Travel News

Travel Curbs Crimp Canada’s Return to Normal Population Growth - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 29, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian population growth is recovering from the pandemic, but travel restrictions continue to hold back migration into the country.

Canada’s population grew by 0.2%, or 92,897, in the three months ending June 30, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday in Ottawa, bringing the total to 38.2 million. That’s the third consecutive quarterly gain after curbs on movement meant to blunt the rise in Covid-19 cases caused the population to shrink in third quarter of 2020.

The increase is partially driven by a stabilizing flow of international migration as the Canadian government begins easing some travel restrictions for those coming to the country for work, school or family reunification. That translated into 75,084 net newcomers in the second quarter, little changed from the previous three months. It’s also well below the rate in two years before the pandemic, when an average of 115,600 individuals arrived on net each quarter.

“Overall migration into the country continues to fall short,” Andrew Agopsowicz, an economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said by email. “The growth in non-permanent resident, while still positive, was much lower than previous years.”

Canada relies heavily on international migration as an economic driver. Like other nations, it suffers from an aging population and relatively low fertility rates. But immigration may see a pick up in the third quarter driven by international students coming back for school. “The early data is promising,” Agopsowicz said.

On an annual basis, the population was up by 156,503 as of July 1 -- an increase of 0.5%. That’s less than half the rate of growth from the same period a year prior. 

Air Peace explains video showing two arrested passengers at Lagos airport - VANGUARD

SEPTEMBER 29, 2021

Air Peace airline Wednesday explained the circumstances that led to the arrest of two passengers who were billed to board its flight at Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, security officials.

According to the management of the airline, the FAAN security officials arrested the passengers when they became unruly and tried to breach security protocol because their flight was delayed.

According to the airline’s management, ” We have noticed a certain video portraying Air Peace in a bad light on social media and it has become imperative that we clear the air and correct the impressions created”.

” The passengers in the video were supposed to be on a 19:20 Lagos-Abuja flight(September 28) but consequent upon tenable unforeseen operational concerns, the flight was delayed. We put 46 of them on a flight that departed at 19:16, leaving behind 46 passengers. The delay was professionally communicated to the passengers and we apologised for the delay and inconveniences.”

” However, a certain male passenger, Paul Samuel, who suddenly became uncontrollably irate, assaulted our Boarding Officer. This was clearly unnecessary and despicable. We were about distributing refreshments in consonance with NCAA Regulations but Paul’s action disrupted the process and noise erupted from different quarters while he incited other passengers against the airline.”

” FAAN Security was notified as the passengers were now trying to gain entrance to the airfield even when the aircraft was not yet on ground. FAAN Security was compelled to lock the Boarding Gate to prevent the passengers from going to the airfield, a highly regulated part of the airport.”

“At 22:35, we called for boarding for the remaining 46 passengers. Due to his violent behaviour, Paul was arrested by FAAN Security. The action was taken in the best interest of the passengers and the airline. 

“Also, the lady, Okoroafor Rita, who recorded the video being circulated, without the consent of those being recorded, was arrested by FAAN Security. FAAN Security repeatedly told her to stop recording but she did not. These arrests made some other passengers become unruly but with reinforcement from FAAN Security, the situation was managed, and the remaining passengers were able to board.”

“The arrests of Paul and Rita were done by FAAN Security in line with their standard procedures.,” the airline explained

“Again, we sincerely apologise for the inconveniences experienced by the passengers last night as a result of the flight delay as it was caused by unavoidable operational factors. Air Peace is committed to providing Nigerians safe and seamless connectivity across cities and will not deliberately delay flights.”

Reps to investigate alleged extortion at Nigeria’s airports - PREMIUM TIMES

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

The House mandated its committees on customs, finance, aviation, and agricultural services to investigate the impact of extortion on the export of local products.

By Bakare Majeed

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the reports of cargo flights leaving Nigeria empty because of alleged extortion by government officials at the airports.

The House mandated its committees on customs, finance, aviation, and agricultural services to investigate the impact of extortion on the export of local products.

