not only on the policy rate, but on longer-term fixed rates. If they don’t come down, “then it becomes much more difficult to support these valuations,” he said on BNN Bloomberg Television. 

The benchmark price of a home in Canada was C$757,600 ($554,600) in August, up 40% in five years — with most parts of Ontario and Quebec seeing much larger price increases. Canadian homeowners, unlike their US counterparts, don’t have the option of locking in rates for 30 years. Most borrowers have rates that are fixed for five years or fewer, or they have floating-rate mortgages that rise and fall with the Bank of Canada rate. 

That has left many households stretched after rates jumped in the past 18 months. The five-year Canada government bond yield has risen nearly 150 basis points since hitting its 2023 low in March, putting significant upward pressure on mortgage rates. Royal Bank of Canada economists wrote last week the overall cost of home ownership in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and other cities is “still near all-time worst levels.”

Beaudry, who left the central bank in July, said his former colleagues will remain worried about core measures of inflation until they ease closer to the 2% target. “If they don’t come down, that really brings a danger that maybe there is a point where the Bank of Canada will need to tighten more,” he said. 

Nigeria's Ibom Air To Commence International Flights In October - SIMPLY FLYING

OCTOBER 03, 2023


The airline will operate twice daily flights to Accra using the Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft.

  •  Ibom Air is set to launch international services between Nigeria and Ghana on October 17, connecting Lagos and Accra with twice-daily flights using the Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft.
  •  The airline aims to provide greater flexibility to both business and leisure travelers, highlighting the vibrant markets, live music, historical sites, and beautiful beaches of Accra.
  •  Initially, the CRJ900LR aircraft will be used, but it will be replaced with the larger Airbus A220 when demand grows beyond the capacity of the CRJ900.

  • Ibom Air of Nigeria is all set to debut international services between Nigeria and Ghana beginning on October 17. The state government-owned Ibom Air is connecting Lagos and Accra with twice-daily flights. The 216-NM (250 miles, 400 km) flight will initially be served through the carrier’s Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. The jet will be replaced with the larger Airbus A220 when the demand outgrows the CRJ.

    “It's official! Accra here we come!”

    Ibom Air has advertised the ticket sales on its website by stating, “It's official! Accra here we come!” The airline will operate twice daily flights between Murtala Muhammad International Airport (LOS) in Lagos and Kotoka International Airport (ACC) in Accra. The daily morning and afternoon flights will offer greater flexibility to both business and leisure travelers. The airline states on its website,

  • Flight Schedule

    The airline will initially deploy its CRJ900LR aircraft on the route until the demand picks up. The aircraft will be replaced with a larger Airbus A220 at a later time. The Chief Commercial Officer of Ibom Air, George Uriesi, told ch-aviation.com that the carrier will replace the aircraft type with the latest Airbus A220s when the traffic grows beyond the CRJ900 aircraft.

    The airline offers the following schedule on its international debut to Accra. The flight schedule is effective from October 17. All times are local.

    Lagos (LOS) to Accra (ACC)

    • Depart 07:00, Arrive 07:00 Monday through Friday
    • Depart 08:00, Arrive 08:00 Saturday and Sunday
    • Depart 16:30, Arrive 16:30 Everyday

    Accra (ACC) to Lagos (LOS)

    • Depart 08:00, Arrive 10:00 Monday through Friday
    • Depart 09:00, Arrive 11:00 Saturday and Sunday
    • Depart 17:30, Arrive 19:30 Everyday

    The Premium Diamond fare starts at approximately NGN 140,000 ($174) each way. Aerolineas Sosa (P4) and Africa World (AW) currently operate scheduled services between the two cities.

    About Ibom Air

    Nigerian-based Ibom Air was founded in 2019 and is owned by the Akwa Ibom State Government. The airline commenced commercial operations in June 2019 and is currently serving seven destinations within Nigeria. The airline operates a fleet of five Bombardier CRJ900 and has two wet-leased Airbus A320s at its disposal presently. The airline makes its international debut with Accra, which will become its eighth destination in the flight network.

