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Arik passengers in chaotic scene at Lagos airport

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Passengers, who were scheduled to travel out of the country with Arik Air on Tuesday but could not do so due to the strike action by aviation unions in solidarity with workers of the carrier, on Wednesday morning created an ugly scene at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos following the resumption of flight operations.

Many of the passengers billed to travel on Wednesday joined those of the previous day, creating chaotic situations at the check-in counters of the airline at both the General Aviation Terminal of the local airport and at the international terminal.

The situation persisted until noon when the airline was able to clear the backlog of passengers.

One of our correspondents, who was at the departure hall of the airport at around 8.40am, observed that passengers in their hundreds besieged the check-in counters of the airline trying to get boarding passes for the carrier’s Lagos-London bound flight.

Arik Air officials at the scene were overwhelmed by the surge in crowd, with some of the desperate passengers resorting to verbally abusing the officials, while some vowed never to patronise the airline again.

A passenger, who gave his name simply as Tunde, said, “I am really upset about the situation. I am a regular flyer of Arik to London and I can say without fear of contradiction that the airline is notorious for flight delays and cancellation, as well as poor treatment of its customers.

“I was supposed to have flown to London on Tuesday and have a meeting with some of my clients this morning, but through the airline’s carelessness, I have lost that opportunity.”

Another passenger, who refused to give his name, said he was at the check-in counter to demand a refund of his airfare, having missed the opportunity to be in London at the scheduled time.

“I had to look for money to buy another ticket of Med-View Airline to take me to the United Kingdom in two weeks’ time. However, that is coming at a great cost, because the new ticket is expensive because of the Christmas/New Year rush and because Med-View will land at Gatwick airport, which is farther from where I am going instead of Arik taking me to Heathrow,” the frustrated passenger said.

While some officials of the airline were struggling to appease the angry passengers, others resorted to hauling insults back at the intending travellers.

The Public Relations and Communications Manager, Arik Air, Adebanji Ola, said the airline had put in place extra flights to various destinations within the country that would operate between Wednesday and Saturday, and had also upgraded the aircraft on certain routes to bigger capacities to cope with the backlog of passengers whose flights were affected by the strike action.

He said passengers whose flights were affected by the disruption on Tuesday were given priority on Wednesday.

“Additional capacities have been allocated throughout this week from both Lagos and Abuja to destinations such as Enugu, Asaba, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Benin, Warri, Uyo and Yola to also enable many of our customers to get to their destinations for the Yuletide season,” he said.

Meanwhile, Med-View Airline has announced that it has expanded its operations into the West African sub region with the commencement of flight services to Monrovia, Liberia and Freetown, Sierra Leone via Accra, Ghana.

The airline said the expansion was in fulfilment of its promise to use its Accra operations as a stepping stone to other countries in the West Coast.

According to a statement by the airline, the inaugural flight to the two countries took off from Lagos via the Kotoka International Airport, Ghana to the Roberts International Airport, Liberia and Freetown International Airport, Sierra Leone.

“The outbound flight headed straight to Kotoka in Ghana before going back to Nigeria. It was with delight and ecstasy that the two countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone, welcomed the airline, describing the operation as a giant step towards strengthening regional integration among ECOWAS countries,” the statement read in part.

The representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Ambassador Tunde Ajisomo, was quoted to have described the new operation as a courageous move by Med-View to fill the vacuum created by the absence of African airlines plying the West African routes.

He said the development aligned with the vision of the Economic Community of West African States to deepen trade and economic relations between African countries and their peoples.

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Qatar Airways to Resume Services to Khartoum in Sudan with Four Weekly Flights

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Qatar Airways Aircraft (Source: YouTube)

Qatar Airways is pleased to announce that it will resume services to Khartoum, Sudan, with four weekly flights starting 11 May 2021, increasing to daily service from 1 June 2021. The resumption of services will enable passengers flying from and to Sudan to benefit from the airline’s extensive international network in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US. The Khartoum services will be operated by the airline’s state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Sudan is a strategically important market for Qatar Airways. We are pleased to announce the resumption of services to Khartoum, allowing Sudanese to enjoy our extensive international network in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US via our home and hub, Hamad International Airport. We will continue leading the way in keeping our 24 African destinations connected to the world.”

Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. This follows HIA’s recent success as the first and only airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating. These recognitions provide assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.

Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, is located where the White Nile meets the Blue Nile. Khartoum has more than 200 pyramids and the majority of them can be found in Meroë, the remains of an ancient trading hub. Up close, they are truly impressive to behold, with each pyramid bearing decorative elements from Pharaonic Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations.

The national carrier of the State of Qatar continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 130 destinations. With more frequencies being added to key hubs, Qatar Airways offers unrivalled connectivity to passengers, making it easy for them to change their travel dates or destination if they need to.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 40 destinations including Johannesburg, Frankfurt, New York and Singapore.

