Travel News

Pre-flight testing reduces risk of COVID-19 infections – Report - PUNCH

SEPTEMBER 15, 2021

BY  Stephen Agwaibor

A new study by Delta, an American legacy carrier, has said that the risk of exposure to COVID-19 while traveling after all passengers tested negative 72 hours in advance of flight was less than 0.1 per cent.

The study was based on real-world customer data on Delta’s COVID-tested flight corridors between New York-JFK, Atlanta and Italy’s Fiumicino International Airport.

A statement from the airline said the peer-reviewed study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed that a single COVID-19 molecular test performed within 72 hours of departure could decrease the rate of people actively infected onboard a commercial aircraft to a level that was significantly below active community infection rates.

For example, when the average community infection rate was at 1.1 per cent, infection rates on COVID-19-tested flights were 0.05 per cent.

Delta’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Henry Ting, said, “We are going to live with COVID-19 variants for some time.

“This real-world data – not simulation models – is what governments around the world can use as a blueprint for requiring vaccinations and testing instead of quarantines to re-open borders for international travel.

“Air travel risk varies depending on case rates and vaccination rates at the origin and destination, masking and other factors.

“The data collected from this study show that the routine use of a single molecular test within 72 hours before international travel for unvaccinated individuals significantly mitigates the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission during airline travel.”

Ting added that the real-world experience and testing protocol demonstrated that a very low risk of infection transmission was possible, confirming previous simulation models of viral transmission on planes.

He said, “When you couple the extremely low infection rate on board a COVID-19-tested flight with the layers of protection on board including mandatory masking and hospital-grade air filtration, the risk of transmission is less than one in one million between the United States and the United Kingdom, for example.”

He added that the numbers would improve further as vaccination rates increase and new cases decreased worldwide.

MBA rankings: Schools in Egypt, Nigeria and SA on the list - UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

Five African business schools are among 286 institutions globally that offer the world’s best Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree programmes, according to QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a major ranking provider of analytics and other insights on the higher education sector worldwide.

In the QS Global MBA Rankings 2022 that were released on 9 September, the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and the AUC School of Business at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, were ranked in the category of 111-120 globally, but tied in the first position in Africa.

Wits Business School at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa was the third-best business school in Africa, listed in the category 151-200, while Lagos Business School at the University of Lagos in Nigeria and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria in Egypt completed the list of the top business schools in Africa. They were placed in the category of 251+.

Globally, three schools in the United States took the top three positions. Stanford Graduate School of Business at the University of Stanford was named the world’s number one MBA programme for the second consecutive year, while the second slot was taken by Harvard Business School, and third by Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Other business schools that were among the top 10 included HEC Paris, France; MIT Sloan School of Management in the US; London School of Business and INSEAD at Fontainebleau in France, in that order. IE Business School in Madrid, Spain; Columbia Business School in the US and IESE Business School in Spain were also in the leading group.

Specialised masters degrees

But, whereas researchers at QS Quacquarelli Symonds had ranked the strongest business schools worldwide that offered full-time MBAs, they also classified five specialised masters degrees that are commonly offered in most business schools globally.

According to Simona Bizzozero, the director of communications at QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the QS Business Masters Rankings 2022 portfolio evaluated five offerings: masters in business analytics, masters in marketing, masters in management, masters in finance and masters in supply chain management.

In this aspect, the Mediterranean School of Business in Tunisia was the only business school in Africa which was ranked for its masters in business analytics. It was placed in the category 91-100.

Wits Business School’s masters in management programmes was in number 57 globally, while similar programmes at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport and Rabat Business School were both in the group of 151+.

AUC Business School’s masters in finance programme was placed in the 121-130 category, while that of the Mediterranean School of Business was in the group of 131-140.

Similar finance programmes offered at Morocco’s Rabat School of Business and the First Public Business School, or Groupe ISCAE Casablanca, were both in the category of 151+.

The best masters programme in marketing in Africa was offered by the Mediterranean School of Business which was in the category of 61-70, while those offered at Rabat School of Business and Groupe ISCAE were placed in the 101+ group.

According to the QS Business Masters Rankings 2022, the masters in supply chain management programme at the Mediterranean School of Business was the most highly ranked degree in the five selected business studies options in Africa as it was in position 47th globally, while two similar programmes offered at Groupe ISCAE and Rabat School of Business were in the category of 51+.

