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Despite Lawsuit, “Nigerian Air” Will Commence Operations as Planned; Says Aviation Minister



Nigeria Air

Nigerian Air will commence operations in December as planned despite the lawsuit filed by Air Operators of Nigeria (AON), the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika revealed.

The minister who spoke during a stakeholders’ appreciation meeting for the reconstruction of the Lagos airport runway noted that he engaged indigenous carriers in Nigeria to participate in the “Nigerian Air” project.

He added that his several proposals to the indigenous airlines including Air Peace were turned down.

Investors King could recall that the Air Operators of Nigeria (AON) had filed a lawsuit at the federal high court in Lagos to stop the commencement of Nigerian Air. 

According to the lawsuit, the indigenous operators argued that the process which led to the preferred bidder for the national carrier is with some irregularities. 

In addition, the indigenous airline operators alleged that the idea of a foreign airline with a 49 percent stake in Nigerian National Carrier will amount to capital flight which will further harm the indigenous players. 

Specifically, they noted that the partnership with Ethiopian Airlines on the National Carrier will open Nigeria’s aviation market to foreign operators which could send domestic airlines out of business. 

In September 2022, the Minister of Aviation announced Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred bidder for “Nigerian Air” with an equity stake of 49 percent.

While the Federal Government reserved 5 percent, a consortium of Nigerian Investors which comprises SAHCO, MRS and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund holds 46 percent stake. 

The minister who was enraged by the disposition of the indigenous airline operators noted that the process which led to the preferred bidder was transparent. 

Having recorded a revenue of more than $1 billion during Covid, he added that Ethiopian Airlines has the technical and the financial capacity to partner with the federal government on a national carrier. 

“I have been very transparent in the processes put in place to deliver the national carrier. If anyone wants to invest in a company, no one can stop them from investing” he said. 

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Egypt Eyes Tourism Boom Despite Regional Tensions




Despite the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, Egypt’s tourism sector remains optimistic about meeting its target of 15 million arrivals in 2023 with expectations of further growth in 2024.

The North African nation is gearing up for a hotel-building initiative to address the pressing need for additional capacity, aiming to add at least 25,000 rooms in 2024 and 40,000 the following year.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa emphasized that the scarcity of hotel rooms is the primary challenge, prompting the government to consider incentives such as tax breaks to expedite construction.

“The No. 1 challenge that Egypt faces today is the number of hotel rooms. We need at least 25,000 additional rooms in 2024 and 40,000 the year after,” said Issa.

Tourism, a crucial component of Egypt’s economy, is gaining increased significance amid the country’s fiscal challenges.

Despite concerns raised by the Israel-Hamas conflict impacting nearby countries, including Egypt, the relative containment of the conflict and the favorable exchange rates due to currency devaluations have made Egypt an attractive destination.

In the past financial year, tourism revenue in Egypt reached a record $13.6 billion, with a focus on attracting higher-spending tourists and solid visitor numbers from countries like Germany and Russia.

The government is also looking to tap into the vast potential of Chinese tourists, aiming for 1 million Chinese visitors between now and 2028. While Red Sea cities like Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada continue to be popular, efforts are underway to promote tourism in the northwestern Mediterranean coast.

To encourage further development, the tourism and finance ministries are proposing incentives for hotel builders, including rebates for funding costs and potential tax holidays on capital expenditure.

Issa stated, “We’re going to seek the approval of the cabinet over the coming couple of weeks” and expects to announce the incentives “before the end of December.”

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Winter Travel Tips Around the Iconic Southern Cross Station




What’s more beautiful than Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station, adorned with twinkling winter lights, a light dusting of frost on the platforms, and the buzz of travelers eager to embark on their winter adventures?  Winter has cast its enchantment over the city, and you’re about to dive headfirst into the wonderland that is Melbourne during this chilly season.

Before you do, one essential aspect of your journey deserves special attention: luggage storage near Southern Cross Station. It’s the unsung hero that allows you to explore the city unburdened, and we’ll dive into that soon. First, let’s talk about getting to this iconic station.

Making Your Way to Southern Cross Station

Navigating your way to Southern Cross Station is like embarking on the first chapter of your winter adventure. Whether you’re a local planning a staycation or a traveler from afar, there are multiple routes to reach this central hub.

If you’re a public transportation enthusiast, you’re in luck! Melbourne’s well-connected tram and train network makes it a breeze to reach Southern Cross Station from virtually anywhere in the city. Just hop on a tram or a train, and you’ll find yourself right at the heart of the action.

What if you’re rolling into Melbourne with your trusty car? Don’t worry! There are plenty of parking options available near Southern Cross Station. Secure parking facilities make it convenient for those who prefer to bring their own wheels.

Dressing for the Chilly Weather

Now that you’ve safely stowed away your luggage, let’s chat about the first order of business regarding winter travel: dressing for the weather. Melbourne’s winter is a delightful mix of crisp mornings, occasional rain showers, and pleasantly cool afternoons. To conquer this ever-changing climate, layering is your trusty sidekick.

