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Emirates Gets ‘World’s Safest Airline’ Rating



Emirates extends baggage allowance

By Ahmed Rahma

The response of Emirates Airline to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially its adherence to the safety protocols, has earned it the World’s Safest Airline rating.

The rating was assigned to the company, which resumed flight operations in Nigeria on November 1, 2020, by the Safe Travel Barometer.

The performance indicator was launched in 2020 to monitor safety measures and hygiene standards across all touchpoints of a traveller’s journey.

It was observed that at every step of the journey, Emirates spared no effort to prioritise the care, health and safety of its customers, employees and communities.

Out of the over 230 airlines evaluated worldwide, Emirates, which has set industry-leading safety standards since the resumption of its operations back in May, topped the ranks with a Safe Travel Score of 4.4 out of 5.0.

The score, an industry-first COVID-19 rating initiative, created in the wake of recovery from the pandemic, is based on an independent audit of 26 health and safety parameters evaluating safety protocols, traveller convenience and service excellence announced by airlines.

Also, Emirates led the way in traveller convenience which was another sub-category considered by the Safe Travel Barometer.

The airline was first in the industry to offer its customers free COVID-19 cover to help them travel with more confidence, knowing that medical expenses of up to €150,000 and quarantine costs of €100 per day for 14 days will be covered if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel, while they are away from home.

Emirates’ booking policies also offer customers great flexibility and confidence to plan their travel. Customers have options to change their travel dates or extend their ticket validity for 2 years.

The airline also launched initiatives to help its loyal Emirates Skywards members retain their tier status and introduce new ways for them to earn and spend their Miles.

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Emirates Skywards Rewards Members With Juicy Offer



Emirates Skywards

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Flying via Emirates Airlines to the different parts of the world is getting more exciting with a reward programme introduced by the company.

The airline operator, through its award-winning loyalty programme, Emirates Skywards, has rolled out an exclusive offer to help members fast-track to higher tier status.

A statement from the organisation disclosed that members can automatically earn double Tier Miles on all Emirates and flydubai flights booked from April 1 until 30 June, for travel between April 1 and December 30, 2021.

The offer applies to any ticket, regardless of fare type, purchased on Emirates or flydubai during the offer period – helping members quickly earn sufficient Tier Miles to bump up against one-tier status higher.

For example, an Emirates Skywards Blue tier member can upgrade to an Emirates Skywards Silver tier member, and an Emirates Skywards Silver tier member can upgrade to an Emirates Skywards Gold tier member, the statement explained.

To be eligible for the promotion, customers need to simply be existing Emirates Skywards members or join as a new member before June 30, 2021.

Members can now move up tiers faster and unlock an extensive range of benefits and rewards.

Emirates Skywards offers four tiers of membership – Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each Tier offers members unique privileges and advantages, including lounge access, priority boarding, dedicated check-in counters, complimentary seat selection and much more, the company further explained.

It also said in addition to earning double Tier Miles, members will still be able to earn Skywards Miles on flights flown during the offer period.

Skywards Miles can be redeemed for an extensive range of rewards, including flight upgrades, hotel stays and money-can’t-buy experiences, it said.

With more than 27 million members worldwide – Emirates Skywards continues to provide its members with rich value offerings, unmatched rewards and innovative offerings.

Earlier this year, the loyalty programme was one of the first in the world, and first in the region, to offer members a generous extension on tier status until 2022.

The loyalty programme has also extended the validity of any Skywards Miles due to expire from April 2020 until June 30, 2021.

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FAAN Restricts Drivers From Picking Passengers at Terminals



Airport Terminals

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said that drivers are prohibited from picking up passengers at the frontage of airport terminals but are to pick them up only at car parks.

This was disclosed in a statement released on Monday, April 12 by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, saying that drivers can only approach the terminals when they want to drop off a departing passenger.

“The authority will like to emphasize that in line with government protocols, arriving passengers are to walk down to designated car parks to board their vehicles. No driver is permitted to pick up arriving passenger(s) at the frontage of the terminals.

“All drivers must park and wait inside the car parks while arriving passengers walk down to the car parks to board their vehicles.

“For departing passengers, drivers are only allowed to drop off passengers in front of the terminals. They are not permitted to wait for any reason after dropping their passengers, it is only a Drop Off zone,” the statement read in part.

The agency, therefore, called for compliance with all laid down protocols on COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all airport users to ease facilitation and enhance the safety of all airport users.

“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) hereby advises passengers, drivers and other airport users, particularly those at the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos, to always comply with all laid down protocols on COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all airport users,” the statement added.

Last week, FAAN advised passengers to get to airports, particularly those at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, early.

The call was done to enable them to complete their check-in procedures in good time and avoid the unpleasant experiences associated with missing their flights.

This advice has become necessary as passengers are likely to go through a little delay at the entrance to the terminals,

The agency noted that it took this decision due to built-up vehicular traffic occasioned by the increase in passenger traffic being witnessed presently.

“The authority will like to assure passengers and other airport users that all hands are on deck to ensure swift facilitation and reduce the congestion to the barest minimum,” it said.

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British University Plans Return of Benin Bronze to Nigeria



Benin Bronze

By Ahmed Rahma

More than a century after Britain looted sculptures in Nigeria and auctioned them to Western museums, a British university is set to return a Benin Bronze back to its place of origin.

