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Dubai flights: Passengers from 5 countries can't travel as rapid PCR test facilities not available - KHALEEJ TIMES

SEPTEMBER 01, 2021

UAE resumed visit visas, entry permits this week for previously restricted countries.

Emirates airline has said that travel is currently not possible for passengers heading to Dubai as their final destination from Bangladesh, Nigeria, Vietnam, Zambia and Indonesia as there are no rapid PCR testing facilities at the airports.

A fresh travel update on the Dubai carrier's website said:

'For passengers travelling to Dubai as their final destination from Bangladesh, Nigeria, Vietnam, Zambia and Indonesia travel is currently not possible as there are no rapid PCR testing facilities at the airport.'

However, all residents from the above five countries are allowed to travel to Dubai - according to the guidelines issued by Emirates - if they meet all the Covid-19 testing requirements.

Malik Bedekar, operations manager, Smart Travels, had told Khaleej Times that there is very high demand for travellers from Bangladesh. “However, the SOP for travellers and tourist visa holders from the South Asian country is still unclear,” he said. “Once airlines clarify these rules, I predict airfares should go up again.

UAE residents travelling from 10 countries need approval before flying to Dubai - THE NATIONAL NEWS

SEPTEMBER 01, 2021

Emirates airline says passengers from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are among those who must apply to the GDRFA or ICA before travel

BY  Gillian Duncan

UAE residents from any emirate can now fly to Dubai, according to regulations introduced this week.

However, some, depending on where they are flying from, must seek permission first before they can travel.

The rule covers most of the 14 countries from which travel was previously banned to the UAE earlier this year, due to a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases, but not all.

So, which are they?

The National explains.

From which countries do UAE residents need approval to fly to Dubai?

Residents returning from 10 countries must first seek permission from either the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, or the GDRFA, if they live in Dubai, or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, or ICA, if they live elsewhere in the country.

The 14 countries from where travel was previously banned to the UAE are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Namibia, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and South Africa.

According to Emirates airline, the 10 countries from that list from which residents must first seek permission before returning are:

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • South Africa
  • Uganda
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Indonesia

Where is permission not necessary from?

Permission is not required for those travelling from Nepal, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia.

What about tourists from the 10 countries?

No, the rule only applies to UAE residents.

Do residents have to be vaccinated to fly to Dubai?

No. Dubai sets its own immigration and coronavirus rules and does not require residents to be vaccinated in order to return.

What are the rules in Abu Dhabi?

All incoming passengers must register with the ICA before boarding flights and should have the approval to travel before flying.

Starting August 27, passengers are now required to submit their details on the ICA platform before checking in. After registration, they will receive a QR code, which will be required to board any flight to the UAE capital.

The new rules apply to all travellers flying into Abu Dhabi, except UAE citizens and those transiting directly to another country. There are separate rules in place for anyone flying from a destination on the UAE’s flight ban list.

Holders of 'all visas' now allowed to fly to Dubai

Any passengers planning to fly to the UAE capital and continue on to Dubai or another emirate must also receive approval from the ICA to fly. Children and infants are not exempt and must be registered by their parents before travel.

Any passengers who have been vaccinated outside of the UAE should register and upload their documents for approval at least five days in advance of travel, according to Etihad Airways.

This will allow UAE authorities to review the travellers' documents to assess whether they qualify for Al Hosn app's Green Pass.

People who have been fully vaccinated in the UAE do not need to upload vaccine certificates to the platform, but all other ICA registration details must be completed.

What is the rule in other emirates?.

Air Arabia said passengers from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka who are travelling on e-visas need to provide proof that they are vaccinated against Covid when flying to Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.

They must wait at least 14 days after receiving the second dose of a Covid vaccine in the UAE. Proof must be shown in the form of a vaccination certificate, and their Al Hosn app must also be green. Registration via ICA is also mandatory before flying.


International Students Flock to London, Race for Scarce Housing - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 01, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- International students are returning to the U.K. capital this month, overcoming pandemic-era hurdles such as quarantine. Their enthusiasm means one old problem for new Londoners -- the capital’s fierce rental market -- has also gotten harder to navigate.

