Saturday, April 17African Business News
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Aviation

FX scarcity cripples local airlines, spike airfares

FX scarcity cripples local airlines, spike airfares

Aviation
‘Airlines should interline, codeshare to survive’  The foreign exchange (FX) liquidity crisis is eating deeper into the daily operations of the local airlines, causing airlines’ capacity to dwindle and hitting up airfares. The Guardian, yesterday, learned that operators in the aviation sector have not received FX requests from the Central Bank since February, which explains why multiple airplanes are stuck in maintenance facilities overseas, and a lot more unserviceable and on the ground at airports.  The chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Obiora Okonkwo, who confirmed the dire straits, said local carriers might have to consider interlining or a codeshare arrangement to cut down the cost of operation and enhance survival chances.But the effect is telling on air travellers...
Flight movement rebounds despite low patronage

Flight movement rebounds despite low patronage

Aviation
More commercial flights have taken to the airspace lately, recording the highest toll since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Though passenger patronage is still at its post-pandemic low, global flight radar recently tracked an average of 77, 708 flights per week – the highest in the last year. According to global flight tracking service, Flightradar24, the seven-day rolling average of the number of flights hit the highest flights in both passenger and freight, a number which exceeded the previous peak during the Christmas holidays since COVID-19 started spreading. Higher numbers of flights in the major markets—the United States and China—were behind the increase, according to the report. The rising number of air movements could help global aviation fuel demand, wh...
Nigeria loses 20% passenger traffic over Emirates, Etihad exit

Nigeria loses 20% passenger traffic over Emirates, Etihad exit

Aviation
•Foreign airlines rally behind controversial rapid antigen test The suspension of Emirates Airlines and Etihad’s withdrawal from Nigerian airspace has cost the country, at least, a 20 per cent decline in international passenger traffic. The Guardian learned that the decline was a major setback for air travel’s gradual recovery that earlier climbed to 45 per cent of pre-COVID-19 traffic. Meanwhile, foreign airlines have rallied behind the controversial rapid antigen tests as a better alternative to the popular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test standard for COVID-19. To that effect, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to accept best-in-class rapid antigen tests following the publication of new research findings. The Federal Government ...
Airlines plan ‘travel pass’ for travellers

Airlines plan ‘travel pass’ for travellers

Aviation
•Accept PCR results from approved labs only, NCAA directs carriersAirlines are considering a standard ‘travel pass’ criteria for international air travellers in the COVID-19 era. Though the technology-driven pass aims at an efficient travel experience, part of the conditions will include health credentials and COVID-19 vaccination. Similarly, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) has directed that only results from accredited private laboratories should be accepted from outbound passengers effective March 22, 2021. Hence, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has threatened to sanction airlines that accept polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results from unapproved laboratories. The travel pass proposal made headway when the International Air Transport Association (IAT...
How new Covid measures on air travel are hitting African airlines

How new Covid measures on air travel are hitting African airlines

Aviation
Arlette Tanga, president of the African Air and Space Law Association, says it's a bad time for airlines once again. While borders are closing again, airlines – which saw their air traffic fall by 69.8% during 2020 for the African continent alone – must adapt to the different policies adopted by each country: checking tests – PCR or antigenic depending on the country – of passengers and/or their staff, changing health protocols. Since June, China has established new rules that would allow services to resume if no positive cases are detected on any flights for three consecutive weeks.  However, airlines whose passengers test positive on arrival will remain grounded for a certain period: two weeks if five passengers test positive – the rule, which initially enforced a one-week sus...
Local airlines record slow traffic after Yuletide rush

Local airlines record slow traffic after Yuletide rush

Aviation
Lagos records 551,380 passengers in six month Domestic air travel has returned to its low traffic profile of the COVID-19 era after the December rush at major airports across the country. The Guardian observed that traffic across major routes has dropped by 50 per cent, with attendant impacts on load factors and airlines’ frequencies. This is coming as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) hinted that the Murtala Muhammad Airport (MMA), Lagos, recorded a total of 551,380 passenger traffic, with a total of 6, 261 aircraft movements from July to December last year. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of one of the carriers, yesterday, said the latest drop in traffic was expected in the New Year and in the middle of a pandemic. “Do not forget that we are still facing the...
Airliners bicker over N4b bailout sharing formula

Airliners bicker over N4b bailout sharing formula

Aviation
Some airline operators have expressed displeasure over the sharing formula adopted for the distribution of N4 billion aviation bailout funds, saying it skewed the largesse in favour of few airlines. The complainants, who operate smaller capacity, were displeased with the ratio 70:30 adopted between the schedule and non-scheduled carriers. As of yesterday, the likes of Air Peace, Azman, Arik, Aero Contractors, Overland, and Dana Air had been listed as the biggest beneficiaries. The Federal Government had, last week, shared the sum of N4 billion bailout funds among a total of 18 scheduled and non-scheduled carriers. The special intervention was thrown open to all airlines with a valid Air Operating Certificate (AOC) and distributed according to the size of the carrier. The pa...
‘Treat aviation employees as essential workers in vaccination’

‘Treat aviation employees as essential workers in vaccination’

Aviation
Given their direct contacts with air travellers, airlines and regional bodies have urged governments to treat aviation employees as essential workers as the COVID-19 vaccination campaign kicks off in different parts of the world. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), Airports Council International Latin America and the Caribbean (ACI-LAC) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), jointly said the aviation workers are just as central to the disease prevention as the health workers. The industry’s call on governments aligns with the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunisation Proposed Roadmap for Prioritising Uses of COVID-19 Vaccines. This ou...
N22bn debt: NCAA, airlines agree on payment plan

N22bn debt: NCAA, airlines agree on payment plan

Aviation
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said that it has reached an agreement with airlines in the country to ensure that debts owed the agency are reconciled and a payment plan is agreed upon. The Director-General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, said this when the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation led by Nnolim Nnaji paid him a visit on Wednesday. He said, “Under your guidance, we have carried on that agreement that we had. We had a meeting with the operators on the issue of the debt collection and agreed to notify each airline on the level of debt that they have. “We will sit down with them and do the reconciliation. We will then implement a payment plan. We do not expect everyone to pay all their money at a go because of the difficulties in the industry and economic do...
Airline debuts $500,000 insurance coverage for travellers

Airline debuts $500,000 insurance coverage for travellers

Aviation
Foreign airline, Emirates, has opened additional, multi-risk insurance cover for travellers, to the sum of $500,000. Provided by Emirates and AIG travel at no additional cost to its customers, this cover is the first of its kind in the airline and travel insurance industry. It is designed to provide all Emirates passengers a unique offer for stress-free and hassle-free travel. This new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover will automatically apply to all Emirates tickets purchased from December 1, and extend to Emirates codeshare flights operated by partner airlines, as long as the ticket number starts with 176. Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive, Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: “Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID-19 cover for travelle...