Nigeria has postponed the resumption date for international flights to September 5th 2020. According to reports, the decision was taken as a result of the need to “fine-tune protocols and guidelines”.
Resumption of international flights has been shifted by one week to 5th of September to fine-tune protocols and guidelines
— NTA News (@NTANewsNow) August 27, 2020
International Flights were meant to resume this Saturday, August 29th, 2020. However, travel operators who spoke to Nairametrics complained that guidelines such as scheduling were yet to be published. In a COVID-19 briefing by Director-General of the NCAA, Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, he explained that they were still working on non-aviation logistics necessitating the extensions.
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According to him, “We have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on, mostly the COVID-19 protocol tests and online platform….we need to get this ready.”
NCAA DG Musa Nuhu also confirmed that the new September 5 date was “sacrosanct”, meaning that he was sure international flight operations will resume on that date.
The Minister of Aviation along with the DG of NCAA, FAAN MD, Captain Rabiu Yududu met with travel operators twice this week via Zoom where he explained the plans of the ministry to open international flights.
However, Nairametrics understands most operators expressed concerns over the possibility of resuming flight operations, explaining that they could not proceed to sell tickets when issues such as flight scheduling, logistics, and guidelines around COVID-19 had not been clarified.
They also complained about the fact that they were very few destinations for international flights from Nigeria as most airports particularly in Europe and in the US remain shut to commercial flight operations.
Qatar Air starts Abuja operations with first Nigerian female Boeing 787 pilot
Qatar Air has commenced its inaugural flight to Abuja with the first Nigerian female Boeing 787 pilot.
Qatar Air has commenced its inaugural flight to Abuja, Nigeria on Friday. The airline commenced the operation with the first Nigerian female Boeing 787 pilot, Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo.
This was disclosed on Friday by the Director-General, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri, via her official Twitter handle.
She tweeted, “Today, Qatar Air operated its inaugural flight to Abuja, Nigeria. And our own Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo was on the right seat as she assisted Captain Khan Sameer Ali. Adeola is the first Nigerian female Boeing 787 Pilot and the first Nigerian female Pilot to fly for Qatar Airways.”
Today Qatar Air operated its inaugural flight to Abuja, Nigeria. And our own Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo was on the right seat as she assisted Captain Khan Sameer Ali. Adeola is the first Nigerian female Boeing 787 Pilot and the first Nigerian female Pilot to fly for Qatar Airways.
— Abike Dabiri-Erewa (@abikedabiri) November 27, 2020
What you need to know
Sowemimo, who graduated in 2011 from the US-based Sunrise Aviation Academy and started her aviation career there, became the first Nigerian female pilot to work for Qatar Airways in the Middle East — a region which is challenging for women hoping to become pilots.
She is also the first female Nigerian to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for Qatar Airways and the first Nigerian female pilot to fly the Boeing 767 Aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, which puts her in the same league with Kenya’s Captain Irene Koki and Ethiopia’s Captain Amsale Gulau.
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Aviation contribution to GDP drops by 38.86% in Q3 2020 – NBS
A recently released NBS report indicates that air transport contracted by 38.86% in the third quarter of 2020.
The GDP report recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicates that air transport under the transportation and storage sector contracted by 38.86% in the third quarter of 2020.
According to the report, the subsector contracted Q-o-Q by 57.38% and 15.23% Y-o-Y.
The transportation and storage sector comprising road transport, rail transport and pipelines, water transport, air transport, and transport services experienced growth of 35.06% in nominal terms (year-on-year), as it sought to gradually recover from the restricted movements of passenger and goods.
According to the report, “In real terms, the transportation and storage sector contracted by -42.98% in Q3 2020. This rate represented a slightly better performance than the preceding quarter when it recorded -49.23%, an increase of 6.25%. Year on Year, growth was 18.24%.”
What you should know
All activities under transport and the storage industry recorded negative growth rates, except for post and courier services.
Part of the report read, “All activities under the transport and storage industry recorded negative growth rates except post and courier services. Quarter on quarter, growth stood at 29.69%. Transport activities contributed 1.28% to nominal GDP in Q3 2020, a decline from the 2.03% recorded in the corresponding period of 2019, but higher than 1.13% recorded in the second quarter of 2020.”
The subsector suffered, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic pay cuts and job losses.
Several pilots were sacked and as well some Ground handling companies also took a beating, as Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc saw their combined revenue for nine months ended September 30, dip by N2.7bn to N10.1bn from N12.8bn in the same period of 2019 – representing 21.2% reduction in revenue in the period under review, according to the financial statements of the companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
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US imposes $15,000 visa bond on 15 African countries, others
The US has issued a visa rule requiring tourist and business travelers in some countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees.
The outgoing administration of US President, Donald Trump, on Monday, November 23, 2020, issued a new temporary visa rule that requires tourist and business travelers from 15 African countries and others to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees, which ranges from $16 to $300, in order to visit the United States.
According to TheCable, the US State Department said the visa bond pilot programme, expected to take effect from December 24 and end on June 24, 2021, is targeted at countries whose citizens have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travelers.
The Trump administration said the six-month pilot program aims to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and will serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas. Hence, overstay places significant pressure on Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.
The visa bond rule will permit U.S. consular officers to request tourist and business travelers from countries whose nationals had an overstay rate of 10% and above in 2019 to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000.
The countries whose tourist and business travelers fall into this category and subjected to the bond requirements are 24 countries, including 15 African countries. While these nations had higher rates of overstays, they sent relatively fewer travelers to the United States.
The countries include Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen
Nigerian travelers escaped paying the temporary visa rule, as their overall score was below the threshold of 10% and above overstaying rate.