Abrupt Runway Closures Reason For Flight Delays, Cancellations– Aviation Officials
Officials in the Aviation sector have decried the reoccurring sudden runway closures at airports especially at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The airline operators blamed the sudden closure of runways as the cause of flight delays and cancellation which occurs at the airports.
Investors King reports that the main reason for the abrupt closure is the VIP movement which includes the President, Vice president and top government officials’ flights which most times are not publicly declared for security sake.
Pilots have lamented that they are most times not informed of the duration of the closures because the airlines get the notice unexpectedly which in turn affects other flight schedules.
They said what pisses them is the frequency of the runway closure which could occur twice in a day or more.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was accused of not informing air traffic controllers of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA who usually alert pilots on duty without sending an official Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) through the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) to the large airline community.
Airline operators also highlighted the cost implication of frequent closure of the runways saying it consumes large quantity of fuel while waiting for the VIP’s movement whether on the ground or in the air.
In his explanation, a FAAN official said that the agency does not really shut the runway but basically delays other flights for the VIP planes to takeoff or land.
He said, “I don’t think they declare the airport closed. They just delay some flights until the passage of the VIP. The other day we were about to take off when our pilot told us there was VIP movement and we waited. We actually waited for long; over 30 minutes at the holding point before our flight took off. Yes, the problem is that it causes delays for travellers. Even when that aircraft is airborne it has to wait. They will inform the pilots but no precision because you are not supposed to know the details about the movement for security reasons. So they don’t issue official NOTAM but the controllers will do radio communication.”
Speaking on the issue, the Chief Operating Officer of Green Africa, Obi Mbanuzuo stated that the closure occurs daily because of the consistency of the VIPs’ travels.
He spoke on the high cost that accompanies each delay, “ordinarily the aircraft frequently used in Nigeria, the Boeing 737 Classic aircraft could consume about five tons (about 6, 250 litres) of fuel flying from Lagos to Abuja and additional 30 minutes fuel would be added to it, which is about 1.5 tons in case the airport is sterilized (closed for VIP movement). Then there would be additional fuel for alternative airport in case of emergency. That is, more fuel is added in case a situation arises that the aircraft has to leave for an alternative airport if there is an emergency.
“Every airline chooses its alternative airport. Flying from Lagos to Abuja an airline could choose Ilorin as an alternative airport or it could choose Port Harcourt. So the aircraft would carry additional fuel in case there is a need to go to the alternative airport. So, it is five tons from Lagos to Abuja, 1.5 tons for diversion in case there is VIP movement, which brings the volume to 6.5 tons; then another five tons for the alternative airport, which in total brings it to 11.5 tons (14, 500 litres).
The Stranded Traveller: A Tale of Trapped Funds and Soaring Airfares in Nigeria
Nkechi had been saving for months to take her dream trip to London. She had researched everything from flights to hotels, and had finally settled on a good deal with Virgin Atlantic. But just as she was about to make the payment, she noticed that the price had gone up significantly.
She couldn’t understand why the exchange rate had suddenly skyrocketed from N462 per dollar to N551 per dollar, as she had been keeping up with the news and hadn’t heard of any major changes in the forex market.
Nkechi soon found out that the increase was due to a recent move by foreign airlines to block their inventory of cheaper tickets in order to cushion the effects of the rising amount of trapped funds. Nigeria had the highest amount of foreign airlines’ trapped funds globally, with about $743m as of January that year. This had led to a backlog of unremitted funds which the airlines were unable to repatriate, resulting in the increase in the exchange rate for ticket sales.
Nkechi felt frustrated and helpless. She had saved diligently and now her dream trip seemed to be slipping away. She wondered why the government hadn’t done more to release the trapped funds and make things easier for travellers like her. She reached out to her travel agent, who explained that the increase in the exchange rate had led to an over 20 per cent increase in international airfares. This meant that the promo price for her Virgin Atlantic ticket had gone up from N800,000 to N1.1m.
Nkechi was devastated. She had to either pay the higher price or forfeit her trip. She decided to explore other options and eventually found a cheaper deal with a less popular airline. The trip wasn’t exactly what she had envisioned, but at least she was going to London.
As she boarded the plane, Nkechi couldn’t help but think about how the situation could have been different if the government had acted faster to resolve the issue of trapped funds. She knew that many travellers were still stranded and unable to afford the high airfares. She made a mental note to write to her representatives and urge them to take action.
Nkechi’s trip was filled with mixed emotions. She was grateful for the opportunity to travel, but also saddened by the knowledge that many others were unable to do the same. She hoped that the situation would improve soon, and that travellers like her would not have to suffer the consequences of bureaucratic delays and economic uncertainty.
FG Assures Kick-off of Nigeria Air Operations Before Buhari’s Administration Ends
The Federal Government has reiterated its readiness to commence the operation of the national carrier, Nigeria Air before the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika gave the assurance during the 2023 National Aviation Stakeholders Forum in Abuja.
Investors King recalls that in November 2022, a Federal High Court in Lagos issued an order of interim injunction directing the federal government to discontinue the establishment of the national carrier. However, in February, Sirika said in an interview that he was not aware of such a court injunction, noting that the Nigerian Air had come to stay
Sirika stated that efforts have been intensified and consultations made to deliver the national carrier for use before May 29, 2023.
