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Emirates’ Resumption of Flights to Nigeria Delights Passengers

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Emirates Resumption of Flights to Nigeria

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The resumption of flights to Nigeria by Emirates is already thrilling passengers, who have waited for a long time to have this happen.

On Sunday, two planes flew from Dubai to Nigeria and touched down at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja and were received with a spectacular water cannon welcome.

The arrival of the flights signalled the restart of daily services to Nigeria from Dubai. Both flights from Dubai, EK 785 to Abuja and EK 783 to Lagos, upon arrival, witnessed a cake cutting ceremony.

“We are delighted to resume operations to and from Nigeria and are pleased to see strong interest from our customers, reflected in robust forward bookings from the time of our announcement, as well as today’s full flights from Dubai to Abuja and Lagos.

“The services will also give our customers the opportunity once again to safely experience Emirates’ superior product and service, offering them convenient travel options to Dubai, an already popular destination for Nigerian travellers, as well as seamless connectivity other key cities across our network,” Paulos Legesse, Country Manager Nigeria said.

The aircraft being deployed to both Nigerian cities is the three-class Boeing 777-300ER which offers 8 luxurious First Class suites, 42 generous Business Class seats, and over 300 seats in Economy Class.

Customers across all classes were able to enjoy the airline’s regional delicacies onboard, as well as its renowned in-flight entertainment system, ice, featuring over 4,500 channels of on-demand entertainment, including Nollywood films and content.

Emirates operates to Abuja with EK 785 and 786. EK 785 departs Dubai at 1100hrs, arriving in Abuja at 1540hrs.

The return flight, EK 786 takes off from Abuja at 1900, arriving in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day. Emirates flight EK 783 to Lagos departs Dubai at 1030hrs, arriving in Lagos at 1540hrs. The return flight EK 784 departs Lagos at 1810hrs, arriving in Dubai at 0415hrs the next day.

Ensuring the safety of travellers, visitors, and the community, COVID-19 PCR tests are mandatory for all inbound passengers arriving to Dubai, including UAE citizens, residents and tourists, irrespective of the country they are coming from.

Travellers coming from Nigeria must hold a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

Additionally, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has specified designated laboratories for passengers departing Nigeria and travellers must obtain their certificate from one of the labs listed here to be accepted on the flight. Travellers coming from Nigeria will also need to take another Covid-19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International Airport.

Since it safely resumed tourism activity in July 2020, Dubai remains one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, especially during the winter season. The city is open for international business and leisure visitors. From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world-class hospitality and leisure facilities,

Dubai offers a variety of world-class experiences. It was one of the world’s first cities to obtain the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubai’s comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety.

Dubai is currently hosting the world for Expo 2020, happening between October 2021 and March 2022. Through the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, Expo 2020 Dubai aims to inspire people by showcasing the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world.

Its programme is packed with experiences to suit all ages and interests, including a rich line-up of themed weeks, entertainment, and edutainment. Art and culture fans, as well as food and technology enthusiasts, can explore exhibits, workshops, performances, live shows and more.

Emirates continues to lead the industry with innovative products and services and recently took its customer care initiatives further with even more flexible booking policies which have been extended to May 31, 2022.

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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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