Travel News

MMA2: Regional Flights Stall After N600m Investment - DAILY TRUST

SEPTEMBER 01, 2023

The Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal two (MMA2) is reactivating moves to commence regional operation at its facilities,…

By Abdullateef Aliyu

The Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal two (MMA2) is reactivating moves to commence regional operation at its facilities, even as it lamented that over N600m investment was lying fallow about a decade ago.

However, the Head of Operations BASL, Mr. Ewah Blessing, stated that the terminal is ready to commence the regional flights despite the 10-year delay.

He spoke at a MMA2 during a tour of the facilities just as the Acting Chief Operating Officer of MMA2, Mrs. Tosan Odukoya disclosed that over 8000 passengers now use the terminal on a daily basis, saying, “We’ve evolved from being a mere terminal into an integral part of the travel experience for over 8 thousand departing and arriving customers each day.”

However, more concerning to the terminal operator was the delay in the take-off of the regional flights after the N600m investment which it said started in 2014.

It would be recalled that the Chairman of BASL, Dr. Wale Babalakin, SAN, recently said he was alarmed that the operator was not yet approved for regional flights despite putting in place the necessary facilities without any return on investment.

After taking journalists around the terminal yesterday, showcasing the two gates – five and six – dedicated for regional operations as well as the desks for immigration and other agencies of government expected at a port of entry, the Head of Operations stated that the terminal was ready to go.

He said, “We are all positive that the infrastructures for regional operations are still in place and we believe that in little or no time we will start and at the end of the day, this will be for the benefit of the industry if you are to start regional operations out of our terminal.”

The COO stated that the BASL had embarked on a new journey of collaboration and partnership, “working hard at forging a strong bond with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), under whose auspices we operate as a privileged, public-private partnership.”

Qantas Pursued for Record Penalty for Alleged Bogus Seat Sales - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 01, 2023

(Bloomberg) -- The regulator suing Qantas Airways Ltd. for allegedly selling seats on thousands of cancelled flights is seeking a record penalty of more than A$250 million ($162 million), making the lawsuit a test case for the watchdog’s hardened stance against breaches of consumer law.

Fines for failing customers in Australia should stretch to several hundred million dollars, rather than tens of millions, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, chair of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, said in a radio interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Friday. 

Companies in Australia generally aren’t scared enough of breaking the law, and penalties for misleading and mistreating consumers must be sufficiently large to act as a deterrent, she said.

Read More: Qantas Sued for Allegedly Selling Seats on Cancelled Flights

The ACCC, Australia’s primary antitrust regulator, on Thursday started Federal Court proceedings against Qantas, claiming the airline continued to sell tickets on more than 8,000 services last year that it had already scrapped. After flights were pulled, Qantas sold seats on average for more than two weeks, and sometimes longer than a month, the regulator said.

“This should be a record penalty for this conduct,” Cass-Gottlieb said in the interview. “This is not just to be a cost of doing business.”

A fine of A$250 million, for instance, would equate to about 10% of Qantas’ record-breaking annual profit for the 12 months ended June. The company has A$4.4 billion in cash and undrawn debt on its balance sheet.

Read More: It’s Raining Cash at Qantas in Supercharged Post-Covid Era

Qantas said Thursday that it will examine the ACCC’s claims and respond in court.

Shares in Qantas were down 0.9% as of 11:07 a.m. in Sydney, heading for a second day of declines. The stock fell 2% Thursday after the ACCC unveiled its claims against the airline.

The current record for a breach of consumer law in Australia stands at A$125 million against Volkswagen AG, Cass-Gottlieb said. She said the regulator wants Qantas to pay more than double that figure if the case is proven.

“The ACCC is on a path of wanting to substantially increase the penalties that large corporations, in relation to serious conduct, pay for failing consumers,” she said. “So this is going to be an important test for us.”’

(Updates with Qantas’ profit and cash level in the sixth paragraph)

Why we shut operations temporarily, by Max Air - THE GUARDIAN

SEPTEMBER 01, 2023

By Wole Oyebade

A domestic carrier, Max Air, has pledged commitment to safe operation, even if it warrants a temporary shutdown of operations to clear doubts.

The airline has lately grounded flight operations, following a similar invention by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in July 2023.

Executive Director of the airline, Shehu Wada, said what they sell is safety, and “we pride ourselves by our sincerity and commitment to safe and secure operation.”

He said the airline would remain focused on delivering safe and efficient flight services to Nigerians despite “attempt by some individuals and those he called fifth columnists to drag the airline back.”

Wada added that the airline has confidence in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over the recent audit of the airline, saying the regulatory authority had done a very thorough job.

“We will not allow anybody to drag us back. Our audit is open. We may not be perfect, but safety is what we sell.

