Travel News

LATAM Airlines says it will exit bankruptcy on Nov. 3 - REUTERS

OCTOBER 16, 2022

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - LATAM Airlines, the biggest carrier in Latin America, said it plans to conclude its exit from bankruptcy on Nov. 3.

"This process will allow the group to emerge more agile, with a more competitive cost structure, adequate liquidity to face the future, with approximately $10.3 billion in equity, and close to $6.9 billion in debt," the company said in a statement late on Friday.

LATAM filed for Chapter 11 in 2020 after airline travel was hammered during the pandemic, and it won court approval that June.

The reorganization plan would inject about $8 billion into the airline through a combination of capital increase, issue of convertible bonds and new debt.

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Editing by David Gregorio)

Sudan Plans $200 Million Airport Revamp; Talks With UAE on Port - BLOOMBERG

OCTOBER 16, 2022

(Bloomberg) --

Sudan is seeking as much as $200 million in investment to revamp an airport in its capital and is also pressing ahead with talks with the United Arab Emirates on a potential port project, its finance minister said.

Authorities are raising funds for the Khartoum airport “mainly from Sudanese sources,” although they’re open to foreign funding, Gibril Ibrahim said in an interview in Washington, where he was attending the International Monetary Fund fall meetings.

He also confirmed there was an agreement “in principle” for the UAE to build a port on the Red Sea and manage it for a certain period. “We need to agree on how long, how do we share the revenue,” he said.

Ibrahim gave no further details, including on the potential cost. Reuters in June reported that the port and free trade zone would be a $4 billion investment.

Sudan’s economy would benefit from such large-scale spending after a coup last year that ousted the civilian members of a power-sharing government spurred Western donors to suspend aid, contributing to a funding crisis. The IMF forecasts Sudanese real gross domestic product will contract 0.3% this year, before expanding 2.6% in 2023.

The October 2021 putsch, which overturned an interim government installed after the 2019 overthrow of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir, derailed a transition that appeared to be a rare bright spot in the Horn of Africa region marked by civil war and tyranny.

Sudan has received “zero” budgetary support from any country since the coup, Ibrahim said, and the stronger US dollar has also had a negative impact on the economy. 

“Food security is an issue because of hikes of oil prices, fertilizers and wheat,” said Ibrahim, a former rebel leader brought into government after a peace deal who retained his ministerial role post-coup.

He also hailed “new momentum” in talks between Sudan’s political factions to agree on a new civilian-led government. A deal that sees the army surrender some of its powers will likely meet the conditions of former donors in the US and Europe to restore assistance, Ibrahim said.

Lufthansa just revealed its new first class suites with closeable doors where passengers can dine at a restaurant-style table on caviar - BUSINESS INSIDER

OCTOBER 16, 2022

  • Lufthansa is updating its long-haul customer experience with a suite of new seats it's calling Allegris.

  • Lufthansa will replace more than 30,000 seats throughout its fleet as part of a $2.5 billion refresh.

  • Take a look at the new suites.

Lufthansa's new first class suites will have closeable doors that offer passengers a private dining experience on caviar and other gourmet foods at a restaurant-style table when the new premium seats debut next year on the German flag carrier's long-haul flights.

New first class suites, business class suites, and economy class sleeper seats will debut in 2023 as part of Lufthansa's nearly $2.5 billion investment in premium products and services.

The new first class and business class suites are being rolled out as part of Lufthansa's new "Allegris" premium product line on long-haul routes.

For the first time in Lufthansa's history, the first class suites will have closeable doors that nearly reach the ceiling. Passengers don't even need to leave their suite to change into their Lufthansa first class pajamas before going to sleep.

The forward-facing seats in the first class suites will be nearly 39 inches wide and can be converted into a bed. Every Lufthansa first class suite will have a large personal wardrobe for storage during the flight.

First class suite passengers can sit restaurant-style across from each other at a large dining table. Caviar service is available as part of the gourmet menu offerings.

A big-screen TV extends across the full width of the suite for in-flight entertainment. Wireless headphones can be connected via Bluetooth.

Lufthansa business class will also get a new front-row suite with higher walls, closing doors, a personal wardrobe, and a 27-inch monitor screen.

The economy class Sleeper's Row also gets new seats with a 40% larger reclining surface.

Lufthansa will replace more than 30,000 seats as part of the largest fleet modernization effort in the company's history.

Flames shot out of the engine of a United Airlines plane after a bird strike, forcing its return to Chicago O'Hare Airport - BUSINESS INSIDER

OCTOBER 16, 2022

  • A United flight made an emergency landing after it hit a bird shortly after takeoff, per abc7.