Applicant registrations have almost doubled in the last couple of weeks, said Amelia Greene, a director in the prime lettings team at estate agent Savills Plc. International students recently made up 70% of applicants through property websites for the east London district of Canary Wharf, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Some agents are finding this swell of interest is starting to push up rents.

“The student market is well and truly back, more so than in 2019. This is the busiest market I’ve worked in and I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” said Lauren Hatcliff, director of lettings at JLL Canary Wharf.

The return of students both domestic and international will come as a relief for London landlords after the pandemic confined many potential renters to online classes at home. With restrictions on socializing now lifted across the U.K., most universities have committed to provide an element of face-to-face teaching in the new academic year. “It almost feels like we’ve got two years’ worth of students all wanting to move in September,” Greene said. 

Landlords Retreat

The race for a place to stay has been exacerbated by a lack of suitable properties. Some landlords took advantage of the U.K. Government’s stamp duty tax break, which began to taper off in June, to sell their student lets and other rental properties. 

“We’re seeing a real stock shortage at pretty much every price point with a huge influx of students, people returning to the office and international relocation, so we’re getting multiple bids on properties starting to push rents up,” Greene said.

“The high level of demand has quickly driven rents up open market by 15% in the past two months and they are now close to their pre-pandemic levels,” said David Salvi, director of London estate agent Hurford Salvi Carr. He said students are showing a preference for apartment blocks with concierge and other facilities.

Many international students are having to sign contracts, and even pay 12 months of rent, without viewing the properties in person first, knowing that if they wait too long they’ll likely be snapped up.

“There’s a lot of video viewings, WhatsApp viewings, Facetime viewings -- it’s becoming more common for people who aren’t even in the country. The market’s so fast paced,” Hatcliff said. “It was quite rare before.”

Affluent areas surrounding Imperial College London including South Kensington, Sloane Square and Earl’s Court are proving popular with overseas students, according to Ed Phillips, chief sales officer of Foxtons Group Plc’s letting business. 

“It’s a case of you snooze you lose,” Greene said. “It’s a perfect storm in that there’s a shortage of stock and a high volume of applicants all at once.”

Nigeria’s Azman Air Starts Flying Its Airbus A340 Commercially - SIMPLY FLYING

SEPTEMBER 01, 2021

byMark Finlay


While most airlines are replacing four-engined widebodies for more fuel-efficient twin-engine jets, Nigeria’s Azman Air has decided to fly an Airbus 340-600. After completing its certification with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the aircraft registration number 5N-AAM is ready to begin commercial operations.

Azman Air Airbus A340-600
The Azman Air A340-600 used to belong to Virgin Atlantic. Photo: Azman Air

The NCAA issued the aircraft type certification following proving flights to Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS) in Senegal and Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau, the Bahamas. Before being acquired by Azman Air in early 2020, the plane had been flying for Virgin Atlantic since 2006.

The aircraft used to belong to Virgin Atlantic

Deciding to operate with a large 409 seat aircraft is a big move for Azman Air. Before its delivery, the aviation statistics and data website ch-aviation lists Azman Air as having a fleet of six older Boeing 737s. The talk was that Azman Air would use the quadjet for international flights from Nigeria to Dubai, Jeddah, and China.

Azman Air A340
Azman Air only has one A340 but could be looking for more. Photo: Azman Air

Looking at flight tracking ADS-B data on RadarBox.com we can see that the aircraft flew to Dushanbe International Airport (DYU) in Tajikistan on August 26, 2021. According to ch-aviation the aircraft has been recruited to help transport Afghan refugees to Europe.

Afghans have fled to Tajikistan

Since the fall of Kabul, thousands of former Afghan military, police, and people who deem themselves in danger of Taliban reprisals have fled to neighboring countries. Tajikistan borders Afghanistan to the north and has opened its borders to Afghans looking to escape the Taliban.

The A340-600 is being used to transport Afghan refugees in Tajikistan. Image: RadarBox.com

News of Tajikistan’s involvement in helping to resettle Afghanis in third countries was first made public by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on August 20th, 2021. Now even though the airlift from Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL) is over, hundreds if not thousands are still waiting to be resettled in new countries.

