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Nigeria Airways Pensioners: Unions Threaten to Frustrate Nigeria Air

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Nigeria Air National Carrier

The Punch

The National Executive Council of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has threatened to shut down activities at airports across the country, if the Federal Government fails to settle all labour issues including payment of the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited workers’ severance package before going ahead with the planned establishment of Nigeria Air.

Similarly, the National Union of Air Transport Employees says there will be no national carrier unless the entitlements of the ex-workers of the defunct airline were paid.

ATSSSAN, in a communiqué issued on Monday, following a meeting of its National Executive Council, stated that over 960 Nigeria Airways workers had died in very avoidable health conditions while waiting for their entitlements.

The communiqué, which was signed by the National President, Ahmadu Ilitrus, and Deputy General Secretary, Frances Akinjole, read in part, “NEC-in-session laments the failure of the Federal Government to settle the outstanding entitlements of ex-workers of Nigeria Airways several years after the airline was liquidated.

“NEC appreciates the selfless efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, who finally gave approval for the payment of N45bn towards the settlement of the entitlements sometimes last year, yet condemns the non-payment as of date, and has resolved that the issue of payment of the severance benefits of ex-Nigeria Airways workers must be resolved immediately in order to forestall brewing labour issues that could affect, in the negative, the prospects of the recently unveiled Nigeria Air by the Federal Government.”

The association warned that if the Federal Government failed to pay the workers their entitlements, it would not guarantee any place for the new airline in the industry.

The General Secretary, NUATE, Olayinka Abioye, told our correspondent that there would be no national carrier if former Nigeria Airways workers’ entitlements were not paid.

“The three unions, NUATE, ATSSSAN and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, are working together to ensure this money is paid to the ex-NAL workers. Three weeks ago, we sent a letter to President Buhari, urging him to look at the issue again because there have been some misconceptions arising from the initial approval given more than one year ago for the payment. As it is, we do not know what is happening but we know there cannot be a national carrier except the money is paid,” he said.

ATSSSAN also threatened to shut down activities at airports across the country, if the Federal Government failed to settle all labour issues before going ahead with the planned concession of airports.

It added that the concession of four airports – the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja, Port Harcourt Airport and Aminu Kano Airport, Kano – operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria would cripple the agency as they were major revenue earners.

It stated, “The ATSSSAN NEC fears that if the government succeeds with the concession of the airports, the entire operations of FAAN will collapse, as all other airports operated by FAAN are maintained or supplemented with revenue generated from the four referenced airports.

“FAAN has huge pension liabilities and will not be able to settle its pension obligations to retirees; safety at our airports will be compromised; and salaries of the over 6,900 members of staff scattered around the 22 airports presently managed by FAAN would be compromised.”

The association said the concession would also lead to high airports charges in the affected airports which would affect airlines, and by direct implication, result in high air ticket prices.

It advised the Federal Government to look at other successful models of managing airports such as those that had been done in South Africa, Egypt, Namibia, Ghana and other civil aviation jurisdictions around the world.

“The NEC, therefore, mandated the leadership of ATSSSAN to keep vigil and that perhaps the government insists on the concession of the airports as planned, ATSSSAN must insist that all labour issues including workers’ entitlements and pension rights are settled by the government; failing which ATSSSAN shall not guarantee industry peace at our airports,” it added.

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

Air Passengers Vote Emirates as Best in In-Flight WiFi, Food

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Emirates best in in-flight WiFi

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The decision of the management of Emirates to give its customers quality value-added services has finally paid off as air passengers across the world have voted the airline operator as the best in in-flight WiFi and food.

At the 2022 APEX Regional Passenger Choice Awards® ceremony held in Dublin, Ireland held recently, Emirates was announced as the winner of the Best Wi-Fi and Best Food & Beverage awards in the Middle East.

The organisers received votes from verified passengers flying on over one million flights on nearly 600 airlines from around the world. They were asked to rate their airline experiences in five subcategories: seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi.

The two awards crown Emirates’ continual efforts to deliver the best possible customer experiences on board and take the total count of APEX awards presented to Emirates, to 30, since the awards’ launch in 2010.

The Best Food & Beverage award recognises Emirates’ consistently high-quality, regionally inspired cuisine and extensive drinks menu. The airline’s attention to detail ensures a clockwork operation where over 110 meals from close to 4,600 recipes that cater to every palate are loaded onto its flights each year.

Emirates also pays special attention to its beverage offering which ranges from fresh mocktails and vitality boost drinks, to a wide selection of hand-picked teas and coffee, alongside the very best champagnes and special vintages of wines and spirits that any sommelier would envy.

Staying connected is an everyday essential on the ground and also in the skies. Emirates was the first airline to equip its entire fleet with mobile phone connectivity, in 2007, and now every aircraft is equipped with Wi-Fi services.

Free connectivity options are available to all Business and First-Class passengers, and Skywards Platinum and above. Great value plans are available for full flight internet or chat. Last year, Emirates replaced MB limited plans with unlimited plans or timed plans – simplifying the options available as few users understood the MB consumption on a session.