  • Witnesses told the news channel they could see flames and heard loud noises from the jet's engine.

  • A video posted on Twitter shows United flight 1930 spitting flames out of its left engine.

Flames could be seen coming from the engine of a United Airlines flight after the jet hit a bird shortly after taking off from Chicago O'Hare Airport on Friday morning, witnesses said.

The plane was destined for Miami but had to return to the airport, flight tracking data shows. United confirmed to abc7 that the jet had hit a bird and safely landed at about 11:15 a.m.

A passenger interviewed after finally reaching Miami said the incident had been "very scary."

Witnesses on the ground told the news channel they could see flames coming from United flight 1930 shortly after it took off.

Alison Doshen told abc7 of her "panic and shock": "You could see the one jet engine was on fire and the sound coming from it was extremely loud. I couldn't get to my phone to record anything because I couldn't stop looking at it, trying to figure out where it was going or where it was coming from. It was pretty scary."

A video shared on Twitter appears to show the jet shooting flames from one engine.

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Another Twitter user posted a reply saying her husband was on the flight, alongside a video from the interior of the left engine of a jet sparking flames. Insider couldn't verify whether it was the same plane.

Chris McCullough told abc7 he heard "this tremendous rumble" that shook his home as the plane passed over him in Bensenville. McCullough said the left engine would intermittently shoot out flames during its initial descent.

A United spokesperson said in a statement to Insider: "United flight 1930 returned to Chicago after experiencing a bird strike shortly after take-off. The aircraft landed safely and passengers deplaned at the gate. We assigned a new aircraft to operate this flight, which departed at 1:24 p.m."

The Federal Aviation Administration told abc7 it was investigating the incident.

The FAA didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside normal working hours.

China’s Lockdowns Take Toll on Limping Economy: Eco Week Ahead - BLOOMBERG

OCTOBER 16, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- China’s key economic data this week will likely show a fragile recovery as stringent Covid policies and a property-market slump continue to batter consumer and business confidence.

Official figures on Tuesday are expected to show a mixed picture for the economy in the third quarter. Gross domestic product probably expanded 3.4% from a year earlier, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg, up from near-stagnant growth in the second quarter, when major cities like Shanghai were in lockdown.

September data for retail-sales growth will likely show a slowdown to 3.5% year-on-year as Covid restrictions kept many people at home. Industrial production probably stabilized, though, as higher spending on infrastructure drove up demand for materials such as steel.

Investors are watching closely how growth concerns are addressed as Communist Party officials meet in the next few days to select new leaders at their twice-a-decade congress. President Xi Jinping kicked off the event on Sunday, reiterating that economic development is his party’s “top priority.”

  • Read more: Xi Says China’s Power Has Increased, Warns of ‘Dangerous Storms’

Economists predict China’s growth will slow to just 3.3% this year, much weaker than the official goal of around 5.5%. That would be the biggest miss since the government began setting GDP targets in the early 1990s. Beijing has downplayed the importance of this year’s target, vowing instead to achieve the “best outcome” possible.

A stronger rebound will depend on how soon China eases its zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19. The International Monetary Fund’s top official in China said on Friday that conditions for lifting Covid rules will probably be in place only in the second half of next year.

The People’s Bank of China has taken a measured approach to monetary easing, cutting its key interest rates twice this year and guiding banks to lower lending rates to spur borrowing. On Monday, officials are expected to maintain the rate on one-year policy loans, called the medium-term lending facility, at 2.75% and keep liquidity neutral.

Room for more aggressive easing is limited by the US Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance, with the yuan already having dropped to its weakest levels since 2008 as foreigners sell local assets.

What Bloomberg Economics Says:

“China’s 3Q GDP will likely show only a feeble recovery after growth stalled the prior quarter. Covid Zero, the property slump and power outages likely held back the rebound. Activity data for September should show signs of production stabilizing, while investment ticks up with help from government stimulus.”

--Chang Shu and Eric Zhu. For the full report, click here.

Elsewhere, a likely further acceleration in UK inflation, housing data in the US and a large Turkish rate cut may be among the biggest economic events of the week.

Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what’s coming up in the global economy.


Elsewhere in the region, Reserve Bank of Australia Deputy Governor Michele Bullock will share the bank’s latest views in a speech on Tuesday following the RBA’s recent pivot to smaller rate hikes, while New Zealand inflation figures the same day will show if the central bank’s aggressive rate hikes are starting to rein in prices there.

