EthiopianThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Thursday that African airlines recorded a 4.9 per cent increase in passenger traffic in January, compared to the same period in 2017.

The Director-General of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac, who made the announcement on the website of the association, said the rise was against a mixed backdrop for the region’s largest economies.

“In Nigeria, business confidence has risen sharply while in South Africa political uncertainty continues to inflict an economic toll.

“The region’s capacity rose 4.2 per cent and load factor edged up 0.5 percentage point to 70.3 per cent,” Mr. Juniac said.

According to him, global passenger traffic results for January 2018 show that traffic rose 4.6 per cent, compared to January 2017, which is the slowest year-over-year increase in nearly four years.

The director-general noted that the results were affected by temporary factors, including the later timing of the Lunar New Year in 2018 as well as less favourable comparisons with the strong upward trend in traffic, seen in late 2016 to early 2017.

“IATA estimates the impact of the later Lunar New Year-related travel period holiday, represented around two-fifth of the slowdown in year-over-year growth for the month.

“January capacity rose 5.3 per cent, and load factor slipped half a percentage point to 79.6 per cent.

“Despite the slower start, economic momentum is supporting rising passenger demand in 2018.

“That said, concerns over a possible trade war involving the U.S. could have a serious dampening effect on global market confidence, spilling over into demand for air travel,” he said.

The IATA chief noted that aviation was the business of freedom, “which liberates us from the constraints of geography, distance and time, enabling us to lead better lives, and makes the world a better place.

“For the business of freedom to grow the benefits it generates, we need borders that are open to trade and travel and infrastructure to support the demand for connectivity.

“Governments have the main role to play in these areas by preserving the benefits of global commerce and ensuring adequate airport and airspace capacity, to cope with an expected doubling of demand by 2036,” Mr. Juniac said.


MMIAThe National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that Nigerian airports facilitated the movement of 3.6 million air passengers in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The NBS which stated this in its “Air Transportation Data and Full Year 2017’’ report posted on its website, said the figure grew by 4.89 per cent year-on-year and declined by 0.56 per cent quarter-on-quarters.

It stated that the fourth quarter saw steady growth in the number of both domestic and international passengers who travelled to or from Nigerian airports by 6.46 per cent and 1.01 per cent respectively.

The report stated that for the first time of the year, more arrivals were recorded than departures for both domestic and international travelers in the quarter under review.

It stated that arrivals and departures in all Nigerian airports in the reviewing quarter were 1.86 million and 1.30 million passengers respectively.

The report said that Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Kano airports served more than 92 per cent of total passengers in the fourth quarter.

The report noted that a total of 57,484 aircraft arrived at or departed from Nigerian airports in the quarter, among which 47,223 were domestic aircraft and 10,261 were international aircraft.

The report stated the last quarter of 2017 recorded 33,425,743 Kilogrammes of cargo movement at the international airports.

It, however, said that the figure declined by 41.75 per cent year-on-year and by 25.53 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

The report stated that the volume of cargo movement in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Enugu, and Kano declined sharply by 40.13 per cent, 41.67 per cent, 79.73 per cent, 83.88 per cent and 10.80 per cent year-on-year in the quarter under review.

It stated that the weight of mail that moved through Lagos was 363,228 kilogrammes, which increased by 255.23 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.

According to the report, mail movement through Abuja international airport grew by 15.11 per cent year-on-year.

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and the Ministry of Transportation will partner to provide seamless rail transportation between the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and railway terminals in the territory.

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello and Minister of State Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, made this known at the news briefing on Thursday in Abuja at the end of their joint inspection of the facilities put in place for the light rail service.

The minister of state for aviation said passengers arriving at the airport for scheduled flights or leaving the airport for their destinations in the city would have a temporary access to the rail facility pending the commencement of full light rail operations in a few weeks’ time.

He said the temporary access to the facility would enable the officials of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the FCTA to conclude the necessary arrangements for full operation of the light rail system from and to the airport.

“This will give opportunity to harmonise issues affecting the formal concourse that is designed to link up the airport and railway terminals,’’ he said.