In total, Emirates’ award-winning ice inflight entertainment system, with over 5,000 channels, including up to 150 channels dedicated to family and children, presents an unmatched breadth of content in 40 languages to cater to its global customer base.

It also offers more than 4,000 hours of movies and TV, and close to 3,500 hours of music and podcasts to choose from, along with 5 channels of live TV including major sports events for sports lovers. New, exciting and exclusive content will be available onboard ice with something for everyone travelling this summer and beyond.

The APEX Passenger Choice Awards® recognize excellence in seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment and Wi-Fi. Partnering with TripIt® from Concur®, the world’s highest-rated travel-organizing app, anonymous passenger feedback is gathered based on neutral, third-party passenger feedback and insights.

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EAN Aviation Gets Authorisation to Sell Airbus Helicopters in West Africa

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EAN Aviation Airbus Helicopters

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A Nigerian-based firm offering aviation services, aircraft maintenance and a luxury VIP terminal, EAN Aviation Limited, has become the distributor for Airbus Helicopters in West Africa after sealing a deal with the manufacturer.

It was gathered that the Nigerian company was selected as a result of its local commercial structure, capacity to further develop local and ancillary markets, ability to support Airbus customers and contribute to customer satisfaction according to Airbus Helicopters’ Ethics & Compliance requirements.

According to a statement from the organisation, the strategic partnership between EAN Aviation and Airbus focuses only on the West African civilian market and will rely on the distributor for sales, servicing and support for helicopters in the region.

The Head of Sales for the Middle East and Africa at Airbus, Arnaud Montalvo, expressed the company’s excitement at having EAN Aviation as “our first independent distributor in the West African region,” saying the firm’s “knowledge of the market is second to none.”

“We are confident in their expert team to ensure the success of this partnership and excited about the opportunity to expand our footprint in West Africa by growing the civilian market for helicopters, which is well suited to the region’s aviation needs, providing operational flexibility to develop the current transportation architecture,” Montalvo added.

The CEO of EAN Aviation, Mr Segun Demuren, while reacting to the development, stated that, “EAN has been at the forefront of Business Aviation development in Nigeria for over a decade.

“We look forward to leveraging our impressive network, and in-depth market understanding to grow the helicopter services industry and to add value to Airbus Helicopters’ activity in the West African region by deepening connectivity and operational efficiency. Take Nigeria for example, we have 32 airports but 774 local governments that helicopters can access,” he added.

Speaking further, he said, “We are glad to be affiliated with a brand that has gained the trust of millions of people, based on their decades of experience and millions of flight hours. At Airbus, safety is at the heart of everything they do, the team strives to meet the highest safety levels, and will provide servicing and support to ensure the safe operation of all their aircraft and products in the West African region, which we know is very important to our clients.”

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Wakanow, Dana Air Partner to Provide Real-time Flight Schedules

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Wakanow Dana Air Real-time Flight Schedules

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A partnership aimed to make available to air passengers real-time flight schedules and inventory has been entered into between Wakanow and Dana Airlines, also known as Dana Air.

“Wakanow is expected to bring in another differentiator to the Nigerian travel industry as we begin this collaboration with Dana Airlines,” the chief executive of Wakanow, Mr Adebayo Adedeji, stated.

“With this partnership, we are poised to change the face of domestic travel for Nigerian travellers and other tourists from across the world. We would bring our topnotch expertise to bear so that this collaboration will be a case study across the aviation industry,” he added.

It was gathered that this collaboration between both organisations makes the leading travel tech company the only official online travel agency with Dana Airlines Nigeria’s Live Inventory bookable in real-time.

This will enable the firm to deliver a seamless booking experience for its customers and passengers of the fully private sector-owned carrier in Nigeria.

“The aviation industry is undergoing changes that will delight travellers and will bring a boost to the quality of service provided to the travellers. With Wakanow, Nigerians will continue to have bespoke services and superior customer experience across all our touchpoints for Dana Airlines,” Mr Adedeji assured.

In her words, the Chief Commercial Officer of Wakanow, Mrs Adenike Macaulay, said, “This integration with Dana Airlines will unlock an expanded domestic inventory selection for our customers making Wakanow the one-stop shop for domestic travel bookings in Nigeria.

“Our expertise in the travel industry will be brought to the fore in exceeding customers’ experience with Dana Airlines bookings. She noted, “Our workforce is ready to support Dana Airlines in surpassing customers’ expectations.”

In his remarks, the deputy CEO of Dana Air, Mr Sukhjinder Mann, said, “Our collaboration with Wakanow is to create seamless, real-time booking options for our guests across the world and there are a lot of these partnerships in the works as part of efforts to continue to exceed the flying aspirations of our guests with improved customer experience.”

Wakanow has become renowned for her support of local and international airlines and for enhancing the Nigerian aviation industry with distinct products and services. The travel tech company is built to cater to all the travel needs of travel enthusiasts from flights, hotels, holiday experiences, visa processing, and COVID-19 tests, among other offerings for Nigerian travellers.

As an indigenous African travel industry leader, Wakanow was a part of the 10th Aviation Stakeholders Convention that took place in Nairobi, Kenya recently.

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