Japan’s latest inflation figures on Friday are expected to show price growth hitting 3% for the first time since 1991, with the exception of tax-hike years. That will increase scrutiny on the need for the Bank of Japan to continue with rock-bottom interest rates that have pushed the yen to its weakest in 24 years and forced the government to intervene in markets. BOJ board member Seiji Adachi will share his thoughts on policy on Wednesday.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Asia

US Economy

In the wake of hotter US inflation numbers, the economic calendar shifts to housing data, including the National Association of Realtors’ figures Thursday on September sales of previously-owned homes.

Economists project an eighth-straight monthly decline in closings on existing houses as the impact of soaring interest rates falls squarely on residential real estate.

Mortgage rates are at two-decade highs, sidelining many potential buyers as the Fed employs aggressive tightening to beat back the worst inflation in a generation.

Government data on Wednesday is forecast to show a slump in September new home construction as builders dial back production in response to waning demand and higher borrowing costs.

Other data include industrial production, a pair of Fed bank surveys of regional manufacturing activity, and weekly jobless claims. The Fed will also issue its Beige Book of economic conditions around the country. Central bank speakers on the agenda include regional Fed presidents Neel Kashkari, Charles Evans and James Bullard.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the US

Europe, Middle East, Africa

Jeremy Hunt will begin his first full week as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer after the dramatic exit of his predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng, after only 38 days. Prime Minister Liz Truss has scrapped a corporate-tax cut that was part of a radical fiscal package that roiled financial markets.

  • Read more: Hunt Wins Backing of Bailey’s BOE, Leaving Truss Sidelined in the UK

Data will also draw their attention. On Wednesday, inflation is predicted to have accelerated in September to double digits, part of a cost-of-living squeeze that’s likely to intensify as higher mortgage rates feed through. Meanwhile, on Friday, retail sales will probably have dropped.

In the euro zone, consumer confidence the same day will be one of the highlights. It already hit an all-time low last month and is predicted to drop further, shadowed by high energy costs and the war in Ukraine.

Clues on what the European Central Bank might do at its rate meeting later this month may emerge as the pre-decision window closes for policy makers to speak in public. Vice President Luis de Guindos and Chief Economist Philip Lane will be among those scheduled for appearances.

The Turkish central bank will likely deliver another 100 basis-point cut on Thursday, further cementing its outlier status among global central banks. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for single-digit rates by the end of this year despite annual inflation hurtling above 80%.

In Nigeria, data on Monday will likely show inflation quickened in September to more than double the 9% ceiling of the central bank’s target band for a fourth month.

By contrast, price growth in South Africa may have eased for a second successive month in September as gasoline costs declined. It’s still expected to stay above the central bank’s 6% ceiling and will likely prompt the Monetary Policy Committee to increase borrowing costs for a sixth successive meeting in November.

In neighboring Botswana, policy makers will likely hike borrowing costs on Thursday for a fourth straight meeting.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEA

Latin America

The Brazilian central bank’s Focus survey of market expectations gets the week rolling, followed by GDP-proxy data. Extraordinary cash subsidies to low-income households and other measures ahead of Brazil’s presidential elections have analysts marking up their growth forecasts for Latin America’s biggest economy.

From Peru, unemployment figures for the capital, Lima, should show that the megacity’s labor market still isn’t back to pre-pandemic form, while August GDP-proxy data is expected to show the economy slowing dramatically.

Colombia’s output report posted Tuesday will likely confirm that the economy is powering through the fastest inflation in over two decades. Data out Wednesday should show that the Andean nation posted a 56th straight trade deficit in August.

After a solid second quarter and better-than-expected July readings, Argentina’s August output figures due Thursday will likely reflect the drag from a number of gathering headwinds.

Budget data should point to the challenges facing new Economy Minister Sergio Massa, given that the government’s agreed to run a primary deficit of 2.5% of GDP in 2022 and 1.9% next year.

In Mexico, Citigroup Inc.’s Mexican unit, Banamex, posts its market expectations survey Thursday while the national statistics agency reports August retail sales data on Friday.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America

(Updates with Xi speech in fourth paragraph)

International students bring £26bn to UK economy as government looks to reduce their numbers - BUSINESS INSIDER

OCTOBER 17, 2022

International students make a positive contribution of £25.9bn to the UK’s economy, research shows amid news that the government wants to curb the number of foreign students who can stay after finishing their studies.

