The Federal Government has announced the resumption of International Flight operations from August 29, 2020.
This was disclosed through a tweet post by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on his official twitter handle on Monday, August.
The Minister said that the flight operations will start with the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja airports as was done with domestic flight resumptions. He said that protocols and procedures will be announced in due course.
Hadi Sirika, in his tweet post, stated, ‘’Glad to announce the resumption of international flights from the 29th of August 2020. Beginning with Lagos and Abuja as we did with the domestic flight resumption. Protocols and procedures will be announced in due course. We thank you for your patience.’’
He made the announcement during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday August 17, 2020, in Abuja.
Sirika said, “However, what we have become used to, physical distancing, wearing of masks, washing of hands, temperature taking, etc will continue.”
The minister explained that the process for the resumption of international flights in the country would be similar to that of the domestic flight resumption.
According to the minister, the resumption will commence on Saturday next week at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He thanked Nigerians for their patience while the ban on international flights was enforced and gave an assurance that the protocols and procedures for resumption would be announced in due course.
Sirika added, “Just like we did with the domestic (flights resumption), it will start with Lagos and Abuja. The protocols, procedures, and processes, will be announced in due course.
He also disclosed during the briefing that 4 flights would start landing daily in Lagos, and another 4 in Abuja, with strict protocols. He, however, did not say where they would be coming from.
It can be recalled that the Federal Government had closed the Nigerian airspace to both domestic and international flight operations except for essential services as part of the measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
However, domestic flight operations resumed on July 8, with Lagos and Abuja airports and subsequently other airports. Sirika said there had been no confirmed virus transmissions on flights.
Glad to announce the resumption of international flights from the 29th of August, 2020. Beginning with Lagos and Abuja as we did with the domestic flight resumption. Protocols and procedures will be announced in due course. We thank you for your patience.🙏🏽🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬🙏🏽
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) August 17, 2020
Drive-ins, photo shoots, outdoor catering, hotels in Nigeria adopt new ways to survive
Hotels in Nigeria have adopted several creative measures to survive the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Operators in the Nigerian hospitality industry have created opportunities for themselves amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to redefine value propositions and keep their heads above water.
To survive the negative impacts and ensure that they give their patrons reasons to continue patronizing their services, some of these hotels came up with initiatives like drive-in events, outdoor events, promotions, guest engagements, and group conference events, amongst others.
During its Q3 2020 Investors Call, the Managing Director of Transcorp Hotels, Dupe Olusola, told Nairametrics that though the revenue of the hotel, dropped by 54% year-on-year due to the lingering negative impact of Covid-19; Through the various initiatives implemented to reduce the impact of the pandemic, over 237% increase was recorded in Q3 revenue compared to that of Q2.
She said, “Drive-In Events product, launched in May, is for ‘top of mind’ awareness for the hotel amongst our targeted audience. It has also driven sales in the restaurant and other business areas within the hotel.
“Continuous promotion of our meetings, simplified product offerings like the Weekend Staycation, Work-From-Hotel package, amongst other initiatives, and have increased leisure business at the hotel.
“With the launch of EventReady and the CleanStay program, we have seen an increase in meetings.”
She added that the hotel had witnessed improvement in room revenue, majorly driven by the transient and group segments, as well as its continuous marketing campaign of hotel offerings.
She said, “Our Weekend Staycation is to attract both Abuja residents and potential guests from other states, in order to drive local and leisure demands.”
Ikeja Hotels Plc
Ikeja Hotels Plc also adopted some initiatives across its hotel chain to survive the pandemic. A staff of Sheraton Hotel Ikeja, who preferred anonymity, as she was not permitted to discuss on behalf of the hotel, told Nairametrics that the hotel had adopted some initiatives like outdoor events and promotions to attract more patrons.
She said, “As part of our strategy to improve operational efficiencies, we have put in place cost-cutting and recovery measures, including negotiating vendor contracts, energy conservation, and optimizing our workforce to the required manning at different occupancy levels.
“Our Food and beverage revenue has improved, driven mainly by the conference and event businesses. We recorded a week on week increase in the month of October.”
In the case of L’eola Hotel, formerly known as Protea Hotel, surviving the challenges created by the pandemic is key and this made the hotel to introduce some initiatives.
In an interview with Nairametrics, its Deputy General Manager, Tunde Oduyoye, explained that the hotel had to invest more on social media tools to reach out to its clients and also to meet the needs of some patrons, who wanted to hold social gatherings despite the social distancing rule.
He said, “We just did a photoshoot, which we shared with our existing and potential clients via our social media tools, to remind our patrons that we are back and fully compliant with the Covid-19 protocols.
“We now host weddings and other occasions and Zoom to other guests that cannot attend physically due to social distancing rules. We also host occasions on our open field to guarantee the safety of our patrons.
“We deliver food to our clients and also engage Jumia for deliveries. The hotel has also started baking bread for lodging guests and others within and outside the community.”
Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel
Like other hotels earlier mentioned, Radisson Blu also adopted several measures to remain relevant to its patrons.
In an interview with Nairametrics, a source at the Hotel, who preferred anonymity, as he was not permitted to speak on behalf of the hotel, disclosed that it had adopted an outdoor catering service for both corporate clients and individuals.