The varsity identified as the University of Aberdeen said on Thursday it wants to return the artwork to where it came from within weeks.

In a report by Reuters, this is one of the first public institutions to carry out the action.

The university said the sculpture of an Oba or ruler of the Kingdom of Benin had left Nigeria in an “extremely immoral” fashion, leading it to reach out to authorities in 2019 to negotiate its return.

Speaking, the head of museums and special collections of Aberdeen, Neil Curtis said the Bronze, purchased in 1957, had been “blatantly looted.”

“It became clear we had to do something,” Curtis said.

On the part of professor Abba Isa Tijani, director-general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the importance of displaying the Bronze inside Nigeria for the first time in more than 120 years was inexpressible.

“It’s part of our identity, part of our heritage… which has been taken away from us for many years,” Mr Tijani said.

British soldiers seized thousands of metal castings and sculptures from the Kingdom of Benin, then separated from British-ruled Nigeria, in 1897.

According to a report, Germany is also in talks to send back 440 Benin Bronzes as early as the autumn while the University of Cambridge’s Jesus College said it had finalised approvals in December to return another Bronze.

Mr Tijani said museums in the United States have also agreed to return two more Bronzes.

The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has also revealed plans to build a centre to store and study the returned artefacts by the end of 2021, and a permanent museum by 2025.

Artist and Edo state native Victor Ehikhamenor said he hoped the decision would prompt others to follow suit.

“Because some of these things are missing from our environment, people are not able to contextualize where we are coming from,” Ehikhamenor said.

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Nigerian Pilots, Engineers Laud Azman Air Suspension




By Ahmed Rahma

The suspension of the operations of Azman Air by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been applauded by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

The group, in a statement, said it was excited over the professional conduct of the regulatory body and equally condemned the response of Azman Air to the NCAA’s action.

Recall that on March 17, 2021, the agency wielded its big stick on Azman Air by suspending the operations of the airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft with immediate effect, following incidents involving the plane series.

In the statement, the president of NAAPE, Mr Abednego Galadima, said it read in “total dismay the unbelievable response of Azman Air to the legitimate and professional regulatory safety oversight function performed by the NCAA on its operations.

“It is unfortunate that Azman Air chooses to view the action through parochial prism.

“The sentiments expressed by the airline were unnecessary and unhelpful to the critical safety issues raised by the authority, given the cited myriads of incontrovertible safety breaches.

“Again, to interpret the patriotic NCAA act of ensuring that Nigerian pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers are considered first in employment in line with expatriates quota laws and Executive Order No. 5 as vindictive is to demonstrate disdain for our laws.

“We, therefore, commend NCAA under the able leadership of Capt. Musa Nuhu as Director-General and pass a vote of confidence on his stewardship since he assumed office in February 2020.”

The association called on the aviation community and well-meaning Nigerians to support the regulator in its onerous task of ensuring the safety and security of the airspace and equipment.

“We also wish to advise Azman Air to cooperate with the regulatory authority by opening up its books for full safety audit,” the group said, adding that the company should also consider the overall interest of the travelling public and Nigeria.

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FAAN Suspends e-Finger Screening for Maintenance




By Adedapo Adesanya

The e-Finger departure screening point at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) has been temporarily shut down by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The facility was closed by the organisation to enable officials of the airport to carry out some routine maintenance on the machine, Business Post gathered.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by the General Manager of FAAN in charge of Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, it was disclosed that the maintenance should be completed very soon.

Mrs Yakubu said that the process was part of the airport maintenance and upgrade programme of the agency for the provision of quality services to passengers.

In the statement, the image-maker of the agency said, “Consequently, all human and cargo movements have been temporarily diverted to the D-Finger screening area until the maintenance and upgrade are completed.”

“The authority appeals to passengers and other airport users to please bear with us, as we hope to reopen the area as soon as possible,” Mrs Yakubu added.

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FG Suspends Emirates Airline Flights



Emirates extends baggage allowance

By Ahmed Rahma

The federal government of Nigeria has temporarily banned Emirates Airline from operating over its continued refusal to fly passengers out of the country without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test (RDT’s).

Speaking during its weekly briefing on Monday, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said the ban will be effective from Wednesday, March 17.

“KLM will resume outbound flights from Lagos on March 15, 2021, without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates Airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight Wednesday, March 17, 2021,” he said.

Mr Mustapha, however, said discussions are ongoing to resolve the matter amicably.

Emirates and KLM had in the past few weeks flown passengers into Nigeria but refused to fly passengers out because of its new guidelines introduced as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said, “Regarding KLM and Emirates airlines, at the time that we resumed flight, these two airlines made demands that there would be polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for passengers within 72 hours of their flight and there will also be antigens rapid test at the airport and also a PCR test on arrival in their countries.”

The Minister argued that this is devoid of any scientific basis because the virus itself will incubate at least within or after 72 hours.

In this light, it sounds incorrect for passengers to take a PCR test within 72 hours and take a rapid test before the flight and seven hours later, take another test, “you are likely to show negative and the reasons at the time was that the PCR results are being faked,” the minister said.

The Minister said KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out on the conditions agreed upon which is to have a PCR test within 72 hours.

“Emirate didn’t accept the position and so, we have asked that Emirates be banned from operations from midnight Wednesday,” he said.

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