Sirika commended the FCTA for intensifying efforts at ensuring the timely completion of the facility.

He said that the light rail system would greatly enhance the outlook of the city besides providing the residents of the territory with modern transportation system.

The minister said that airport passengers and residents alike will derive immense benefits from the light rail system when it is fully operational.

Also, Bello expressed delight at the level of commitment of the Aviation Ministry to the project.

According to him, the entire project is in fulfilment of the FCTA’s commitment to ensure the completion of ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the capital territory.

The minister also lauded the commitment of the contractor, the CCECC Nigeria Limited toward ensuring a timely completion of the project.


Visit to the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika by the Institute of Tourism Professionals (ITP) members during which the minister agreed to support the Tourism Transport Summit and Expo

Arrangements are in top gear for the staging of the first ever national tourism transport summit and exhibition, which has been scheduled to hold at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja for May 21 – 22, with the theme: Tourism and transportation, the key sectors for sustainable growth and development.

The summit, which is powered by the Institute of Tourism Professionals (ITP), is coming on the heels of the 15th National Council on Transportation meeting which held in Sokoto in August 2017, where the need to have collaboration among the Federal Ministry of Transportation and other government and non-government agencies together with the private stakeholders across the transportation modes, tourism and hospitality value chain for sustainable economic growth and development.

To this, Nigeria’s minister of tourism and transport are expected for the first to form a synergy in exploring the benefits that are derived from this mutual link so as to create the environment for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

According to the organizers, the event offers a unique opportunity for policy makers, regulators, entrepreneurs, key players in both the tourism and transport sectors of the economy, investors and the general public to engage in an all-participatory discourse aimed at charting the desired synergy, collaboration and connective inter-play between the two sectors for maximum economic benefits of the country.

“It will also deliberate on the complex relationship between transport provision and tourism, and will adopt global perspective in forging a mutual relationship between the two sectors; It will make regulatory and enforcement agencies, national, state and local government to reappraise and have a better understanding of the importance of tourism and transportation to local, state and national economies, and their impact on employment regeneration,” they said.

The event’s sub themes are: Tourism and Transportation Interdependencies for mutual growth and sustainable development; Potentialities of developing regional inter-connectivity in transportation; Inter-modal connectivity, traveler safety and security; Licensing regulations and oversight – meeting the international standards for sustainable development of the Transportation and Tourism industries; Marketing Destination Nigeria- what role for the transportation and tourism sectors; Public private partnership and investment in the tourism and transportation sectors- prospects and challenges; Development of critical infrastructure and the ease of doing business in Nigeria- the   case of tourism and transportation industries; as well as Building capacity for global best practices in the tourism and transportation sectors.

The summit is expected to explore the relationship among all major stakeholders—governments at federal, state and local levels, international organisations, the private sector, and communities, which is vital for achieving the objectives of sustainable tourism and transport development.

Also participants will be drawn from major key players and stakeholders in the transportation and tourism sectors such as air transportation, airlines, tour and travel operators, administrators of the aviation industry, maritime industry – sea transport, boats and sea cruising operators,  road transportation – major transport owners, car hire services, uber, NURTW, RTEAN, road traffic and safety agencies, including the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC),  motor insurance companies.

Others are operators of tourism and hospitality industry, including tourism resort operators, National Parks Services; museums and monuments, State tourism ministries and boards, festivals and tourism event managers; hoteliers, restaurants and fast food operators as well as service providers in the banking, oil and gas industries.

The Tourism Transport Summit and Expo 2018 will consist of sections such as tourism transport summit, tourism transport training, exhibition – B2B and G2B sessions, tourism transport ambassadors’ award and gala night.


Lai MohammedNigeria has formally invited African Tourism ministers to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)/Commission for Africa (CAF) meeting scheduled to hold this year in Abuja from June 4 to 6.

A statement by Mr Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and Culture,

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the invitation was extended by his boss to the African Ministers present at a meeting they held on the sidelines of the International Travel Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, last Thursday.

