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Airlines cut down flights due to COVID-19 outbreak, many may lose their jobs

Airlines across the globe have suspended all flights to China and modified some other routes in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.



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Airlines across the globe have suspended all flights to China and modified some other routes in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

American airlines, on Monday morning, extended the suspension of China and Hong Kong flights till April 24, while Austrian airlines extended its cancellations to March and April. British Airways took its suspensions as far as April 17, while Delta Airlines intends to resume flights to and fro China by the end of April.

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LOT extended suspensions until March 28, while Lufthansa will not resume China flights until April 24.

Air Seoul, Oman Air and Air Mauritius suspended all flights to and fro China and Hong Kong till further notice, while Air Tanzania has postponed indefinitely the launch of its charter service to China, which was set to begin in February 2020.

[READ MORE: BLOODY WEEKS: Coronavirus costs investors N1 trillion, triggers devaluation fears)

JejuAir Co Ltd, Qatar Airways, RwandAir, Scoot (Singapore Airlines), Saudia (Saudi Arabia’s state airline) and Kenya Airways also suspended all China routes indefinitely

Air France cancelled all flights to mainland China till the end of March, as Air India took it a step further, cancelling flights from Mainland China to Shanghai and Hong Kong till June 2020. The UAE suspended flights to most of mainland China, and all flights to Iran and Bahrain

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In an unexplained twisted turn of events, Egypt Air resumed some flights to and from China.

The suspension of flights to Hong Kong and Beijing will run till May 2 for the El Al Israel Airlines, while FinnAir cancelled all flights to mainland China flights and some Hong Kong flights until the end of April. Iberia Airlines extended the suspension of flights from Madrid to Shanghai, its only route, until the end of April.

KLM said its ban would include flights to Chengdu, Hangzhou and Xiamen in China till May, while flights to Beijing and Shanghai may resume by March ending. Lion Air suspended all flights to China from February and has waived travel change fees for flights up to April 30. Quantas Airlines’ sole remaining route to mainland China, Syndey-Shanghai, has been suspended and its Hong Kong flights are reduced.

United Airlines suspended its Hong Kong service until April 23, and Vietjet VJC.HM and Vietnam Airlines HVN.HM suspended flights to the mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macau to April 30.

Air Canada has extended the suspension of flights to Beijing and Shanghai until March 27, and its Toronto to Hong Kong flights to March 27, and Air China has said it would cancel flights to Athens, Greece, to March 18 and adjust flights between China and the United States.

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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways suspended flights to Hong Kong, and Hainan Airlines suspends flights between Budapest, Hungary, and Chongqing both till the end of March.


So far, China is not the only route affected, as several airlines have modified their services on other routes, particularly for destinations that report high cases of the COVID-19.

British Airways has cancelled some flights from London to the United States and roundtrips between London and Singapore, South Korea and Italy – including Milan, Bologna, Venice and Turin from March 14 to March 28.

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According to Reuters, Vistara Airlines has reduced flights to and from Bangkok and Singapore; Vietnam Airlines HVN.HM suspended flights to South Korea from March 5; Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways suspended flights between Da Nang and Nha Trang to Seoul Incheon; while Wizz Air would decrease the frequency of its Romania, Poland, Italy and Israel routes, cutting two-thirds of all flights on affected routes over March 11 and April 2.

[READ ALSO: Samsung moves smartphone production to Vietnam due to coronavirus)

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Why this matters: The cut down in flights is set to affect employed labour as some of the airlines might be reducing their staff number in view of the reduced profitability. Wizz Air has hinted that it could further reduce its staff capacity by another 10% over the next quarter, in addition to the downsizing already done. Some of the airlines like Iberia Airlines, Quantas Airlines have suspended flights to all of their routes, implying that they may also have to downsize soon, till normal flights are resumed.

Ryanair announced on March 2 that it would cut 25% of its Italian capacity for three weeks.

All of these, no doubt, give the international community more to worry about.


Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career.As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Royal Academy of Engineering invests over £3.5 million in Nigeria, others

The academy has awarded over £3.5 million in 37 projects in Nigeria and across 13 African countries.



The Royal Academy of Engineering has awarded over £3.5 million to 37 projects in Nigeria and across 13 African countries to promote better training and sustainability and diversify economies.

This was disclosed by the Academy via a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday to mark the UNESCO World Engineering Day 2021.

It stated that the Academy’s interest in partnering with partner academic institutions’ projects focused on realizing sustainable development goals.

One of such projects, according to the statement, is the renewable energy project recently embarked on by Engineering students in the University of Abuja, Nigeria.

It stated, “A new awardee of the HEPSSA programme, the University of Abuja, in a project titled “Renewable energy utilization: Accelerating diffusion of solar power systems”, seeks to address the problem of access to affordable and clean energy with a view to enable accelerated diffusion solar power systems.”

Commenting on the progress achieved in Africa, Nigerian born Engineer in the UK, Yewande Akinola MBE, who is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering GCRF Africa Catalyst Committee, said:

“While we see immediate improvements in skills and innovation through these programmes, the real win is establishing a framework for lasting change. This will equip communities in Africa to anticipate and plan for the challenges posed by climate change, urbanisation and economic development. The continent is transforming rapidly, and those engineering its future need the skills to think on their feet.”

Stressing the need for strategic partnerships and buy-in of stakeholders, she said, “By developing strong alliances between local partners in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, we can enable learning, collaboration and sharing of best practice, which in turn will build skills to boost innovation. But there is much more to be done, which needs the continued support of investors and partners.”

She added that the Academy aimed to support the development of a diverse and future fit workforce across the continent.

“It is estimated that fewer than 10% of engineering posts in Africa are currently occupied by women. GCRF Africa Catalyst has worked with Women in Engineering (WomEng) to promote gender diversity across a wide spectrum of professional experience.

“WomEng’s work with Eswatini’s Registration Council for Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Allied Professionals has resulted in seven registered female members where they initially had none. A HEP SSA project with the Institute of Engineers Rwanda also helped to increase the number of female internship applicants from 5% to 2018 to 25% in 2019,” she said.

Highlights of achievements of the Africa grants:

  • Over 2000 professionals trained by Professional Engineering Institutions across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Over 530 student industry placements since 2013. Number of students obtaining industry internships increased from 40% to 90% over the course of one project in Zambia
  • Diversity & Inclusion initiatives have driven equal gender participation in programmes. A project from the Institute of Engineers Rwanda helped to increase the number of female internship applicants from 5% in 2018 to 25% in 2019.
  • 50 individual course curricula reviewed and improved as a result of industry-academia partnerships.
  • Almost 50 UK organisations and 400 in-country bodies involved as project partners so far.

What you should know

  • Launched in 2016, with support from the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Africa Catalyst initiative allows Engineers to focus on issues of specific importance to their relevant jurisdictions while facilitating good governance practices.
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering is showcasing its impact on enhancing collaboration, education, and diversity in engineering in sub-Saharan Africa, delivered through its Africa grants programmes ahead of the second UNESCO World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development on the 4th of March 2021.

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Veteran broadcaster, actor, Sadiq Daba is dead

Daba died on Wednesday evening after losing a battle to leukaemia and prostate cancer.



Veteran broadcaster and actor, Sadiq Daba, died on Wednesday evening after losing a battle to leukaemia and prostate cancer.

His death was confirmed by filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan, with whom he recently worked with on the 2020 motion picture, Citation.

Afolayan, who said that the ace broadcaster died on the evening of Wednesday, March 3rd, said he spoke with his wife and son who confirmed his passing to him.

Many Nigerians, including billionaire Femi Otedola, had donated money for his treatment abroad and showed massive support on social media.

Daba made waves in the 1980s on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

He has featured in several TV series and movies, with “Cock Crow at Dawn” and “October 1st” as notable mentions.

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