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Air Peace tops as domestic passenger traffic increases by 24 per cent in 2018




Passenger traffic on the Nigeria domestic route increased by 24.2 per cent from January to December 2018 when compared to the same period in 2017.

The figures released by the Consumer Protection Directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) were obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Friday.

The document showed that nine domestic airlines operated in the country in 2018 compared to eight airlines which were in operations during the previous year.

The airlines include Air Peace, Arik Air, Dana Air, Azman Air, Aero Contractors, Overland Airways, Max Air, Medview Airline and FirstNation Airways.

According to the document, the domestic airlines carried a total of 10,092,643 passengers in 2018 compared to the 7,646,600 recorded in 2017.

Similarly, the number of flights operated by the airlines also increased by 19.2 per cent as they were able to operate 59,818 flights in 2018 compared to the 48,319 flights in 2017.

Air Peace topped the performance chart with 22,055 flights and 4,203,341 passengers, representing 41.65 per cent of the total market share.

It was followed by Arik Air with 15,205 flights and 2,572,079 passengers (25.48 per cent) as well as Dana Air with 5,944 flights and 998,972 passengers (9.90 per cent).

Azman Air operated 4,944 flights with 825,816 passengers (8.18 per cent), Aero Contractors had 4,361 flights with 558,022 passengers (5.53 per cent) and Medview Airline had 2,058 flights with 366,605 passengers (3.63 per cent).

Others were Max Air with 2,205 flights and 311,923 passengers (3.09 per cent ), Overland Airways with 2,601 flights and 196,145 passengers (1.94 per cent) and FirstNation Airways with 445 flights and 59,740 passengers (0. 60 per cent).

Commenting on the development, Mr Chris Iwarah, Corporate Communications Manager, Air Peace, said the airline was working towards consolidating on its achievements in 2019.

He said: “We are expanding our routes so that people have more options. Areas people don’t normally will not go to, this year, we are planning to go there.

“In 2018, we opened many routes both regional and domestic.

“They included Asaba, Yola and Kano; we have also expanded our operations to  the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 to meet the demands of our customers,’’ he said.

Also, Capt. Ado Sanusi, Managing Director, Aero Contractors Ltd., appealed to the Federal Government to look inwards into the aviation industry to make sure that it is put on the front burner.

Sanusi said this would enable Nigeria to reap from the benefits of aviation in the economy.

He said: “You can see what the aviation industry has done to the economy of many countries.

“You can look at what RwandAir is doing to the Rwandan economy and you can look at Emirates Airlines and see what it has done to the economy of the United Arab Emirates.

“So, you can see what airlines are doing for the economies of their countries and I believe that the federal government should look inwards that developing aviation is key to the success of the economy,’’ Sanusi said.


NiDCOM a major economic asset to Nigeria, says House Committee chair



Hon. Tolulope Akande-Shadipe, Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs has described the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) as an economic  asset to the country.

She disclosed this at the first meeting held between the committee and NiDCOM Management at the State House in Abuja on Friday.

“Diaspora commission is extremely important to Nigeria; we have millions of Nigerians spread across the world.

“We need to begin to harness that asset because it’s a major asset to our nation and if not harnessed,  it will be lost forever.

“So it’s imperative that the nation as a whole,  respects the impact that diasporas can have on the progress of the nation economically, exchange of know-how and progress in all aspects and spheres of  the country’s existence,’’ she said.

Akande-Shadipe added that the committee and members of  the parliament planned to collaborate wherever applicable, with NIDCOM to ensure that it (the commission) achieved its mandate.

She described the mandate as a priority, saying that if the commission was able to achieve that mandate, it would mean a lot to Nigeria.

“The remittances that are being reported do not justify the amount of remittances actually coming into the country.

“If we collaborate better with our fellow Nigerians in the diaspora, there’s no doubt that we’ll  be able to document such remittances better.

We have Nigerians in the diaspora who want to have opportunity to own homes and assets in their homeland, and with a commission like NiDCOM which is a platform for better collaboration that will be useful to them.