Every part of the UK financially better off — on average by £390 per person — because of international students' contribution through fees and spending, according to research from the Higher Education Policy Institute, in conjunction with Universities UK.

The home secretary Suella Braverman is expected to consider measures to limit the number of dependants able to accompany international students to Britain, as it reviews migration rules.

Braverman has previously suggested the scale of foreign students coming to the UK to study is too high.

Earlier this October, she told the Sun on Sunday that: “We’ve got a very high number of students coming into this country and we’ve got a really high number of dependents.

“Students are coming on their student visa, but they’re bringing in family members who can piggyback onto their student visa.

“Those people are coming here, they’re not necessarily working or they’re working in low-skilled jobs, and they’re not contributing to growing our economy.”

Universities UK and Universities UK International are calling for the home secretary to retract her comments on international students, and to reaffirm the centrality of international students and their dependents to their own plans for the economic future of the UK.

The research shows that by limiting the number of international students in the UK, every MP stands to lose revenue that these students bring to their own constituencies.

Fareham, Braverman’s constituency, stands to lose up to £20.2m if the number of international students is limited.

In the case of prime minister Liz Truss’ constituency of South West Norfolk, revenue loss could reach £16m.

“The fact that so many international students choose to study in the UK is a real success story, and the UK benefits in many ways from hosting them. International students contribute to the UK’s global connections in trade, politics and in research, and they make an enormous economic contribution too,” CEO of Universities UK Vivienne Stern said.

“For a government focussed on growth, to try to reduce the appeal to international students would be bizarre, especially when you consider that they contribute nearly £26bn to the UK economy — and that this is spread throughout all parts of the UK.

“It is even more bizarre when recent growth in international student numbers has been a direct result of pro-growth government policies and visa changes. We strongly urge the government not to take such a retrograde step,” she added.

Buhari: Nigeria Air To Begin Operations Before End Of 2022 - DAILY TRUST

OCTOBER 17, 2022

By  Muideen Olaniyi

For the first time, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday personally provided an update on the plan to establish a national carrier for Nigeria.

The President spoke on the matter in Abuja while declaring open the third Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organised to evaluate the level of progress made in the implementation of the Nine Priority Agenda of his administration.

Buhari said the establishment of Nigeria Air is at 91 per cent completion, and is expected to commence flight operations before the end of this year.

He said the feat is being boosted with the certification of Lagos and Abuja international airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization, while Kano and Port Harcourt Airports are undergoing similar certification processes.

The President said “high-impact projects” had been implemented across the country to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

He highlighted progress made in the areas of agriculture, economy, infrastructure, security, health, anti-corruption among others.

Buhari told participants and guests at the retreat, including the Keynote Speaker and immediate past President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, that over 3,800 kilometres of roads had been constructed across the country, while 38 new aircraft were acquired for the Nigerian Air Force to boost the fight against insurgency.

He added that 38.7 million Nigerians had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, representing 35 per cent of the total eligible population target for vaccination.

On infrastructure, the President said: “In recognition of the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and the quest of this administration to leave a lasting legacy, we have implemented high-impact projects across the length and breadth of the country that meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

“Some of the notable achievements include the completion of 326km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line and railway ancillary facilities; the completion of over  156.5km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway modernization project with extension to Lagos Port, Apapa.

“On road projects, this administration has constructed 408Km of roads; 2,499Km of SUKUK roads and maintenance of 15,961Km of roads across the country.

“Key among these projects are the construction of 1.9km 2nd Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta States with 10.30km approach road; rehabilitation, construction and expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan dual carriageway; the ongoing rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road, among others.”

Senate President Ahmed Lawan delivered goodwill messages at the retreat.

FG to complete Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in December - PUNCH

OCTOBER 19, 2022

The Director, South-West, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Adedamola Kuti, has said that the inward and outward sections of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will be completed on or before December 2022.

The PUNCH, in August, reported the challenges encountered by travellers when approaching Alausa in Ikeja, from Magboro. Some of these travellers spend hours on a journey that ordinarily should not be up to an hour.

Speaking with our correspondent in Lagos, Kuti said, “The entire Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, both inward and outward Lagos, will be completed in December 2022.”

Giving an update on the road construction, Kuti said the traffic gridlock on the axis was normal and would last till the end of the ongoing construction on the busy road.

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He said, “You can’t expect less from a road that is under construction and at the same time being used by people. Of course, there will be traffic and one thing people should know is that this particular highway is the busiest in the whole of West Africa.

“So, whatever people are experiencing there now is something we expected, because this road carries the whole traffic of all the 36 states.”

