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Air Peace Plans Flights from Ibadan to Kano, Enugu, Port-Harcourt

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Air Peace Ibadan Airport

By Dipo Olowookere

Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, has said his company was planning to commence commercial flights from Ibadan, Oyo State to key cities across the country before the end of the year.

Mr Onyema dropped this hint on Tuesday when his airline made an inaugural flight to the Ibadan Airport, with some top government officials, including Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, in attendance.

Speaking at the event, the aviation stakeholder promised that before November 2021, Air Peace will start flying Ibadan-Kano and Kano-Ibadan, Ibadan to Enugu and Enugu to Ibadan, as well as Ibadan-Port-Harcourt and Port-Harcourt-Ibadan routes.

He described the inaugural flight to Ibadan yesterday as a dream come true for him, commending the Governor for moving the state forward and doing everything possible to woo investors that would bring their resources to expand the economy of the state.

“Today is one of my happiest moments. This is like a homecoming for me. When I say homecoming, I mean it in every sense of that statement. Without Ibadanland, there may not have been an Allen Onyema – that may have been able to achieve certain things today.

“I made a promise some time ago that we are going to start gradual operation to this place and I meant it. The Governor has been very interested in moving this state forward. He is very interested in attracting investments to this place, hence what you are seeing today.

“In fact, beyond this, the Governor and I have also muted the idea of not just doing Abuja flights or Lagos flights to Ibadan. Air Peace, in due course, with the support of this Governor, who wants to see it happen in the immediate, Air Peace will, before November, start flying Ibadan-Kano and Kano-Ibadan; connecting the South-East from Enugu to Ibadan and Ibadan to Enugu; connecting the South-South, Port-Harcourt-Ibadan, Ibadan-Port-Harcourt.

“Hold me to my words, it will come to happen this year by God’s grace because when you meet the man at the helm of affairs who is interested in moving his people forward, you have no other option as a nationalist than to support whatever he is doing and to help my own brothers and sisters in the state,” Mr Onyema said.

Air Peace Ibadan Airport1

Also speaking at the ceremony, Mr Makinde thanked the airline operator for agreeing to begin flights to the state, saying that the flights will uplift the airport and boost the economy of the state.

“This day has finally come and it is exciting for us. We are opening the lounge and also receiving the inaugural flight of Air Peace to Ibadan Airport,” the Governor was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa.

“Well, it is a fulfilment of a long-held dream. Let me also appreciate Overland because they were here and kept the Airport open but we have been here and have seen situations where people missed the Overland flight because they have one flight in a day. And then, you have to go to Lagos for the next flight.

“So, we are excited today because part of what we said we are going to do as a government is to expand the economy of the state.

“Now, if you miss the Overland flight, you can always get on the Air Peace flight and I am also certain that other airlines will start coming to this airport shortly.

“I believe Air Peace airline also will be operating one flight in a day for now but I look forward to huge passenger traffic and a review of that frequency as soon as possible,” he further said.

The Governor also said his administration has awarded the contract for a 500,000 litres capacity aviation fuel storage and dispensing facility to an indigenous company operating in Ibadan in order to make airlines stay overnight and take off as early as 7 a.m. to other places around the country.

Air Peace Ibadan Airport2

“There are few things we are still doing and we have awarded the contract to have at this airport an aviation fuel storage and dispensing facility. People may ask why we are doing this.

“I have had discussions with some of the airlines and they will love to stay here overnight and take off as early as 7 a.m. to other places around the country but they are not able to do that because they cannot refuel in Ibadan.

“Within the next 12 months, this will become a thing of the past. We awarded the contract to an indigenous company operating in Ibadan.

“We are also fixing the road coming to the airport. The main road from Gate through Onipepeye up to here is at over 50 per cent completion.

“Also, we are fixing the Airport/Ajia/Ife Road with a spur to Amuloko. We are also fixing the Akanran/Dagbolu up to the border with Ogun State. So, with those roads in place, people should not just fly into the airport but come into the town and see what is going on. They can see things, buy things and leave Ibadan.

