By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The management of Transcorp Hotels, operators of the popular Transcorp Hilton Abuja, has said in order to meet its business obligations, about 40 per cent of the company employees will have to go.
The Managing Director of the hospitality firm, Mrs Dupe Olusola, told newsmen on Thursday that its operations have been badly affected by the coronavirus disease and to remain in business, this tough decision has to be taken.
She said all executives of Transcorp Hilton Abuja have now taken a pay cut and that another action the management is taking is to restructure the company’s business operations.
“The impact of COVID-19 on the business is like nothing the company has ever witnessed.
“The hotel and hospitality industry in Nigeria has never faced a crisis that brought travel to a standstill, including the Ebola Virus outbreak of 2014 and the recession of 2015.
“The slow pick up of international travel, restriction on large gatherings, the switch to virtual meetings and fear of the virus, has drastically reduced demand for our hotels and occupancy levels to its lowest of less than 5 per cent,” Mrs Olusola said.
“To this end, our workforce headcount will be reduced by at least 40 per cent, and our reward system will be optimised,” she declared.
Many companies have continued to be affected by the contagion and in the second quarter of this year, the Nigerian economy contracted by 6.1 per cent and from the look of things, another recession is expected in the third quarter. It will be the second in over four years.
According to industry analysis, the novel COVID-19 pandemic has caused the African hotel and tourism sector to lose over $50 billion in revenue.
Amidst this, Transcorp Hotels, which trades its shares on the local exchange, has suffered unprecedented losses and is looking to restructure the business strategy of its hotels and optimize its operations. The company’s stocks have remained flat at N4 at the Lagos bourse for weeks.
In order to make up for the losses to COVID-19 and ensure business continuity, the management is diversifying its portfolio and embarked on some cost-optimisation strategies.
“We [have] activated various cost-saving initiatives such as renegotiations of service contracts and restructuring of our loans.
“We suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment as well as reducing our energy consumption and maintenance costs.
“Despite undertaking these, it has become apparent that more fundamental changes need to be made for the business to survive,” she said.
Also, the company’s head said negotiations with members of staff to be laid off in the downsizing exercise are ongoing and that a health insurance package to reduce their health burden costs and other payment settlements are being discussed.
But she said, “Despite the losses incurred, we have fulfilled our obligations to staff,” adding that, “At the inception of the pandemic, we maintained a 100 per cent salary payment to our over 900 employees in March and April.”
Air Passengers Vote Emirates as Best in In-Flight WiFi, Food
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.
EAN Aviation Gets Authorisation to Sell Airbus Helicopters in West Africa
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.”
Wakanow, Dana Air Partner to Provide 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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