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About Azman Air

Based at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (KAN) in Kano, Nigeria, Azman Air is a privately owned airline belonging to Nigerian businessman Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina. Before the arrival of the former Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600, Azman Air flew domestic flights with two Boeing 737-300s and four Boeing 737-500s.

Citing a safety advisory from Nigerian regulators, Azman Air suspended all flights in March for six weeks. It later came to light that NCAA had grounded Azman Air following three incidents involving the undercarriage on Azman’s Boeing 737s. A failure to report the incidents properly and a lack of proper maintenance records made the decision easy for the NCAA.

Driver Returns Bag Containing $40,000, Other Valuables - CHANNELS TV

SEPTEMBER 01, 2021

A driver conveying passengers from the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos Terminal II (MMA2), has returned a bag containing the sum of $40,000.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) on Wednesday.

There were also bundles of local currency, jewelry and other valuables worth millions of naira forgotten inside the bus.

According to BASL, the bag belonged to a prominent Nigerian who boarded an Arik Air flight from MMA2 to Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital on Monday, August 30.

“At about 1510hrs of 30th August 2021, a black bag that was forgotten inside a coaster bus, used for conveying passengers at the Airside, with the number plate BDG 689 GW, was picked up by the driver of the bus, Mr. Emmanuel Eluu,” the statement read in part.

The bag has, however, now been returned to the owner by operators of the terminal.

Covid-19: Bulgaria revises entry requirements for Romanians, Spain adds Bucharest, Ilfov to risk list - ROMANIA INSIDER

SEPTEMBER 01, 2021

Bulgaria, a popular tourism destination for many Romanians, and Spain, where a large community of Romanians live, have revised their entry requirements for Romanian citizens.

FILE - A view of an empty check-in departures hall in Burgas Airport on October 17, 2020, in Sarafovo, Bulgaria.© Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images FILE - A view of an empty check-in departures hall in Burgas Airport on October 17, 2020, in Sarafovo, Bulgaria.

Starting September 1, Romanian citizens arriving from Romania to Bulgaria need to show, besides their travel documents, one of the following: the EU Covid-19 certificate showing the holder is vaccinated against Covid-19 or a similar document including the same info as the EU certificate; the EU Covid-19 certificate showing the holder recovered from Covid-19 or a similar document including the same info as the EU certificate; the EU Covid-19 certificate showing the holder tested negative or a similar document including the same info as the EU certificate.

Among those exempt from the requirement to show the EU Covid-19 certificate are those who transit Bulgaria, if they leave the country’s territory quickly, and children younger than 12, the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) explained.

Starting August 30, travelers arriving from Bucharest or Ilfov county in Spain, via air or ferry routes, need to show the EU Covid-19 certificate showing the holder is vaccinated, recovered from the illness or tested negative for Covid-19, the Romanian Embassy in Spain announced. They also need to fill in the electronic form in the Spain Travel Health app or available at www.spth.gob.es.

The requirement comes as Spain placed Bucharest and Ilfov county on its list of risk countries/areas. The list is revised every seven days.

Children younger than 12 are exempt from the requirement of showing the EU certificate, but an adult needs to fill in the health control form for them. Travelers arriving from other areas of Romania have to comply with the previous requirements and fill in the health control form.

Ontario to require proof of vaccination for certain indoor settings from Sept. 22 - YAHOO NEWS

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

BY  Alicja Siekierska

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has unveiled a vaccination certification system that will require people show proof they have received a COVID-19 vaccine before entering some indoor spaces. 

The system will go into effect on Sept. 22 and will be required for entry to indoor spaces, including restaurants, bars, meeting and events spaces, gyms, casinos, concerts, music festivals and theatres. The full list of indoor settings is available on the Government of Ontario website. The requirements do not apply to outdoor settings, including patios. 

To begin, the province will require people show vaccine receipts that they received along with photo identification, but the plan is to shift to a registered QR code system that can be displayed on a phone by Oct. 22. 

"This is what we have to do right now in the face of a fourth wave because these certificates are necessary to keep our hospitals safe and to avoid another lockdown," Ford said at a press conference Wednesday. 

"This is the right decision for our kids, for our businesses and all Ontarians." 

