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Foreign Airlines Reap $700m From Ticket Sales In 8 Months In Nigeria

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Following the improvement in the Nigerian economy after the recession that hit the country, foreign airlines operating in the country sold tickets worth $700 million as at the end of August 2019, according to figures obtained from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The data represented a significant increase in ticket sales compared with the total of $800 million recorded in the whole of 2018.
IATA has projected $1 billion foreign airlines’ ticket sales for 2019.

While the improved economic climate encouraged more international travels by Nigerians on businesses and pleasures trips, as well as foreigners, who come into Nigeria for businesses, some Nigerians also travelled out in search of greener pastures.

President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Bankole Bernard, who confirmed the development in a telephone interview with THISDAY, anticipated that the country might surpass the projected $1 billion by the end of the year due to the Christmas season, which records influx of inbound passenger movement, as many Nigerians return to the country to celebrate the Yuletide season.
Quoting IATA records, Bankole said, “The market has stabilised. There is upward trend and more foreign airlines have shown interest in Nigeria.

This confirms that the industry is doing well under the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika. I am seeing significant changes. There are a lot of changes taking place under the minister.”

He acknowledged that generally the nation’s economy is not yet doing very well but projected that more Nigerians would be travelling overseas as the economy improved and that means more ticket sales by the airlines.

Bernard, the Chief Executive Officer of one of the biggest travel agencies in Nigeria, Finchglow Travels, said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) was pleased with the Nigerian aviation sector because of the positive air safety record, hence the high interest of foreign airlines in Nigeria.

He said: “For us in the downstream sub-sector of the industry there has been no default in payment of ticket revenues to the airlines like in the past. IATA acknowledged this and that is why it introduced IATA Easy Pay in Nigeria first before many other countries in the continent.

“In fact, Kenya, which hitherto had bigger travel agencies, came to understudy us. If we are not doing something good, they would not have come to understudy us and this shows that we are doing better than Kenya now.”

Travel expert and organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko, attributed the increase in ticket sales to slight improvement in the economy, higher outbound flights as well as the search of greener pastures.

“From the figures made available recently by NANTA, there is increase in international passenger movement this year and last year due to slight improvement in the economy.

“There is also more one-way ticket on outbound flights, which many attributed to apprehension and many of those not coming back are heading to Canada and Australia. This is affecting the Nigerian middle class mainly; those with skills, from medical doctors, to bankers, engineers, journalists and even photographers. This is because these countries want to double their population but they are making the choice of those they want to allow to come. They have significantly reduced the middle-class population in Nigeria,” Uko noted.

However, some operators have expressed concern that over 85 per cent of ticket sales by the foreign airlines would be repatriated.

Industry consultant and CEO of Belujane Konsult, Chris Aligbe, said something has to be done urgently to recover the loss Nigeria was recording with the repatriation of huge foreign exchange from the country.

“We have to do something quickly and see how we can pull back the loss. If we don’t do something quickly it will escalate as our economy improves because more Nigerians will travel and that means more money for the foreign carriers. I don’t see how any responsible government will allow that to continue to happen,” Aligbe said.

Also reacting to the huge revenue from ticket sales by foreign airlines in Nigeria, the President of Sabre Network, Africa and also the President of industry think-tank body, Aviation Round Table (ART), Dr. Gbenga Olowo, told THISDAY that even though Nigeria needs the foreign airlines, efforts should be made by the country to balance the trade by empowering local carriers to compete with the international airlines.

He called for the strengthening of Nigerian airlines so that they could compete and reverse the negative balance of trade.

But the CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, said there was no need to tackle the foreign carriers, saying policies should be developed to encourage Nigerian carriers to operate international routes.

“For example, Air Peace and Emirates can code-share on the UAE routes. We should begin to cut back on the money being repatriated from Nigeria by foreign carriers. In the US, a foreign carrier that operates to the country is not allowed to bring in cargo flight; it must contract a local airline to do that. A lot of cargo come to Nigeria from Emirates and all the Emirates flights that come to Nigeria is always filled with cargo,” he said.

He rejected the argument by government officials from the Ministry of Aviation that many foreign airlines are allowed to come into the country in order to encourage competition and low fares, saying that foreign airlines have relatively outrageous fares for Nigerian routes because indigenous carriers are not competing effectively with them.

Former Managing Director of Capital Airlines and industry consultant, Mr. Amos Akpan, said the fact that foreign airlines would sell about $1 billion ticket in a year in Nigeria showed that Nigeria remains an important market and Nigerian airlines should be made to benefit from the huge potential.