Giving reasons as to why the traffic on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was bad, he further said, “Coming on four-lane into a construction zone, and in that construction zone, you can’t speed, the allowable speed in a construction zone is 30km/h. But now, we are not getting that 30km/h because when you stay longer, it is either a vehicle must have broken down, most especially at the diversion area.”

Kuti added, “Some of them, in trying to divert, will be struggling with each other and in the process, there will be an accident. Some even stop by to pick up passengers, while some people do petty business in the same area.”

Speaking further, he noted that if not for the above reasons mentioned, the road would be a continuous zone.

“One of the delays is the rain; it slows activity and the progress of work,” he stressed.

Australia advises citizens against travelling to Nigeria - PREMIUM TIMES

OCTOBER 19, 2022

According to the advisory on the Australian High Commission's website, there have been significant casualties and widespread damage to infrastructure caused by severe flooding.

ByChiamaka Okafor

The Australian government has advised its citizens not to travel to Nigeria.

In a travel advisory issued Wednesday, the Australian government listed flooding, terrorism and kidnapping as some of the reasons for the advisory.

According to the advisory on the Australian High Commission’s website, there have been significant casualties and widespread damage to infrastructure caused by severe flooding and as such essential services may be disrupted.

Nigerian authorities have announced over 500 deaths from floods that have affected about half of the country’s 36 states. Millions of people have also been displaced by the floods.

In its advisory, the Australian government advised its citizens to follow the advice of local authorities and check the media for updates.

Apart from flooding, Australia also mentioned the high crime rate in parts of Nigeria as a reason for the advisory.

“The potential for terrorism, kidnapping, crime and civil unrest remains high throughout Nigeria. If, despite our advice, you undertake travel within Nigeria, research routes and get professional security advice and support before departing,” it advised.

The government advised that its citizens should reconsider the need to travel to Nigeria, including the capital Abuja and surrounding areas, due to high threats of terrorist attack and kidnapping, the volatile security situation, possible violent civil unrest and high levels of violent crime.

It noted that people who have to travel to Nigeria are at risk of terrorist attacks, kidnappings violent civil unrest and crime.

The advisory stated that violent crime is common in Nigeria, including in parts of Lagos and Abuja. Politically-motivated violence, including terrorist bombings and armed attacks on both security forces and innocent bystanders, can occur throughout Nigeria, the Australian government said.

“Police maintain patrols and checkpoints in many locations in Nigeria, including in Abuja and at city entry points. Police officers or people posing as police officers may ask for bribes,” it noted.

It further warned its citizens living in Nigeria or visiting not to drive at night, due to the presence of official and unofficial checkpoints noting that intimidation may be used, including a display of weapons.

Although insecurity is commonplace in many parts of Nigeria, there are also several parts of the country where the crime rate is very low.

Some of the areas most affected by insecurity are the North-west and North-east states where terrorists operate, as well as the South-east states where armed insurgents carry out routine attacks.

Chiamaka Okafor is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.

Nigerian students, dependants contribute £1.9bn to UK – Report - PUNCH

OCTOBER 20, 2022

Nigerian students and their dependants in the United Kingdom have contributed an estimated £1.9bn to the economy of the UK in one year, according to an analysis by SBM Intelligence.

The data covered the 2021/2022 academic session.

In the data made available to our correspondent on Wednesday,  it was estimated that a sum of £680,620,000 was reportedly paid as school fees with a total of £54.3m paid in taxes by working spouses of the students.

Further analysis of the data also revealed an estimated sum of £41.7m paid as health insurance; £408.37m was paid as rent while a total of £151.26m was paid as national insurance.

The PUNCH had earlier reported how foreign universities abroad profited from the gross underfunding of tertiary institutions in the country.

For instance, Nigerians spent $609.5m to acquire foreign education between January and August 2022. This was based on data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The PUNCH reports that Nigerians have continued to troop in their numbers in pursuit of foreign academic qualifications; for many of them, it is a means of leaving the country.

Recent data released by the Home Office of the United Kingdom revealed that the number of study visas released to Nigerians increased by 222.8 per cent to 65,929 in June 2022 from 20,427 in the same period of 2021.

The PUNCH reports that education in Nigeria, especially in tertiary education, has been marred by industrial actions.

The PUNCH reports that the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation observed that about 76,338 Nigerians were studying abroad as of 2018, the highest from an African country.

An education activist and Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, who had spoken to our correspondent earlier, listed poor government policies as some of the reasons Nigerians seek better opportunities abroad.


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