The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), says airline passenger travels will double by the next 20 years.
The Acting Administrator of FAA, Michael Huerta in a statement said more people would be flying more miles this year and expressed optimism that the trend would continue in the years ahead.
According to him, the US airlines will carry 732 million passengers this year, 746 million next year and eventually 1.2 billion in 2032.
For FAA, the forecast is a talking point in support of the agency’s efforts to develop Next Gen, a satellite-based air traffic control system that will replace the nation’s aging, ground based system. Using GPS technology the system will presumably increase capacity and reduce gridlock by allowing planes to fly closer together and transit airports more efficiently.
Some aviation experts however questioned the validity of FAA’s numbers as well as the agency’s rationale.
“I think that ‘the air traffic will double” statement is a good way for FAA to say this is why we need Next Gen”, said Tom Reich, director of air service development at Avport, an airport management and consulting company.
Other observers however, agreed with FAA, citing micro-economic factors – the backlog of airplane orders at Airbus and Boeing, for example – and larger ones pegged to the global economy.
“Look at the aircraft orders at Boeing and Airbus. If you wanted to order an airplane from Boeing right now, you wouldn’t get it for seven years”, said Steve Cowell of SRC Aviation.
At the same time, socio-economic factors point to a parallel increase in passenger demand, said Mark Kiefer of Mark Kiefer Consulting.
“The propensity for our travel increases – and increases markedly – with increases in income. The short-term outlook may be anaemic but eventually we’ll return to more normal levels of growth”.
Handling that growth, whether it doubles or not will be the real challenge, and while Next Gen may counter congestion in the skies, it won’t have impact on crowd traversing the nation’s airports.
“The story on the ground is more mixed. There are certain airports that we already know are chronically congested and have real physical constraints. La Guardias, for example is already maxed out ad is not going to get any bigger”, said Kiefar.
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.
- Niger Delta4 days ago
Rep Woos Stakeholders Over FMC Bill
- Business4 days ago
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
- News4 days ago
Buhari Parries Question On Twitter Ban
- Politics4 days ago
Previewing Nigeria’s New Democracy Day
- Entertainment4 days ago
Nollywood Veteran Actor, Bruno Iwuoha Bows Out
- Politics4 days ago
Senators Rate 9th National Assembly High
- Politics4 days ago
Anambra: INEC Publishes Official Election Notice
- Politics4 days ago
…Urges Ondo Gov To Shelve N2bn Gov’s Lodge Project