“Because a lot of people abroad want to build houses at home, they send money to relatives and these houses never materialised, and a lot of other lost ventures in that line, but with the commission,  we can begin to partner for housing projects.

“Hopefully, before the end of this year, all accommodation issue for the commission will be resolved, because I can imagine working in an environment without enough office space.

“Not enough desks and you have people hanging around not being able to be productive,  it must be very disheartening for the commission, we pray and we will work  toward ensuring that is it resolved,’’ she said.

Responding, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, hairman of NiDCOM, said that achieving set goals could be challenging.

She said that the commission would  work with parliament to harness the great potentialities of the diaspora.

Dabiri-Erewa solicited the support of the committee to enable the commission grow by working on the 2021 budget.

According to her, once that is done, the commission will be able to achieve its set mandate.

“We appreciate the diligence of the chairman and members of the committee for the 2020 budget.

“Although we got eight million for re-current expenditure, we are not discouraged because it’s a new commission.

“In fact we are determined to be a revenue generating agency, and we are determined that at the end of the day, we will be able to show that there are a lot of things we  can do because we are talking about human capital development.

We have the Diaspora Policy that is with the Federal Executive Council (FEC),  but COVID-19 delayed a lot of processes.

“So we are hoping that it will rectify the policy.

“We have been on it for three years and we are working with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and when that policy is rectified, we will have a holistic policy that will guide all Diaspora engagements.

“Also we have a programme with the  Federal Mortgage Bank where Nigerians in the Diaspora can be abroad and still be able to buy homes wherever they are in the world.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory  is allocating a space for the Diaspora Medical City, so that those in the diaspora  can have a place where they can access a medical centre of excellence,’’ she said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)


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Dortmund’s Sancho, Akanji, fined for getting haircuts without face masks



Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Manuel Akanji were fined an unspecified amount by the German Football League (DFL) on Friday for failing to wear face mask during a visit from a hair dresser this week.

The DFL said both players had broken the health guidelines that had governed Bundesliga clubs and players since the league restarted amid the COVID-19 pandemic on May 16.

In total, six Dortmund players, including rising star Sancho and Akanji, got their hair cut by the visiting hairdresser, who then asked some of them to take pictures with him.

“It is clear that pro players also need to get their hair cut. But that has to happen in line with the medical and hygiene concept,” the DFL said in a statement.

“The fines are not against the club which is not seen as having a responsibility in this case.”

Bundesliga matches are played without fans and teams must adhere to strict health guidelines that regulate the process and operation of training sessions and games.

The league, with five rounds of matches left in the season, plans to finish by the end of the month.

Sancho also hit the headlines last weekend when he, after scoring, revealed an undershirt with the message ‘Justice for George Floyd’ — an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis after a white United States police officer knelt on his neck.

Sancho escaped any sanction after the German Football Association said players were free to show their support for protests over Floyd’s death.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo (NAN)

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Cairo airport to receive 23 flights carrying Egyptians stranded abroad amid COVID-19 pandemic




Egypt’s Cairo International Airport is expected to receive on Friday 23 special international flights carrying Egyptians stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The flights, with a total of 3,346 Egyptians, would arrive from Britain, Russia, Germany, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and others, according to state-run Ahram Online news website.

The airport will also receive four domestic flights from the Red Sea resort city of Marsa Alam after the conclusion of the quarantine period of around 400 Egyptian returnees from abroad, Ahram Online quoted sources at the Cairo International Airport as saying.

Egypt suspended the international flights on March 19 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Since then, several thousands of Egyptians returned home from across the world, including the United States, Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Rwanda, Chad and Niger.

Egypt announced its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Feb. 14 and the first death from the highly infectious virus on March 8, both foreigners.

Until Thursday night, Egypt‘s total coronavirus confirmed cases had reached 29,767, including 1,126 deaths and 7,756 recoveries.

