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Air Peace Receives new Embraer 145 Jet



Nigerian carrier, Air Peace has taken delivery of one of the six 50-seater new generation Embraer 145 jets it recently acquired.

Mr Allen Onyema Chairman of Air Peace, confirmed the development in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos.

Onyema said the aircraft, which touched down at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos at about 5.49 pm on Wednesday, would operate under the carrier’s subsidiary, Air Peace Hopper.

He said the move marked the first time a Nigerian airline would establish a subsidiary to manage an arm of its flight operations, following the tradition of some of the big carriers in the world.

Onyema described the arrival of the new aircraft named Nkechi Ezewusi (Nee Onyema) and birthing of the subsidiary as a milestone in the airline’s vision of uniting Nigeria through air connectivity.

“The arrival of our latest new generation aircraft marked 5N-BUY has once again underscored our determination to bring Nigeria together through air connectivity and fix the air travel difficulties of many unserved and underserved cities in the country.

“We are even more pleased that the arrival of the aircraft marks the beginning of our subsidiary, Air Peace Hopper.

“Another of the six Embraer 145 jets we recently acquired will arrive in Nigeria in less than a week’s time.

“We will organise our plan to link many cities in the North and South of Nigeria under the subsidiary,” he said.

According to him, under Air Peace Hopper, the airline hopes to connect routes such as Enugu-Kano-Enugu, Benin-Port-Harcourt-Benin, Port-Harcourt-Kano-Port-Harcourt, Lagos-Warri-Port-Harcourt-Warri-Lagos.

He said that it would also connect Lagos-Warri-Abuja-Warri, Lagos-Kaduna-Lagos, Lagos-Sokoto-Lagos, Abuja-Sokoto-Abuja, Abuja-Bauchi-Abuja, Lagos- Makurdi-Lagos, Lagos-Jos-Lagos, among others.

Onyema said :”This will not only open up and energise the economies of the different cities and states, but also create massive job opportunities for the people.

“We remain focused in our determination to transform air travel in Nigeria, Africa and beyond. In three years, we have increased our fleet to a size of 24 aircraft.

“We are currently pursuing a massive route expansion project. We are launching our Lagos-Kano-Lagos and Kano-Abuja-Kano services on Feb. 12.

“This will be followed three days after with the inauguration of our Lagos-Yola and Abuja-Yola operations on Feb. 15.

“Four days after, we will commence our flight operations to Freetown, Banjul and Dakar on February 19.”

He said that other cities on the West Coast of Africa would soon join the airline’s route network.

The Air Peace boss said plans were also being finalised for flight operations to international destinations, including Dubai, Sharjah, Guangzhou-China, London, Houston, Mumbai and Johannesburg.

“We have our plans well laid out and are primed to project the name of Nigeria around the world.

“We deeply appreciate the support of our esteemed guests whose support and loyalty have made us the preferred and biggest airline in Nigeria and West Africa.

“We will continue to strive to deliver the best flight service to them and prioritise their safety and comfort as we expand our operations,” Onyema said.

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CognitiveTechnology Reshaping Africa’s Insurance Sector



Nwani is IBM’s Global Markets ClientExecutive for West Africa

By Uzo Nwani


Underinsurance remains a feature of many African economies. With the African Development Bank(AfDB) revising its projected GDP growth rate for the continent to 3.7% from 4.2% by 2018, the region’s relatively low uptake of insurance is one key indicator of its underdevelopment. For folks in the technology space, the insurance sector’s micro and macro issues are often opportunities for technology adoption and utilization.


Technology adoption is however not the key challenge confronting Africa’s insurance sector. A more fundamental problem plaguing the growth of Africa’s multi-trillion-dollar insurance industry is the issue of trust.


Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist Femi Falana recently explained at an insurance colloquium that while most insurance companies in Nigeria are anxious to collect premiums, they are reluctant to pay claims. And when they agree to pay, the payment is deliberately delayed. “One account of such delays is when motorists and drivers fight on the roads to determine who would fix their damaged vehicles,” Falana explained.