“We have been in operation over the last decade without a single accident and that is because we continue to prioritise safety in what we do. We don’t joke with the safety of our passengers and crew,” he added.

Wada recalled the recent incident involving one of the aircraft of the airline where a huge volume of water was found in the tank, saying it was an isolated case, which the airline quickly noticed and decided to ground itself before the NCAA waded in.

According to him, after the NCAA certified the airline to resume operation, it was further grounded to enable it to close other gaps identified in the operation.

He said the NCAA as a responsive and responsible regulatory authority remained thorough in its regulation of airlines to sustain the safety rating of the airline’s industry in Nigeria and internationally.

“The NCAA has certified us, and the NCAA would not want anything that would drag it in the mud in the discharge of its operation.

“When we noticed something was wrong, we were the first to announce that we were suspending our operation before the NCAA waded in. The NCAA came and it was thorough with their findings. When the NCAA noticed something was wrong again, they still grounded us until they verified everything.”

Wada stated that the founder of the airline, Dahiru Mangal, would not be discouraged by his patriotism and commitment to contributing to the development of Nigeria through his investments in various sectors.

Regulators want to fine Qantas 'hundreds of millions of dollars' for selling tickets for thousands of already-cancelled flights - BUSINESS INSIDER

SEPTEMBER 01, 2023

  • The Australian airline Qantas is under fire from the country's competition regulator.

  • It's accusing Qantas of continuing to sell tickets for 8,000 flights that had been cancelled.

  • And it's seeking a record-breaking fine in the hundreds of millions of dollars, per Reuters.

Qantas could be fined hundreds of millions of dollars for selling tickets for thousands of flights that had already been cancelled if regulators get their way, Reuters reported.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced Thursday that it was taking the airline to court, accusing it of engaging in false, misleading, or deceptive conduct.

The ACCC alleges that the Australian flag-carrier kept selling tickets for more than 8,000 flights between May and July 2022, for an average of more than two weeks after they were cancelled.

It also said that, for over 10,000 flights across the same period, Qantas didn't tell ticket holders their flights had been canceled for an average of 18 days. And in some cases, people weren't told about the cancellations until 48 days afterwards, according to the ACCC.

That amounts to 70% of cancelled Qantas flights where tickets were still sold or ticket holders weren't told for at least two days after the cancelation, the regulator said.

Gina Cass-Gottlieb, the ACCC chair, said this likely affected the travel plans of tens of thousands of people, and "left customers with less time to make alternative arrangements and may have led to them paying higher prices."

According to Reuters, Cass-Gottlieb said the ACCC would seek a fine that was "signficantly more" than the record $81 million Volkswagen was fined in 2019 — in relation to its emissions scandal where it cheated tests that identified harmful exhaust fumes.

"We think the penalty should be in hundreds of millions, not tens of millions", she added, per Reuters. "We would want to get more than twice that figure."

Qantas did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, sent outside Australian working hours. It told Reuters that it would review the allegations made by the ACCC and respond to them in court.

Fuel subsidy: NLC declares two-day warning strike - THE GUARDIAN

SEPTEMBER 01, 2023

The Nigeria Labour Congres (NLC) has declared a two-day warning strike which will begin on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.

NLC President, Joe Ajaero, made disclosed this on Friday during a press conference at the Labour House in Abuja,

According to Ajaero, the two-day warning strike is in protest against the Federal Government for failing to address the challenges caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.

The NLC is accusing the Federal Government of going back on the negotiations and failing to implement some of the resolutions from previous meetings that were held.

On August 2, the NLC held a protest on what it described as the anti-people policies of the current administration.

The NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliate unions demonstrated in Abuja and several states, including Lagos, Abia, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers.

The protest also took place in Zamfara, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kwara, Ogun, Imo, Ondo, and Edo.

The protest was due to a seven-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government demanding the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the federal government.

The policies include the recent hike in PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) price, increase in public school fees, the release of the eight months withheld salary of university lecturers and workers”.

Also, the union demanded an upward review of the minimum wage from N30,000 to N200,000, saying that since the President’s “subsidy is gone” inauguration speech of May 29, 2023, the peace of mind of Nigerians has gone.

President Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy after his swearing in on May 29 in Abuja.

FG suspends Nigeria Air project, to shut Lagos airport old terminal - THE CABLE

SEPTEMBER 01, 2023

Festus Keyamo, the minister of aviation and aerospace development, has directed all airlines to vacate the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, from October 1, 2023.

Keyamo gave the directive on Thursday during a tour of the airport, accompanied by Kabir Mohammed, managing director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Speaking to journalists, Keyamo said the relocation was necessary to give room for total maintenance work at the airport.

Keyamo directed the airlines and companies operating in the airport to move to the new terminal — MMIA terminal two.