Since March 25, the Egyptian government has been imposing a nighttime curfew, which varied between nine and 13 hours, to curb the spread of the virus.

The current nine-hour curfew will continue until mid-June, when the government will consider easing relevant restrictions amid a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.

The Egyptian government has started gradual reopening of services and offices, and allowed reopening of about 100 hotels for local tourists with 50-percent capacity after they were given official hygiene safety certificates.


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United States withdraws plans to ban Chinese airlines



The United States is withdrawing plans to ban Chinese airlines from flying to the country, after Beijing relaxed its rules for foreign carriers, broadcaster CNBC reported.

The United States will still have some restrictions on Chinese flights, the report said.

The dispute comes amid rising tensions between the two economic giants. In recent weeks, the countries have been at odds over the coronavirus pandemic and China’s Hong Kong policies.

The United States government had on Wednesday said Chinese passenger planes would be suspended from flying to the country as of June 16, according to an order issued by the Trump administration.

The Department of Transportation said the move was a response to the “failure” of China to “permit United States carriers to exercise the full extent of their bilateral right to conduct scheduled passenger air services to and from China.”

The United States said China had not allowed its carriers to resume flights to the country after pausing the routes because of the coronavirus

United States-Chinese relations have soured in recent months amid tensions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing’s move to impose new national security legislation for Hong Kong.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Air Chief urges pioneer NAF nurses to be discipline, proficient



The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar has advised students of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) School of Medical Sciences and Aviation Medicine to be disciplined and proficient in their studies.

Abubakar spoke at the Cap and Strap of the pioneer 38 students of NAF School of Medical Sciences and Aviation Medicine on Friday in Kaduna.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Capping and Strapping marks their beginning and official journey in nursing, qualified to advance to clinical training.

The air force boss was represented by the NAF Air Secretary, AVM Mahmoud Ahmad.

According  to him, capping and strapping  means the students are on their way to becoming members of one of the noblest professions and have subscribed to its ideals of service.

He said that establishment of the school, particularly the college of nursing, was to consolidate the rapid expansion and upgrading of the medical services branch of NAF.

“It is expected that the school will through its trainings, enhance the human capacity of the medical services to meet contemporary health manpower challenges.

“This is more so, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases that are ravaging our country and other parts of the world.

 “I appreciate the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria for granting us accreditation and approval to commence the training of nurses.

 “I have no doubt that the school will make us proud by producing polyvalent nurses for NAF and Nigeria,” the air force chief said.

He noted that NAF expected lots from the nurses in setting standards in terms of loyalty, discipline and performance.

“This is in line with the Federal Government position in improving training and retraining of health care manpower to promote the health and socioeconomic wellbeing of the people.

“Our collective commitment to excellence is paramount if the Service is to effectively discharge its constitutional roles.

“The students must take advantage of this opportunity to train and improve themselves.

“Your discipline, proficiency level, hard work, loyalty and perseverance will determine your progress in this Course and the Service in general.

“This is essential for you to provide quality nursing care with integrity, place service before yourself and become excellent in all you do; which is one of our core values,” Abubakar said.

The Commandant of the school,  Air Cdr Glenn Nkanang said those capped were student nurses who have successfully completed their Preliminary Training Session Examination.

Nkanang said that the event marked the completion of the first six months training that would qualify them to start wearing the nurses’ cap.

”The best honour for a student nurse is to be capped or strapped.

“This is because, your uniform is going to be complete which is the number one identity of a nurse.

”When your uniform is complete, your status will change and I believe your initiatives, creativity and responsiveness will equally appreciate.

 “But mind you, being capped or strapped has not made you a qualified nurse as you still have a long way to go,” he added.

NAN report that awards were given to individual students who distinguished themselves,  and the event was held under strict COVID-19 protocols.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Airline SAS to resume more flights to Europe after COVID-19 halt




Stockholm, June 5, 2020 Scandinavian carrier SAS said on Friday it was to resume flights to 20 more destinations in Europe, amid the easing of coronavirus measures.