Each of the business masters rankings was compiled according to institutional programme performance in five key metrics, namely, employability, entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, return on investment, thought leadership, and class and faculty diversity.

According to Nunzio Quacquarelli, the chief executive officer at QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the objective of the QS Business Masters Rankings 2022 was to respond to the increasing interest in various disciplines by providing independent and trusted comparative data to the world’s students.

“In this way, we established that a masters degree in supply chain management follows data analytics, marketing, finance, and management as being a highly desirable qualification for employers, and a sensible next study step for those wishing to elevate their career to new heights,” said Quacquarelli in a briefing on 9 September.

Demand expected to grow

The importance of ranking of business schools that offer MBAs and other business-related courses is that demand for those degrees has steadily increased, both from employers and students.

According to Jack Moran, a senior public relations manager and a member of the rankings steering committee at QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the number of students who do MBAs and other masters degrees in the five key business studies options is expected to increase in years ahead.

The issue is that companies around the world are expected to hire managers and other business executives who can optimise and innovate their supply chains in greater numbers, while those seeking to engage in e-commerce start-ups would be looking for skills and knowledge from some of the best business schools and programmes in order to succeed.

But, in the context of the African region, the picture is not all that rosy, especially in most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where, outside South Africa, only Lagos Business School was ranked.

Emirates Launches First Airline Virtual Reality App - THISDAY

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

BY  Nosa Alekhuogie

Emirates has launched the first airline virtual reality app in Oculus store which allows its customers experience its’ fully-enclosed Game-changer First Class Suites, explore the airline’s signature A380 Onboard Lounge, or check out the cabin around your own seat from the comfort of your home.

The Virtual Reality (VR) app is available on emirates.com to anyone with an internet connection, via the Emirates app, and now on the Oculus Store for Oculus Rift users.

With this latest innovation, the airline has taken the next step in its ambition to reach and engage audiences around the world with cutting-edge VR technology.

Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand, Boutros Boutros, in a press statement said: “Emirates aims to provide innovative and outstanding customer experiences whether onboard, on the ground, or in the digital space. In 2018, we were the world’s first airline to introduce advanced web VR technology on our digital platforms, offering our customers an immersive opportunity to learn about the fantastic Emirates experience that awaited them before they stepped on board. We’ve continued to invest and develop that experience, and today we are delighted to be the first airline to launch a fully-fledged Oculus VR app.

“This initiative expands our global reach and ability to engage with our audiences across digital platforms. It is also particularly relevant right now, as many people have not travelled for a while due to the pandemic, and are seeking inspiration and researching and rediscovering their flight options.”

The airline further revealed that it was created in partnership with technology company Renacen, and customers can now navigate through Economy, Business and First Class cabins.

“In future developments, Emirates plans to offer customers the ability to explore destinations, select a cabin, book and pay for their Emirates flight from within the Emirates Oculus VR app.

Currently, users can explore the following Emirates’ VR experiences via the Emirates Oculus VR app on the Oculus Store; offering users accurate, life size and interactive cabin interior experiences onboard Emirates’ flagship A380 aircraft and Boeing 777-300ER Game-changer aircraft.

Emirates.com on PCs, mobile devices or the Emirates app for iOS and Android: An immersive 3D, web VR and 360 degree view of Emirates’ Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 aircraft cabin interior. Customers can explore their seats before checking in online with the 3D seat map. The tool allows customers to navigate from one seat to another, and even allows would-be customers to book their preferred seats from within the 3D environment. Users can also enjoy hands-free cabin navigation and seat selection by using any VR headset like Google Cardboard,” they revealed.

Pre-departure Covid tests may be ditched to simplify travel restrictions - CITY.A.M

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

Ministers plan to make an announcement later this week which will mean vaccinated people arriving into England will no longer be subject to pre-departure Covid tests, according to reports.

A government insider told the Financial Times, which first reported the news, that measures to simplify travel restrictions and aid the UK’s struggling travel and tourism sector will be announced.

The new measures are expected to include a relaxing of rules for travellers with two jabs, who will no longer be required to take a Covid test prior to entering the UK.