”I have tried to contact, individually, every Minister. I have sent an email to every Minister reminding them of the meeting and assuring them that we will leave no stone unturned to host a very successful meeting

”The truth is that no matter the level of preparation that is made, if you are not there, it is not a success. So I really wish to appeal to all of us to please attend the CAF meeting in June,” the Minister said, shortly after handing over the invitation letters to his African colleagues.

He said the participants at the meeting are guaranteed to experience the best of Nigeria, especially in the area of the Creative Industry, where Nigeria’s competitive advantage is widely acknowledged.

Meanwhile, Alhaji Mohammed has urged the UNWTO to involve African Heads of State in its plan to rebrand the continent and make it more attractive to global tourists.

Contributing to the debate on the UNWTO’s rebranding process for Africa in Berlin, he said Ministers other than those of tourism should also be involved.

”The UNWTO could make Presidents and Heads of State from across Africa honorary Champions of Tourism as a way to get them involved. There could also be a forum where the UNWTO will invite other ministers, including those of Finance, Budget and Planning, Health, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Infrastructure and Agriculture, to come and hear first-hand how tourism impacts their various portfolio.

”Tourism is the barometer through which the world will feel the temperature of any country. There is no area of governance that is left untouched by tourism,” the Minister said.


DubaiDubai’s diverse and vibrant hospitality sector is forecast to experience strong, sustained growth over the coming years, with occupied room nights set to reach 35.5 million annually in 2019, representing a robust 10.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next 24 months.

According to a comprehensive study of the market by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), the emirate’s room supply is set to reach 132,000 by the end of 2019, growing at a 2-year (2017-2019) CAGR of 11.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, occupancy levels are forecast to remain at an extremely healthy 76-78 per cent despite growth in capacity, maintaining the attractiveness of the sector to hotel investors and developers.

The strong competitiveness of the sector is set to continue to be fuelled by increases in Dubai’s growing international overnight visitation and targeted increases in length of stays, supported further by recent and upcoming tourism attractions and experiences. With concerted efforts to raise awareness in both established and emerging source markets, the duration of travel from new and existing segments are expected to see further growth in the medium term, positively impacting demand for room nights, which is in turn expected to outpace visitor growth over the coming 24-48 months.

“Dubai’s hotel industry remains at the forefront of cross-sector efforts to drive tourism growth, as we collectively work towards realising our Tourism Vision and enable our 2020 goals. Dubai’s position as the fourth most visited city in the world, and the consistent growth in overnight visitation, has been achieved in large part thanks to the efforts of our committed stakeholders in the domestic hotel and hospitality sector. With international and local investors, and operators continuing to actively pursue opportunities in Dubai, we expect to see not only sustained growth in inventory in line with our projected demand for occupied nights, but also further diversification across various asset classifications, to ensure that as a city we are the most globally competitive in providing our visitors the optimal range of options that cater to their preferences across the spectrum of hospitality offerings,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Tourism.

At the end of 2017, Dubai’s hotel inventory stood at 107,431 rooms, with growth of 4 per cent over the course of the year, and occupancy at a healthy and stable 78 per cent despite capacity increase, thanks to the 6.2 per cent growth in overnight visitors to 15.79 million. The robust performance is particularly significant as it came amid challenging economic and political conditions across key source markets, including the volatility impact of fluctuating oil prices, Brexit and a strong US Dollar impacting Dubai’s global price competitiveness due to the fixed currency peg with the UAE Dirham.

Between 2013 and 2017, hotel inventory grew at a CAGR of 5.9 per cent and a notable trend seen over that period was the development of more affordable mid-scale offerings, encouraged by Dubai Tourism incentives. Building on the momentum since 2013, room inventory in the 3 and 4 Star categories is projected to continue to grow at 10 per cent and 13 per cent respectively through to the end of 2019. This diversification of the hotel sector is part of the strategic focus on widening Dubai’s tourist base, enabling the city to attract larger volumes from new market segments across diversified source markets as evidenced by some clear preferences witnessed for more value friendly options suitable for longer stays and larger party sizes from key demand pockets.

