Travel News

Cambridge University college hands back looted cockerel to Nigeria - BBC

OCTOBER 27, 2021

The master of a Cambridge University college has described the return of a looted bronze cockerel to representatives of Nigeria as a "momentous occasion".

The statue, known as the "Okukur", was taken by British colonial forces in 1897 and given to Jesus College in 1905 by the father of a student.

decision for it to be returned was made in 2019 after students campaigned.

A ceremony has been held at the college to sign the handover documents.

"It's massively significant," said Sonita Alleyne, master of Jesus College. "It's a momentous occasion."

She said returning the artefact was the "right thing to do" to and said the bronze piece was of "cultural and spiritual significance to the people of Nigeria".

"It's part of their ancestral heritage," Ms Alleyne added.

The college's Legacy of Slavery Working Party concluded in 2019 that the cockerel "belongs with the current Oba at the Court of Benin".

The Oba of Benin is head of the historic Eweka dynasty of the Benin Empire, centred on Benin City in modern-day Nigeria.

Ms Alleyne said the Nigerian delegation would decide how and when to move the Okukur.

The statue was removed from display at the college in 2016 and will be given to Nigeria's National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

Oba of Benin, Omo N'Oba N'Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, said it was hoped others would "expedite the return of our artworks, which in many cases are of religious importance to us".

Delta restores Lagos-New York flight services - THE GUARDIAN

OCTOBER 28, 2021

By Wole Oyebade

Delta Air Lines has disclosed plans to resume nonstop flight services on the Lagos-New York route by December. The American airline will operate nonstop flights between Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport three times a week, effective December 8, 2021.

The airline is making a re-entry just as its counterpart, United Airlines, is also resuming direct flights on Lagos-Washington route on November 29, after about five years hiatus.

Besides the New York routes, Delta will also continue to connect Lagos to Atlanta daily. Delta’s Commercial Director for Africa, Middle East and India, Jimmy Eichelgruen, said with connections to 46 cities at Delta’s JFK hub, “it’s easier for Nigerian customers to reconnect with family, friends and enjoy new experiences across the United States.”

“At pre-pandemic, the U.S. was one of the most popular destinations for Nigerians and we don’t see any signs of this slowing down. We are proud to be the only airline connecting Nigeria nonstop to two destinations in the United States, offering more choice and award-winning service whether traveling for business or leisure,” Eichelgruen said.

Delta has scheduled an Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the JFK route, which features a choice of Delta One, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin seats. Throughout the aircraft, customers will enjoy personal seatback entertainment screens with new premium content and on-demand Wi-Fi for purchase with free mobile messaging.

Delta has maintained safety-focused operations throughout the pandemic and continues to evolve its layers of protection to offer customers a safer travel experience.

Meanwhile, Delta’s new health credential solution, Delta FlyReady, takes the guesswork out of meeting health requirements and syncs to customers’ itineraries to make travel more convenient by enabling most customers traveling to the U.S. to upload a negative test result prior to travel.

Malaysia to ease migrant worker entry restrictions next year - govt report - REUTERS

OCTOBER 29, 2021


Uganda to Fully Reopen Economy January as Vaccination Picks Up - BLOOMBERG

OCTOBER 29, 2021

(Bloomberg) --

Uganda will fully reopen its economy in January after almost two years of control measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, as at least half of the targeted population would have been inoculated, President Yoweri Museveni said.

The East African country expects to have vaccinated 12 million of the targeted 21 million people by end-December, Museveni said in a televised address Thursday night from the capital, Kampala.

“Vaccination is the key to opening the economy, now that the vaccines are available the economy will be opened in January,” he said. Uganda has received more than 9.5 million doses of mainly AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and expects more by year-end, he said.

Schools, bars and entertainment centers have been closed since the virus was first detected in the country in March 2020 and a dusk-to-dawn curfew been enforced to contain the virus.  

Air France-KLM Sees Full-Year Profit on Transatlantic Revival - BLOOMBERG

OCTOBER 29, 2021

(Bloomberg) --

Air France-KLM expects a return to profitability for the full year and is adding transatlantic seats as an easing of travel rules revives prospects for the struggling carrier.