Retail stores, salons, and places of worship will not fall under the vaccine system. Employees at the indoor spaces on the list will not be required to provide proof of vaccination. 

The province has been facing growing pressure in recent weeks to introduce a proof-of-vaccination system, as cases of COVID-19 rise in the province and the highly contagious Delta variant raises concerns about a potential fourth wave.

Ford had previously resisted calls to introduce a vaccine passport system, telling reporters "we're not going to have a split society." Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott had also previously said that the vaccine receipt was enough proof of vaccination and that so-called "smart card" systems may be susceptible to fraud.

On Wednesday, Ford said that he – along with other provincial leaders – had been pushing the federal government to introduce a national vaccine passport, but the province could no longer wait for the government. 

Questions remain for businesses

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which represents 95,000 small businesses across the country, said its members are divided when it comes to proof of vaccination systems. 

Ryan Mallough, the CFIB's senior director of provincial affairs for Ontario, said businesses still have many questions about the province's system, including regarding how enforcement will work, who is responsible for potential fraud, whether any training will be provided for businesses, and if there are protections for businesses against potential human rights challenges or privacy lawsuits. 

"We do need some clarify around those issues and some additional financial support," Mallough said. 

"This is a new role that businesses and their employees are being asked to take on in terms of becoming vaccination screeners for the province... After 18-months of lockdowns and significant restrictions, the funding for that isn't necessarily there." 

Mallough also said the CFIB would like to see capacity restrictions that are currently in place for many businesses lifted alongside the introduction of the vaccine certification system. 

While the provincial system won't go into effect until later this month, some businesses, organizations and post-secondary institutions have taken matters into their own hands and are requiring proof of vaccination.

Some industry groups, such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, have urged the province to implement a vaccine certificate system that it says would help prevent another province-wide lockdown. Daniel Safayeni, the vice president of policy at the Ontario Chamber, said in an interview that the group is supportive of the vaccine certification system, but that the province could have provided additional guidance when it comes to workplace vaccination policies. 

"We are concerned that a lack of guidance is actually going to disproportionately burden small businesses with the task of creating, implementing and enforcing their own employee vaccination policies and that's ultimately going to lead to a patchwork of inconsistent policies across the province," Safayeni said. 

While the province's leaders had resisted implementing a proof-of-vaccination system, a recent Yahoo/Maru Public Opinion poll showed that a majority of Canadians were in favour of such a system. According to the poll, 77 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of having an identification system that shows whether someone is fully vaccinated or not.

A recent Yahoo/Maru poll found that most Canadians are in favour of some form of proof of vaccination.
A recent Yahoo/Maru poll found that most Canadians are in favour of some form of proof of vaccination.

Quebec's vaccine passport system went into effect today, requiring customers to show proof of vaccination in order to access non-essential businesses and events.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

Emirates extends suspension of Nigerian flights to September 19 - THE NATIONAL NEWS

SEPTEMBER 03, 2021

Travel to and from Nigeria remains suspended as there is no testing facility available at Lagos airport

Emirates has extended its suspension of flights to Nigeria until at least September 19.

The Dubai airline previously announced last month that its passenger services to Nigeria would be suspended until September 5.

However, in response to a passenger query on Twitter, Emirates said flights to and from Nigeria would remain suspended for a further two weeks.

“Our flights from Lagos are further suspended until 19th September. We're in the process of updating our website with this information,” Emirates Support said on Twitter.

Emirates' website says customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days will not be permitted on any Emirates flights bound for Dubai.

The airline advises passengers affected by the changes to contact Emirates regarding rebooking.

Separately, the airline said travel to and from Nigeria remains suspended as there is no testing facility available at the airport in Lagos, after another passenger asked Emirates Support if someone could travel to Dubai.

The same rules apply to passengers from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Zambia and Indonesia, where there are also no rapid PCR testing facilities at the airports.

However, UAE residents can seek permission from either the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, GDRFA, if they live in Dubai, or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, ICA, if they live elsewhere in the country, to return from Nigeria.

Passenger services between the UAE and Nigeria have been subject to restrictions since March.

