SAHCO TAKES OVER BRITISH AIRWAYS GROUND HANDLING CONTRACT

The Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) PLC, a Public Limited Liability company, and a subsidiary of SIFAX Group has taken over the ground handling services of British Airways. By this development, SAHCO PLC will be providingPassenger and Ramp Handling services to British Airways at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

SAHCO has been able to attract and retain the confidence of British Airways due to the seamless, safe and speedy service delivery which SAHCO is known for prompting British Airways to move her Passenger and Ramp Handling services to SAHCO. The move took effect with the handling of the evacuation flight which occurred on the 8th of May, 2020.

British Airways (BA) is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, Headquartered at Waterside, Harmondsworth, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport.

SAHCO is the only Aviation Ground Handling company that is present in all the commercially operated airports in Nigeria. In recent times, many foreign airlines have moved their aviation ground handling operations to SAHCO so as to enjoy being handled by a loyal and dedicated workforce who are well trained and whose integrity is undoubtable, delivering their activities in line with global best practices.

With constant investment in modern aviation ground support equipment fitted with the latest technology; a team of engineers that can build ground support equipment from locally sourced materials which is the first of its kind in Nigeria; a team that is versed in the best of Departure Control systems in the Aviation industry, World Tracer and BRS; world class warehousing services; unrivaled customer friendly service delivery in a safe, speedy and efficient culture; SAHCO treats its clients as partners.

In the same vein, Air France has signed another warehousing contract with SAHCO at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. This means SAHCO will provide Cargo warehousing service throughout the country for Air France. SAHCO has been handling Air France’s Cargo Warehousing inLagos and Port Harcourt which has influenced decision to include the Abuja operations due to their satisfactory first-hand experience.

The clients of SAHCO include the following; Aero Contractors, African World Airways, Air Cote D’Ivoire, Air Peace, Arik Air, Allied Air, Badr Airlines, Bristol Helicopters, Camair-Co, Caverton Helicopters, Dana Air, DHL Aviation, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, Execujets, Ibom Air, Inter Air, Max Air, Middle East Airlines, Overland Airways, South African Airways, TAAG Angola, Tarco Airlines, Value Jet, Virgin Atlantic Cargo.

It is worthy to note that SAHCO is also the recipient of numerous awards both locally and internationally due to its quality service delivery in aviation ground handling operations in Nigeria. SAHCO is an RA3 and IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) certified company. These certifications make the company a preferred gateway to import and export to European countries and the world at large.

SAHCO, who is a member of the Airport Services Association (ASA), is an Aviation Ground Handling service provider involved in all the activities that takes place from the time an aircraft touches down on the tarmac at the airport to the time it taxis out to be airborne, to the delight of its customers and benefit of all stakeholders, utilizing state-of-the-art skills, procedure, equipment and facilities with a devoted workforce.

UANSOHIA   VANESSA ADETOLA (MRS),

MANAGER, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS,

SKYWAY AVIATION HANDLING COMPANY PLC(SAHCO),

MOBILE: +2348060758584.

E-MAIL:uansohia.vanessa@sahcoplc.com.

12th May, 2020.

The Imperatives of Improving Women’s Health

It is another month of March, and globally it is recognized as the women’s month and the theme of this year’s celebration –“Gender Equality” — is quite insightful and instructive. This means that the international community has come to observe and realize that there is a difference between the sexes. We know that an active person in need of equality should be healthy. This is what has inspired this article. What is health?

Health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) is a state of physical, mental, social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Women, by our very nature, are exposed to certain peculiar health issues which include but is not limited to our reproductive and sexual health; issues pertaining to pregnancy, child bearing, maternal mortality, complications in pregnancy, pre- eclampsia, eclampsia, stillbirth, mother-to-child transmission of diseases, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, abortions, cancers of the reproductive organs, un-consensual sexual activity, and many more.

There are also issues with other causes of death in men and women which tend to affect women more. Today, lung cancer is a leading cause of death amongst other cancers in women. Whereas smoking is a known predisposing cause of lung cancer, the incidence is three times higher in non-smoking women than smoking men. Estrogen, the predominant female hormone, may fuel cancer cell growth or interact with genes that boost the effect of carcinogens. This may be one of the reasons why the incidence is high and the prognosis in women is poor.

