France has re-introduced Airport Transit Visa (ATV) requirement for citizens of certain nationalities that holds a British long-stay visa or a British residence permit and who are travelling to Great Britain from January 1, 2020.
The nations affected are Afghanistan, Angola, Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Cuba, Congo, Chad, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Iran, Mali and Iraq amongst others.
This was disclosed by Air France via mail sent to its passengers that had booked flights slated for January 1, 2020.
The airline explained that from the said date the passengers will have to be in possession of the ATV if they want to transit through France to Great Britain.
The development was also confirmed by France, via its official website, when it stated that European right will no longer apply within the UK from 1 January 2021, which marks the end of the transition period.
- “The regulations governing the movements of UK citizens and their family members will change from that date onwards. The regulations governing the movements of some third countries nationals residing in the United Kingdom will also change from that date onwards.”
- You are a British citizen/family member of a UK citizen and you moved to France before the end of the transition period, i.e. before the 1st of January 2021: You benefit from the withdrawal agreement and can continue to reside in France.
- You are entitled to a residency permit ‘withdrawal agreement’ of either 5 years (if you have lived in France for less than 5 years) or 10 years (if you have lived in France for more than 5 years): You will need to request this residency permit online before the 1st of July 2021. You will have until the 1st of October 2021 to complete the procedure and have the actual residency permit.
- You are a British citizen, have been married or in an established relationship with a French National prior to the 1st of January 2021 and moved to France prior to that date: You benefit from the withdrawal agreement and can continue to reside in France.
- Established relationship – either a PACS or durable, duly attested relationship: If you move to France after the 1st of January 2021, you will need to apply for a Long Stay visa.
- You are the family member of a British citizen and have not moved to France by the 31st of December 2020: If you are moving to France to be with your British family member, who already resides in France or if the ties that link you with your British family member were established by the 31st of December 2020, you will need to apply for a short-term Schengen entry visa. This will be granted free of charge, on the basis of an accelerated procedure upon evidence of your relationship and of documents showing that your British family member benefited from the withdrawal agreement.
- You are a British citizen and you are moving to France after the 1st of January 2021: You cannot benefit from the withdrawal agreement and the common laws on the entry and residence of third-country nationals apply. You will therefore need to submit an application for a Long Stay visa (staying more than 90 days in France) to the French Consulate General London if you are a UK resident or to the French Consulate in the country you live in.
What it means
Passengers may still travel/apply for a visa with their British passport issued prior to the 1st of January 2021 until it expires (even if bearing the mention – European Union).
Also, according to information extracted from France’s website, British citizens do not require a visa if spending up to 90 days over a 180 days period in the Schengen area.
- “You may however be asked like any other third country nationals to justify your travel by the Immigration Officer (means of living, address of stay, medical travel insurance…).
- “British citizens, married to EU nationals, wishing to settle or reside more than 90 days in France (at the same time as their spouse or rejoining him/her) will not require a settlement visa (pursuant to the EU Directive 2004/38).”
UK citizens going to France to work for up to 90 days will not require a visa but they will need to obtain a temporary work permit, unless travelling for a sporting, cultural or scientific event, a seminar or trade show, the production and broadcast of cinematographic and audiovisual works.
Air Passengers to United States must test negative for Covid-19 before boarding flight
The United States Government wants all international passengers must provide a negative Covid-19 test before they board a flight into the country.
The United States Government wants all international passengers to provide a negative Covid-19 test before they board a flight into the country. This is according to a report from the Wall Street Journal and confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention in the US.
The new rule will also affect United States citizens in the country.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) “Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 days post-travel, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 within US communities from travel-related infections. Pre-departure testing with results known and acted upon before travel begins will help identify infected travelers before they board airplanes.”
Based on this, all Air Passengers are required to conduct a test within 3 days before their flight to the US. departs.
“Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.”
The order was signed by the CDC Director on January 12, 2021, and will become effective on January 26, 2021.
