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Nigeria’s Aviation Industry: Are Foreign Airlines Really Shutting Down Operations?

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Recent news reports have claimed that foreign airlines in Nigeria are shutting down their operations due to trapped funds. However, new information suggests that these claims are not entirely accurate.

Many airlines have since repatriated their funds from Nigeria, and some have found ways to circumvent the process that stipulates they sell their tickets in Naira.

Despite the high ticket prices in Nigeria, industry experts suggest that foreign airlines are making unprecedented profits from the Nigerian route. Nigerians pay the highest fares for international travel in the African continent, and the demand for air travel remains high. More Nigerians travel than Ghanaians, so tickets are in higher demand in Nigeria.

It’s important to note that while some foreign airlines may be experiencing difficulties, this is not a widespread problem. According to the Group Managing Director and CEO of Finchglow Holdings Limited, foreign airlines cannot stop operating in Nigeria because they are making too much money from the Nigerian route.

There have been suggestions that foreign airlines should be allowed to pay for their services in local currency to aviation agencies, handling companies, and fuel marketers. If this were to happen, the dollar rate would likely never go down.

It’s also worth noting that foreign airlines operating in Nigeria currently have access to three rates: the parallel market, the CBN, and the IEA window. They get these new rates in conjunction with the CBN.

Therefore, claims that foreign airlines are shutting down their operations in Nigeria are not entirely accurate. Many of these airlines have since repatriated their funds, and some have found ways to circumvent the process that stipulates they sell their tickets in Naira.

While there may be some difficulties, foreign airlines cannot stop operating in Nigeria due to the unprecedented profits they are making from the Nigerian route.

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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Arik Air Directed to Pay $21,466.64 to Former Air Hostess for Unpaid Salaries

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The Industrial Court in Lagos has ordered Arik Air to pay $21,466.64 in salary arrears to Mrs. Andreia Perdigao, a former air hostess who was wrongfully dismissed by the airline.

This decision, marked as SUIT NO.: NICN/LA/532/2017, brings a significant victory for Perdigao, who had been seeking justice and her unpaid wages since her termination in 2017.

Mrs. Perdigao, who worked with Arik Air for approximately three years, took legal action against her former employer after being dismissed in March 2017.

She sought the court’s intervention to recover her unpaid salaries from December 2016 to March 2017, which amounted to $2,683.33 per month. The total arrears for the eight months were calculated at $21,466.64.

In his judgment, Justice M.N. Esowe affirmed that a valid contract of employment existed between Mrs. Perdigao and Arik Air, thus entitling her to the claimed salaries.

“It is declared that the defendants are bound to pay to the claimant eight months’ arrears of salary for the months of August 2016 through December 2016 and for the months of January 2017 to March 2017 when the 1st Defendant wrongfully terminated the Claimant’s employment,” Justice Esowe stated.

The court further directed Arik Air to pay Mrs. Perdigao an additional $2,683.33 as general damages for breach of contract.

Furthermore, the court ordered that the airline must pay interest at a rate of 15 percent on all the judgment sums from the date of delivery of the judgment until full payment is made.

The court’s decision, dated May 9, has yet to be enforced by Arik Air. When contacted, Adebajo Ola, Head of Corporate Communications at Arik Air, stated he was unaware of the ruling.

“I am not aware of the case. I will need to find out,” Ola said, upon receiving the document and suit information from our correspondent.

This ruling highlights the ongoing issues faced by employees within the aviation sector regarding wrongful termination and unpaid wages.

The judgment serves as a reminder to employers about the legal obligations they hold towards their staff and reinforces the judiciary’s role in upholding employees’ rights.

Mrs. Perdigao’s victory may pave the way for other employees in similar situations to seek justice and proper compensation for wrongful dismissals and unpaid wages.

The case also underscores the importance of adhering to contractual agreements and ensuring fair treatment of employees in all sectors.

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EU to Raise Schengen Visa Fees, African Nationals Hit Hardest

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Starting Tuesday, African nationals seeking entry to the European Union will face increased visa fees as the EU raises the cost of Schengen visa applications from €80 to €90.