In a recent interview with the UK’s Financial Times newspaper, Paul Norman of KPMG East Africa opines that without trust, the industry is as good as nonexistent:“There’s a trust deficit gap — people don’t buy insurance because they don’t trust the providers,” he says. “They don’t think the promise [that a claim will be paid] is going to be delivered. Claims are not paid quickly, fairly or correctly. It’s a huge pain point across the continent.”


While the adoption of advanced technologies like big data analytics, cloud and cognitive computing will certainly boost the operational performance and efficiency levels of insurance firms (and businesses generally), insurance industry practitioners and institutions must work harder to fix the sector’s trust issues, working in concert with technology firms who will support their market development plans with appropriate solutions and systems.

APA Insurance, a Kenyan insurer catering to both individuals and corporates, recently turned to IBM to optimize its claims processes. The insurance underwriter can now gain greater visibility into policies, premiums and loss ratios through IBM Analytics Solutions, ultimately improving its product offerings, service delivery and customers experience.

While IBM continues to evaluate APA’s adoption and integration of its business intelligence (BI) solutions, the bigger picture is that there is a pent-up demand for insurers and improved risk management services across sub-Sahara Africa. Technology could help unlock the sector, further contributing to the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently predicted that emerging markets and developing economies will be at the forefront of growth for 2017-18 at more than double the rate of advanced economies.

African insurers will no doubt increasingly use technology to rejig their business models, including as a tool to cope with changes in the markets and changes in regulation. Technology will also eradicate the industry’s traditional boundaries, allowing new entrants to compete with the established behemoths in the industry. And as markets mature, insurance practitioners will also have to come up with strategies to better manage risk and technologically savvy customers. To succeed, insurers will have to work faster, more efficiently and, above all, smarter.


The report of a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), “Insurance 2025: Reducing Risk in an Uncertain Future” reveals that two technological trends will have a high impact on the future of business across industries: the rise of cognitive computing, and the increasing potential for decentralization of systems and decision making.


If systems are decentralized, the question will be where the center of control will sit, and how fragmented the networks will be. For example, limitations imposed by privacy concerns, regulation, or liability could hamper the use of devices encourage the device autonomy and the centralization of control.


Cognitive computing refers to next-generation information systems designed to accelerate, enhance and take advantage of human expertise. These systems can learn large amounts of data, reason with purpose, and interact with humans naturally. Their ability to handle unstructured data and range across wide subject domains gives them opportunity to remake business processes. We believe these technologies will have reached maturity by 2025.


An IBM IBVinsurance survey in 2016 found that 79% of insurance company leaders believe technology will have a major impact on their organizations, and 71% said they have begun to use cognitive technologies. When combined with artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive systems can enable insurers to assess the risk of loaning to an individual to a high degree.


We believe that insurance companies should consider these four moves to succeed in the next decade:


1) Increase flexibility: Take out expenses and build in flexibility by moving core systems to a hybrid cloud that are available as-a-service, which enables experimentation and entry into new markets entry at low costs, on secure platforms. As products move to “as-a-service” models, turn legacy systems into components to help sustain cost competitiveness.


2) Develop partner ecosystems: Organizations in the insurance industry will need to collaborate to have the best data about consumers and the risks of loaning money to them. The goal is to cultivate partnerships and membership in ecosystems within the insurance industry. When using “as-a-service” products, an insurance company will need to cooperate with service partners to offer the complete package.


3) Improve predictive capabilities: Insurance companies will need to improve their speed of change by bringing together technology, business capabilities and product investment. They should use analytics, pattern recognition and data to chart progress, as well as understand customer behavior and risk parameters.


4) Embrace innovation: Leading innovators build an organization with a corporate culture and design processes that encourage innovation. Corporate structures can be made more flexible by streamlining internal innovation processes, with centralized funding and investment models.


Embracing innovation will build skill with component technologies of whichever future scenario wins, providing the capabilities necessary to prosper in changing conditions. And building agile development and business service composition skills will keep your organization nimble enough to capitalize on market changes.


As African economies expand and evolve, C-suite executives in Africa’s insurance sector will need to look towards the future, embracing cloud and cognitive systems to maintain their organization’s competitive advantage. By using this holistic approach, they can continue to transform their business even as their industry is restructuring all around them.

