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Kano Airport open for Business

The Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (KACCIMA) has described the on-going move by Federal Government to reopen Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport Kano (MAKIA) to international traffic, as a positive step that will impact on the Ease of Doing Business in the state, as well as the overall economic development of the country.

According to the body, one of the specific aspects of doing business that the re-opening of the airport to international operations will impact is in reducing the extra cost of air travel which passengers, particularly, businessmen from the state, doing international travel have to pay as a result of the closure of the airport to foreign airlines, a decision taken by the Federal Government to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Making the position of the Chamber on the issue known to BusinessDay weekend in Kano, Usman Darma, who is the 1st Deputy President of KACCIMA, said the re-opening of the MAKIA) was overdue, as the state has been recording almost zero incidences of Covid-19 in recent times, which makes it imperative to reconsider the decision to close the airport.

“KACCIMA is glad to about the move being made by the management of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to open the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport for international operations. The move is a direct response to the several advocacies that we made to the Agency, and the Federal Government on the need to reconsider the re-opening of the airport, in view of its attendant cost on Ease of Doing Business in the state.

“Over time, the Chamber has mandated me, and other members who are players in the Aviation Industry to lead a delegation to government officials, and to let them see the reason why the airport should be considered for international travels, since from health record available, the state seems to be gradually overcoming the challenge of Covid-19 which was the reason for its closure, in the first instance.

“If we have to compare Kano, to places, such as Lagos and Abuja, you will agree with me that the state has continued to record almost zero percent incidence daily. So it is on this bases, that we approached the Federal Government to re-open the airport to foreign travels which are definitely going to impact tremendously on the ease of traveling for passengers traveling outside the state for either for business and other purposes”, Darma explained.

The Director-General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Nuhu Musa, had last Thursday during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, made the Agency`s decision to report the airport known.

Musa disclosed that the move was aimed at decongesting Lagos and Abuja international airports and facilitate ease passage for passengers that usually travel outside the country through the Mallam Aminu International airport Kano and the Port Harcourt International airport, who have to now travel through Lagos and Abuja as a result of the closure.

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Lagos Airport

Nigeria to reopen Lagos airport

“It is safe to fly, if we observe all those protocols in place,” Sirika said at a briefing in Abuja.

Africa’s most populous nation, which recorded its first confirmed coronavirus case in late February, now has 49,068 confirmed cases and 975 deaths.

It resumed domestic flights on July 8 and Sirika said there had been no confirmed virus transmissions on flights.

Passengers on international flights will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test in order to board and pay for another test after they arrive in Nigeria, Sirika said. They will also be required to fill in an online health questionnaire and present it to authorities when they land.

Those currently returning to Nigeria aboard repatriation flights are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, and authorities retain passports for that period. Sirika said on Monday they could “gradually” stop keeping passengers’ passports.

Reporting by Paul Carsten and Libby George; writing by Libby George; editing by Mark Potter and David Holmes

Nigerian military aircraft

Nigerian military aircraft crashes near Abuja airport

A Nigerian military aircraft has crashed near Abuja airport, killing all seven people on board, according to officials.

“First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash,” Ibikunle Daramole, air force spokesman, said in a statement on Sunday.

The Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crashed while returning to the Abuja airport after reporting engine failure en route to Minna, he said.

Minna is a city about 110km (69 miles) northwest of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

In scrubland just outside the airport perimeter, dozens of military and airport officials picked through the charred remnants of the aeroplane.

Fire engines and ambulances stood by. The smell of burning chemicals lingered in the air but no fire or smoke was visible, a witness told the Reuters news agency.

The air force said an investigation into the crash was under way.

“We should remain calm & wait for the outcome of investigation by the military,” Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika said in a Twitter post.

Witnesses at the site said the crash was terrifying.

“Everybody there was screaming full of disbelief,” Olugbenga Alaade, a government employee who said he has worked at the airport for nine years and who saw the crash, told The Associated Press news agency by phone.

Photos of the crash site show black clouds of smoke over parts of the shattered plane. Witnesses told local media they saw the plane struggling to turn around and get back to the airport before the plane exploded.

Bill Gates joins bid to buy British private jet firm

West Link Airlines News

The financial dogfight for Signature Aviation, the FTSE 250 Company which once made parts for the Spitfire and now helps keep America’s executive jets airborne, took another dramatic twist today.

Rival bidders Blackstone and Global Infrastructure Partners called a truce to join forces, and together with Microsoft billionaire, Bill Gates’s investment vehicle Cascade – which already holds a 19% stake – presented a joint offer to shareholders.

