United Airlines has extended its international routes to cover Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; New Delhi & Bangalore, India; and Johannesburg, South Africa.
This was recently disclosed by the airline’s Vice President of International Network and Alliances, Patrick Quayle, via live and lets fly’, a travelers blog. According to the airline, it will add service to Lagos, Nigeria from its Washington Dulles hub, and it has worked with Boeing to address range issues with this new route on the 787-8.
He explained that Lagos is the largest gateway to West Africa, and the airline had operated service between Houston and Lagos for many years, but with the oil market depressed, Washington appeared to be a more lucrative opportunity.
He said, “The service will operate 3 times weekly starting next spring utilizing a 787-8. United will compete with Delta on the route, which offers service from New York JFK utilizing a 767-300.”
With a growing Ghanaian population in the greater Washington metro area, and a more fuel and passenger efficient 787-8 Dreamliner, United hopes Accra route will be a success.
“The service will operate 3x weekly starting next spring. United will compete with Delta on the route, which offers service from New York JFK utilizing a 767-300,” he added.
With South African Airways on life support, Quayle explained that United will add daily service between Newark and Johannesburg beginning in Spring 2021, and the move is expected to complement existing seasonal service to Cape Town. The flight will still utilize a 787-9
On Delhi route, United Airlines will take up the mantle of a long-time, but now abandoned American Airlines route. Chicago, United notes, has the second highest population of Indian Americans in the United States.
The new service will begin in December 2020 and utilize a 787-9.
In what United calls its most-requested international route, new nonstop service between San Francisco and Bangalore will connect Silicon Valley East with Silicon Valley West.
The new route will start in the Spring of 2021 and be operated by a Boeing 787-9.
While critics argued that United’s move at a time the world still battles COVID-19 pandemic could backfire, Quayle said:
“Now is the right time to take a bold step in evolving our global network to help our customers reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues around the world.”
He added that the new non-stop routes would provide shorter travel times, and convenient one-stop connections from across the United States, demonstrating United’s continued innovative, and forward-looking approach to rebuilding our network to meet the travel needs of our customers.
Arik, Dana Airlines to resume flight operations after curfew
Dana Air and Arik airlines to resume flight operations from Lagos airport tomorrow.
Dana Air and Arik airlines are set to resume flight operations from Lagos airport on Saturday, as the Lagos State government relaxed the 72-hour curfew imposed on the state.
The curfew was imposed by the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday to forestall further breakdown of law and order, following series of EndSARS protests.
Communications Manager, Arik Air, Adebanji Ola, in a statement issued on Friday, explained that flights across the country would operate as scheduled, and passengers were advised to arrive at the airport early to have ample time to complete boarding formalities.
He said, “Customers who could not use their tickets during the period of the curfew can modify such tickets at no extra cost.
“The management of Arik Air thanks customers for their understanding while the cancellation of flights lasted.”
Also, spokesperson for Dana Air, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa announced that the airline was pleased to inform its passengers that the company would resume full flight operations from Saturday, the 24th of October 2020.
He said, “The tickets purchased for flights within the period of the curfew remains valid and can be rescheduled for free by sending an email to us.”
Back story: Nairametrics reported earlier on Friday that the Lagos State Government had eased the 72-hour curfew which was earlier imposed on Tuesday, October 2020, to run from 6 pm to 8 am.
This was disclosed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, October 23, during a press briefing at State House Marina, after a tour of the state to inspect the level of destruction of public and private infrastructure during the #EndSARS protests that later turned violent.
This means residents can go out between 8 am and 6 pm, with effect from Saturday, October 24, 2020).
Nigeria set to lose on latest Bilateral Air Service Agreements
Experts have explained why Nigeria is at the losing end of yet another Bilateral Air Space Agreement.
It is no longer news that Nigeria signed Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with the United States, India, Morocco and Rwanda. However, who benefits more from the agreements has been a topical discussion amongst Nigerian stakeholders. Some of them, who spoke with Nairametrics in separate interviews, argued that the development would favour the partner countries more than Nigeria.
They argued that Nigeria has signed this deal with over 80 countries across the world, but has turned out to be disadvantageous to Nigeria. Most of the agreements are only beneficial to the countries and their foreign carriers, without any reciprocal benefits to Nigeria. This is allegedly due to the failure of the Nigerian representatives to put Nigeria’s interest first at the BASA negotiating table.
In most cases, Nigeria does not really benefit from the deal, especially with no National carrier or a domestic airline that has the required equipment to compete with their foreign counterparts.
Managing Director, Starburst Aviation Limited, Capt. David Olubadewo, who was once Nigeria’s youngest pilot, admitted that he has not seen the agreements. However, he told Nairametrics that the nation does not have the capacity/equipment to compete favourably with the countries it signed the deal with.
Capt. Olubadewo said, “In most cases, BASA entails specific agreement between two partners, where parties involved will agree on exchange of flights. It could be 10 flights weekly from Country A and same from the other Country.
“So, if US for instance, has done 10 flights to Nigeria as agreed and Nigeria has not, it will not affect US in anyway.”
In his own case, Muyiwa Lucas, another stakeholder in the industry, claimed that the aim of the international carriers and their countries is to make sure that indigenous carriers do not rise to compete with them on those lucrative routes like Lagos-London, Abuja-London, Lagos-Dubai, Lagos-Paris, Lagos-Amsterdam, and Lagos-Johannesburg.
