- Virgin Atlantic Marks 16th Anniversary in Nigeria
A United Kingdom mega carrier, Virgin Atlantic Airways, has celebrated its 16th anniversary of flying between Lagos and London.
Since 2001 when it started flights into Lagos, the airline said it had helped over three million customers to enjoy holidays, business trips and visit friends and family members in the UK and beyond.
The airline said in a statement on Thursday that it celebrated the milestone by surprising passengers with a birthday party at the check-in counters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos with balloons, banners and birthday smiles.
The carrier further said passengers onboard flights were treated to a birthday cake at 38 000ft above the sea level.
“Since 2001, Sir Richard Branson’s iconic airline has welcomed around three million customers on board, served up over five million glasses of bubbles at 38,000ft and played over seven million hours of entertainment,” the statement read in part.
“Virgin Atlantic has been investing in Nigeria in 2017 -introducing a brand new ticket desk in Lagos earlier this year to make it easier to purchase tickets, adding Nigerian inspired dishes on board, and is set to become the first airline to offer Wi-Fi between Lagos and the UK later this summer,” it added.
The airline currently operates daily flights between the MMIA and London Heathrow with Airbus A340-600.
The Head, Nigeria and West Africa, Virgin Atlantic, Samuel Lindfield, was quoted as saying, “We’re immensely proud to have served the Nigerian people for the past 16 years, and since moving to the country, I’ve met some of the most warm, friendly and resilient people in the world.
“At Virgin Atlantic, we’re exceptionally fortunate to have some of the best people in the business supporting our West African network. In the early hours of the morning, while our customers are cruising at 36,000ft over the Sahara en route to Lagos, our people are making their way to the airport to offer a warm African welcome to customers travelling on business or visiting a much-missed relative.
“As we look forward to the future, we remain as committed as ever to serving Nigeria and its wonderful community. Like the harmattan and ‘rainy season’, there will always be challenges, but we have a dedicated team focused on delivering unrivalled customer service, and reliable flights for all our Nigerian customers for many years to come.”
The airline said, with Nigeria’s population expected to grow to between the third and fourth largest in the World by 2050, aviation would continue to play a key role in its success and development.
“Virgin Atlantic continues to be at the forefront of the aviation industry and recently announced a $4.4bn order for 12 A350-1000 aircraft. It is part of the airline’s commitment to a fleet modernisationprogramme, which will see 50 per cent of Virgin Atlantic’s aircraft replaced in a six year period – creating one of the world’s youngest and most carbon-efficient fleets,” it added.
Global Digital Consumer Spent $900B In 2020 – Mastercard
According to Mastercard’s latest Recovery Insights report, this amounted to an additional $900bn being spent in retail online around the world in 2020. Put another way: in 2020, e-commerce made up roughly $1 out of every $5 spent on retail, up from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019.
For retailers, restaurants and other businesses large and small, being able to sell online provided a much-needed lifeline as in-person consumer spending was disrupted.
Roughly 20-30% of the Covid-related shift to digital globally is expected to be permanent, according to Mastercard’s Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution. The report draws on anonymised and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute. The analysis dives into what this means by country and by sector, for goods and services, and within countries and across borders.
“While consumers were stuck at home, their dollars traveled far and wide thanks to e-commerce,” says Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute. “This has significant implications, with the countries and companies that have prioritized digital continuing to reap the benefits. Our analysis shows that even the smallest businesses see gains when they shift to digital.”
Venmo Launches Cryptocurrency Trading
Venmo, owned by PayPal, is launching cryptocurrency trading for four major coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litceoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
This service set to be widely available within the new few weeks, Venmo’s 70 million+ customers will be able to buy, hold and sell crypto directly within the Venmo app. The launch is offering users access to in-app guides to help them to better navigate the cryptocurrency trading space and will encourage them to share their cryptocurrency experiences via the Venmo feed.
Venmo users will be able to buy as little as $1 worth of cryptocurrency and can use either funds from their Venmo balance or from a linked bank account or debit card to buy and sell their holdings.
Over 30% of Venmo customers have already begun to purchase cryptocurrency or equities, according to the company’s research into 2020 customer behavior. Of these, 20% began their purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the public health and concurrent economic crisis has accelerated trends in digitization and experimentation with new financial technologies.
Support for cryptocurrency on Venmo is facilitated through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated provider of crypto products such as its stable coin and other services. Venmo owner PayPal is also the holder of a conditional Bitlicense from the exacting New York State Department of Financial Services. Conditional licensees, such as PayPal, are required to pair off with firms that have already been granted full-blown licenses — as, in this case, has Paxos.
Just under a week ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman hinted at developments underway since the payments giant first went live with its crypto offering in the United States in November of last year. Schulman said that PayPal aims to support the use of crypto for everyday transactions and to tap into smart contracts and other, more expansive features of blockchain technology. He also pitched the company’s vision of leveraging crypto for the attainment of a more “inclusive economy,” in which “things will be done much differently than today.”
WeWork Starts Accepting Cryptocurrency as Form of Payment
WeWork, the leading flexible space provider, has announced that it will begin servicing a new economy by accepting payment in select cryptocurrencies.
In partnership with BitPay and Coinbase, the company will expand its flexibility by utilizing cryptocurrency for inbound and outbound transactions.
Through BitPay, a cryptocurrency payment service provider, WeWork will accept Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), Paxos (PAX), and several other cryptocurrencies as payment for its offerings. WeWork will also hold the currency on its balance sheet. The company will pay landlords and third-party partners in cryptocurrencies where applicable through Coinbase, a WeWork member and the largest U.S. cryptocurrency trading platform.
In addition, Coinbase will be the first WeWork member to use cryptocurrency to pay for its WeWork membership. As a leader in the fintech sector, Coinbase’s decision to pay WeWork in cryptocurrency demonstrates the growing demand for flexible and easy-to-use payment options.
Understanding this growing demand for optionality and convenience, WeWork has accelerated its focus on leveraging technology to take flexibility to the next level. In 2020, WeWork digitized its real estate portfolio with the release of its WeWork On Demand and WeWork All Access products, enabling members to choose when, where, and how they work.
WeWork CEO, Sandeep Mathrani, said: “WeWork’s strength is in our ability to evolve and best meet the diverse needs of our members around the world. As our member base continues to grow in the fintech sector, so will our ability to adapt to their needs and service a new economy. WeWork has always been at the forefront of innovative technologies, finding new ways to support our members. It only makes sense for us to expand on the optionality we provide by adding cryptocurrency as an accepted form of payment for our members.”
WeWork Chairman and Softbank Group International CEO, Marcelo Claure, said: “When we think about the workplace of the future and business, we have to consider cryptocurrency a central part of that conversation. Cryptocurrency helps build a stronger global economy and WeWork’s announcement demonstrates the company’s commitment not only to innovation but also to being a globally-focused business. WeWork’s ability to provide members with an additional convenient means of payment is hugely exciting. I am very pleased that WeWork is taking steps to recognize the value this technology can provide our current and future members.”
CEO of BitPay, Stephen Pair, said: “BitPay believes crypto is the future of fintech and payments and our goal is to transform how businesses and people send, receive, and store money. WeWork is giving their customers an innovative payment option that is cheaper and easier than credit cards and taps a community valued at over $2 trillion.”
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