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Uganda Air to commence direct flight operations between Lagos and Entebbe

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Uganda Airlines has announced direct flight operations to and from Nigeria. 

Its airline will fly directly from its base at the Entebbe International Airport to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos effective Thursday, October 19, 2023. 

In an exclusive interview with Nairametrics, the airline confirmed the commencement of direct operations between the two countries would be the first time travellers have the opportunity to fly non-stop between Nigeria and Uganda.  

Before now, Nigerians looking to travel to Uganda or other East African countries relied on Kenya Airways and South African Airways as the airline of choice.

The addition of Uganda Air to that route creates new competition that could lead to lower airfares for passengers.  

In addition, the new development would enable direct flights, eliminating connecting flights and man-hour loss occasioned due to the long flying hours. 

It currently takes between 9 to 12 hours to connect to Entebbe from Nigeria, but with the commencement of this non-stop flight, it would be reduced to just four hours. 

Speaking with Nairametrics on Thursday, Mr. Adedayo Olawuyi, Chief Commercial Officer (COO), of Uganda Airlines, said that Nigeria being the biggest economy on the continent needed to further ease exploration and seamless connectivity of passengers. 

“Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, is one of the easier choices to pick from because of the population and the economy and therefore gives opportunity to people to fly in and out of the country.  

“That also means that we have a lot of people who fly in and out of Nigeria for different reasons. So, Nigeria as a destination was quite an easy decision”.

Secondly, as there is no direct service currently between Entebbe and Lagos, the route to Entebbe needed to open up for Nigerians to benefit from the big market that is there for trade, tourism and others who want to visit friends and families. 

An air ticket from Lagos to Nairobi using any of the airlines costs around $500 for a round trip.  

Airfares in Nigeria have skyrocketed over the last few months as Nigeria’s local currency the naira continues to depreciate. A $500 ticket that used to cost N400k earlier in the year will now cost around N500k at current black-market rates.

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Local airlines will soon start flying directly to South America, says Keyamo

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Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation, says the country is looking to commence direct flight operations to South America.

The minister made this known on Saturday during an interview with the statehouse media.

On March 20, Air Peace, Nigeria’s flag carrier, commenced its Lagos-London flight services.

Keyamo said more indigenous airlines would soon commence flight operations to other routes.

“We are looking at the American route, we are looking at the South American route,” he said.

“They are not even flying the South American route at all but something is in the offering for us to start that route now so as to help the Nigerian flying public to bring down their prices.”

He said this is one aspect of helping local airline to enforce Bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA).

According to the minister, this will also ensure “you tell the countries that this is our flag carriers, present them as your flag carriers and so they respect them as Nigeria’s representative not as just private businesses in Nigeria”.

Speaking further, Keyamo said in the 2024 budget, there is provision for a master plan for the ministry.

The master plan, he said, is not to redesign the terminal buildings at airports but to modify the electropolis.

Keyamo said it would be done in all airports, starting with the five international airports.

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FAAN warns airport users against offering bribes, encouraging extortion

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has warned airport users against offering bribes and encouraging extortion this Sallah season.

The authority gave the warning on Friday in a statement issued by Obiageli Orah, its director of public affairs and consumer.

According to FAAN, any staff or government agency operating at the airports found guilty of accepting bribes will face punishment.

“The MD of FAAN Mrs Olubunmi Kuku, at a recent event had sent out a severe warning to staff as well as all government agencies that operate at our airports that FAAN will ensure that whoever is culpable is punished,” the authority said.

“Do not give bribes or encourage extortion.”

FAAN also assured Nigerians of seamless travels through its airports this festive season, adding that the authority has consistently upgraded its security measures to ensure the safety of travellers and their property.

The authority advised all travellers to arrive at the airport early to avoid missing their flights and to reduce the rush.

“International travellers must be at the airport three hours before departure, while local travellers must ensure to arrive about two hours to flight schedule,” FAAN said.

“Please ensure that you pack your luggage by yourself. Do not leave your luggage unattended.

“FAAN has expanded the screening area in order to give passengers a better flying experience.

“Keep an eye on your valuables while passing through screening.

“Respect rules and regulations in respect of carriage of prohibited articles, liquids, and gel.

“We have information desks at all our airports to assist you. Please make use of them.”

FAAN also advised travellers to park their vehicles properly in the car park to avoid towing, urging them not to use the services of touts.

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Naira depreciates against dollar at parallel, official markets

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Naira appreciates to N1,419/$ at official market

The naira depreciated in the parallel section of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Friday.

At the Lagos street market, currency traders, also known as bureau de change (BDC) operators, said the naira depreciated to N1,485 against the dollar.

The black market traders put the buying price of the dollar at N1,460 and the selling price at N1,485 — leaving a profit margin of N25.

This represents N5 or 0.34 percent depreciation compared to the N1,480/$ reported on May 10.

At the FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees official foreign exchange (FX) trading in Nigeria, the local currency depreciated by 0.44 percent or N6.48 to N1,482.72/$ on Friday — from N1,476.24/$ on May 13.

The dollar traded as high as N1,490/$ and as low as N1,390 during trading hours.

The daily FX market turnover stood at $183.47 million.

At the current FX rates, the gap between the official window and the parallel market is N2.28.

On June 5 Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency, projected naira will end the year at N1,450 to a dollar.

Gaimin Nonyane, director, Middle-East and Africa sovereigns, at Fitch Ratings, said despite the volatility experienced by the naira since its floating in June 2023, there are expectations that the fluctuation will reduce by the third quarter (Q3) of 2024.

Nonyane projected a gradual depreciation of the naira in 2025, adding that this depends largely on the foreign exchange reform’s momentum.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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