Other leading causes of cancer deaths are breast cancer, cancer of the colon and rectum, ovarian cancer, cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb) and cancer of the uterus. Other health matters include raised blood pressure, cardiovascular disorders, osteoporosis, anemia, diabetes, depression, dementia, urinary tract infection, and of course there is also poverty, lack of good education, and absence of a skill she can rely on to provide for her family. Unfortunately, not much is being done in terms of research into peculiar women’s health issues as their representation in the research area is limited.

The moves by the World Organization of Ovulation Method Billings (WOOMB) to bring the good news to Africa are welcome. At its recent International Conference in Cotonou, Benin Republic, the need to educate women about their reproductive health was reiterated. Here, women in all stages of life from menarche when they start their menstruation to menopause when it stops are taught how to manage their reproductive health by observing their body signs and interpreting the findings she has recorded in a chart. It is completely natural and has no side effects. By so doing, she learns to know her fertile and infertile time and to utilize it as the family would need. She is not restricted by breastfeeding or any preexisting medical condition. She does not need to do anything new but just to pay attention.

What can we as women do to stay healthy? The basic minimum we need to do are things that we probably already know, but are not paying attention to. They include but are not limited to the following:

•       To have regular health checks, at least twice in a year. This should include physical examination, a check of the blood pressure, lipid profile, fasting blood sugar, and the blood chemistry. Women over 40 years will need to check their eyes for glaucoma, bone mineral density, thyroid function tests, Pap smear every three years and more. Persons who are at a high risk of STDs will need to do tests for Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV. Your physician will help guide you to do the needful.

It is important that we each have record of our medical history especially if you are seeing a new physician. This summary will bring the doctor up to speed on our health, knowing our current and previous diagnosis, any allergies, and what medications we are currently taking.

•       We have to keep the body moving by doing regular, moderately intense exercise for about 2 – 3 hours weekly; our ancestors were not sedentary, they were hunters and gatherers. These exercises should make us sweat and get our hearts beating fast.

•       Our diet should be tailored to suit our state of health. Basically, we need to avoid processed foods, as they contain preservatives. We need to drink adequate amount of water as it cleanses the body and removes toxins. We should eat foods in the right proportions, rich in fibers, low in carbohydrates and fat.

•       To avoid excessive use of alcohol and recreational drugs, for obvious reasons.

•       Ensure we have adequate sleep especially at nights. I will not put duration to this. Sleep is adequate if we wake up refreshed, on our own without the alarm clock. Our bodies get refreshed in sleep as lots of healing takes place then. And the things we had learnt are filed away in our memory banks during sleep. So sleep is therapeutic.

•       Our day to day life is already stressful as we are responsible for nurturing our families in most cultures, we should therefore learn to minimize stress. When we feel overwhelmed by the events going on in our lives, we should pause, take a break and count five things that are going on well with us at the time and we will definitely find things to be grateful for. We need to learn to take one day at a time and to be grateful very small change.

Sometimes, we take up more activities than we can cope with. It is important to learn to politely, say “NO” sometimes. We may choose to say not at this time which means that we may be open to assisting at some other time.

Finally, I like to advocate that we learn to look out for each other as every little help counts. Happy International Women’s Month to us all.

“We tell and retell Positive Africa”- Yomi Badejo-Okusanya (YBO), President of African Public Relations Association (APRA)

Truth be told that we all have a major role to play in the way other people perceive us. It is said that “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception,” thus for Africa to achieve its full potential and take its rightful place in the world, she has a lot to do in managing how she is perceived by the rest of the world. Therefore, some members of the Inside Watch Africa (IWA) team, recently paid a visit to the President of the African Public Relations Association (APRA) – Mr.Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, also popularly known as YBO in his office in Lagos, Nigeria, to get a first-hand information on what 

(APRA) is doing to corporately manage the image of Africa.

Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya is a consummate public relations practitioner and the Group Managing Director of one of Nigeria’s foremost communication consulting groups, CMC Connect (Perception Managers).  With over two decades of work experience in the Marketing Communications and perception management industry in Nigeria and internationally cutting across Corporate Communications, Government Relations, Marketing PR, Financial Public Relations and Crisis Management, his work experience has seen him consult for many multi-nationals and national governments, such as the first woman elected President in Africa, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
An alumnus of the Lagos Business School and a renowned facilitator, YBO is the current President of the African Public Relations Association (APRA), the umbrella body for the practice of public 

relations in Africa.

IWA: The world sees Africa as one, but unfortunately going by what is happening on the 

continent, Africa cannot be said to be united. I would like to know in specific terms what your association – the African Public Relations Association (APRA) has done over the years to foster this unity?