This resolution was sequel to a motion moved by the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), on Wednesday during plenary.

Mr Okechukwu said his motion is based on a report on the Guardian newspaper, which said that foreign cargo airlines were departing Nigeria empty due to extortion and multiple charges.

He informed his colleagues that “export is supposed to be free in Nigeria under extant laws and regulations, except for the airline’s charges and payments to ground handlers.”

Citing the report further, he said “11 out of 16 sundry charges lined up against air cargo are illegal and that official bottlenecks, extortion, exorbitant and multiple charges are discouraging cargo airlines from operating in Nigeria as they prefer cargos from other African countries which offer them more favourable conditions.”

He said Nigeria is losing $250 billion of its agro-allied market potential due to import-to-export airfreight ratio imbalance. According to him, the import-to-export ratio stands at 87:13.

Meanwhile, Shamsudeen Bello (APC, Kano) called for the involvement of the Independent Corrupt and other Related offences Commission (ICPC) in the investigation.

Henry Nwawuba (APC, Imo), stated that extortion was used in the context of multiple charges, not an act of corruption.

Also, Mr Okechuckwu prayed that the House condemn the multiple charges.

However, the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, moved an amendment that the prayer should be deleted until the investigation is conducted by the committees.

The committee was mandated to report back to the House within two weeks.


Reps probe threats to $150bn air cargo freights - PUNCH

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

BY  Leke Baiyewu

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the delay frustrating air freighting of cargoes occasioned by extortions and multiple charges at the airports.

This is sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, and other lawmakers, which was titled ‘Need to investigate alleged extortions and sundry charges on air freighting and agro-export businesses in Nigeria.’

Following the adoption, the House mandated its committees on finance; aviation; Customs and Excise; and agricultural production and services to ‘investigate the issues adversely affecting air cargo freighting in Nigeria and report back within two weeks for further legislative action’.

Moving the motion, Okechukwu noted the Federal Government’s interest in economic diversification and promotion of non-oil exports, adding that Nigeria was a signatory to various regional, continental and global trade arrangements such as the African Continental Free Trade Area.

He said, “The House is cognisant of Nigeria’s huge agro-export potential, with 22 non-oil products worth over $150bn in export value yearly already pencilled in the new export promotion programme of the Federal Government.

Also on Wednesday, the House mandated the Committee on Aviation to investigate the claims and counterclaims regarding issues of debts in the aviation sector within six weeks and report back for further legislative action.

A member of the House, Adeyemi Alli, who moved a motion titled ‘Need to look into the debt crisis in the aviation industry’, noted that the aviation industry played a pivotal role in providing a rapid worldwide transportation network, which made it essential for global activities.

Alli also noted that the industry generated economic growth, created employment and facilitated international trade and tourism and other essential services like defence.

Unions in tango over NG Eagle airline, Arik’s fate - THE GUARDIAN

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

By Wole Oyebade

Another Arik’s aircraft change livery in Ethiopia The move by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to birth a new airline, NG Eagle, from the assets of Arik Air has stirred a controversy among various aviation unions.

While a faction of the unions, which has the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP), warned the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) against granting the Air Operating Certificate (AOC) to the new airlines, the other divide that has the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN), National Association of Nigeria Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), faulted the stance.

On Tuesday, The Guardian found another Arik Air’s Boeing 737 aircraft being repainted into NG Eagle at the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In April, two aircraft erstwhile operated by Arik, were rebranded in the colours of NG Eagle and parked at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, ahead of take-off of operations.

Recall that AMCON, a special purpose vehicle of the Federal Government for the recovery of debts, took over Arik Air in February 2017. The rationale was to save the airline from imminent collapse, citing gross mismanagement by the owners and debt in excess of N300 billion-plus.

About five years down the line, it was learnt that the airline remains a hard sell, given the level of rot, debt and hard-to-recover liquidity pumped in to keep it on life support.