The green and amber group lists of countries are also expected to be combined into a single list of countries which have been identified as safe to travel to while travellers through “no go” countries will have to enter hotel quarantine when they arrive in England.

The news follows comments by the CEO of German airline Lufthansa today on the return in demand for business travel.

FG Needs N56bn To Fix Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway – Fashola - DAILY TRUST

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said the Federal Government requires N56billion for  the full reconstruction of the deplorable Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway.

He spoke alongside Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, at the inspection of Sagamu Interchange Bridges on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Fashola’s visit followed last week’s protest by a group of protesters with hastag #FixOtaRoads which had demonstrated by blocking roads over poor state of the roads. Another round of protest slated for Monday was later suspended by the organisers.

Our correspondent reports that the roads filled with potholes and crafters have become death traps to the commuters and motorists playing them.

Fashola, while explaining that the federal government was not looking away on the deplorable conditions of Lagos-Sango-Ota- Abeokuta Road, added that government was committed to fixing the road as a total of N13.4 billion had been approved for immediate commencement of palliatives.

He said the federal government was ready to borrow money to fix the deplorable road which had elicited several protests by residents and motorists.

According to him,  the cost of reconstructing the entire road was put at N56 billion and the federal government would start the capital project first with the reconstruction of failed portions which would serve as palliative measures with N13.4 billion.

“We are not looking away on the condition of Ota/Abeokuta road unlike some people are saying. The Federal Government in conjunction with Ogun State Government is committed to fixing the road.”

“Works would soon start to do palliative work on the failed portions and which shall be reconstruction so that when reconstruction of the entire road starts, it would not be about waste of money, but a mere joining the portion to link each other,” he said.

He, however, asked both governors of Ogun and Lagos, Abiodun and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to prevail on the members of both chambers of the National Assembly, representing the two states to influence and speak in favour of the road during the debate on 2022 Budget Proposal starts.

Flying-Taxi Hubs Planned for 65 Cities Spanning London to LA - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- A network of flying-taxi hubs is planned for 65 cities in a tie-up between infrastructure firm Urban-Air Port and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co., which is developing a vertical take-off and landing craft.

Bases are planned in the U.K., the U.S., France, Germany, Scandinavia, Australia, South Korea and Southeast Asia, the companies said in a statement Thursday. A first site in Coventry, England, is due to open in early 2022.

Urban-Air Port says it’s the only company focused solely on building networks for operating flying taxis and cargo drones. Just $150 million has been spent on physical infrastructure this year, compared with $5 billion invested in eVTOLs themselves by startups such as Joby Aviation and Lilium GmbH.

“The sector is soaring and we know that a future with electric flying vehicles and drones in cities is going to be a reality soon, but it can’t happen if we don’t have the infrastructure on the ground and in the air,” Urban-Air Port founder and Executive Chairman Ricky Sandhu said in the release.

After Coventry, the next sites due to come online will be in another city in England’s midlands and in Los Angeles, a spokesman for the U.K.-based company said. The London hub will be situated somewhere in the West End retail district or City financial center, he said.

Urban-Air Port plans to establish a network of more than 200 electric air mobility facilities worldwide in the next five years. The hubs will be modular and designed to fit into both dense urban areas and more-remote locations where charging will be provided using hydrogen fuel cells.

The Coventry base, to be known as Air-One, will see drones from Malloy Aeronautics and SkyFarer ply routes to demonstrate the viability of carrying cargoes such as refrigerated medical supplies. Safeguard Vertiports will meanwhile develop a certification program that meets U.K. standards.

Confusion in air travel over varying COVID-19 protocols - THE GUARDIAN

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021

By Wole Oyebade

Varying travel protocols that were put in place by some countries have thrown international travellers into confusion.
The safety protocols, as part of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 infections, are in conflict from one country to another, especially in Europe.

While some countries are getting silent on some COVID-19 requirements for outbound travellers, others insist on the same protocols for inbound travellers, with transit passengers caught in-between.

Most affected by the confusion is the European Union, where the requirements vary from one country to the other. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), yesterday, warned that free movement within Europe was being compromised by the failure of EU member states to harmonise COVID-19 entry regulations.