The deal will be worth $4.7 billion (£3.5 billion) in cash, around $100 million more than the standalone offer from GIP last month, which had previously been recommended by Signature’s board. It will leave Gatwick Airport-owner GIP and Blackstone with 35% of the company’s shares each, while Cascade will up its stake to 30%.

Shares in Signature, which provides support services including fueling, ground handling and passenger lounges at most top US airports, had been trading at 265p prior to the takeover battle. They soared to a high of 425p last month on investors’ expectations of a bidding war.

This suggests shareholders expect at least one further twist in the saga: perhaps another sortie from Carlyle, the private equity giant which made an initial bid late last year.

Approval is dependent on 75% of votes being in favour. Sir Nigel told investors: “The resilient performance and strong financial position through the pandemic has enabled the Signature board to consider its future and evaluate this offer from a position of strength.

“We believe that the offer from Blackstone, GIP and Cascade represents an attractive and certain value in cash today for Signature shareholders reflecting the high quality of the business and its network, its people and its future prospects, and at a higher price than the previous GIP offer announced on 11 January 2021.”

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Aviation Industry – 2020

West Link Airlines New

The pandemic pummelled airlines are retooling for 2021, trying to keep industry jobs on life support while strategically streamlining and dangling rock-bottom rates in the hopes customers return. From Boeing to bailouts, the aviation industry had one of its worst years in 2020, a radical comedown after a run of profits right up to coronavirus lockdowns.

Passenger volume fell from over 2 million daily at the beginning of March to a bottom of about 90,000 in mid-April, according to TSA checkpoint statistics, as stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions hit. While that number has since recovered, even the busy holiday season saw passenger volume at less than half what it was a year ago, with 1.2 million people traveling on Dec. 27, versus 2.6 million last year.

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While it is too early to tell what impact Christmas travel will have on coronavirus infection rates, experts fear an additional spike, as was recorded after Thanksgiving travel. Economic recovery for airlines and other in-person industries hinges on a health recovery, and trying to put the latter before the former ultimately risks both.

Internationally, some carriers see opportunity in the crisis. Michael O’Leary, the outspoken CEO of discount Irish carrier Ryanair, told the Financial Times his airline could snap up routes and airport slots abandoned by some of his rivals. He also forecast consolidation in the industry, placing orders for the Boeing Max jet he predicts will be a “game-changer” for capacity and fuel efficiency.

“We have consistently been planning for a reasonably quick recovery and constantly disappointed,” he told the Financial Times. “What has changed is the vaccines are arriving… The issue for our industry is, is that recovery in May or August? We just don’t know.”

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Aviation Africa Postponed

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Nigeria prepares for Covid 19

West Link Airlines News

This week, health authorities in both South Africa and Egypt, which combined account for over half of all COVID-19 cases recorded on the African continent, have warned of imminent second-wave outbreaks.

Meanwhile, national governments in Sub-Saharan Africa have again cited a general lack of public compliance with safety protocols, including social distancing and mask wearing, as the root cause of resurgence outbreaks.
In order to address this issue, organisations across Africa launched an ‘Africa Mask Week’ on 23 November to raise awareness of the transmission risk and promote the wearing of face coverings in all public spaces.

– Nigeria
The Coordinator of Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force (PTF), which is in charge of orchestrating the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has announced his week that the government will now bar passengers from entering and/or leaving the country for a period of six months if they fail to follow COVID-19 related protocols.
The move is primarily aimed at Nigerian nationals and follows an earlier warning that only one in three travellers who have entered the country via international flights in recent weeks have taken a mandatory PCR test. According to the PTF, the requirement for arrivals to submit to a second test following a period of quarantine is not being widely observed and this is putting local communities at risk by potentially reintroducing cases of the virus from abroad.
In response, the authorities will begin suspending the passports of Nigerian citizens who are caught disobeying the rules. Meanwhile, foreign nationals will also see the immediate cancellation of their visas and may face deportation.
Currently, all passengers arriving in Nigeria are required to provide a negative PCR test result certificate, which must be obtained within two weeks of their planned departure date. International arrivals are also required to complete an online health questionnaire, which will be handed in at the point of entry. In addition, an online portal has been set up which allows travellers to pay for a second COVID-19 test, which is to be performed on the eighth day following their arrival in Nigeria. Passengers must produce evidence that this has been paid for upon arrival. All arrivals are required to self-isolate for seven days until the second test is complete.

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