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Two Uber Vehicles Rolled Over In Collision In Lagos, RRS Came To The Rescue

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Officers of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command rescued and administered first aid to 3 of the 8 occupants of
two UBER vehicles that rolled over in collision simultaneously at Ogudu Alapere on their way to the Lagos Island around 3:00 a.m today.

LASEMA arrived later to assist the victims. No life was lost in the accident.

Recall that in 2017, the former Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode handed over no fewer than 150 First Aid Kits to the operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Command, so as to administer First Aid to victims of emergencies. Over 380 officers of the RRS had been trained by the State Government on accident scene safety, controlling bleeding, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and moving accident victims.

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Muhammad Makes List Of Top 10 Baby Names In The US For The First Time

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For the first time, Muhammad is one of the top 10 most popular baby names for boys in the United States, according to data from the parenting website BabyCenter.

Muhammad ranks at No. 10, up four spots from last year. The name has been climbing steadily on BabyCenter’s rankings over the years and first entered the top 100 in 2013.

“Muslim families often choose Muhammad for firstborn sons to honor the prophet and bring blessings to the child,” Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s global editor in chief, said in a news release. “The name also has multiple spellings, and that helps a name get into the top 10.”

Liam was the most popular name for boys, pushing out Jackson, which had spent six consecutive years at the top of the list. Sophia remained No. 1 for girls, marking a decade as the top choice.

BabyCenter says its data comes from almost 600,000 parents who shared their baby’s name with the organization in 2019. Its rankings also combine names that sound the same but have multiple spellings (like Mohammad and Muhammad).

The Social Security Administration also ranks the popularity of baby names using records of all babies born in the US, but the agency treats each unique spelling as a separate name.

The agency has not released its own list, but Social Security data shows Muhammad rose from No. 620 in 2000 to No. 345 in 2018. The agency does not include varied spellings in that ranking.

Names of Arabic origin are on the rise, according to BabyCenter. As Muhammad broke into the top 10 for boys, Aaliyah made the top 10 for girls.
Isla, a Scottish name, is also climbing — up 38 spots from last year. Eleanor and Miles were tied for second-fastest climbing names.

These are the top 10 baby names for boys and girls this year, according to BabyCenter’s rankings.

Most popular names for boys
1) Liam
2) Jackson
3) Noah
4) Aiden
5) Grayson
6) Caden
7) Lucas
8)Elijah
9) Oliver
10) Muhammad

Most popular names for girls
1) Sophia
2) Olivia
3) Emma
4) Ava
5) Aria
6) Isabella
7) Amelia
8) Mia
9) Riley
10) Aaliyah

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FRSC To Introduce N50,000 Fine For Traffic Light Violators In 2020

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The Corps Marshal of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi has said that traffic light violations by motorists will attract a fine of N50,000 beginning from next year, lamenting that the offence was taking a worrisome dimension.

Dr. Oyeyemi, who disclosed this while speaking at the first ‘ember month stakeholders forum’ organised by the FRSC in collaboration with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, in Abuja, said he had proposed to the Joint Tax Board that the traffic light violation fine should be increased from N4,000 to N50,000 to deter erring motorists.

The Corps Marshal vowed that his men would continue to arrest and sanction motorists using phones while driving.

He explained that drivers were free to use google map but said the phone should be placed on the dashboard with both hands on the steering wheel.

According to him, “You can’t hold the phone with one hand and drive with the other while using google map. That is distracted driving and the law is clear on that. When you stop people for traffic violations, their lawyers would write to you and threaten to sue.

“FRSC has 120 lawyers and I would recruit more next year; The level of violent reactions in this country is alarming.”

“We have noticed the rising incidents of traffic light violations and so, we are going to increase the minimum fine to N50,000 from N4,000. Offenders would also undergo an emotional psychological test at the hospital to determine if you are fit to drive.”

Oyeyemi, condemned in strong term a situation where people would veer their anger on officers of the FRSC and personnel of other paramilitary agencies and violently attacked them.

In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said his agency would ensure that fleet owners in the country took passenger insurance to better protect their customers during trips.

Irukera also revealed that the commission would also roll out a policy on ageing vehicles owned by fleet firms, noting that” prioritising protection of people will not be negotiated.”

According to him, “We succeeded in putting outpatients bill of rights last year; we will insist that the vehicles be in good condition and operate in a good and safe manner”.

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