Last week the US imposed a testing requirement for travelers from the United Kingdom over cases of a new strain of the virus which has also been reported in the US.
What this means: New travel requirements for the negative Covid-19 test will negatively affect the global aviation sector which attracts over 340 million arrivals annually according to 2019 data seen by Nairametrics.
- For third-world countries like Nigeria, travellers into the US will need to conduct the Covid-19 test before they depart from the United States piling pressure on testing centers across the country.
- Though a requirement that most Nigerians are already familiar with, there will likely be pressure to avoid testing positive a few days before departure to the US.
- Nigerians who travelled to Dubai during the Christmas holiday were also required to undertake covid-19 tests
- Nigeria also requires visitors into the country to take the Covid-19 test before departing for Nigeria.
The global Covid-19 caseloads topped 90 million with the United States leading the pack with 22.7 million cases and over 379,000 deaths
Just last week, the United Kingdom said that all passengers arriving in the country will be required to show negative Covid-19 test results taken within 72 hours of the commencement of their journey to prove they do not have the disease. Ireland also announced new travel rules which require visitors into the country to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before arriving in the country.
Going further, the United Kingdom said on Thursday that it would extend a ban to international passengers from Southern African countries coming into the country, as part of the measures aimed at preventing the spread of a new strain of Covid-19 variant identified in South Africa.
Nigeria also requires travellers into the country to carry out a second Covid-19 test after arrival into the country or face consequences. Last week the Nigerian immigration service announced the suspension of 100 passports belonging to Nigerian passengers who refused to undergo second Covid-19 tests within 7 days of arrival into Nigeria from overseas travel.
This article was updated following new information.
Nigerian Aviation: Exchange rate, 7.5% VAT suspension and other factors to determine survival – Experts
Stakeholders share their expectations and factors that must be addressed by the FG to aid the rebound of the sector in 2021.
The aviation sector suffered setbacks due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, as the lockdown effected by many countries led to travel restrictions, reduced revenue and mass loss of jobs.
In the case of Nigeria, operators in the sector felt the impact of the pandemic more than their counterparts, as ‘old illness’ suffered by the airlines was exacerbated by the pandemic and left the operators writhing in pains.
For the sector to survive in 2021 – in the heat of the second wave of the pandemic, stakeholders shared their expectations and factors that must be addressed by the federal government to aid the rebound of the sector.
They listed stable exchange rate, reduction of cost of operations, waivers on Customs tariffs for aircraft and spares and cost of aircraft insurance, a reversal of 25% remittance of earnings, amongst others.
Unstable exchange rate
In an interview with Nairametrics, the Managing Director, Aero Mainstream Cargo Services, Ajibade Adewale, explained that the unstable exchange rate, especially for aviation stakeholders, has been a clog in the wheel of operations of the airlines, and most of them cannot afford to inflate their charges in line with the unstable rate.
“Operations of the airlines are largely dollar-denominated. Operations like aircraft purchase plus maintenance and training of staff amongst others can only be done in dollars. The only thing they do in local currency would be salaries.
“Either airlines are allowed to access stable rates or the federal government creates an enabling environment for aircrafts maintenance or repairs here.
“The rubber industry should be revived for investors to set up tyre manufacturing factories in Nigeria, in order to stop importing aircrafts tyres from other parts of the world. Most of the aircraft tyres are manufactured and imported from the United Kingdom (Dunlop), France (Michelin), United States of America (Goodyear), and Bridgestone (Japan).”
He insisted that if enabling environment is created by the government, some of these companies will return to Nigeria and this will reduce cost of maintenance for the airlines.
Lack of skills to execute right policies
On creating an enabling environment, especially for maintenance factory, Capt. David Olubadewo, Managing Director, Starburst Aviation Limited and a Nigerian based in UK, explained that aviation in Nigeria is a very difficult business because the environment is unfriendly.
