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Fake Visas Cost RwandAir Over N8b on Lagos-Dubai Route

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  • Fake Visas Cost RwandAir Over N8b on Lagos-Dubai Route
  • Carrier May Withdraw New A330 From Nigeria 

Fake entry visas carried by Nigerians travelling to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, has cost an African carrier, RwandAir, a penalty in excess of $20 million (N8 billion) in the last six months.

The fake visas, coupled with fictitious online bookings, are considered as infractions that warrant penalty by international aviation rules guiding the Global Distribution System (GDS), and borne by the conveying airline.

A GDS is a network operated by a company that enables automated transactions between travel service providers (mainly airlines, hotels and car rental companies) and travel agencies. Multiple reservations also attract multiple charges against the airline.

For every passenger that arrives in Dubai without valid visa or forged papers and ultimately turned back at the port of entry, the airline pays a penalty of $30,000 (N1.2million) for the Advance Debit Memo (ADM) issued per passenger.

Also, the airline is considering the withdrawal of its new Airbus 330-200 that was recently deployed to the Lagos route over low patronage, as recession is making it difficult to fill the 240-passenger capacity aircraft.

Recall that the Kigali-based airline is one of the foreign carriers making waves on the continent, with heavy reliance on Nigeria for its market. With Nigeria supplying the lion share of its total passenger supply for 2015, the airline had deployed two new A330-200s to the Lagos routes.

Plans were in the offing to bring in the third aircraft this December for the passengers heading to China, India and other countries.A Sales Executive of RwandAir, Henry Aaron, said it was regrettable that the airline had paid $20 million from July till date for the mistakes the airline knows nothing about.

Aaron said the penalty imposed on the airline was due to the “smart activities” of its passengers and their cohorts in Dubai, who are playing all gimmicks to outwit the airline’s clearance to board.

Aaron explained that there are some “smart guys” in Dubai processing working visas for wiling Nigerians. At the point of booking, the visas are genuine, but would have been cancelled from the system and become fake before the passenger reached Dubai airport.

“It is a smart move. Once it is cancelled, the person has no way of entering. As an airline that has carried the passenger on a one-way ticket, for every case like that, we are charged $30,000 for each passenger. I also have to fly the person back to Nigeria for free. That is the problem,” he said.

While the problem is not peculiar to RwandAir, the airline is having more of the effect as a foreign airline and co-competitor on the UAE market.Emirates and other UAE airlines also face similar problems, although at minimal rates, but as home grown airlines, they will always find their way around without paying penalties.

Aaron added that the airline even introduced an Okay-To-Board clause to curb the challenge, but Nigerians still found their way around it. “Okay-To-Board issue simply means that we collect your visa and working permits 48 hours before you board and present them to your employer in Dubai to okay before we allow you board. It is working but our Nigerian guys are so good.

“What they do is that they would look for someone in the organisation, tip the person to issue and monitor the permit without the knowledge of the employer. Some hours before the plane is due to arrive; they would extract the permit and cancel the visa. It becomes a problem for us and we are paying heavily for it,” he said.

The airline in the last five years of operations in Nigeria, had been having the problem, which escalated this year.The National President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bankole Bernard, said that the challenges faced by RwandAir were unfortunate, but would be addressed when travel agencies and airlines cooperated.

Aaron disclosed that the airline had suffered a lot of losses in the last few months paying ADM to the GDS. “At the end of the day, we don’t really have profit to take home just because we are paying for errors not made by us but by our travel partners that are making the mistake ignorantly.

Between July and October, we have been paying close to $20million to various GDSs as penalties,” adding that profit margin in aviation is very slim, as at the best of time, it ranges between four and six per cent.

To cut down on the losses, he said that the airline is introducing $5 (N2000) on each segment of its online bookings. Lagos-Dubai return ticket for instance, that is, Lagos-Kigali, Kigali-Dubai, Dubai-Kigali and Kagali-Lagos, will all attract $20 (N8000).

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Libyan Oil Field and Gas Link to Italy Reopen After Protesters Withdraw

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Following a brief interruption, operations at an oil field in western Libya and a natural gas link to Italy have resumed as protesters retreated from the facilities.

The demonstrators withdrew after receiving assurances from the government regarding their demands.

The Wafa oil field, which typically produces between 40,000 to 45,000 barrels per day, recommenced shipments after a temporary halt prompted by guards’ demands for improved compensation.

Similarly, the gas pipeline connection to Italy is once again operational, according to sources familiar with the situation who preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Protests disrupting energy infrastructure and output are not uncommon in Libya.

In recent times, demonstrations have frequently disrupted operations, with the significant Sharara oil field experiencing prolonged suspension last month due to similar protests, invoking a force majeure clause in contracts.

The resumption of activities marks a relief for both the Libyan energy sector and Italy, which heavily relies on the natural gas link for its energy needs.

However, the incidents underscore the ongoing challenges faced by Libya in maintaining stability within its vital energy infrastructure amidst socio-political unrest.

Efforts to address the grievances of protesters and ensure sustained operations remain pivotal for the country’s economic well-being and regional energy dynamics.

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Oil Prices Dip on Monday as Dollar Gains

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Crude Oil

Oil prices experienced a downturn, extending losses from the previous session as the U.S. dollar surged against global counterparts to impact market sentiment.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, slipped by 0.2% to $81.48 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) declined by 0.3% to $76.27 a barrel.

The upward trajectory of the dollar renders oil more costly for holders of other currencies, contributing to the decline in oil prices.

This downward trend follows a week of losses, with Brent declining approximately 2% and WTI falling over 3%.

Market participants attribute these fluctuations to concerns about inflation potentially delaying anticipated cuts to high U.S. interest rates. Such expectations have been suppressing global fuel demand growth.

Analysts observe a retreat in the risk-on sentiment, coinciding with heightened expectations of prolonged interest rates.

Tina Teng, an independent analyst based in Auckland, notes that the recent market rally led by Nvidia has stalled, as elevated rate expectations bolster the U.S. dollar, thereby pressuring commodity prices, including oil.

Despite geopolitical tensions such as the Israel-Hamas conflict and attacks on ships in the Red Sea, which could have traditionally boosted oil prices, the impact remains modest.

Moreover, investors are monitoring developments surrounding Russian oil supply following recent U.S. sanctions on Moscow’s leading tanker group.

Amidst these uncertainties, Qatar’s decision to increase liquefied natural gas production further adds to global energy supplies.

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Crude Oil Dips Slightly on Friday Amid Demand Concerns

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On Friday, global crude oil prices experienced a slight dip, primarily attributed to mounting concerns surrounding demand despite signs of a tightening market.

Brent crude prices edged lower, nearing $83 per barrel, following a recent uptick of 1.6% over two consecutive sessions.

Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hovered around $78 per barrel. Despite the dip, market indicators suggest a relatively robust market, with US crude inventories expanding less than anticipated in the previous week.

The oil market finds itself amidst a complex dynamic, balancing optimistic signals such as reduced OPEC+ output and heightened tensions in the Middle East against persistent worries about Chinese demand, particularly as the nation grapples with economic challenges.

This delicate equilibrium has led oil futures to mirror the oscillations of broader stock markets, underscoring the interconnectedness of global economic factors.

Analysts, including Michael Tran from RBC Capital Markets LLC, highlight the recurring theme of robust oil demand juxtaposed with concerning Chinese macroeconomic data, contributing to market volatility.

Also, recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants have added a risk premium to oil futures, reflecting geopolitical uncertainties beyond immediate demand-supply dynamics.

While US crude inventories saw a slight rise, they remain below seasonal averages, indicating some resilience in the market despite prevailing uncertainties.

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