    Hong Kong Home Rented Out for $140,000 a Month Despite Market Downturn - BLOOMBERG

    OCTOBER 06, 2023

    BY  Krystal ChiaBloomberg News

    (Bloomberg) -- An ultra-luxury residence in Hong Kong has been rented out for HK$1.1 million ($140,500) a month, a sign that some high-end transactions are still happening in the city during a broader property downturn. 

    The unit leased at No. 11 Plantation Road is about 11,000 square feet (1,000 square meters), according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named discussing private information. The property is owned by Wharf Holdings Ltd. 

    While the price is lower than the record-breaking HK$1.35 million that the unit was previously rented for in 2021, it still ranks among the most expensive rental homes in one of the priciest property markets worldwide.

    Read more: Hong Kong Luxury House Sets Record With $2.5 Million Yearly Rent

    A representative for Wharf Holdings wasn’t immediately able to comment.

    Hong Kong’s residential property market is in a prolonged downturn as high interest rates and macroeconomic woes deter buyers. The luxury segment has also suffered, with some owners of high-end properties having to sell at a steep discount compared with pre-pandemic times. 

    There are bright spots, however, as some buyers take advantage of the repricing of assets and the benefits of diversification, according to the Knight Frank global super-prime intelligence report published last month.

    “With greater travel expected in the remainder of the year, there is potential for increased demand from Chinese mainland buyers for luxury residential properties,” said Ho-Pin Tung, head of Knight Frank’s private office in Hong Kong. “However, the main constraint lies in the limited supply of best-in-class super-prime homes.” 

    Delta Makes Changes To Lagos-Atlanta Schedule, Deploys Bigger Aircraft - INDEPENDENT

    OCTOBER 08, 2023

    By Olusegun Koiki 

    LAGOS – Following a record-setting sum­mer across the Atlantic, Delta Air Lines is made changes to its flight schedule between Lagos and Atlanta, effective October 4, 2023, in readiness for the hol­iday season.

    A statement by the media consultant to the airline in Nigeria, said that Delta’s new flight schedule offers custom­ers an early afternoon depar­ture from Lagos at 1:00pm ar­riving into Atlanta at 8:55pm on the same day.

    The return flight departs At­lanta at 6:15pm and arrives into Lagos at 11:00 am the following morning.

    Delta’s flights between Lagos and Atlanta, the world’s leading airport, operate daily and of­fer customers over 200 onward connections across the U.S. and beyond.

    “Nigeria is a key destination for Delta and, with strong cus­tomer demand between Lagos and Atlanta, we are delighted offer more seats and a newly timed schedule between Lagos and the United States this up­coming holiday season,” said Jimmy Eichelgruen, Delta’s Regional Sales Manager Africa.

    “Lagos is a key destination for Delta and its leading hub in Atlanta is the world’s leading hub and gateway to the Ameri­cas,” he added.

    Deltas will upgauge its air­craft on the Lagos to Atlanta route over the Christmas and New Year period operating an Airbus A350-900 to support ad­ditional holiday traffic.

    Travelers between December 16, 2023 to January 14, 2024 will have the opportunity to expe­rience the A350-900 offering an additional 166 daily seats be­tween the two countries.

    2024 Hajj: NAHCON Allocates 1,191 Seats To Ogun - INDEPENDENT

    OCTOBER 09, 2023

    The Ogun State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has expressed readiness to organise a hitch-free hajj pilgrimage to MECCA and Medinnah for the year, as the Muslim Umar were preparing to perform the 2024 Hajj rites. 

    The Executive Secretary of the Board, Alh. Salau Babatunde, who dropped this hint in Abeokuta, disclosed that 1, 191 hajj seats had been allocated to the state by NAHCON for 2024 Hajj and will be distributed on a first come first served basis. 

    Babatunde, in a statement signed by Mrs. Lateefat Ayoola, the press officer, OGSMPWB, said the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has announced four million five hundred thousand naira (4,500,000.00) as the initial hajj deposit pending the announcement of the final fare. 

    He further stated that the initial hajj deposit will be paid through bank draft, or by paying directly through bank tellers obtainable at the board into designated bank accounts, while those that had made some deposits during 2023 hajj are advised to top it up to meet current initial hajj deposit. 