Moving forward, further growth and demand for hotels and hotel apartments will be fuelled by the ongoing development of the overall tourism proposition in Dubai. Following the 2016 introduction of Dubai’s theme parks – IMG Worlds of Adventures and the integrated Dubai Parks and Resorts – the properties have further enhanced the city’s attractiveness for families, while more recent additions such as Dubai Frame and Dubai Safari have already proven to be popular with both residents and visitors. The 2017 opening of La Perle, the region’s first permanent theatrical show, added a fresh dimension to the cultural and entertainment scene in Dubai, while the Etihad Museum rounded off the historic side providing visitors with an immersive look at the story behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates.

One of the most integral supply drivers to support tourism growth is the aviation sector and Dubai’s evolution as a major tourism hub has been ably enabled by Dubai International Airport, which continued its reign as the world’s number one international airport in passenger traffic terms in 2017, delivering 88.2 million passengers, up 5.5% from 2016, with plans to expand capacity to 118 million by 2023. Further growth in air traffic to Dubai will be also be fuelled by Dubai World Central, which in the longer term will ultimately have capacity to handle up to 240 million passengers a year.

Dubai’s retail sector also remained a core lever for tourism growth given that shopping has been a driver of tourist spend across most source markets. As such, the planned infrastructure expansions reflect confidence in the demand from Dubai’s growing visitor volumes, with 900,000 square metres of new retail space set to come online through 2019, adding to the 600,000 square metres built between 2012-2017.

The size of the offering as well as its diversity – the emirate currently hosts 57.3 per cent of global brands – has been furthered by Dubai’s Retail Calendar, which brings together the domestic industry around key retail-oriented festivals and seasonal activations to encourage greater consumption.

sheraton abuja hotels

The Sheraton Abuja Hotels

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day and Mother’s day in March, Sheraton Abuja Hotel harmonizes with Marriott International Hotels to celebrate notable women as well as activate #IWD2018 and #WomenOfMarriott within the Federal capital Territory (FCT) with a lineup of engaging events.

General Manager of the Hotel -Nouman Irshad.Continuing, Irshad said: “We are looking forward to celebrating our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends. Starting today we welcome friends and family who wish to celebrate this month to join us and catch-up over coffee, drinks and a nourishing meal in any of our restaurants”.

“On March 14th  our Poolside will again come alive with vibrant color and music as we commemorate International Women’s Day and the Month of March with our Sheraton Women’s fitness event starting at our pool bar and Restaurant.

“We plan to activate our global Sheraton brand fitness program #SheratonFitness with key women in Abuja. It will surely be fun and engaging as we have included interactive health talks from a Trichologist, a dermatologist as well as a female Doctor. So our ladies will enjoy an ambient and relaxing atmosphere where they can make new friends amidst organic cocktails and healthy finger food favorites.”

The Abuja Sheraton will also unveil some red carpet glamour photos with creatively produced callout cards for those in the #IWD2018 color, which is purple and free SPG enrolments.

Meanwhile, the Sheraton Lagos Hotel has welcomed its new chef, Johan DePrins to the family.

The hotel said chef Johans ‘adds an exciting dimension to the culinary experience of loyal guests and customers.’

Chef Johan has gained over 40 years combined experience in the kitchen. He began his career as a culinary teacher; he practiced for 10 years then established as an executive chef. He has worked in various countries such as Belgium, Congo, Djibouti, Oman, Qatar, Tanzania, Algeria and Nigeria.

The Executive Chef is not new to the Nigerian market as this is his third Nigerian hotel. Having won three awards, Chef Johan brings a unique spin and creativity to his kitchen.

The General Manager of the hotel, Barry Curran remarked: “Sheraton Lagos Hotel will become the go to place for diners as Chef Johan is worth his salt. His creativity in the kitchen is second to none and we can’t wait to show everyone his craft. Asides from the creativity, his food is equally delicious which is just as important.”


EthiopianThe Ethiopian Airlines has topped the list of foreign carriers operating in the country, as it emerged airline that has lifted more passengers out of the country in 2017.

The airline made the disclosure during a ceremony in Lagos where it also received the award of Excellence in Aviation following its outstanding contribution to the development of the continent, the economic aspirations of its citizenry and transformation of Africa’s image in the international Market place.