This 12.5% hike announced by the EU Commission adds to the financial burden for many applicants, particularly from African countries that already face high rejection rates and significant expenses.

According to recent Schengen visa statistics, African nationals received 704,000 negative responses to their visa applications in 2023.

This high rate of rejections resulted in approximately €56.3 million spent on non-refundable visa fees.

The report highlights that these expenses, referred to as ‘reverse remittances,’ represent a substantial financial outflow from African countries to the EU, benefiting no one but the recipient nations.

The impact of these costs is disproportionately felt by African applicants, who accounted for 43.1% of the total amount generated by rejected applications in 2023.

Among the hardest-hit were nationals from Algeria and Morocco. Algerians, who filed the second-highest number of applications, saw 42.3% of their 289,000 requests denied.

Moroccan nationals faced an even higher rejection rate, with 62% of their 437,000 applications being turned down, leading to €10.9 million spent on unsuccessful visa bids.

Overall, the EU earned €3.4 million from rejected Schengen visa applications submitted by Nigerian citizens alone, illustrating the significant financial burden placed on individual applicants.

The high rejection rates for African and Asian countries, which together bear 90% of all visa-related expenses, exacerbate the economic challenges faced by applicants from these regions.

The recent study by EU Observer underscores the growing trend of increased expenses and rejection rates.

Schengen visa rejections generated €130 million in 2023, up from €105 million the previous year, indicating a rise in both visa costs and the financial impact on applicants.

Marta Foresti, founder of the LAGO Collective, commented on the broader implications of these financial dynamics.

“Visa inequality has very tangible consequences and the world’s poorest pay the price. You can think of the costs of rejected visas as ‘reverse remittances’, money flowing from poor to rich countries. We never hear about these costs when discussing aid or migration; it is time to change that,” she said.

As the EU implements the new visa fee structure, the financial strain on African nationals is set to intensify. With some of the lowest wages globally, many Africans will find the increased costs even more challenging to bear.

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UAE to Lift Visa Ban on Nigerians, Says Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo

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The longstanding visa face-off between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to end, according to Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo.

The announcement came during a welcome dinner for delegates attending the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 80th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Dubai.

In his address on Monday, Keyamo disclosed that the diplomatic disputes that led to the UAE imposing a visa ban on Nigerians have been resolved.

“The issue of visa has been resolved, just the announcement remaining. They want to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. The announcement will be in a couple of weeks,” he stated.

The visa ban, which severely restricted travel for Nigerians to the UAE, particularly to popular destinations like Dubai, was initially imposed due to a series of diplomatic disagreements.

However, recent efforts spearheaded by President Bola Tinubu, who intervened in August 2023, have paved the way for a resolution. This intervention also addressed the related face-off with Emirates Airlines, which had suspended its flights to Nigeria.

The significance of the resolution was underscored by the warm reception Keyamo received at the summit.

Accompanied by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, Keyamo’s entrance was met with applause from over 2,000 delegates.

This reception, Keyamo noted, is a testament to the valued relationship between Nigeria and the UAE.

In a conversation with journalists on the sidelines of the event, Keyamo explained the importance of restoring and maintaining strong ties with the UAE.

“The UAE is considered a very important partner to Nigeria. Nigerians have a lot of stakes here in the UAE with significant investments. We are making it a priority to ensure that the travel route is reopened and that the visa application process is made easier for Nigerians,” he said.

Keyamo also highlighted the trust and value the UAE places on its relationship with Nigeria.

“I was on the same ride with the ruler of Dubai, the Minister, and the head of Emirates Group, along with other top officials. This level of engagement shows how much they value Nigeria and how they want to rebuild this relationship,” he added.

The lifting of the visa ban is expected to have a substantial positive impact on both nations. It will not only facilitate travel for Nigerians seeking to visit or invest in the UAE but also strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries.

As the final details are being fine-tuned, Nigerians eagerly await the formal announcement. The resolution marks a significant diplomatic achievement and opens the door for renewed cooperation and mutual benefit.

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