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Air Freight Makes Slow Start This Year

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The International Air
Transport Association (IATA) recently released data for global air freight markets showing a 32 per cent expansion in freight tone kilometers (FTKs) in January 2015, compared to the same month last year. The growth is slower than the average of 4.5 per cent recorded for 2014.
There was much regional variation in the January performance- Asia –pacific, Africa and Middle Eastern airlines expanded strongly but airlines in Europe and North America all reported demand contractions.
Although it is too early to be certain of a trend towards weaker air freight, there are at least two emerging factors which could negatively impact demand for air cargo in the coming months which include the fact that business confidence has been declining since mid 2014 and export orders tailed-off towards the end of the year.
“January was a disappointing start to the year for air cargo-and it is difficult to be too optimistic about the rest of the year given the economic headwinds in Europe and growing concerns over the Chinese economy. Add to that the continuing trend of onshore production and trade protectionism and 2015 is shaping up to be another tough year for air cargo”, said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler.
African airlines grew cargo volumes 5.2 per cent, the highest among other regions, while major economices such as Nigeria and South Africa are under, performing, regional trade activity is holding up. Capacity rose just 2.4 per cent strengthening the load factor.
Asia-Pacific carriers grew their FTKs 6.9 per cent compared to January 2014, supported by an improvement in regional import activity.
Japan’s expansion is helping regional volumes, but there could be concerns over the Chinese economy, which saw export orders contracting at the fastest pace in three years, capacity rose by 5.4 per cent.
European airlines saw volumes fall 1.2 per cent compared to a year ago. The Eurozone is facing deflationary economic headwinds  and the weakness of the Russian economy is also impacting demand. Weak home demand is not being offset by North Atlantic and Asian growth opportunities-capacity grew 36 per cent, further weakening the load factor.
North American carriers experienced a 1.0 per cent fall in FTKs. This decrease, however is most likely due to the strong result that occurred in January 2014. Underlying, trends for North American volumes are positive. Trade is growing and the month-to-month comparison of FTKs show expansion in January compared to December capacity fell 2.8 per cent, continuing the recent trend of improving load factor.

The New Commissioner of Police, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Dorothy Gimba (left), with the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (faan), Mr Saleh Dunoma, during her courtesy visit to faan's Managing Director in Lagos.                   Photo: NAN

The New Commissioner of Police, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Dorothy Gimba (left), with the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (faan), Mr Saleh Dunoma, during her courtesy visit to faan’s Managing Director in Lagos. Photo: NAN

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COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff

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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.

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S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS

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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.

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Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders

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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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