YBO: When I first became the Secretary General and then the President of the APRA, the first thing we did was to integrate ourselves into the African union, because until then APRA had no tangible relationship with the African union; we were more or less just talking to one another. We then realised that if we were going to be talking for Africa, we would have to work with the African Union. This we pursued to the extent that the first conference under my watch as Secretary- General was hosted in Addis-Abba as part of the 50th anniversary of the African Union. Since then, we 

have been aspiring to become registered as a consultative arm of the AU, and I must tell you that it’s a long process; moreover, African Union with due respect has its own challenges, there is a lot of bureaucracy, so it has been a long journey for us and now we are at the point where we need to register with a body called ECOSOC which caters for such registration. 

We have actually started the registration to a certain extent. ECOSOC functions as the think-tank of the African Union and it is what they put together that becomes a recommendation to the foreign affairs ministers which is then ratified by the heads of government in Africa. We thought that it was the best place to be, initially we were working with the communications department but because they were not a policy formulating arm of the AU, we had to start again… the process is still on. All our conferences have now been endorsed by the AU and we have had attendance from a very high level – at the Deputy Chairperson’s level. 

We have made presentations to them and we are even proposing that we have an office in the AU complex in Ethiopia. We believe that one of the biggest challenges Africa has is narrative, its reputation and right now it is about war, strife, disease etc., imagine the kind of dent it would have had on our image if the Corona Virus had sprouted from Africa like Ebola. Therefore, it is expedient that as PR professionals we are at the driver’s seat driving the narrative of everything the AU is doing to foster unity amongst member states. As things stand now the visions, aims and objectives of the AU are only known at the government level. 

For instance, in Europe, the impact of the European Union is felt by the average man on the street. That is not the case in Africa, the impression out there is that the AU is only a body of government technocrats and administrators and that impression must change for both the continent and the AU. We have started working closely with the operating arm of the AU known as the African Union commission in this respect and our goal is to positively reshape the narrative by selling “Positive Africa”. We feel that Africa has a story to tell or re-tell, and who best to re-tell that story other than the key story tellers who are in this case – the public relations practitioners.  

We have then given ourselves a mandate as PR practitioners across the continent to equip ourselves by knowing what is going on. Before now, all that we have was to just talk to ourselves, but now we want to, and are really starting to influence our key stakeholders (government, business, NGOs and foreign interests). 

We have also taken steps to put African Public Relations in the main stream of global PR agenda such that our conferences are now attended by the President of the Global Alliance which is the largest body in terms of  communication. In fact, I have been informed that our up-coming conference will also be attended by the President of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) and several other dignitaries from across the globe.

We have been able to push Africa into the mainstream of the global PR agenda and we believe that if we take all of these things collectively along with contributions from various stakeholders in the field of PR, we will become a global force to reckon with, and possess enough juice to drive our campaign effectively. A good example of what I am talking about is the Tokyo Olympics where we should have a clear narrative for Africa globally; to create a situation where we would be able to situate ourselves strategically in these world events and leverage opportunities presented to sell a positive Africa. 

IWA:The recent frosty relations between South Africa and Nigeria has been a PR nightmare for both countries and has resulted in some level of disconnection between 

them, and this is typical of relations between several African countries because certain complexities of the situation are only appreciated at top governmental levels. What is your organization doing as regards embarking on campaigns targeted at the young and people in the streets in Africa to promote integration, unity and better understanding at that level?

YBO: The fact that we are trying to make Africa one market is one of those key points and we believe that if this is put into place, issues like this will be significantly reduce. We strongly believe in the economic integration of Africa; it has been one of our cardinal goals. Africa should be an economic zone which by all standards be a force to be reckon with. There are suppositions that the young South Africans who don’t know the historical ties that binds the countries together, are of the opinion that Nigerians are taking undue advantages of them and the Xenophobia is their response to it.  It is said that the key issues are that they are of the opinion that Nigerians are taking over their businesses, and in some cases, their women, in some other cases the Nigerians are perceived as offering better services at cheaper rates, and of course, not ruling out the issue of shady businesses that some Nigerians engage in whether it is fraudulent practices or dealing in narcotics.

There is a need to understand that in the growth of an economy, these things are inevitable. What we are doing about it is accentuating our campaign on the need for economic integration in Africa, which will see Africa become one market and all varied interests become one. We are also advocating social integration as an effective tool and an integral part of our campaign to foster oneness in Africa which underscores our official slogan, which is “One Africa”.