“All airlines should vacate the MMIA before October 1 and relocate to MMIA Terminal 2,” he said.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari, in March 2022, inaugurated the new terminal — a facility that sits on a landmass of approximately 56,000 square metres.


Keyamo also announced the suspension of airports concessions and the Nigeria Air project.

The concessioning of airports and the national carrier were two major projects under the aviation roadmap implemented by the immediate past administration of Buhari.

The minister said the projects would be put on hold until further notice.

Two weeks before Buhari handed over to the new administration of President Bola Tinubu, the federal executive council (FEC) approved the concessioning of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.

Likewise, the ministry of aviation, under Hadi Sirika, ex-minister, unveiled Nigeria Air — three days to the end of the administration.

The development elicited angst among stakeholders nationwide and was labelled ‘a fraud’ by the house of representatives.

TheCable understands that the suspension does not mean the cancellation of the Nigeria Air project.

Canada underestimating non-permanent resident count by nearly 1M: CIBC - YAHOO FINANCE

SEPTEMBER 02, 2023

Number of NPRs from 2017 to 2022 who overstayed their visa expiry higher than 750,000, it says

BY  Alicja Siekierska

Canada is underestimating the number of non-permanent residents (NPRs) living in the country by nearly one million, a new CIBC Capital Markets report says, making the need to solve the housing affordability crisis even more urgent.

CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal wrote in a report released Wednesday that official statistics are missing nearly one million people in their count of non-permanent residents due to gaps in the census and the fact that many residents stay past the expiry of their visas.

Statistics Canada's definition of non-permanent residents includes those with temporary work or study permits. The agency assumes non-permanent residents exit within 30 days of their visas expiring, but Tal says "the majority of those temporary residents don't leave after their visas expire."

"Between the clear understating of NPR counts in the census, and the exclusion of overstayers in the quarterly demographics statistics, the number of NPRs missing from official statistics used by planners is approaching one million," Tal wrote.

"The practical implication of that undercounting is that the housing affordability crisis Canada is facing is actually worse than perceived, and calls for even more urgent and aggressive policy action, including ways to better link the increase in the number of NPRs to the ability to house them."

Tal estimates the number of NPRs who overstayed their visa expiry date between 2017 and 2022 was north of 750,000.

"Statistics Canada's practice of assuming an exit a month after the visa expiry has resulted in materially understating population, housing, and service demand forecasts (especially in university cities and towns) well before COVID began," Tal wrote.

The gap of NPRs missing from Statistics Canada's census – something Tal notes the agency has acknowledged in the past – totals approximately 250,000. When it comes to the gap in the census data, he says many NPRs arrive from countries in which talking to the government is unadvisable. He also says there may be confusion for short-term visitors who fall into multiple categories.

"(The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) uses the census data (not demographic division data) to derive its household formation forecast — a forecast that is used widely by planners all over the country," Tal wrote.

"And if your starting point is far too low, your forecast will be far too low, resulting in a suboptimal planning process."

Tal's conclusion that NPRs were being notably undercounted was part of his presentation on housing made to federal ministers at their cabinet retreat in Prince Edward Island last week. The federal Liberal cabinet wrapped up the retreat promising to heed calls from Canadians to fix the housing crisis, but without any specific new plans to do so.

Pressure has been mounting on the federal government, as well as provincial and municipal governments across the country, to address Canada's housing affordability crisis. Ottawa plans to accept 465,000 permanent residents into the country in 2023, with the immigration target growing to 500,000 in 2025.

A report by Desjardins economists released last week says all levels of government, as well as industry, have a role to play in addressing the housing crisis, something that must be done urgently. They note that the federal government should provide transfers to incentivize homebuilding, while also ensuring population growth is "at a pace that is sustainable and doesn't further erode housing affordability."

With files from The Canadian Press

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

Hong Kong Reopens With Flights Resuming as Typhoon Saola Departs - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 02, 2023

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong started gradually reopening Saturday after a typhoon that was forecast to be the strongest to hit the territory in about five years departed, leaving minimal reported damage.

The city’s airport, businesses and public transportation began slowly resuming operations, while street cleaners cleared debris and uprooted trees that Severe Typhoon Saola left in its wake. The Hong Kong Observatory lowered its storm warning to No. 3 from the No. 8 signal at 4:20 p.m. It had dropped it from No. 10, the highest level, to No. 8 at 3:40 a.m. Saturday.

The Observatory said the No. 3 signal will remain in force until the threat posed by the typhoon is further reduced.

Saola was accompanied by powerful gales and caused flooding in at least 18 areas, while 75 people sought treatment at public hospitals, according to the government. The typhoon earlier sustained winds of 210 km/h near its center, as strong as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The Home Affairs Department said it had opened 40 temporary shelters where 511 people had sought refuge. The Labour Department reminded employers to make practical work arrangements, including work from home.