He said, “Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly.
“Negotiation meetings with the Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government of Nigeria is ongoing. Next step: Federal Executive Council approval of the Full Business Case.”
The minister noted that the Nigeria Air will reduce capital flights and improve the nation’s aviation industry.
According to him, the national carrier will also increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the industry. The impact would also be felt in tourism, agriculture and economic sectors as it will expand its shores, aid smooth transportation and provide more jobs.
Speaking on the development so far, Sirika said that the federal government had begun transactions to foreign airlines’ whose ticket sales funds were held up by insufficient dollars.
He said Qatar Airlines had $201 million trapped while for IATA airlines, $216 million was held.
He however, assured that efforts are ongoing to get the money released, adding that some of Emirates Airline funds have been returned and now left with $35 million.
Estonia Offers Easiest Work Visa to Europe Amidst Low Applications
Estonia, a digital nation in northern Europe, has been ranked as the easiest European Country where a work visa can be obtained.
Investors King reports that application for the work visa can be done through the official ‘Work in Estonia website’ for a one year work visa with an option of renewal.
Estonia is rated the easiest country amongst other European countries to obtain a work visa because it accepts such visas massively. Though, its visa applications received are quite low when compared to others.
The work visa application fee is pegged at €100 while it is processed and made available in 30 days.
The visa package consists of visitation to other Schengen countries for not more than three months within 180 days, and a residency permit can be obtained after two months.
On the ‘Work in Estonia website’, new job opportunities in the countries are posted daily awaiting applications.
To apply for the work visa, here are the criteria:
- Be qualified physically and mentally for the job and receive a legitimate employment agreement. Thereafter your employer must register you with the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.
- Provide all the requirements for an Estonian work visa such as a current passport, two passport-size photos, and an application form.
- Fill out the application form online. Select the long-stay D visa option, and make sure you fully complete it with all the correct information after which you print a hard copy and sign it at the end.
- You must pay for your visa application after completing the application form. When you present the documents at the consulate or embassy, you can make payment.
- With other requested documents, affix the payment receipt.
- A certificate of your legal health insurance. Your health insurance must have a coverage limit and be valid throughout the entire Schengen region. You will be covered by Estonian health insurance once you enter the country.
- Documents demonstrating that you have a place to stay while visiting Estonia, which should: Proof of lodging, lease or contract, an invitation letter, etc.
- A cover letter introducing the sender to the embassy.
- A criminal record. This document must be released by the police authorities in your home country and must demonstrate that you have a clean criminal record.
- Work agreement. The work contract must specify the nature of the work you will be performing in Estonia. It must include your salary, work hours, and so on. This document demonstrates that you have a job waiting for you in Estonia.
- Documents proving personal qualification. These documents demonstrate that you are qualified for the position for which you have applied. They should be a certificate of your educational level, CV, driving license (if applicable), etc.
- Registering employment in Estonia. Your employer must register your short-term employment in Estonia. This document allows you to work in Estonia until you receive your residence permit. For your employer to apply for your short-term employment, you must give them a copy of your passport, photo, and other required personal details. After that, you will receive an ID code, an 11-digit number used to identify your details in Estonia.
For an extension of the work visa to stay longer than the initial one-year plan, an application for a temporary residence permit is required after settling in the country which could run for up to five years and is still renewable. The renewal application must be done at least three working days before the visa expires. Also, the application must be submitted personally at any of the Police and Border Guard Board offices in Estonia.
Family members are welcomed on an Estonian work visa and they will be allowed to work, study and stay in the country. Family members are identified as spouse (partner), cohabiting partner, child (under the age of 18), and older relatives (if they are older than age 65) with health problems.
Here are other major highlights on working in Estonia:
- There is no such thing in Estonia as a special “work permit”. You can work there if your employer has registered your short-term employment and your stay is legal (e.g., you have a D-visa) or if you have a valid (temporary) residence permit for working.
- In Estonia, the average monthly wage is €1,150. The amount you earn each month depends on the job.
- Asides from rent, the average monthly expense in Estonia for a single person is (€661). You might have to pay as much as €188 per month for premium health insurance, depending on the type of insurer you select.
- You must initially apply for a temporary residence permit (for work up to 5 years with your first permit).
- You can apply for a long-term residence permit once you have been a temporary resident of Estonia for five years.
News3 weeks ago
Npower Pays November, December Stipends; Gives Update on Next Step
Cryptocurrency3 weeks ago
90 Million People Use Cryptocurrency in Nigeria – Report
Technology3 weeks ago
Africa Emerges as The Worst Performing Region in Internet Value
Fintech3 weeks ago
Nigerians Turn to Digital Banks as Traditional Banking Apps Face Challenges
Finance1 week ago
Npower Release Update on Failed Payment, Send Validation Link to Affected Beneficiaries
Government4 weeks ago
Peter Obi of Labour Party Defeats Tinubu of APC in Lagos Presidential Election
Government4 weeks ago
Bola Tinubu Emerges Winner of Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Election
Billionaire Watch3 weeks ago
Aliko Dangote, Johann Rupert Sit Atop Africa’s Forbes Richest Persons List in 2023