He said, “Continuous promotion of our product offerings and other initiatives, has boosted patronage in our hotel. We now offer outdoor events and new discount rates for using our facilities. With this development, we have seen an increase in meetings at the hotel, compared with when the lockdown was eased few months back.”
What the future holds
Hotels in Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa rely on local tourism to drive occupancy rates. In contrast, locals in Nigeria prefer smaller mushroom hotels that are cheaper and often well-furnished to meet their needs, especially the short-stay apartments.
Hence, hotels in Nigeria rely on commercial room sales, driven by the influx of business and leisure travels into the country.
With several airlines yet to be fully operational due to reciprocal bans and lockdowns in some countries, it is highly unlikely that things will improve anytime soon.
What you should know
The lockdown effect on the revenue of these hotels is reflected in the 2020 Q2 results of the main listed hotels.
According to the data, Ikeja Hotels (Sheraton), Tourist Company of Nigeria (Federal Palace), Capital Hotels (Abuja Sheraton), and Transcorp Hilton Hotel Plc all lost 90% of their revenue in the three months preceding June 2020.
- The hotels earned a combined revenue of N1 billion in the quarter, compared to N10.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.
- They lost over N4.7 billion for the quarter alone.
- Combined, they had about 3,502 employees as of 2019.
Indian High Commission facilitates another air bubble flight in Nigeria
The Indian High Commission in Nigeria has facilitated Delhi-Lagos-Delhi air bubble flight.
The Indian High Commission in Nigeria has facilitated Delhi-Lagos-Delhi air bubble flight on Sunday, November 29, 2020.
India created an air bubble arrangement with Nigeria in September 2020.
This was disclosed by the High Commission via its Twitter handle on Sunday.
It explained that the “Transport Bubbles” or “Air Travel Arrangements” are temporary arrangements between the two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.
It tweeted, “Glad to have facilitated travel in Delhi-Lagos-Delhi air bubble flight @airindiain 1903/04 on 28/29 Nov. Thank all the concerned 🇮🇳 & 🇳🇬 authorities for their continuous support.”
Glad to have facilitated ✈️ travel in Delhi-Lagos-Delhi air bubble flight @airindiain 1903/04 on 28/29 Nov. Thank all the concerned 🇮🇳 & 🇳🇬 authorities for their continuous support.@PMOIndia @MEAIndia pic.twitter.com/AaQwvr0tAf
— India in Nigeria (and Benin, Chad & ECOWAS) (@india_nigeria) November 29, 2020
What you need to know
India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), via its official website, had announced on September 17, 2020 that it established an air travel bubble with Nigeria.
What it means
Indian and Nigerian carriers are now permitted to operate flights between India and Nigeria and carry the following categories of persons on such flights:
A. From India to Nigeria:
i. Stranded Nigerian nationals/residents, foreign nationals destined for Africa and transiting through Nigeria or spouses of these persons, whether accompanying or otherwise;
ii. Any Indian national holding any type of valid Nigerian visa and destined for any country in Africa. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian nationals to enter the destination country before issue of ticket/ boarding pass to the Indian passenger; and
iii. Seamen of foreign nationalities; Seamen holding Indian passports would be allowed subject to clearance from the Ministry of Shipping.
Click here for the details of the air buble arrangement
Canada extends travelers’ restrictions to January 2021
The Canadian Government has extended a temporary travel restrictions for all travelers seeking entry into the country.
The Canadian Government has extended the mandatory isolation order and temporary travel restrictions for all travelers seeking entry into the country, except the United States, to January 2021.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, on Sunday.
In a statement seen by Nairametrics, he explained that the travel restrictions for US citizens and foreign nationals arriving from the US would remain in place until December 21, 2020 and might be extended at that time.
The decision was taken to protect Canadians from COVID-19 and reduce the spread of the disease in Canada. Blair said:
“Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is my most important responsibility. We have introduced a number of policies to keep Canadians safe but must remain flexible and adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation, while keeping your health as our top priority.
“The ability to align US and international travel extension dates, as well as the Mandatory Isolation Order, beginning on January 21, 2021 will enable the Government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, US and international travelers.
“In addition, the Government is amending its order and creating a framework for considering applications from high-performance amateur sport organizations seeking to hold International Single Sport Events.”
To be considered, applicants are expected to include written commitments of ongoing support from provincial/territorial and local public health authorities and provincial/territorial governments, as well as a robust plan to protect public health and the health of participants.
The authorization would be issued by the Department of Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada) in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
“Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or who has recently come into close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, should continue to quarantine or isolate for 14 days. At all Canadian ports of entry, the final determination on a traveler’s admissibility is made by border services officers who base their decision on the information presented and available to them at the time of entry,” he added.
- The Department of Canadian Heritage will determine which foreign nationals can receive accreditation to enter Canada to participate in an International Single Sport Event.
- An International Single Sport Event includes World Championships, Olympic or Paralympic Qualifications, as well as World Cups.
- A high-performance amateur athlete is defined as an athlete competing at the international level and affiliated with his or her country’s national sport federation.
What you need to know
In March, 2020, the Government introduced several measures, including prohibitions and restrictions on discretionary and optional travel from the United States (US) and all other countries, to minimize the introduction and spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of Canadians.
The measures included the requirement for all travelers entering Canada to quarantine or isolate for 14 days.
Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website