IATA’s research has found significant differences in how EU member states are managing travel. Around 30 per cent of states using the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate (DCC) are not accepting rapid testing. 19 per cent of states are not exempting children from testing requirements, while 41 per cent of states are not allowing vaccinated travellers from non-EU ‘White-List’ countries to enter.

For the Passenger Locator Forms, 45 per cent accept it online, while 33 per cent accept paper and online submissions. But 11 per cent only accept paper, and a further 11 per cent have no locator forms at all.

IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe, Rafael Schvartzman, said it is essential that countries come together on COVID-19 travel procedures.

“In Europe, the good work done by the Commission and the states to develop the DCC is being wasted by a mess of unharmonised regulations. How can passengers travel with confidence when the rules are so different in each country within the European Union?

“They can’t be sure if their children need to be tested or not, or if they need to fill in a form on paper, online, or not at all. It is one European Union. People reasonably expect a united approach to managing travel,” Schvartzman said.

Specifically, with regard to harmonising requirements around the DCC, IATA and other stakeholders have urged countries and regional blocs to conduct DCC verification digitally before passengers arrive at the airport, to limit operational disruptions and give certainty to passengers that they are ready to fly. Germany and Spain are two countries observing best practice in this area.

Also, stakeholders have asked countries to develop a state portal to facilitate DCC verification directly by national authorities and limit health data processing by airlines, while also integrating digital Passenger Locator Forms into a state portal for DCC verification, which is not currently the case in 80 per cent of European countries.

In addition, EU states need to align on health requirements including: Universal acceptance of rapid testing in place of expensive and unnecessary PCR tests. Universal exemption of minors from testing and vaccination requirements; and the universal opening of borders to vaccinated passengers and to allow travelers from low-risk countries to enter Europe without restriction (or with proof of a negative test from non-vaccinated travelers). The Netherlands, Estonia, Slovenia and Spain are leading the way in aligning these policies.

“The experience over the European summer shows that a standard digital certificate is not enough: the travel processes around COVID-19 must also be harmonised and smoothed out. We urge European states to sort out the current mess and give hard-pressed passengers greater certainty over their travel plans,” said Schvartzman.

How Canadians can invest in real estate without buying a home - REUTERS

SEPTEMBER 18, 2021

Soaring real estate prices in many parts of the country have locked countless Canadians out of the housing market and the wealth gains that come with ownership.

Through passive fractional ownership, investors can cash in on returns without having to qualify for a big mortgage or come up with a huge downpayment, although it doesn't provide a roof over their heads. Investors can also skip the headaches that come with managing a property, yet get a share of rent and gains on the property when it's sold.

Canadian real estate has had a huge run spanning many years but there have been corrections along the way and prices don't always go up, so investing comes with risks.

With that said, investors can buy a piece of a property for as little as a dollar through a platform called addy. The maximum investment is $1,500. Investors pay a $25 fee and can pick and choose which institutional-grade commercial real estate properties they want to invest in.

Michael Stephenson, CEO and co-founder of addy, says he got into the business after talking to frustrated millennials who were either locked out of the market or financially overextended.

"At addy, our goal is to remove barriers to entry and enable Canadians to invest in real estate for an amount that fits their budget so that they can share in the joy of ownership with others," Stephenson told Yahoo Finance Canada.

"We believe everyone should have the opportunity to own property through access to real estate investing at any amount, regardless of income, age, or other conflicts."

Currently, addy is available to residents of B.C., Alberta, and Ontario but Stephenson says demand will dictate an expansion.

Larger real estate investments

Investors looking to make larger bets on Canadian real estate can do so through BuyProperly, which has a minimum investment of $2,500. There's no maximum but an investor can't own more than 49.9 per cent of a property.

"Not only is it economically difficult, the process also is complex and intimidating, and it shouldn't be," Jha told Yahoo Finance Canada.

"This made me search for solutions, but I could not find options that allowed me to enter real estate the way you can invest in stocks, being able to enter small amounts of savings."

Khushboo Jha, CEO and founder of BuyProperly wanted to make real estate investment easier
Khushboo Jha, Founder and CEO of BuyProperly wanted to make real estate investment easier

>em class="caas-img caas-lazy has-preview caas-loaded" alt="Michael Stephenson, CEO and co-founder of addy says millennials are frustrated." src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/a.2xpIpwX.GSUdOJIEG5iQ--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtjZj13ZWJw/https://s.yimg.com/os/creatr-uploaded-images/2021-09/02a2bc40-17bd-11ec-b435-dc5a38883f7c" loading="lazy" data-caas-lazy-oading-init="1">It's available for investors in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, but BuyProperly says it is working to service all of Canada.