The airline recorded positive free cash flow in the third quarter and is offering 70% to 75% of 2019 network capacity during the final three months of the year, according to a statement Friday. That will exceed the 66% achieved in the July-to-September period. 

While the carrier declined to provide an outlook for 2022 because of uncertainty about the reopening of most Asian countries, it said demand during the summer high season was above expectations. Europe eased border curbs during that time and vaccinations emboldened governments to relax restrictions.

The update is the latest sign the aviation industry may be finally through the worst of the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which grounded much of air travel for the best part of 18 months. Air France-KLM only survived thanks to massive state aid from shareholders France and the Netherlands, though the full opening of crucial routes between Europe and the U.S. starting next month could provide the basis for a sustainable recovery.   

Third-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 796 million euros ($930 million) was positive for the first time since the pandemic began and beat estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The airline expects the figure to be positive in the fourth quarter and slightly positive for the year.

‘Success Story’

Air France-KLM saw a surge in ticket purchases for short and medium-haul flights over the summer as well as for long-haul destinations, which account for about three quarters of profit margins, according to Chief Financial Officer Steven Zaat.

“We’re building up capacity to the U.S. and plan to be at around 90% of the 2019 offer at the end of winter season,” he said on a call. Demand to the U.S. is strong and the long-haul business in the third-quarter “was quite a success story.”

Nevertheless, talks are ongoing between the Dutch government and the European Commission for a further recapitalization package, Zaat said. The carrier is also readying more capital-strengthening measures that could include a rights issue and quasi equity instruments, according to the statement. 

“We are prepared for it, but we are looking for the right conditions,” he said. “We have no liquidity crisis at this company.”

Air France-KLM is in “deep discussions” with manufacturers for a narrow-body jet order, Zaat said, declining to provide any details about when a decision will be reached. Both Airbus SE and U.S rival Boeing Co. are going head to head to win the deal. 

The carrier’s 10.4 billion euros of available liquidity and credit lines “can be considered sufficient, given the continuation of recovery throughout the summer,” the airline said.

Earnings Highlights

  • Third-quarter Ebitda 796 million euros versus -442 million euros
  • Net debt was 8.1 billion euros at September 30, down 2.9 billion euros from end of 2020
  • Net quarterly loss narrowed to 192 million euros from 1.7 billion euros
  • Adj. operating free cash flow reached 278 million euros

EFCC Moves to End Menace of Fake Visa - THISDAY

OCTOBER 29, 2021

By Udora Orizu

Abuja — Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa,yesterday, assured Nigerians of the commission's effort towards tackling the menace of fake visas, by working with embassies with a view to sanitising the process, which has led to increase in the demand for foreign exchange.

This is as the Central Bank of Nigeria has said its ban on sales of forex had begun to yield results.

Bawa gave the assurance in Abuja, at the Roundtable conference on: 'Depreciating value of naira and the Nigerian economy', organised by the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), during which various stakeholders drawn from the academia and Association of Licensed Bureau-de-Change operators frowned at the impacts of the recent policy statement issued by the CBN on over N300 billion investment of the BDCs operators.

The EFCC boss, who was represented by the Director of Operations, Mr. Abdulkareem Chiko, observed that the prevailing economic situation has constrained government's ability and capacity to generate the required revenue and provide the needed infrastructure.

He reiterated the commission's resolve towards the enactment of legislative framework that would help in coordinating and ensuring the return of the looted funds back into the country with a view to addressing the revenue gaps.

"But from all these angle of the commission, there can be a very good contribution if there is a push on the side of the commission to ensure that there is a legislative framework to coordinate and ensure the return of the loots and funds back into the country to address the revenue gap. So, what we are trying to do is have a system whereby you can confirm if this visa is genuine or not there and there, because anybody that wants forex and wants to travel genuinely will go through the process of getting visa.

"That angle of looking at if the visa is genuine or not is not there yet, so you can as well afix any passport or visa on that passport, so it's more like saying just do the needful and I will give you the dollars. But if you are working with embassies, it could make it very easy, there and then, you can send those things and within two or three days, once it's confirmed that it's fake, then EFCC will take over from there and we will get to the root of the matter."

In his presentation, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director, Legal Services, Mr. Kofo Salam-Alada, said the ban on sale of foreign exchange to BDCs operators has been yielding positive results.