“But if they don’t want to leave, we can also accommodate them in Ibadan because so many estates are springing up and this is going to serve as a true alternative airport to Lagos.

“Our road networks will ensure that you get to anywhere within a very reasonable time. With the rail link in Ibadan, you can even stay here and work in Lagos.

“So, these are a few of the many reasons that the Ibadan Airport project is a viable one for us,” Mr Makinde stated.

“What this has done for us is that it has crashed the price of flights from Ibadan to Abuja. Now, with close to N30,000, you can fly in a brand new aircraft to Abuja. We will continue to provide the necessary support and collaboration with Air Peace and the FAAN (Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria),” he further stated.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Travel/Tourism

Ebonyi Airport Will Attract Local, Foreign Investments—Sirika

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Ebonyi Airport Project

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, has said the proposed airport in Ebonyi State will attract local and foreign investments to the south-east state.

The Minister said this when he received Governor Dave Umahi in his office in Abuja on Thursday to discuss the airport project.

He commended his guest for the foresight, describing the Ebonyi airport project as worthwhile.

According to him, the decision to build the airport is courageous as it will expose the state’s agricultural potential to the international market.

He told Governor Umahi that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has, since its inception, embarked on creating an enabling environment for the expansion of the aviation industry in Nigeria which has been severally acknowledged by the global aviation community.

The Minister also gave the assurance that the Ministry of Aviation will do whatever is required to bring the project to fruition, considering the prospects for employment generation.

Earlier, Governor Umahi had briefed the Minister on the progress of the airport project and said he remained committed to its successful completion, considering the expected benefits to the people of the state.

He expressed the appreciation of the state to the federal government, especially the Aviation Minister, for the encouragement and support in seeing the project to its present stage, assuring him that the airport, when completed, will meet all industry requirements.

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Sustaining Nigeria’s Transport Sector Using Technology

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Interswitch

An efficient transportation sector facilitates exchanges that result in the improvements of lives and economies globally. Every day, transport stakeholders develop new ways that support the sustainability of this sector. This stems from the knowledge that the movement of humans, goods and services remains a fundamental part of a country’s economy, and extensively, global economic growth.

In the third-quarter economic performance report for 2021 released by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the growth in the non-oil sector cannot be overlooked, with the transportation sector also making significant leaps in the quarter, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors in Nigeria in Q3 2021.

The modes of transportation that made these impressive contributions to the economy were rail transport and pipeline (59.93 per cent), air transport (33.31 per cent), road transport (21.11 per cent), and water transport (16.30 per cent). For a country with over 200 million people, the need for a robust means of transportation cannot be overemphasized.

And this guides the federal government’s decision to put initiatives in place to close the gap in the transportation sector through a multi-modal transport system. Although these initiatives are yet to be unveiled, the Lagos State Government has embarked on its own ambitious multi-modal transport system in a bid to upgrade the state to smart city status.

According to the state government, there is fund available to complete the various projects, including the creation of rail lines for intracity trips and other works that will put the proper infrastructure in place for an efficient transport system in the state. To further drive this conversation on the importance of building a sustainable transport system in the metropolis, the Lagos Transport Fest, held on December 13, 2021, drawing stakeholders from both the public and private sector to discuss the way forward in improving Nigeria’s transport system.

The event focused on every aspect of transportation including road, rail, logistics, and ports, noting the importance of a cross-sector partnership to develop the transport sector. In the outline of the event’s agenda, one element made a repeated appearance: technology.

This highlights the fact that technology can bring about changes in the operations of businesses within the rail, maritime, aviation, and road modes of transportation. Technology has continued to prove itself a force to reckon with, evident in the unprecedented changes it has produced across sectors, and the transport sector in Nigeria is not any different.

These perceived and observed changes have led to a steady rise in its utilization, as digitization of processes in various economic quarters has become not just widely accepted but even encouraged. Speaking along these lines was one of the event’s sponsors, Interswitch, Africa’s leading digital payment company, who noted the effect of innovation on the country’s transport sector would increase accessibility to safe payment methods and the attendant ease for commuters.