Flight Schedules starting 11th May:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

Doha (DOH) to Khartoum (KRT) QR1331 departs 19:40 arrives 22:25

Khartoum (KRT) to Doha (DOH) QR1332 departs 01:00 arrives 05:25

Daily Flights Schedules starting 1st June:

Doha (DOH) to Khartoum (KRT) QR1331 departs 19:40 arrives 22:25

Khartoum (KRT) to Doha (DOH) QR1332 departs 01:00 arrives 05:25

 

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Rolls-Royce Set To Power Vertical Aerospace’s All-Electric Aircraft

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Vertical Aerospace by Rolls-Royce (Flickr)

Rolls-Royce’s ground-breaking technology is set to power Vertical Aerospace’s flagship Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft. A Rolls-Royce electrical power system will be integrated into the piloted all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle, which will carry up to four passengers for 120 miles at cruise speeds of over 200mph and is on course to certify in 2024.

Vertical Aerospace is a key collaboration for Rolls-Royce Electrical as it marks our first commercial deal in the UAM market and builds on previous agreements to work with partners on demonstrator programmes. Rolls-Royce will design the system architecture of the whole electrical propulsion system, the electric power system that includes our latest 100kW-class lift and push electrical propulsion units, the power distribution and the monitoring system that will support operations.

Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Vertical Aerospace for the electrical technology that will power their pioneering eVTOL aircraft. This exciting opportunity demonstrates our ambitions to be a leading supplier of sustainable complete power systems for the new Urban Air Mobility market which has the potential to transform the way that people and freight move from city to city.”

Michael Cervenka, CEO – Vertical Aerospace said: “We are excited to collaborate with Rolls-Royce, bringing onboard a hugely experienced team with deep expertise and cutting-edge electrical technologies to power our pioneering eVTOL aircraft. This collaboration builds on our existing partnerships and Vertical is well-positioned to develop the world’s leading eVTOL aircraft, certified to the highest CAA and EASA safety standards being set globally.”

Around 150 Rolls-Royce engineers based in countries including Hungary, Germany, US and the UK will work with the Vertical Aerospace team on developing the aircraft which is aiming to be one of the world’s first certified eVTOLs. Vertical Aerospace, based in Bristol, has already flown multiple full-scale eVTOL prototypes and the build of VA-X4 will begin shortly with assembly taking place in the UK and the first flight happening this year.

Vertical Aerospace by Rolls-Royce (Flickr)

Electrification of flight is an important part of Rolls-Royce’s sustainability strategy and supports our aim to contribute to a net zero carbon future by 2050.  Rolls-Royce Electrical is a specialist team whose focus is to develop sustainable, efficient and quieter technology for aviation, marine, land and industrial applications.

Rolls-Royce also recently announced a partnership with Tecnam and major worldwide aviation players for the development of the P-Volt: an all-electric, twin electric motor, short and medium range passenger aircraft, designed for maximum versatility and safety, powered by renewable energy. In our traditional aviation segments technology continues to be developed for more-electric aircraft solutions- with integrated electrical starter generators, auxiliary power units and more intelligent management of the electrical systems on board.

 

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Lufthansa and SWISS partner Airlink to offer convenient travel connections in Southern Africa

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Lufthansa and SWISS Aircraft (Source: Lufthansa Group website)

Lufthansa and SWISS are partnering with Airlink, to offer customers access to over 25 domestic destinations in South Africa, including Bloemfontein, George, Upington, Skukuza, Nelspruit, Hoedspruit and Port Elizabeth – as well as over 20 regional destinations in Southern Africa, such as Gaborone, Kasane, Vilanculos, Maun, Victoria Falls, Maputo, Windhoek, Harare, Lusaka, Ndola, Bulawayo and many more.

The interline agreement which came into effect in January 2021, allows customers the convenience of purchasing a single ticket to or from a multitude of destinations in Southern Africa, via Airlink’s gateways in Johannesburg and Cape Town, therefore offering a truly seamless travel experience across both airlines.

“The Lufthansa Group is pleased to offer our customers even more travel options and convenience through our partnership with Airlink. We value Airlink as an important and reliable partner in the restart of our South African operations, and look forward to exploring further opportunities to widen the scope of our joint collaboration. This
partnership represents another milestone in further enhancing our network, and expressing the Lufthansa Group’s commitment to South Africa,” says Dr. André Schulz, General Manager Sales Southern and East Africa, Lufthansa Group.

Airlink CEO, Mr. Rodger Foster added: “We are proud and excited about our commercial interline agreement with Lufthansa and SWISS. We have a deep respect for these airlines, their values and global reach. We are confident that the partnership will provide our respective customers with a wider choice of travel options through the convenient interconnectivity of our respective flights at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport.

The Lufthansa and SWISS agreement with Airlink applies to tickets sold through LH.com, swiss.com and flyairlink.com – as well as through local travel agencies.

Jointly issued by Airlink and Lufthansa Group

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