While assuring the people that the apex bank would spare no effort towards ensuring the stability of naira, Salam-Alada explained that the stability of the value was the key for investors, who were coming into the country for the projection of their investment.

According to him, "The panelists may not have been aware, a lot has been going on regarding all the associated issues, which we are dealing with. Nobody can be more concerned about this than Central Bank of Nigeria. Why, the Institute that put this together also, is a child of the parliament, its ancillary to the Parliament and the parliament has donated certain powers to Central Bank of Nigeria.

"Section 2 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 sets out the mandate of the Central Bank and one of it is that, we issue legal tender currency and management of foreign reserve to ensure the value of that legal currency, which is the naira.

"You can see that these three things are inter-twin. Nigerian populace has come to ascribe the value of the currency to just the activities of the Central Bank, forgetting the most important part, which is the fiscal part of it. So, these are the things the CBN has been doing.

"It's when you manage liquidity that you can also impact the value of the currency itself. And in doing most of the things we do, apart from what is statutory, there are other fallout of those statutory powers and that's collaboration with other agencies of government."

On his part, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. Saidu Abdullahi,disclosed that the lawmakers would meet with the apex bank to interrogate various intervention programmes initiated by it.

Abdullahi expressed concern over the foreign exchange crisis and huge fund being used for the payment of under recovery.

While affirming that the country was in a very dire situation financially and was in need for deliberate policy to ensure price stability and effective foreign exchange management, the lawmaker stressed the need to measure the performance of CBN in terms of achieving their set out objectives.

Earlier, in his remarks, NILDS Director General, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, while applauding the contributions of the BDCs to economic development, stressed the need for a paradigm shift by ensuring diversification of the country's economy.

He noted that exchange rate policy remained one of the most important indices that shapedeconomic growth, especially, for developing countries.

"With the increasing globalisation, varying factor endowment and the compelling needs to engage in trans-border exchanges, exchange rate has become indispensable in international economic transactions. Most developing countries such as Nigeria depend on import of machineries, spare parts and other finished goods for capital development and consumption purposes.

"These require foreign exchange reserves for build-up to ensure that panic measures are not resorted to when foreign exchange receipts dwindles or when there is disequilibrium in the foreign exchange market caused by inadequate supply of foreign exchange reserve," the DG added.

American Airlines Blames Weather on 1,000-Plus Canceled Flights - BLOOMBERG

OCTOBER 31, 2021

BY  Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- American Airlines Group Inc. canceled more than 1,000 flights this weekend and blamed weather, particularly high winds earlier this week in Dallas, for the disruption. 

The airline scrapped more than 600 flights on Sunday, or about 12% of total flight operations, an American spokeswoman said in an e-mail. That adds to 460 flights nixed on Saturday after weather conditions affected its staffing needs. 

Two days of severe weather, including wind gusts of 50 miles per hour, at its Dallas-Fort Worth hub kept three out of five runways shut, the company said in an Oct. 30 statement. 

The “proactive” cancellations are a “measure to minimize any inconvenience as much as possible,” American said in the statement. “Most of the customers impacted by these changes are being rebooked the same day.”

Hurricanes Have Stalled Thanks to Dry Air and Atmospheric Lull

Air travel is picking up fast following more than a year of Covid-19 restrictions. Airline passenger numbers in the U.S. totaled 1.93 million on Thursday, more than twice the 873,636 figure on the same weekday a year earlier, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Earlier in the week, the Biden administration issued new rules for travelers to the U.S., requiring proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 in addition to a recent negative test for the virus. The moves taking effect Nov. 8 represent the biggest change to U.S. travel policy since the start of the pandemic.

FlightAware data showed American canceled 670 flights on Oct. 31, the most of any airline, and another 95 were delayed. China Eastern Airlines Corp. had the second-most, with 481 cancellations

U.S. City of Newark celebrates Nigeria at 61, hoists Nigeria’s flag - NAN

OCTOBER 31, 2021

The City of Newark in the State of New Jersey, U.S. has celebrated the 61th Independence anniversary of Nigeria and hoisted Nigeria’s flag at the City Hall.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the flag hoisting ceremony was organised by the Office of the Mayor in collaboration with Nigerians In Disapora Organisation (NIDO), New Jersey chapter.