The Airport Authority, the city’s airport operator, said about 480 flights would be operating Saturday to and from Hong Kong, compared with the 850 scheduled to depart or arrive on Friday. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said its first departure was set for around 11 a.m. to Sydney, slightly earlier than the original plan, as the airport’s largest airline seeks to recover quickly from the major weather disruption.

The city’s stock market was closed Friday in advance of the storm’s arrival and school was suspended through Saturday. Most public transportation was grounded. The Hong Kong exchange is required to halt trading when Signal No. 8 or above is in place. Trading halts due to severe weather are seen as increasingly antiquated given that the global finance industry adjusted to remote working during the pandemic.

With most orders now received and executed electronically, the case is growing for Hong Kong to ensure continuous trading in bad weather. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said earlier this year that the city will explore arrangements to allow stock trading under severe weather.

Only Plane Flying to Hong Kong Lands in Middle of Super Typhoon

The latest storm, the strongest to affect Hong Kong since at least Mangkhut in 2018, was seen as a major test for Chief Executive John Lee’s government. Mangkhut provoked public criticism after roads remained blocked for days by some of the tens of thousands of trees toppled by the typhoon and people struggled to get to work.

In the past 40 years, only five storms have prompted the raising of the highest signal in Hong Kong, according to observatory data. The No. 10 signal means hurricane force winds reaching a sustained speed of at least 118 km/h. 

China’s national weather authorities reiterated their highest alert for the typhoon on Friday, warning of severe weather in the coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangdong, and urging local officials to be ready for flash flooding.  

In nearby Macau, a Chinese-speaking island that is the world’s biggest gambling hub, the government reopened casinos on Saturday after a rare shutdown the night before when Typhoon Saola lashed the city. Authorities lowered the storm warning from the highest No. 10 level to No. 8 signal at 6 a.m.

Meanwhile, another storm was headed for Taiwan and eastern China, with Taipei issuing a land warning on Saturday for the approach of Typhoon Haikui. The Central Weather Bureau said the typhoon, with sustained winds up to 137 km/h and gusting to 173 km/h, was 520 kilometers (323 miles) from Taiwan’s southernmost point as of 11 a.m. local time

(Updates with new warning signal starting on 2nd paragraph.)

Taiwan Cancels Flights, Issues Warnings as Typhoon Haikui Nears - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 02, 2023

BY Sing Yee OngBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan canceled flights and ferries, and issued land and sea warnings as Typhoon Haikui approached the island.

Haikui, forecast by authorities to make landfall in Taiwan on Sunday, would be the first tropical cyclone to directly hit the island in four years. The last was in August 2019, though other storms have brushed Taiwan since. 

The storm was 520 kilometer’s (323 miles) east of Taiwan’s southernmost point as of 11 a.m. local time and registering gusts of as high as 173 kilometers an hour from sustained winds as strong as 137 kph, according to the Taipei-based Central Weather Bureau weather bureau. The agency raised a land warning at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday after issuing a sea alert the night before.

Flight cancellations include some 18 domestic and 28 cross-straits and international services, according to Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration. Ferries in some parts of the island were also suspended.

Australian Homes Are Least Affordable in 30 Years After Hikes - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 02, 2023

BY Michael HeathBloomberg News

, Source: CoreLogic

(Bloomberg) -- Australians are having the toughest time in at least three decades affording a home as a combination of elevated interest rates and higher property prices push buyers out of the market.

A typical or median-income household, earning just over A$105,000 ($67,800) a year, could afford to make loan repayments on just 13% of homes sold in the past year, the smallest share since records going back to 1995 show, REA Group Ltd.’s property data business PropTrack said in a report released Saturday. Affordability is tightest in New South Wales, the most populous state, where a typical income household can afford just 7% of homes sold.

“Household incomes have risen since the pandemic and improved labor market conditions have drawn more people into employment and boosted wages growth,” Angus Moore, PropTrack’s senior economist, said in a statement. “However, this has been insufficient to offset higher home prices and, critically, the surge in mortgage rates.”

The Reserve Bank has raised interest rates by 4 percentage points since May 2022 as it tries to get control over inflation. Yet a combination of a swelling population from post-Covid immigration and a lack of new housing supply has seen property prices rebound even with a cash rate at an 11-year high of 4.1%.

The RBA meets on Tuesday and is expected to keep rates unchanged.

Servicing a mortgage is only just below the peak reached in 1989, according to PropTrack. At that time, the central bank lifted the cash rate aggressively as the economy overheated and ended up tipping Australia into a deep recession.

Saturday’s report showed low- and middle-income groups faced particularly severe affordability issues, with a household earning A$64,000 per year able to afford just 3% of homes.


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