    While assuring that all hands are on the desk to ensure a hitch-free Hajj exercise, Alhaji Babatunde noted that the State government is ready as usual to make the spiritual journey a memorable and fulfilling exercise. 

    He, however, urged intending pilgrims to fast-track payment of the initial hajj deposit as the old way of processing visas has changed, informing that visa issuance will be concluded at least 50 days before Arafat by Saudi Arabia. 

    Babatunde advised the intending pilgrims to visit the Board’s Office located at New Secretariat Complex, Block ‘B’, Governor’s Office, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta for further enquiries. 

    Passport home delivery begins February 2024 - Interior minister - PUNCH

    OCTOBER 09, 2023

    By Grace Edema

    The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has said Nigerians will have their passport delivered to their homes, offices, and other locations of their choice from February 2024.

    Speaking on Monday at the opening ceremony of the International Week of the University Of Lagos, titled, ‘Breaking the Borders of Partnership,’ Tunji-Ojo said that by January next year, Nigerians would be able to complete the application process online.

    He said, “We have commenced the automation of our end-to-end passport application process, and we have given a timeline from which Nigerians will begin to experience the “sweet experience.”

    “By implication, Nigerians will not need to wait longer than two weeks before they get their passport. By January next year, Nigerians will be able to complete this application process online, and by February next year, with collaboration and partnership with other relevant stakeholders, Nigerians will have their passports delivered to their homes, offices, and other locations of their choice.

    “This, of course, would be extended to our visa application process. We are deploying technology throughout the entire process to make it as seamless as possible. To achieve this, we have set everything into motion to open 12 more visa application centres across the world. In this regard, we are also working on strengthening our visa-on-arrival policy. We are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enforce the principle of reciprocity, and a committee has been set up in the ministry to achieve this.”

    He lamented that there was a duplication of registration of identity numbers country including the BVN in the bank, the international passport, the NIN, and SIM card registration by telecos.

    Tunji-Ojo revealed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had given the directive for the harmonisation of the various identity numbers in the country.

    He added that the integrity of travel documents would be restored through the harmonisation of data.

    “Identity is who we are, what we are, and what we live for. But today, what we have is a duplication of our registration. We have the BVN in the bank, the international passport, the NIN, SIM card registration by telecos, and so on, all of which request your data. The integrity of our travel documents must be restored through the harmonisation of our data.

    “We have the directive of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, under the Renewed Hope Agenda, to harmonise the country’s database. When we harmonise our data, there will be an exchange amongst agencies such that when our people need data for passport and visa applications, or BVN, with their NIN, their data can be pulled out. This will not only save us stress, cost, and energy but also help us optimise our processes and the country’s security architecture.”

    War: Lagos Suspends Airlifting Of Christian Pilgrims To Israel - DAILY TRUST

    OCTOBER 10, 2023

    By Afeez Hanafi

    The Lagos State Government has suspended airlifting of the second batch of intending pilgrims to Israel due to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

    Some Christians from the state had gone for pilgrimage in Jerusalem and another set of pilgrims were scheduled to be airlifted to Israel on Tuesday, October 10.

    Over 1,000 people have been killed on both sides after Hamas’ Saturday attack and a reprisal by the Israeli forces.

    The Board Secretary of the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB), Mrs. Florence Gbafe, announced the suspension in a statement on Monday, saying that the decision was as a result of keen observation of security situations in Israel.

    According to her, the LSCPWB and the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) will announce a new date for the airlifting of the second batch of the intending pilgrims in due course.

    She said the board regreted any inconvenience the suspension might cause, adding that the intending pilgrims would be duly informed of developments about their journey to the Holy Land.

    She said, “To all on the second batch of pilgrimage to Israel, kindly note that the pilgrimage is now on hold due to the war situation in Israel. Further information will be communicated as and when due please.”

    The executive secretary maintained that the Lagos State Government and the federal government would continue to prioritize the safety of all pilgrims to the holy land and will not expose Nigerians to any situation that will put their security at risk.

    She thanked God for the safety of the first batch of pilgrims from Lagos State who had already concluded their pilgrimage activities on Sunday, revealing that the pilgrims were expected to arrive in Nigeria later today (Monday).


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