Start with a cozy base layer, add a stylish sweater or cardigan, and top it off with a waterproof jacket. Remember to pack a high-quality pair of waterproof boots to keep your feet dry while you explore. Of course, a stylish scarf and beanie combo will keep you warm and looking like a true Melburnian.

Embracing Melbourne’s Winter Events

Melbourne doesn’t let the chilly weather dampen its spirits. In fact, it thrives in winter with a slew of exciting events and activities to keep you entertained. From June to August, the city comes alive with winter festivals, art exhibitions, and food extravaganzas.

Imagine gliding gracefully on an ice skating rink under the open sky, surrounded by the city’s stunning skyline. Or perhaps you’d prefer to immerse yourself in the vibrant art world, exploring galleries showcasing Melbourne’s creative talents. Finally, let’s not forget the food festivals that’ll have your taste buds dancing in delight.

The best part? Many of these events are conveniently located near Southern Cross Station, making it the perfect starting point for your winter adventure. But before you rush off to partake in the festivities, let’s talk about warming up from the inside out.

Warm Eats and Hot Drinks

One of the great pleasures of winter travel is indulging in the heartwarming cuisine and beverages the city has to offer. Melbourne knows how to do comfort food right. From hearty soups and savory pies to mouthwatering pasta dishes, you’ll find a plethora of options to satisfy your cravings.

And what’s winter without the perfect cup of coffee or hot chocolate? Melbourne takes its coffee seriously, and there’s no shortage of charming cafes near Southern Cross Station to enjoy a steaming cup. Sip slowly, savor the flavors, and take in the cozy atmosphere.

Exploring Melbourne’s Winter Scenery

As winter blankets Melbourne in its cozy embrace, you’ll discover that this city transforms into a captivating wonderland. Its parks and gardens take on a magical allure, with glistening dewdrops adorning the foliage and crisp air, making each stroll a refreshing experience.

One must-visit spot is the Royal Botanic Gardens, where you can wander among stunning winter blooms and serene lakes. For architectural enthusiasts, Federation Square and its intriguing design will be a sight to behold. Melbourne’s winter scenery is Instagram gold, with every corner providing the perfect backdrop for your next post.

Safety Tips for Winter Travel

Safety always comes first, especially when navigating a new city and in winter when sidewalks can get slippery. Be mindful of icy patches, and invest in a good pair of non-slip shoes to avoid any unexpected ice-skating incidents.

Above all else, stay hydrated. The cooler weather might trick you into thinking you don’t need as much water, but staying well-hydrated is crucial for staying healthy during your travels.

Embrace the Chill: Your Melbourne Winter Adventure Awaits!

And there you have it, fellow adventurers — your comprehensive guide to winter travel around Melbourne’s iconic Southern Cross Station. We’ve covered everything from the ever-changing weather to the picturesque scenery and all the safety tips you need to know.

Winter in Melbourne is a unique and enchanting experience, and with the right preparation and a touch of wanderlust, you’re bound to create lasting memories. So, grab your winter coat, pack your sense of adventure, and let Melbourne’s winter charms captivate your heart. Here’s to an unforgettable winter getaway!


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Africa’s Aviation Sector Faces $1.68 Billion Fund Lockdown: IATA Urges Government Action




The International Air Transport Association (IATA) disclosed that as of September $1.68 billion of airlines’ funds are locked in Africa.

The impact of this financial entanglement is viewed as detrimental to connectivity, raising significant concerns about the sustainability of the aviation sector on the continent.

Kamil Alawadhi, the Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East at IATA, addressed this issue during the African Airlines Association 55th Annual General Assembly in Uganda.

Alawadhi emphasized the association’s ongoing efforts to provide value to its members in navigating the challenging financial landscape.

Nigeria accounts for a substantial portion of these blocked funds, totaling $783 million, with only about 10% cleared despite recent efforts.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has initiated steps to clear the forex backlog, but challenges persist in disbursing the funds effectively.

Alawadhi stressed the urgency of liberating blocked airline funds and advised governments on best practices to clear backlogs.

He highlighted the broader repercussions, extending beyond the airlines to negatively impact the economies of the countries involved.

The consequences include reduced connectivity, diminished investor confidence, and damage to the countries’ reputations.

Recognizing aviation as a pivotal economic enabler, Alawadhi urged governments to prioritize sustainable solutions for clearing blocked funds, particularly as the industry seeks to recover from pandemic-induced losses.

IATA cautioned against imposing additional financial burdens on the sector, such as higher fees, levies, carbon taxes, or new taxes on air transport, trade, or tourism, which could exacerbate existing challenges.

As Africa’s aviation industry grapples with ongoing financial constraints, finding solutions to unlock these funds becomes crucial for sustained recovery and growth.

The IATA’s call for coordinated efforts to address this issue underscores the importance of a collaborative approach between governments and the aviation sector in navigating the complexities of the current economic landscape.

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