The award instituted by the African Institute for Leadership Excellence is organised annually.

According to Dr. Stanley Ohemhen, the Chairman of the General Committee of the institute, it had outlined the values that qualified Ethiopian Airlines for the Award.

Receiving the award on behalf of the airline, Mrs. Firihiewot Mekonnen, the General Manager for Ethiopian Airlines operations in Lagos, thanked the organisers for the Award, just as she told the audience that Ethiopian is the new Spirit of Africa and has been defending the interest of Africa since inception over 70 years ago.

According to Mekonnen, Ethiopian Airlines will be organising an All women Operated Flight on March 8 to Buenos Aires in Argentina to Mark Women’s Day with a motto of; “Inspiring the African girl.”

She invited the Audience to fly Ethiopian Airlines as Airline of Choice. Giving her reasons she said: “Ethiopian Airlines, the only Skytrax 4 star Airline in Africa is now flying to 5 destination in Nigeria, Lagos, Abuja, Kano , Kaduna and Enugu.

“Ethiopian lifted the largest number of international passengers out of Nigeria in 2017 as per the analysis done by NCAA. This is history that an African airline carried the highest number of passengers in another African Country. Even when you look at the figures released by NCAA non-African airlines carried majority of the passengers.

“We are happy that we were able to defend Africa. That’s why we seek partnership with other African countries to strengthen their capacity to thrive like we are doing with ASKY in Togo, also in Malawi, Zambia and now Guinea,” Mekonnen said


Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

A total of 3.49 million passengers in 51,831 aircraft movements travelled through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja in 2017, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has disclosed.

FAAN’s Annual Traffic Analysis for 2017 released, Thursday, in Abuja stated that 2.78 million domestic passengers were recorded during the period.

As contained in the Analysis, 708,532 international passengers comprising 684,669 scheduled and 23,863 non-scheduled passengers travelled through the airport in the year.

The traffic analysis showed that 307,961 passengers comprising 243,085 domestic and 64,886 international passengers traveled through the airport in the month of January.

It further revealed that 233,167 passengers comprising 188,344 domestic passengers and 44,823 international passengers travelled in February.

According to the traffic analysis, only 82,599 passengers travelled through the airport in the month of March before the airport was shot for runway rehabilitation that lasted for six weeks.

The airport also recorded 113,742 passengers from April 19 when the airport was reopened till April 30, comprising 96,270 domestic and 19,467 international passengers.

In May, 291,629 passengers travelled through the airport comprising 234,970 domestic and 56,679 international passengers while 288,792 passengers were recorded in June. July saw 356,394 passengers, while there was an upsurge of passengers in August with 378,501 passengers.

In September, 342,221 passengers were recorded while in October and November 356,632 and 356,746 passengers were recorded respectively.

December saw the highest number of passengers during the year in review with a record of 386,726 passengers.

On aircraft movement, the statistics showed that there were 29,312 scheduled domestic aircraft movement and 14,496 non-scheduled domestic movements.

It also revealed that there were 6,018 scheduled and 1,995 non-scheduled international aircraft movements at the airport during the year in review.


Arik AirIndigenous carrier, Arik Air and Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on capacity building to assist in imparting proficiency and line training for PAF’s pilots.

Arik Air in a statement signed by its Media Consultant, Mr Simon Tumba in Lagos, said the agreement was signed by the Commander of PAF, Hassan Abubakar and the Airline in Lagos.

According to the terms of the agreement, Arik Air will provide pilots of PAF rated on the aircraft Line Training and hour building to maintain proficiency on the aircraft.

It also includes undertaking regular commercial flight under supervision, as per the standards approved for the airline.

Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, said the agreement would go a long way in bridging the gap in the fleet Pilots’ training and proficiency.

He added that both parties could always work together to achieve their goals.

Ilegbodu said Arik Air, which had in the past assisted PAF in the proficiency training of its pilots, was a safety conscious airline and this must have informed the decision by the top hierarchy of the fleet to enter into this agreement.

The statement said Abubakar appreciated the support and cooperation PAF had been receiving from Arik Air over the years, stating that this had helped in getting the pilots to maintain a high level of training.