The Federal Government has announced the immediate lifting of the suspension order initially placed on Emirates Airlines operation in Nigeria.
This follows the notification by Emirates Airline to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in writing that the UAE government had given the airline approval to suspend the pre-departure Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) requirements for passengers travelling on their flight to Dubai.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by the Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, in a statement issued in Lagos on Friday.
What the Director-General of NCAA is saying
Nuhu said that passengers were to undergo an RDT, 4 hours from the time of flights departure.
He said: “This requirement is in addition to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test done 72 hours from the date of departure by passengers.
“The implementation of the additional requirement by the two airlines was commenced without the prior notification or approval of the PTF and other regulatory bodies in the country.
“This led to the provision of RDT testing by organisations and laboratories that have not been approved by the PTF and other regulatory agencies for RDT at or around our international airports in Lagos and Abuja.
“The PTF upon review of the situation directed the NCAA to inform the airlines to either suspend the requirement for pre-departure RDT or their flights to the country. Until such a time when the required infrastructure and logistics have been put in place for RDT by the government.’’
Nuhu recalled that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 was made aware of the requirements by Emirates airlines and KLM for passengers travelling from Nigeria on their flights to Dubai and Amsterdam.
While he pointed out that they were to undergo an RDT 4 hours from the time of flights departure, the NCAA boss said Emirates Airlines, however, continued their operations requiring passengers to carry out the RDT test 6 hours from the time-of-flight departure from the country.
He disclosed that on February 5, Emirates Airlines informed the NCAA in writing that the UAE government had given the airline approval to suspend the pre-departure RDT requirement for passengers travelling on their flight to Dubai.
He said, “Consequent upon the foregoing, the PTF directed the NCAA to lift the suspension placed on Emirates Airlines flights into Nigeria effective from February 5.
“The public is hereby informed as follows: Emirates Airlines no longer requires passengers to carry out pre-departure RDT. No laboratory has been approved by the PTF and other regulatory agencies to carry out RDT for incoming or departing passengers.’’
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Federal Government had directed the immediate suspension of outbound flights of Emirates Airlines for 72 hours with effect from February 4, until when the needed infrastructure and logistics were put in place for the Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) test by the Nigerian Government.
- This follows accusations against the airline, that it was airlifting passengers from Nigeria using RDT done in laboratories which were not approved by regulatory authorities.
- It is coming days after Nigeria threatened to ban flights from UAE after Dubai Airports, operators of Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates, released fresh travel conditions for Nigerian passengers.
NAHCO recalls suspended GMD
NAHCO recalled Adetokunbo Fagbemi, its Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
The Board of Directors of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO Aviance) has recalled Mrs. Adetokunbo Fagbemi, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the aviation handling firm.
The GMD was suspended over Management’s failure to diligently secure the delivery of a purchased equipment from vendor within the contracted period and Management’s inability to provide satisfactory/acceptable reason for the unreasonable long delay.
This was disclosed by the Board via a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday.
It stated, “The Board is however pleased to inform the investing public and the Exchange that on, Tuesday, February 24, 2021, a satisfactory evidence of departure and arrival dates of the equipment has been received by the board from the equipment manufacturer.
“Consequently, the Board at its emergency meeting today, February 24, 2021, has recalled the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi from the suspension and she has resumed work.”
What you should know
- The GMD was suspended by the Board at a meeting held on 27th of January 2021 in line with the Board’s earlier decision that if a certified bill of lading for the equipment was not received by 2nd February 2021, the GMD/CEO shall proceed on suspension with half pay until receipt of acceptable evidence of equipment shipment from the manufacturer.
- Since Fagbemi commenced her suspension on February 3rd, 2021, Mr. Olumuyiwa A. Olumekun, the Group Executive Director, Corporate Services, has been acting as the GMD/CEO.
London’s Heathrow airport slides into £2 billion annual loss
Following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, London’s Heathrow airport has recorded a net annual loss of £2 billion in 2020.
London’s Heathrow airport has recorded a net annual loss of £2 billion in 2020, underlining the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation sector.
This is as 2020, which has been identified as one of Heathrow’s most challenging years has record passengers’ level not seen since the 1970s.
This disclosure is contained in a public statement seen on the company’s website and seen by Nairametrics.
The company said that the number of passengers dropped to 22.1m, more than half of the numbers that travelled in January and February. It pointed out that the overall revenue fell 62% to £1.2bn and adjusted earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell to £270m.
The company said in order to weather the storm, realizing that airports have very high fixed costs, it acted quickly to cut gross operating costs by nearly £400m, reduced capital expenditure by £700m and raised £2.5bn in funding including a £600m capital injection. The firm ended the year with £3.9bn of liquidity, enough to see us through until 2023.
The airport which is one of the busiest in the world reported a 28% decline in cargo volumes, showing the cost to the economy of shutting down aviation.
Passenger planes from Heathrow are the UK’s global trading network, carrying British exports and inbound supply chain. Economic recovery will be held back until long haul passenger flights are restarted, especially to key markets such as the US
The Chief Executive Officer of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye said, “We can be hopeful for 2021, with Britain on the cusp of becoming the first country in the world to safely resume international travel and trade at scale. Getting aviation moving again will save thousands of jobs and reinvigorate the economy.”
He also said, “2020 has been one of our most challenging years – but despite £2bn of losses and shrinking to passenger levels we haven’t seen since the 70s, I am hugely proud of the way that our colleagues have kept our passengers safe and the UK’s hub airport open for vital supplies throughout. We can be hopeful for 2021, with Britain on the cusp of becoming the first country in the world to safely resume international travel and trade at scale.
‘’Getting aviation moving again will save thousands of jobs and reinvigorate the economy, and Heathrow will be working with the Global Travel Taskforce to develop a robust plan underpinned by science and backed by industry. The Prime Minister will then have the unique opportunity to secure a global agreement on a common international standard for travel when he hosts the G7 in June. In the meantime, we need next week’s Budget to support aviation’s recovery by extending furlough and providing 100% business rates relief.”
What you should know
- The United Kingdom is one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with the aviation sector one of the most affected due to the lockdown.
- The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had called for urgent government assistance and warned that airlines would lose $252bn (£215bn) in revenues in 2020, more than double its earlier worst-case forecast.
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