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NIPOST Bill Has Capacity To Generate Huge Revenue For Nigeria – Postmaster General



Mr Bisi Adegbuyi, Postmaster General, Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST),  has said that the NIPOST Bill would increase the nation’s revenue.

Adegbuyi said when passed into a law, the bill currently before the National Assembly would make the NIPOST an alternative revenue source for the country.

He said this on Thursday in Calabar, at the Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference of Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) NIPOST Branch.

According to him, “The NIPOST Bill currently with the national assembly has the capacity to generate huge revenue for the country.

“We are not sleeping; we are doing everything possible as a management to see that the bill scales through.

“In this moment that the country is looking for alternative revenue sources, NIPOST will be one of the largest revenue earners for the country if the bill is passed,’’ he said.

Adegbuyi, who was represented by Mr Aliyu Mahmood Director, Human Resources and Administration of NIPOST, said the bill was part of reforms embarked by the current management.

He stated that NIPOST could not be left behind in the current world of digital telecommunication.

He charged members of staff of NIPOST to remain focused and work harder irrespective of any challenges, and assured them that the management was doing everything to improve their welfare.

President General of SSASCGOC, Mr Mohammed Yunusa, said that the association was ready to show more interest in the affairs of NIPOST, because of its strategic importance.

He expressed readiness of the body to work with the NIPOST management in ensuring the passage of the NIPOST Bill by the National Assembly.

While declaring the conference open, Deputy Governor of Cross River, Prof. Ivara Esu, charged NIPOST to reinvent itself and be a leading giant in the industry through digital telecommunication.

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Illegal Firm Carries out Ground Handling Operations at Lagos Airport



An unregistered ground handling company, Menzies Aviation yesterday carried out ground handling operations at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos without regulatory approval.

Investigation by our correspondent indicated that the ground handling company was still undergoing certification processes with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), before it carried out the alleged illegal ground handling operations.

An NCAA source said the ground handling agent  handled Air Cote d’Ivoire at Lagos Airport.

The flight departed from Abidjan.

Investigations revealed that the ground handling company has its headquarters in Dublin, Scotland, but has its base in Accra, Ghana.

In a swift reaction, spokesman of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye,  in a telephone interview  confirmed the development, .

He said the NCAA has commenced investigations on the issue.

The unregistered company used the license of Precision Aviation Handling Company Ltd (PAHCOL), which was issued certification by the regulatory body some few years ago, but could not commence operations due to lack of equipment.

Besides, it was gathered that Menzies Aviation used the ground handling equipment of Arik Air to carry out ground handling operations on the West African carrier. Arik Air is not licensed to do ground handling for another airline, but has the right to handle some of its operations.

The source said: “The handling company came in without an operating license and they rendered handling services to Air Cote d’Ivoire today (Tuesday). It indicates that our airports are porous to the extent that an unregistered ground handling company will operate in our airport. They borrowed Arik Air equipment to commence handling meanwhile Arik Air is not a ground handling company. How did their staff get to the ramp?

“The company used PACHOL license, which NCAA has already told them that it is not transferable. NCAA actually told them to do the proper thing that if they want to come into Nigeria, they should go and register while the agency carries out security checks on them. They know that if they use PACHOL name to operate, the company cannot attract foreign and big airlines. So, they claimed to be Menzies to clients in order to attract airlines.

“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) did not give them apron pass; they now went to use Arik equipment to get to the apron area to commence operations. They are using PACHOL licence and Arik equipment to deceive clients and FAAN.”

A security source said such act was a breach of security standards and should attract severe sanctions from the regulatory agency.

The security source said before any company could carry out operations at the airport, it ought to go through security checks, which he said the company had violated with commencement of operations without due approval.

Adurogboye said the regulatory agency was investigating the issue and confirmed that the agency had been reported to the management.

He said: “The matter has been reported to us. I have been able to confirm that and NCAA is looking at all angles on the matter. We will look at the aspect of registration. Do they have the appropriate clearance to do what they did?

“We know they applied to NCAA for ground handling business, but what we are looking at is whether they were certified to start operating. We are investigating their operations.”

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