Investing in U.S. real estate

>em class="caas-img caas-lazy has-preview caas-loaded" alt="Michael Stephenson, CEO and co-founder of addy says millennials are frustrated." src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/a.2xpIpwX.GSUdOJIEG5iQ--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtjZj13ZWJw/https://s.yimg.com/os/creatr-uploaded-images/2021-09/02a2bc40-17bd-11ec-b435-dc5a38883f7c" loading="lazy" data-caas-lazy-oading-init="1">"The thing that blew my mind and made me fall in love, and it's not possible here in Canada, is from the rents you collect you're able to pay your mortgage payments, your taxes and fees, a third-party property manager and still have enough surplus left over to pay your investors' preferred return," said Benesocky, CEO and co-founder of CPI Capital.

"It's cash flow from day one and it's very difficult to get good cash flow and appreciation with the median home prices being a million to 1.3 million in the best cities here in Canada to buy real estate. You're really just banking on appreciation.

Ava Benesocky, CEO of CPI Capital, says lower U.S. real estate prices make investment more attractive.
Ava Benesocky, CEO of CPI Capital, says lower U.S. real estate prices make investment more attractive.

CPI Capital has two multi-family properties; one is in Orlando, Florida and the other is in Charleston, South Carolina. Each are currently sold out to investors, but CPI Capital has a waiting list for upcoming property purchases.

Ethiopian Airline resumes flight to Enugu Oct. 1 - NAN

SEPTEMBER 19, 2021

The airline’s General Manager, Shimeles Arage, who confirmed the proposed resumption in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, said that every week there would be a flight on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with B787 Dreamliner.

“Oct. 1 is Nigeria’s Independence Day and the flight to Enugu on that day will reinforce Ethiopian Airline good relations with Nigeria since the first flight to Nigeria in 1960,” he said.

Arage recalled that the airline stopped flights to Enugu in 2019 when the Nigerian aviation authorities closed the airport to refurbish the runway.

He said before the closure of the airport for runway repairs, Ethiopian was the only international airline flying to Enugu.

NAN reports that the airport was officially re-opened to domestic flights in 2020 and to international flights in Aug. 2021. (NAN)

BREAKING: Nigeria Bars Travellers From Brazil, S’Africa, Turkey Over COVID-19 - LEADERSHIP

SEPTEMBER 19, 2021

Travellers who have stayed or visited Brazil, South Africa and Turkey in the last 14 days have been restricted from entering Nigeria, the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, has declared.

This is even as the PSC has exempted India from the list of restricted countries, after the country successfully controlled the spreading of the third wave of COVID-19.

The chairman of the PSC, Boss Mustapha, said: “Non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents who visited Brazil, Turkey or South Africa within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria.

“This regulation, however, does not apply to passengers who transited through these countries.”

The PSC chairman, who said this protocol comes into effect from September 14, 2021; also said “airlines who fail to comply shall mandatorily pay a penalty of $3,500 for each defaulting passenger; and Non-Nigerians will be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at cost to the airline.

“Nigerians and those with permanent resident permit who visited Brazil, Turkey and South Africa within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria shall be made to undergo seven days of mandatory quarantine in a government approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at cost to the passenger.”

The PSC also said: “All intending passengers (including diplomats and children less than 10 years old) must register via an online national travel portal (Nigeria International Travel Portal – https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) and proceed to fill in the online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting form located on the portal.

“They should ensure that the information/contact details provided on the form are correct and verifiable. Passengers must provide valid phone numbers, residential addresses and functional e-mails where they can be contacted.

“Passengers must also inform Port Health officials on arrival of any change in their health status since completion of the Health Declaration/Self-Reporting Form. Passengers who falsify their status as diplomats will face prosecution.”

Also, as part of the protocol, “passengers who fail to show up for this test will face travel restrictions on their passports for at least 6 months and will not be able to travel abroad for this period. Non-Nigerian passport holders will have their visas revoked.”


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