From its hub in the Danish capital Copenhagen the airline plans after mid-June to resume flights to 16 destinations in Belgium, Croatia, the Faroe Islands, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland,  Lithuania and Spain.

Flights would also later in June begin to operate from the Swedish capital of Stockholm to Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Nice in France, Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece, and some domestic destinations.

SAS is one of numerous airlines severely affected by the fall in demand in air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sweden’s current recommendation to avoid non-essential foreign travel is valid until July 15, while the Danish Foreign Ministry’s general advice against non-essential travel remains in place until Aug. 31.

Denmark was from June 15 to reopen its borders for tourists from neighbouring Germany, Norway and Iceland.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Air traffic at Morocco airports down 12.6 pct in Q1




The passenger flow in Moroccan airports reached 4,910,594 during the first quarter of 2020, down 12.6 percent year on year, the Moroccan Airports Authority said Friday in a statement.

The drop in traffic is meanly due to the suspension of all national and international flights since March 15 amid COVID-19 spread in the country, the statement added.

This unprecedented crisis has impacted all Moroccan airports’ activities, causing sharp decline in revenues, it added.


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Matawalle dissolves, reappoints local council chairmen as sole administrators in Zamfara



Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has  sworn-in 14 local government council Sole Administrators, less than 24 hours after the state House of Assembly dissolved their offices as council chairmen with the governor’s approval.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the governor has had a running faceoff with the council chairmen who were elected for a three-year tenure under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Matawalle inaugurated the sole administrators at a quiet event in the Government House on Friday in Gusau.

The governor said their performances would be measured and assessed in the next three months to determine whether they deserved to continue or be replaced.

He said the dissolution of the former council chairmen by the state legislature was a result of unsatisfactory performance and  negligence of primary responsibility of ensuring the security and safety of the people by some of them.

“We received reports that some of them were handling the issue of security of lives and property of the people under their domains  half-heartedly due to parochial political sentiments,” he said.

NAN however reportls that while dissolving the 14 councils at the state assembly, the spokesman of the house, Malam Mustapha Jafaru, alleged in a statement in Gusau that the chairmen of the councils were found wanting in misappropriating relief funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in their respective areas.

But in a quick reaction to the development, the APC Chairman in the state, Alhaji Lawal Liman, condemned the state government’s action.

Liman noted that even the last local government election that brought in the chairmen was being contested in the court.

“This matter now, is a complete violation of our laws and constitutional provisions, we are going to review the issues as well as seek legal advice then take a stand,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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AirAsia Philippines to slash 12 pct of staff due to COVID-19 impact




Budget airline AirAsia Philippines on Friday announced its plan to layoff 12 percent of its workforce due to the travel restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite all our efforts to curb the effects of the pandemic, AirAsia has made the difficult decision of reducing the company’s workforce, but has done everything to keep the number of affected employees to a minimum, totaling 12 percent of all Filipino Allstars,” the airline said in a statement.

With about 2,200 employees, more than 260 employees “across the board” will be affected by the layoffs, the airline said.

“For years, we have been able to carry out our vision of letting everyone fly with the help of our Allstars. AirAsia values each and everyone’s contribution to the company and we thank them for their service,” the airline added.

Indeed, the aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 global pandemic. “AirAsia Philippines is not an exception to this,” the low-cost airline said.

The airline cited its cost management efforts to reduce losses brought by the pandemic such as the voluntary salary sacrifice, ranging from 100 percent at the very top to 15 percent, by the management and senior employees of AirAsia Group.

AirAsia Philippines, founded in 2010, is the latest Philippine carrier to downsize its workforce due to the pandemic. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air have also laid off its employees.

The country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, including AirAsia, issued advisories on Monday that they are resuming domestic flight services following the government’s move to ease quarantine restrictions to contain the spread of the COVID-19.

The lockdown imposed in mid-March restricted air, land and sea travel and suspended mass transportation in Metro Manila and many parts of the country after airports were shut down to avoid infection.


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