British Airways says it will invest £5 billion in the next five years in line with the airline’s new brand campaign that puts the customers at the centre of its operations.
The British Airways Area General Manager for Europe and Africa, Mr. Gavin Halliday disclosed this at a gala night, in Lagos to mark the 75 years of BA’s operations in Nigeria.
He said the occasion was not only significant for the airline in Nigeria but also an important time in its history globally as it coincided with the unveiling of its first major brand campaign in 10 years.
According to him, the new brand campaign places new emphasis on a symbol from the airline’s heritage, namely, the coat of arms and its motto, “To Fly, To Serve”.
“Today, this still has real meaning and resonance. It describes our purpose. It encapsulates our flying expertise and commitment to customer service. It puts the customers at the centre of everything we do, and defines the essence of British Airways”.
He said “the campaign is the guiding principle behind £5 billion the airline is investing over the next five years to improve what it offers its customers”.
Mr Halliday explained that the investment would include the acquisition of three new Boeing 777ERs in the next six months, and by 2013 the arrival of the first of its A380 aircraft as well as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
He noted that the new aircraft would be fitted with the new first class, the airline’s award-winning club world, brand new World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins.
He pointed out that the British Airways is still the only airline with fully flat beds in both the club and first cabins, with its new first cabin now on 60 per cent of its long-haul fleet, including those on the Lagos-London and Abuja-London routes.
He said the airline would from November this year commence the refurbishing of 18 of its Boeing 777-200s.
According to him, the new world Traveller cabin now has more comfortable seats with adjustable head rests, while the world Traveller plus offers greater seat recline, with both offering new in-flight entertainment that boasts of bigger screens and far more choices.
Speaking at the event, the British Airway country commercial manager for Nigeria, Mr. Kola Olayinka said a lot had happened since the airline made its debut flight to Lagos in 1936 through its predecessor, Imperial Airway, one of the pioneering airlines in Africa.
He explained that Imperial Airways was succeeded by BOAC and at the end of world War II it opened the London-Lagos service via Casablanca, Dakar and Accra, with the flight taking 29 hours.
He said that the commercial jet service started on the route on April 1, 1964, using a Vickers VC-10, flying London Heathrow-Kano-Lagos, adding that these services were taken over by British Caledonian Airways in 1971 which later merge with British Airways
COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff
At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.
This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.
S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS
South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.
Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.
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