Nigeria has reported more than 191,805 infections and close to 2,500 deaths since February last year, but the actual figures are believed to be higher, in part because of low testing rates.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said infection rates have risen since it detected the delta variant in July.

As of Monday this week, 2.8 million people had received a first vaccine dose, according to the agency in charge of the roll-out, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

Nigerian authorities plan to vaccinate at least 110 million people over the next two years.

Agence France Presse news agency reported this week that two southern Nigerian states were trying to introduce Covid-19 vaccine passes for access to public places and gatherings, in a bid to overcome vaccine hesitancy and increase inoculation rates in Africa's most populous nation.


Lagos airport to end 13 years airfield blackout - THE GUARDIAN

SEPTEMBER 03, 2021

By Wole Oyebade


All things being equal, the waiting game will soon be over for airfield lighting and night operations for Runway 18L at the busy Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.

The Guardian learnt that a fresh move to end the blackout has commenced with the award of a fresh contract to install the critical facility in about six months.

The Runway 18L that services the local airport was rehabilitated in 2008 but without provision for airfield lighting. The contract for the expansion and resurfacing of the local airport runway was awarded to P.W. Nigeria Limited at N3.56 billion.

In the last 13 years, operators have described the local airport as an “operational nightmare”, especially during nightfall or bad weather.

Scheduled carriers recently told The Guardian that though they had managed to cover up the sheer lapses for years, emerging demands in schedule reliability have made infrastructure-induced delays and losses unbearable.

Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, recently at the inspection of the Lagos Airport, said the 18L runway has been delayed because of an existing contract that has been an impediment for many years.

“Finally, the honorable minister has graciously accepted to resolve that issue that has been protracted and he has agreed to grant us approval to quickly procure a new lighting system. You know FAAN is a government agency; we cannot work and procure a new project when there is an existing one on the same facility.

“So, many things you see that are delayed, are not delayed because of negligence or lack of attention; it is because we have to follow due process. In two years, we couldn’t resolve the issues, so we decided to let the ministry resolve it and get us approval to procure the lights. And within six months, we will install the lighting and the runway is expected to operate 24 hours. It has all been agreed in principle. We are just waiting for implementation,” Yadudu said.

Given the prime position of the facility, operators had regretted that the domestic runway has abysmally short flight hours daily, and is readily shut at sunset.

At nightfall (from 6:00p.m), all Lagos-bound domestic carriers are diverted to the international section (18R), and made to taxi about four kilometres back to the domestic terminal, which costs extra fuel and flight disruptions.

Yadudu said besides the runway that needed attention, taxiway Bravo had been yearning for repairs until lately.

“For the last two years since I became MD FAAN, our primary targets are the airfield lighting on runway 18L and then taxiway Bravo. We thank God, now, the taxiway is 95 per cent done.

“I am not aware of any court case on the lighting project. It is just that there is an existing contract on it that was issued many years ago. We don’t know much about it, so I cannot say much about it. The ministry has resolved the first one and has taken over, freeing FAAN now with an approval to quickly resolve it because it is a critical requirement,” Yadudu said.

Motorists driving with earphones risk six months in jail –FRSC : - PUNCH

SEPTEMBER 05, 2021

BY  Kayode Oyero


The Federal Road Safety Corps says it is illegal to receive or make telephone calls while driving, regardless of any wireless gadget used for such communication.

The FRSC also said drivers who make or receive calls behind the wheels with AirPods, EarPods or any form wired or wireless earphones and handsfree mode risk six months in jail.

FRSC Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, said driving requires total concentration and road users should not take any risk on their lives.

He said it is illegal to make calls or receive same while driving, according to the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012.

Kazeem said, “It is illegal. Driving entails 100 per cent concentration so you cannot be distracted. It is there in the regulation.

 “It is clear from the provisions of Reg 166 (1) that it is illegal to make phone call using EarPods earphone or whatever means.

“It is also clear that phone call is not restricted to telephone conversation between two or more people.

“Anything that will distract you while driving must be avoided. When we do public enlightenment, we even discourage drivers talking to passengers which could cause distraction.

“The law may not make it an offence but at the same time, it can distract you, even changing your cassette (while driving) can distract you and result to accident.”

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