In an interview with Nairametrics, he said that the partners are always quick to choose a favourable destination in Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja), while they dictate to Nigeria the airport to land its aircrafts in their countries.
Lucas said, “Nigerian flights are only allowed to drop passengers at Gatwick, which handled 46.1 million passengers in 2018. They don’t allow such in Heathrow airport, which is London’s main hub and also one of the world’s busiest airports with 80.1 million passengers in 2018.
“Arik Air was stopped from operating from Abuja to London, unless it paid for slot allocation, which cost a huge amount of money.
“But, while British Airways was and is still flying to Abuja, enjoying grandfather rights; Arik Air was paying for slots and when the Nigerian airline deemed that operation unprofitable, it stopped, leaving only British Airways to be operating to Abuja from London with minimum load factor of 85%.”
Lucas argued that while some of the countries introduced clauses to jeopardise Nigerian airlines operation to their countries, Nigeria rarely retaliated in the spirit of diplomatic principle of reciprocity.
However, Pranjal Pande, an Indian Aviation Expert, sees the development from a different angle.
According to him, Nigeria is home to a substantial Indian expatriate population, and India sees thousands of yearly visitors from Nigeria but noted that the lack of direct flights has meant passengers fly mostly with Middle East carriers.
Pande said, “Popular routes from Delhi and Mumbai to Lagos are over 4,100 nautical miles, putting them out of the range of the current generation of narrowbody aircraft. This means that, from India, only Vistara and Air India, the only airlines with widebodies, could start flights to Nigeria. Neither airline has signalled intentions of doing so soon.
“It’s most likely that Air Peace will be the first to start flights to India. However, the timing remains up in the air due to the current crisis.”
Backstory: On October 6, 2020, Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government announced the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with the United States, India, Morocco and Rwanda.
A copy of the agreement showed that it was signed in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 30, 2020.
I am glad to announce that Mr President, on behalf of Nigeria, has signed the instruments of ratification of the bilateral air service agreement between Nigeria and USA, India, Morocco as well as Rwanda. 🇳🇬🇳🇬 🇲🇦🇷🇼🇺🇸🇮🇳🇳🇬🇳🇬🤝🤝🤝 pic.twitter.com/UHFx0VbqLW
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) October 6, 2020
The disclosure was made by the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, through a tweet on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
What they are saying
The Minister said, “The agreement is the instruments of ratification of the bilateral air service agreement between Nigeria and USA, India, Morocco, as well as Rwanda.”
He added that Nigeria will take advantage of the agreement to strengthen economic, social and cultural ties with the US.
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Transport fare for motorcycle “Okada” more than doubled in 2020
Data from the NBS reveals the average fare paid by commuters for a journey by motorcycle more than doubled year on year.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals the average fare paid by commuters for a journey by motorcycle per drop more than doubled year on year (September 2020 vs 2019 respectively).
This was contained in the recently released data on Transport fare for September 2020 in Nigeria. This covers bus journey within the city per drop, bus journey intercity, state route, charge per person, airfare charge for specified routes single journey, journey by motorcycle (Okada) per drop, and waterway passenger transport.
- According to the report, the average fare paid by commuters for the journey by motorcycle per drop increased by 10.47% MOM and by 111.11% YOY to N255.51 in September 2020 from N231.29 in August 2020.
- The states with the highest journey fare by motorcycle per drop were Niger (N1,467.49), Kogi (N362.47), and Rivers (N345.80); while states with the lowest journey fare by motorcycle per drop were Adamawa (N76.55), Katsina (N100.84), and Kebbi (N125.60).
- Similarly, the average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city increased by 7.92% MOM and by 63.88% YOY to N309.73 in September 2020 from N286.99 in August 2020.
The states with the highest bus journey fare within the city were Zamfara (N579.84), Bauchi (N492.14), and Cross River (N416.32); while states with the lowest bus journey fare within the city were Abia (N188.50), Kebbi (N192.48), and Borno (N200.80).
- The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity increased by 0.36% MOM and by 24.30% YOY to N2,022.70 in September 2020 from N2,015.50 in August 2020.
- The states with the highest bus journey fare intercity were Abuja FCT (N4,315.22), Lagos (N3,073.25), and Sokoto (N3,000.00); while states with the lowest bus journey fare within the city were Kwara (N223.45), Benue (N274.64), and Ondo (N291.07).
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Average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey decreased by -4.59% MOM and increased by 20.60% YOY to N36,884.59 in September 2020 from N38,659.86 in August 2020.
- The states with the highest airfare were Lagos (N39,750.00), Rivers (N39,520.00), and Anambra (N38,950.00); while states with the lowest airfare were Akwa Ibom (N32,500.00), Sokoto (N33,700.00), and Benue (N35,000.00).
- The average fare paid by passengers for waterway passenger transport increased by 7.06% MOM and by 34.13% YOY to N734.26 in September 2020 from N685.82 in August 2020.
- The states with the highest fare by waterway passenger transport were Bayelsa (N2,250.23), Rivers (N2,200.64), and Delta (N2,150.30); while states with the lowest fare by waterway passenger transport were Borno (N200.48), Gombe (N264.29), and Abuja FCT (N294.10).
What this means: According to the NBS, transportation makes up 6.4% of consumption expenditure of millions of naira next only to food at over 50%. Transport is also a key input cost for determining food prices and conducting business in the country contributing to the inflation rate. A combination of bad roads. poor infrastructure, exchange rate devaluation, removal of fuel subsidies, and a general rise in prices of goods and services have impacted transportation costs across the country.