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Why Air Nigeria was suspended



The federal government Thursday explained that the national carrier which was earlier billed to kick off in December was suspended temporarily because the process to actualise it was delayed.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has also also stated that Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will start bearing arms within the next three months.

The government said the transaction advisers did not complete the process on modalities on the ownership of the new airline in time.

Sirika who made this known yesterday, hinted that, in recent months, several misinformation, factual errors, insinuations and fabrications have been peddled in both social and print media on the project.

He informed that, Lufthansa, which was the first approved transaction adviser was rejected due to its outrageous demands which included opening an escrow account, refusal to pay tax and demand for 75 percent up front payment.

Sirika who spoke yesterday at the 5th aviation stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, also disclosed that another major factor that stalled the process was the inability of the federal government to provide sovereign guarantee for the procurement of 30 airplanes estimated at $300 million to be paid in installment till

According to the minister, “Estimated funding requirement for the establishment of the project is 300million dollars up to 2020. Initial start–up capital of 55million dollars made up of 25 million dollars for deposit for new aircraft and 30million dollars for working capital from June to December 2018.

Saraki said Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of FAAN will start bearing arms within the next three months.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Sirika made the disclosure yesterday at the fifth aviation stakeholders’ forum in Abuja.

“Within the next three months, we will get the FAAN AVSEC to start bearing arms like their counterparts in the Transportation Security Agency of the United States, ” he

The minister recalled the Turkish Airline incident in 2016 where some aggrieved passengers overpowered AVSEC officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and gained access to the tarmac.

Sirika also cited the recent occurrence at Sokoto Airport where some political supporters forcefully entered the tarmac, stressing that these actions were clear security breaches.

He said the personnel would be provided with new uniforms, sniffer dogs and other things that would enable them discharge their responsibilities of securing and safe guarding airline officials, passengers and other airport users. “So, for us, our focus is to ensure that we are secured and safe. Aviation is not just about building terminals because safety is one of the most critical aspect,” Sirika noted.

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Travel & Tourism

Airlines slash fare to encourage voters



Thousands of Nigerians who want to travel to vote in the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections have been given airfare cut by Aero Contractors and Arik Air.

Both carriers yesterday introduced promo fares in what they termed ‘Fly to Vote promotion’ to encourage disenchanted electorate. But for an eligible air traveler to qualify for the promo, he must present his Permanent Voter Card (PVC). The airlines made the disclosure in separate statements issued in Lagos.

Nigerians are set to go to the polls on February 23 to elect their President, 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives after the elections earlier scheduled for February 16 were postponed. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also fixed March 9 for gubernatorial and House of Assembly polls. Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Captain Roy Ilegbodu, said the N16,000 Fly to Vote promotion was to encourage Nigerians to travel to their respective wards to cast their votes during the elections.

Ilegbodu said: “Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading airline has introduced an N16, 000 Fly to Vote promotion to encourage Nigerians to travel to their respective wards to cast their votes in the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections, as well as the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections holding across the country on February 23, 2019 and March 9, 2019 respectively.

“The N16,000 promotional fare is the one-way ticket cost to any domestic destination on Arik Air’s network and customers must present a PVC at the point of purchase and at check-in to be eligible to fly.

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Should Nigeria embrace Capitalism? Is what’s good for the merchants good for Nigeria?



Indian merchants who knew Sheikn Rashid recall that his favourite saying was,

“What’s good for the merchants is good for Dubai.”

– Sheikn Rashid

The motto famous in Dubai as the philosophy behind the Making of the Megapolis. They also recall what a thrill it was for Emiratis each time a new merchant arrived to set up shop. Just sixty years ago Dubai’s population scraped a living by picking dates, diving for pearls, or sailing in wooden dhows to trade with Iran and India.

Dubai’s waterways: Dhows pictured on the city’s creek was once the centre of Dubai’s pearl trade

The emirate went from desert backwater to the Manhattan of the Middle East in just 50 years

But today, Dubai is everything the rest of the Arab world is not, with its unfathomably high skyscrapers, matched only in size by its vast, sprawling shopping malls and its residents’ bulging bank balances. As at 2013, the UAE’s per capita income of $48,000 was one of the highest in the world. A robust economy with perhaps the best infrastructures on the planet, one of the safest place to live or do business in the middle east, and generally, one of the safest sanctuaries of global capital. Achieved simply on the back of sound reasoning by good leadership, with a focus on establishing an economy beyond petroleum exports: using their oil wealth to invest in trade and industry for profit in accordance with basic principles of capitalism.

Dubai City

Like Dubai sixty years ago, the economic setbacks of Nigeria can still be addressed if Nigerians can look beyond cheap petrodollar and its criminal enterprise of bribery and corruption, as the nation’s main source of wealth creation. For which the consequence of this chronic condition has over the years impeded the incentives for creativity and the diversification of the Nigerian economy, which otherwise by now should have resulted in the economic independence from petroleum exports, and could have provided revenue generation in multiple growth sectors.

It remains shocking but not surprising that even amongst many of Nigeria’s enlightened youths and elites, a lack of the will or capacity to aspire beyond oil revenue and the followership of the downline of corrupt element still strives. However, from the leadership perspective, the main perpetrators have been myopic leaders whose years of leading with extreme incompetence, gross lack of commercial awareness and arrogance have not allowed for any well-grounded vision beyond the petrodollar.