Dr Uzoma Emenike, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, who spoke at the event, paid tributes to Nigerians in the U.S. for their exceptional display of professionalism and competence in various fields of human endeavours.

Emenike said that Nigerians residing in the U.S. had contributed greatly and impacted on the socio-economic development of their host country.

“We have them (Nigerians) as teachers in the classrooms from elementary to tertiary institutions.

“They are doctors; nurses, engineers, lawyers, officers, clergymen and women, entrepreneurs, business owners, restaurateurs, and contractors, and so on,’’ she said.

The envoy said Nigerians had continued to fly the country’s flag higher as they excelled and continued to excel in their various endeavours.

“We remain proud of their achievements and celebrate their contributions, which cut across every nook and cranny of the United States,’’ Emenike said.

According to her, Nigeria and the U.S. have continued to remain strategic partners over the years.

“The U.S. is the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, while Nigeria is the second-largest U.S. export destination in Sub-Saharan Africa with 3.2 billion dollars in 2019.

“The trade in goods between our two countries totalled over 10 billion dollars in the same year.’’

Emenike said the U.S. and Nigeria had a bilateral commercial investment dialogue and Nigeria was eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

“With these indices, the potential for continued Nigeria-U.S. partnership is very bright and huge, and Nigerian missions in the U.S. are committed and determined to build lasting partnerships that would stimulate, sustain and deepen the already existing cordial Nigeria-U.S. relations,’’ the envoy said.

Also speaking, the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, thanked Nigerians living in the City of Newark and State of New Jersey for their contributions to the development of their host country and assured them of the Consulate’s support.

“We are looking forward to continue to work with our compatriots and to ensure that together we attain that state that every Nigerian would want to be.

“You have done excellently well but don’t rest on your oars; we want to see a bigger and more impactful programmes and contributions in 2022,’’ Egopija said.

In his remarks, Dr Barth Shepkong, Chairman, Board of Trustees, NIDO America, enjoined Nigerians to learn from the lessons of the past and work toward building a formidable future.

Shepkong, represented by Dr Josephine Aguoji, Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, NIDO America, urged Nigerians to muster the strength and contribute to the growth of the country.

“Let us muster the strength to set aside ego and personal interest so that we can take advantage of a collective passion for Nigeria that we may turn our dream for a greater country into reality,’’ he said.

Also, the President of NIDO New Jersey chapter, Dr Adeola Popoola, urged Nigerians in the diaspora to celebrate in spite of the challenges in their home country.

Popoola said Nigerians had a lot to celebrate and be proud of, urging them to celebrate their home country in unity, love and togetherness.

Paying tributes to Nigerians living in the U.S., the Mayor of Newark, Ras Baraka, said Nigerians in Newark had contributed immensely to the development of the City.

“I salute Nigerians in Newark as they celebrate the six decades of Nigeria’s independence anniversary and I wish them success in their endeavours,’’ he said.

Represented by the Deputy Mayor, Ligia De Freitas, the Mayor said the U.S. had more than one million Nigerians in the country.

“Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world with more than 150 million population and one million Nigerians have immigrated to the U.S., contributing to our nation’s economy, strength and diversity.

L-R: Dr Adeola Popoola, President of Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) New Jersey Chapter; Aisha Dewa, Minister, Embassy of Nigeria, Washington, DC; Amb. Lot Egopija, Consul-General of Nigeria in New York; Ligia De Freitas, Deputy Mayor, City of Newark; and Dr Uzoma Emenike, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, at the Hoisting of Nigerian Flag at the City of Newark Hall, State of New Jersey in commemoration of Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary

The Mayor said the flag-raising was also to honour some eminent Nigerians for their service to humanity, including Prof. Tijani Muhammed- Bande, President of the UN General Assembly, 74th Session, who has held a long career in international diplomacy and received many awards for his works,’’ he said.

NAN report that Bande received Merit Award for his contributions to humanity while Dr Kalu Ndukire received an award for Medical Philanthropy and Mr Anozie Ugenyi got a Merit Award for helping to coordinate the Nigerian community during COVID-19 lockdown.

NAN also reports that the ceremony was attended by top officials of the City Council, officials of the Consulate in New York, including the Head of Chancery, Mr Yazid Abdul and friends of Nigeria from other countries. (NAN)


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