IWA: There is some skepticism about the success of African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA). What do you think about this and what are the things your organization has done or is doing to ensure that the success story not only holds true, but is 

also obvious to these skeptics?

YBO:There is an African proverb which says that “if you want go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together”. It is time for Africa to go together, because its strength doesn’t lie in each market trying to solve its own problem, but in the integration of the continent as a single market. I totally believe in the concept of a ‘United States of Africa’, not in terms of political structure or leadership; I am not saying that one person becomes the president of Africa. I am advocating that we go as a one in our strength which is massive and in my opinion the only way to go. It is what has made Europe strong and definitely what made America strong, because technically, each state in 

America could easily be a country by itself, but they decided to come together to form one country – the United States of America, they have a common market, security, currency, army and purpose. All these make the USA very strong and the superpower that they are today. So I believe that this is the only way Africa can go, we should have some form of economic and political confederation under which we can all act as one because that is where the real strength lies.

Looking at it, the AU has not been as effective as it should be in this respect and consequently, whether by error of commission or omission they have not achieved the lofty dreams and goals set by the founding fathers of the AU – the dreams and visions of the likes of Haile Selassie, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, just to mention a few, have not been achieved, and for us to achieve these goals, it is imperative for Africa to operate as one. The pertinent question to ask is; what are the fears militating against achieving these goals? The logical explanation is once there is a change of status in life, there is always a fear associated with it. For example, if you are getting married, you will be afraid; if you are getting a new job, you will be afraid; if you are setting up a new business venture, you will be afraid. So I am not surprised that there is some level of apprehension as to working together, but I believe that once we put our hearts into it, we will begin to see the advantages. What this means is that this publication of yours (IWA) can go across 

Africa, the skills you have here you can actually be transferred to Zimbabwe or Zambia. Let me give you an example, look at the United Arab Emirates, there are about seven countries that came together and you can see how strong they have become, some are more prominent than the others, but collectively they are strong. If each one of them had decided to go it on its own, I am not so sure if they would have achieved all that they have. There will be challenges associated with integration and it’s not going to be easy, but I think that is the way to go. 

IWA:Africa has always been blamed for a lot of things it wasn’t responsible for because we do not manage our narrative around certain issues well. So do you think Africa has managed the narrative around the Coronavirus 

well enough to the extent of not getting the blame that isn’t ours and what step is your organization taking to make sure that the narrative is properly managed from the African point of view? 

YBO:The most critical thing we should do regarding the Coronavirus beyond us repudiating the origin as Africa is that we should save our people and this has to do with a lot of enlightenment that and a lot of advocacy around it. My greatest concern would not be avoiding the blame, we are clear where it has come from, and my worry will be the virus containing, managing, and stopping the spread because it is so devastating to the extent that it is stretching the resources and capacity to cope for the most industrialized nations of the world. 

If it were to be unleashed here, it will be more devastating. So what should we do now is to move into the world of enlightenment and advocacy which is what we have urged all our practitioners across the continent to do. It’s not the time to get fixated on the blame game; it is simply the time for all hands to be on deck to help keep all our people safe. So we have to enlighten our people how they can take care of themselves and how they can avoid the virus at any opportunity we have, even in cases of suspected infection, teach them what they should do to curb it. This becomes more significant when you realise that Africa has the least literacy rate across the world. So this thing only needs to get into some places where it is difficult to disseminate information and we would have a huge epidemic on our hands. Our most important task as PR practitioners in this situation should therefore 

be to ensure that we communicate, advocate and give counsel to, not just the people, but also the government. We should make sure that the government, the people and the private sector are doing the right thing and support them. Just last week it was reported that the Nigerian Senate President said there was nowhere in Abuja where people could be quarantined and thatis sad. I hope at the end of the day this thing will not snowball into something that will get out of control, and we will carry the brunt of this whole thing because while the Western world has managed to contain the spread of the virus, we have not done much work towards our own containment strategy; that’s where the problem will be for us if we don’t get our act together.

IWA: We are definitely over-dependent on China as regards 

trade and economic cooperation Iis it not time for us to focus more on becoming more independent in all that we do? 