“Aside from the role of the government, the industry has always been given a bad name in that light. It is not that we don’t have the people to fix it, but there are different aspects that have been compounded over the years. That is why we are where we are today.
“We have lots of very qualified people, there are lots of engineers in the United Kingdom and the United States who are Nigerians. We have people that are overqualified, but we lack the skills to execute the right policies to grow the sector.”
Olubadewo explained that most of the airlines and other industry stakeholders could not access cheaper loans because banks believe that the sector is too difficult to invest in.
“But that is wrong. It is not different from other sectors. We are all in it to make profit at the end of the day. I don’t obtain loans from Nigerian banks, because I will end up with -25% loss or more, but that is not happening in the UK where I pay far less interest rate.
“If I take such loan in Nigeria, it means I am -28 per cent (interest rate) in red, and by the time you get to the top, you are owing millions. I cannot approach any of the banks to give me local money to do business in Nigeria. If I can go through that, you can imagine the experiences of the airlines.”
Suspension of 7.5% VAT
Recently, a member of the finance bill drafting committee and West Africa Tax Lead, PwC Nigeria, Taiwo Oyedele, disclosed via a tweet, that the federal government has again suspended the deduction of 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on airfares and other air transport services.
According to him, the latest suspension order was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2021, as it is contained in the 2020 finance act recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Operators in the aviation sector are convinced that its implementation would ease the burden on them in 2021.
Effective 1st Jan 2021, commercial flight tickets have been exempted from VAT.
Next time you fly, cross check that you're not wrongly charged VAT (and hopefully air fares should come down). #FinanceAct2020
— Taiwo Oyedele (@taiwoyedele) January 5, 2021
Media and Communications Manager, Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa, explained that his airline would be excited to plow back the proceeds of VAT removal to the business and ticket fares subsidy.
“But that may not happen soon, the expected gains are subject to the actual implementation of the policy and the review of other multiple charges in the aviation industry.”
What you should know
- The FG in June 2018 issued an executive order on the suspension of VAT in air transport, but the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) claimed to be unaware of such a directive, hence it was never implemented.
- Airline operators had complained that Nigeria is the only country that still charges VAT on air transport services. The VAT plus 36 other charges, according to the airlines, account for at least 40% of total revenue and N10 billion in taxes yearly, leaving the airlines heavily indebted and in financial distress or both in most cases.
Human remains, plane wreckage of Indonesian Sriwijaya Air found at crash site
Wreckage of the missing Indonesian plane, Sriwijaya Air flight 182, a Boeing 737-500 has been found.
Human body parts and parts of the wreckage have been found at the crash site of the Sriwijaya Air flight 182 which was reported missing yesterday, January 9, 2021.
The Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 was carrying 62 people when it vanished from radar on its journey to Pontianak, crashing 10,000 feet into the ocean.
Earlier, Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency said it had found several pieces of debris believed to be from the missing plane but bad weather and poor visibility had hampered the search overnight.
Indonesian Navy divers on Sunday found wreckage from flight SJY 182 after locating a signal from the aircraft’s fuselage, CNN reports. The black boxes have also been recovered at the crash site.
According to the coordinator of the rescue mission, Rasman MS, five body bags containing victims of the crash located by the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) have so far been handed over to the disaster victim investigation unit in Jakarta for identification.
The National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) teams have also begun an investigation into the cause of the crash.
What you should know
- The Sriwijaya Air passenger plane departed from Jakarta airport at 14:36 local time (07:36 GMT) on Saturday.
- The Sriwijaya Air flight 182 – a Boeing 737-500 – was heading from Jakarta to the city of Pontianak,
- At 14:40, the last contact with the plane was recorded, with the call sign SJY182, according to the transport ministry.
- The plane, registered PK CLC, was a 26-year-old Boeing 737-500, according to Flightradar24.
- Sriwijaya Air is one of Indonesia’s discount carriers, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.