Indeed, like Muhammadu Buhari, the quality of being perceived, to be honest, or having strong moral principles: integrity, is an attractive attribute of a leader. However, for the President of a country like Nigeria, with severe economic challenges and a rapidly growing youth population, a lot more substance is required for progressive leadership. Until Nigerians elect leaders that could radically embrace policies that promote commercial growth and create business-friendly environments with conditions suitable for domestic and international businesses alike, Nigeria would remain drowned in acute economic ignorance.

Only capitalism can save Nigerians

Undoubtedly, It is absolutely essential to plug the notoriously occurring leakages in the economy, however, with a population of 180 million people with a youth unemployment rate of 13.41% as at 2017 and increasing, a focus on revenue creation to stimulate growth is critically essential. But to date, efforts towards the regime’s myopic economic policy of simply fighting corruption, and its unstructured attempt to overhaul weak institutions have been largely diluted by nepotism and lopsided political prejudice, and as a result, has failed to produce any tangible outcome to count towards poverty reduction.

Sadly, after 4years of expectations, Nigerians are back to the choice of the same narrow mission that has proven to have little or no significant impact on the advancement of the common man in Nigeria. Generally, the efforts of Buhari’s 2015 -2019 regime simply lacked the prerequisite qualities needed to improve the welfare of Nigerians: an unsatisfactory outcome.

As Nigeria heads towards the general elections on February 16th 2019, where Nigerians would be faced with a binary choice, between the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, a Former Vice President of Nigeria, considered to be an advocate of Capitalism, I close by borrowing a famous quote from Shakespeare.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

– William Shakespeare.

Should Nigeria embrace Capitalism? Like Dubai, is what’s good for the merchants also good for Nigeria?

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Travel & Tourism

NCAA sanctions four airlines



The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has sanctioned four erring operators for violations. Its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, who stated this yesterday, did not identify the operators. But, he said they are scheduled and non-scheduled operators.

Adurogboye said infractions by the airlines were discovered during on the spot inspections carried out by NCAA Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI).

NCAA inspectors, the NCAA spokesman said, found out a number of deficiencies on the airlines, including non-implementation of training programmes of maintenance personnel as required, irregularities concerning helicopter flight identification, deliberate violation of regulations, performing maintenance programme without necessary approval and using outdated manual.

These, he said, were found to be in violation of the civil aviation regulations.

Consequently, the various operators were sanctioned with fines ranging from N1.5 million to N2 million.

One of the operators involved in a deliberate violation of the regulations had its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) suspended for 180 days.

However, he said the authority has ensured that the affected personnel in question in the employment of one of the airlines are trained accordingly.

Adurogboye reassured stakeholders that NCAA would keep ensuring that Standard Operating Procedures [SOPs] are strictly followed.

But, aviation unions – Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) – have vowed to declare a state of emergency in NCAA from tomorrow, if their demands for staff promotion are not met.

The unions stated this at the weekend in Lagos, claiming that the NCAA management has taken them for granted on issues of promotions for the agency’s workers.

Chairman, NCAA Joint Action Committee and NUATE Chairman, NCAA branch Lucky Izebhokun said the agency’s management would be looking for trouble if they do not promote the workers.

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Travel & Tourism

China to build 216 new airports



China aims to construct 216 new airports by 2035 to meet the growing demands for air travel, reports say.

China had a total of 234 civil airports at the end of October, and this number is likely to hit 450 by 2035. This is part of China’s ambition to become an aviation power, reported People’s Daily, China, quoting Reuters.

Data shows that demand for passenger air transportation in China will surpass the US by 2035, representing almost one-quarter of the world’s total flights.

Airports in China managed 552 million travellers last year, which is expected to grow to 720 million by 2020.

With one billion new passengers and 1.6 billion total passenger traffic in the next two decades, China is set to become the largest driver of the global aviation industry, according to the International Air Transport Association.

With great market potential and the consumption upgrade trend, China is driving development of international aviation in the Asia-Pacific, and the country is expected to maintain its steady growth in the next two decades, surpassing the US to occupy the top spot in the global aviation industry, IATA said.

SEE ALSO: Pains, gains of government’s intervention in failing airlines

More than half of new passengers are expected to come from the Asia-Pacific, the report pointed out, thanks to stable economic growth and rising household income.

“Among all the nations in this region, China will become the country with fastest growing aviation market in the next 20 years, due to its prospective one billion new passengers and 1.6 billion total passenger traffic,” the report said.

Driven by China’s expected annual five percent growth, the Asia-Pacific will become an important impetus for international aviation industry.

“China is the most dynamic aviation market in the world, with a prosperous economy and a growing middle-income group, and there is strong potential for the global aviation industry in Asia,” according to Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA.

“The rapid development of China’s aviation industry is a result of the country’s reform and opening-up, as well as its active participation in the international market,” said Brian Pearce, IATA’s chief economist, who added that China has injected new vitality into the world aviation industry.

The report also predicted that the net profit of the global air transportation industry will reach $35.5bn, with an expected 4.59 billion passengers and 65.9 million tons of cargo volume.

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