Perhaps throwing a weight behind the asset-stripping, NUATE, NAAPE and ATSSSAN in Arik, have warned ANAP and NUP to stay away from the affairs of Arik Air and NG Eagle or “face the consequences of their actions.”

The trio said issues of importance to them presently are the painful circumstances that caused their colleagues to proceed on leave without pay and how to achieve transition from employees of Arik Air to NG Eagle Airlines without loss of their service years.

In a joint statement signed by the branch Chairman and Secretary of NUATE, Ogulesi Afeez and Okoloj David; and their counterparts in NAAPE, Kelechi Ifejika and Numoliya Bethen, they urged ANAP and NUP not to interfere in Arik’s Air and NG Eagle Airlines matter.

And should they fail to heed the warning and attempt to cause any disorder in airlines, “we assure them that they will have the workers of both Arik Air and NG Eagle Airlines to contend with. We are absolutely able to defend ourselves as the law grants us to do.”

ANAP and NUP had called on the NCAA to deny NG Eagle Air Operators Certificate (AOC) based on the debt Arik Air owes the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

NUATE, NAAPE and ATSSSAN, however, said there is no correlation between the legacy debt and the issuance of AOC by the regulatory body.

The unions described the call on AOC denial as not only provocative also “irresponsible for ANAP and NUP to make such a call bearing in mind that the two unions in question do not have members in both Arik Air and NG Eagle.”

“ANAP and NUP are unknown in Arik and NG Eagle. Having no membership in the two airlines, they have no stake whatsoever, and as such have neither legal nor moral right over the affairs of the two airlines. One, therefore, wonders in whose interest ANAP and NUP are acting.”

General Secretary of NUATE, Abba Ocheme, said that aviation unions would not tolerate a situation where some unions would pitch unions against each other.

Ocheme also said that NUATE would not allow a situation where workers would fight one another instead of pursuing a common goal.

He said the primary focus should be the welfare and well-being of workers, adding that Arik’s existence is threatened and no one can predict the shape it will take.

“We will support Arik Air and leave the issue of debt to the one owing and the one being owed. Presently, AMCON is not owing anybody ”

The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, had recently said that NG Eagle was among the impending new airlines currently undergoing AOC acquisition.

Nigerians without NIN won’t get passports, driving licence – NCC - PUNCH

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

BY  Sami Olatunji and Temitayo Jaiyeola

The Nigerian Communications Commission says the October 31 deadline for linking their National Identity Numbers with their Subscriber Identity Modules remains sacrosanct.

It also said that Nigerians without NIN would soon be denied the opportunity of acquiring driving licences and passports.

The commission said at the NCC Digital Signature radio programme, which transmitted the second episode of Telecoms Consumer Town Hall on Radio (live on a radio station in Lagos to discuss benefits of NIN-SIM integration.

This was disclosed in a statement titled ‘NIN-SIM Integration: NCC sensitises telecom consumers on October 31 Deadline’ signed by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, on Wednesday.

The statement read, “NCC has reminded and urged telecoms consumers to link their NINs with their SIMs before the expiration of the deadline of October 31, 2021 set by the Federal Government.”

It added, “Speaking during the live programme, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, advised Nigerians to make use of the extension of the NIN-SIM integration exercise to October 31, 2021, to enrol with NIMC, get their NINs and link them to their SIMs.”

Adinde said, “Soon, people without NIN will be denied of necessary services that play vital roles in their lives including acquisition of driving licence, passport.”

The statement further said, “On the benefits of the NIN-SIM integration, Adinde said the exercise will significantly enhance national security as NIN is the primary identity for Nigerians, stressing that in line with Federal Government’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria deploys technology to improve service delivery, the NIN-SIM database will enhance citizens’ access to government services.”

Also speaking on the show, NCC’s Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Efosa Idehen, said, “Those SIMs without unique identification could be used to commit crimes that remain untraceable.”

The Regional Director of NIMC in Lagos, Funmi Opesanwo, who also spoke on the programme, said that submission of NIN to a mobile network provider helped to provide a means of verifying an individual’s identity and safeguarding both identity and mobile line.


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