The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has stated that the total amount of revenues owed to international carriers by some African countries have risen to N366 billion ($1.2 billion).
This was disclosed by IATA’s Vice President for Africa, Raphael Kuuchi at the on-going aviation conference in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.
According to Reuters, out of the total amount, Nigeria which initially owed international carriers about N183 billion ($600 million) has as at last month liquidated the debt to N67.40 billion ($221 million).
The debts were revenues earned by global airlines in various African countries but were blocked by the government because of the economic crunch, which affected many countries in the continent from 2015. This affected the earnings of most of the commodity exporting countries and even resulted in foreign exchange crisis in some countries.
According to Kucchi, the global commodities price crash that began in 2014 hit economies across Africa hard, particularly big resource exporters such as Angola and Nigeria; so low oil and mineral prices reduced government revenue and caused chronic dollar shortages and immense pressure on local currencies.
He noted that the fiscal slump prevented the government from allowing foreign airlines to repatriate their dollar profits in full.
“To do business effectively, airlines must be able to reliably repatriate their revenues. And that’s not the case in nine African countries: Angola, Algeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe,” Kucchi said.
A senior official of IATA in Africa, Adefunke Adeyemi also explained that out of the total of $1.2 billion, Angola has blocked the largest amount, $500 million, while Sudan has held up $200 million.
Nigeria started offsetting its debts to the airlines from late 2016 and does not owe some of the airlines after the October payment.
The economic crises, which gave rise to a historical recession, forced some foreign airlines to stop their services to Nigeria, while many of them cut back their operations by reducing frequencies and changing their operational aircraft to smaller ones.
Iberia and United Airlines left Nigeria early 2016 due to the economic recession while Emirates which cut back its 21 weekly operations to seven has announced it would resume its flights to Abuja and additional flights to Lagos from its hub in Dubai this December.
Passengers Commend Integrity, Professionalism of Dana Air Security Team
Passengers have commended the integrity and professionalism demonstrated by the Dana Air security team on discovery of valuable items forgotten onboard its aircraft
The airline in a statement issued by its Media and Communications Manager, Kingsley Ezenwa said, ‘we are not surprised by the recent commendations that our security team has been getting on their constant display of integrity and professionalism on and off the job.
‘’There have been many cases of lost and recovered items like phones, ipads, huge sums of money, Nigerian passports with valid visas and lots of valuable items. We have also returned a lot of missing foreign and Nigerian passports to the immigration, embassies and even sometimes call the owners in the cases where we are able to track the passenger’s booking with authentic details. This is also one of the reasons we advise passengers to enter their correct details when booking.’’
Recently, a passenger on one of our flight from Abuja to Lagos left a bag containing $5,000 and some other valuables. On getting to Victoria Island, he noticed he wasn’t with the bag and dashed back to the airport, met the security team who confirmed the item was found. He proved ownership of the item; completed necessarily documents and got his missing item back immediately.
He thanked the security team for displaying a high level of integrity and professionalism in handling an issue that involved hard currency. He also appreciated the staff for proving all the negative things they hear about Nigerians wrong.
Another passenger, Musa Anasemi, who forgot a Nigerian passport with a valid US visa, said he didn’t have an idea where he left the passport, but after about nine days, he decided to check with us. He got his passport with gratitude and praises for the airline and the security staff that found the item and declared it.
We carry out our due diligence in recruitment across board and have invested heavily in training and retraining of staff. We also try our best to keep staff happy in our little way and these are the results.
We are also glad that our staffs have been able to prove to the world that some of the things they hear about us around the world are actually not true. The safety, comfort and well-being of our guests will remain a top priority and we will continue to keep the flag flying.’’
In 2018, Dana Air had 34 of its air passengers’ luggage missing with 32 of them recovered between January and December of same year according to a report obtained from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The airline’s security team have been commended for not only displaying integrity but for foiling series of security threats to its aircraft.
Dana Air Begins Owerri-Abuja flights May 1
As part of its strategic route expansion drive across Nigeria, Dana Air has announced plans to introduce Owerri- Abuja –Owerri flights on May 1
”We are greatly delighted to introduce an additional flight on our Owerri route, connecting Owerri to Abuja and back, said Kingsley Ezenwa, Dana Air’s Media and Communications Manager. ‘’ This is part of our commitment towards providing dependable options for the good people of Imo state and ensuring seamless travel for business and leisure travelers.’’
Speaking further, Kingsley said, the airline which currently operates over 27 daily flights from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Uyo, and Owerri, will operate flights from the Sam Mbakwe International Airport, Owerri to Abuja and back on Mondays to Fridays and Sundays.
‘’From May 1, 2018, we will operate one flight from Owerri to Abuja on Mondays to Fridays at 12.33pm and Abuja to Owerri at 2.16pm. On Sundays, Owerri to Abuja flights will be at 5.31pm and Abuja to Owerri at 12.06pm.’’
He noted that the airline had to create a flight from Owerri to Abuja as a result of the overwhelming calls from its guests, who had enjoyed its uninterrupted schedule and on-time departures from Lagos to Owerri and assured guests of the airline’s commitment towards providing a reliable and affordable service across its route network.
He advised the airline’s customers to visit its website www.flydanaair.com or any of its sales outlets at Imo Condorde Hotel in Owerri, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Silverbird Galleria in Lagos and all other airport sales desk for fares as low as 18,000 one way and 45,000 business class tickets.
Dana Air, after a thorough audit conducted by the Imo state government in 2017, was selected for an airline partnership as part of the Government’s commitment towards providing career and job opportunities for indigenes of the state, and affordable fares to boost leisure and business travel to and around the state.
President Buhari To Flag World Aviation Forum
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to attend the opening ceremony of the World Aviation Forum, and flag off the event.
This was contained in a statement issued today by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Mr James Odaudu.
According to the statement, the President’s presence was to emphasise the importance attached to the consideration of Nigeria’s emergence as the first country to host the annual event organised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The three-day event, which holds from November 20 – 22 in Abuja, will be the first to be held outside the ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada. It also underscores Nigeria’s rising profile within the aviation world.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said Nigeria’s hosting of the ICAO World Aviation Forum, coming so soon after the country hosted the ICAO Symposium on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), is a clear indication of the confidence the Buhari administration has elicited within the sector, and an endorsement by the world body of its reform programmes for the nation’s aviation industry.
“The third ICAO World Aviation Forum, which is intended to explore the benefits of the aviation sector to social, economic development and prosperity of member states, is aimed at top-ranking government officials in charge of aviation, transport and infrastructure, finance, economy and tourism; and key industry and financial partners.
“The forum is also expected to discuss, identify needs, and facilitate the funding and financing required to accelerate the implementation of international civil aviation standards and policies, as well as global plans for aviation, in support of the ICAO No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative,” the statement read in part.
The objectives of the forum include the establishment and alignment of infrastructure programmes and plans that are consistent with the ICAO global strategic plans for aviation like the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) and the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP).
The meeting will also discuss the stimulation of common and interoperable air transport systems leading to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
On the benefits of the forum, Mr Sirika said it is expected to build on the outcomes of the two previous ICAO World Aviation Forums (IWAF/1 and IWAF/2) held in November 2015 and September 2016 respectively.
He added that it will also tackle the existing and future financing challenges facing aviation infrastructure and capacity development in member states, especially in Africa, in the spirit of the ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative.
The minister said Nigeria appreciates the honour and privilege of being the first country to host the Forum and appealed to ICAO for continuous support for the country’s drive to reposition its aviation sector.
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