The need for digitization in the transportation business became notable during the heat of the pandemic, as innovators devised new ways to conduct their businesses without the need for physical contact between individuals. This was especially observed in the logistics sector which saw more companies adopting technological solutions while minimizing physical contact.

In developed countries, other solutions such as robotics, drones, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) swiftly became a replacement for humans to reduce human contact and by extension, the spread of the virus.

Transportation and the AfCFTA

It would almost be remiss if there was no mention of Intra-African trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which is expected to facilitate stronger trading relations between countries on the African continent. With this in view, experts have highlighted the deficits in the transportation sector that could hinder Nigeria – Africa’s current leading economy – from accessing its full potential, relegating it behind other smaller African nations with better systems in place.

However, giving reassurances of the country’s readiness to participate in this monumental intra-continental trade, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said, at a 2-day conference, that the federal government had taken seriously the business of transportation.

He noted that “The transportation sector is the most critical in implementing trade facilitation, enhancing regional integration is key to every other AfCFTA protocol. Hence, the Nigerian government has embarked on huge transport infrastructure investment across the country to ensure efficiency in the transportation sector.”

He also highlighted the importance of digitization in the sector as one of the major elements that require a sturdy infrastructure for successful intra-continental trading. The minister noted that his ministry was dedicated to improving digital services in the transport system through the automation of services.

In the same vein, analysts are projecting a boost in free trade in Africa through digitization. With about 36 countries ratified onto the AfCFTA, it is estimated that over 1 billion consumers on the African continent, with a growing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion will be integrated.

However, the ever-fluctuating, dollar-reliant exchange rate system on the continent remains a challenge to trade within the continent. To address this, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), developed the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) to facilitate cross-border payment between traders in Africa, which would involve participating central banks.

Interswitch, through some of its brands, has continued to enhance cross border payments – Quickteller, a borderless digital payment solution service and Verve card, a payment card issued in 8 African countries with acceptance in over 22 countries on the continent. These services and products are aiding payment between African traders, removing transaction barriers.

To take full advantage of this untapped market, countries would need to develop better transport infrastructure and systems and fortify payment systems to lessen the stress that comes with it, which will help to properly connect markets across the continent and achieve the overarching goal of a prosperous continent.

Enormous opportunities abound in the transport sector, but to tap into these there is the need for a concerted effort from stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to ensure that consumers have seamless experiences while moving goods, services, people and payments across borders.

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New High-Speed Trains to Boost Lagos Urban Transportation

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Lagos High-Speed Trains

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Lagos State government has said the two newly acquired high-speed trains for its Red Line rail project will improve the state’s goal of achieving urban transportation as it will improve traffic management and transportation.

This was as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu completed the acquisition deal of the two sets of 10 cars Talgo 330 kilometre per hour trains on Tuesday at an event held inside the Milwaukee facilities of Spanish train manufacturer, Talgo Incorporated, in the United States.

Mr Gboyega Akosile, who is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a disclosure revealed that the trains will be heading to Lagos for the Red Line – a 37km track rail project which will have 11 stations and will be the first operational metro system in West Africa when completed.

“A train is not something you can just go on the shelf and pick up,” the Governor was quoted as saying at the event.

“We are very lucky to get brand new trains. We have seen our beautiful white and red trains. Coincidentally, the rail line is called Red Line and you can see they have given us the colour. We are just going to brand it and put up our seal there.

“We hope that this (purchase of the trains) will be the beginning of a mutually beneficial business relationship. Providing a source of livelihood for our citizens is all about providing jobs for our people and that is what we are doing. It is about ensuring that we can build our economy; people can move from one location to another, and businesses can grow.

“Part of what we have done in the last two and half years is to have what we call Integrated Urban Mass transportation system, where we will be using road infrastructure, waterway infrastructure, and rail infrastructure so that we can move over 20 million Lagosians within and around the city,” he added.

Governor Sanwo-Olu gave an assurance that the first phase of the Red Line would begin by the last quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, with a capacity of 500,000 passengers daily.

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