YBO: For me, it is important that Africa has an industrial policy and if we already have one, it should be targeted at what and where we have comparative advantage. As a continent we still some deficiencies in the area of infrastructure thus we cannot but be dependent on the super powers like China at the moment because we have no choice. It is simple, they are strong and weare weak now, so we need them. As PR practitioners, what we should be talking about now is that there should be as a matter of urgency an industrial policy for Africa which is well articulated and distilled down to address Africa’s needs. For instance, let us assume that a certain number of new vehicles are needed yearly in Africa and there is an African industrial policy in place where a Toyota plant in situated in country A, a Nissan plant in country B, and another plant producing Renault in country C, all located in Africa, then we are looking at it as a total trade or policy concept in which the demand for new vehicles in the West African Sub-region for example, can be taken care of by a plant located in Nigeria, Benin or Ghana. In fact it would mean that Africa is capable of meeting its total yearly demand for new vehicles for all its regions by plants located in these regions which are a big economic plus for Africa as a continent. I think this again brings us back to the issue of re-engineering the AU which is of present more of a political union and needs to be more of an economic one. Consequently, I am hoping that the African Free Trade 

Continental Agreement will help address this and reposition the role of the AU to be seen more along economic lines rather than political.

IWA: You will agree with me that these are long and medium term solutions to the problem and we need to immediately activate the short term ones that will trigger the principle of comparative advantage and at least at the level of producing the food we eat. For instance, are we doing enough to promote the things we are currently producing locally such as local cuisines and apparels?

YBO: I agree with you that as a first step and an integral part of selling Africa, we need to also activate the same narrative at the very basic level of the economy and using your analogy, I would say that as Africans we must as a matter of urgency, build some African brand assets across the board. A few days ago, I saw a video clip which is popular and I am sure you must have seen it, it features somewhere in China that someone was asking for fufu and egusi… and who was talking, – a Chinese man. The truth is, where there is a demand, there is always an opportunity. So we cannot blame the Chinese for institutionalising the Chinese brand of food or restaurants. It is onus on us to build ours. I have only been to china once and I was telling someone the other day that the Chinese food over here in Nigeria is better than the one in China. They have succeeded in commercialising their food because they realised that there is a demand for it and that is what we must also do with our foods, drinks and wears. For instance, if you are from Ondo, the Asun (grilled goat meat) that is served there is so different from the Asun we now have in places like Lagos. The popular Asun we have now is parboiled, they will cook it a bit before grilling it, but for the original Asun, they grill it straight without any par-boiling, so the meat is tough and spicy because they baste or marinate it with raw pepper before grilling. Not many people are able to eat it, except for maybe someone with acquired taste like my late uncle who did not mind and even craves the spicy nature of the original Asun.  For you to understand what I am saying, my uncle is capable of eating Garri and raw red Pepper as dessert while he is waiting for his food to be ready. So, we need some strong African brand assets around these products, and those brand assets are what we got to develop from what we have. The truth is that nature abhors a vacuum, if we don’t meet our basic needs using the African brand assets we have developed, the Chinese or some other persons will come here and meet those demands using their own brand assets. These type of development has taken place with foods such as pounded yam in which you don’t really have to pound yam anymore, you could just pick up Poundo-yam, which is actually pounded yam developed, packaged and branded for our consumption, and there just like that you have your pounded yam on the go to eat; these are the kinds of development and initiatives that we should drive. The pertinent questions to ask ourselves are, – Should there be a fund for small and medium scale enterprises across Africa to fund these initiatives, to make the difference? Should we help skills acquisition or skills development contrary to the situation where many of us are 

just looking for university degrees, and consequently we don’t have enough of quality artisans or technicians or technical knowledge to develop our continent?

IWA: In PR practice we will always ask people what is core character that they need to drive their business. So I ask you what is the most important character trait that is expected of a public relations practitioner?

YBO: I would say the biggest thing is integrity of purpose. Because sooner or later if you fail in that area you have failed in every other thing and it will catch up with you. Some people mix PR with Propaganda. A Yoruba adage says “no matter how far a lie has gone or spread, the truth will always catch up with it.’’ PR is not about spin doctoring, it is about telling a story and that story must be based on truth. Which means in many instances that our clients and principals have not done well, we should own up to it. Integrity of purpose is the bedrock of PR practice. 

Apapa Area Customs Command Hits Highest Revenue Figure in the History of the Port – Says Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura.

by Damilola Hammed

A landmark achievement was recorded by the Nigeria Customs Service, Apapa Area Command, with N413 billion generated in 2019, the highest in the history of the command’s operations. This figure is N41 billion above the projected N372 billion revenue target for the past year.
The Command’s Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura had told a news conference on 20th of December 2019 of the feat and the surpassing of the target even though the year had not ended.
As usual, Comptroller Abba-Kura had conducted journalists round the seizures made by the command in the outgoing year worth N12 billion.

A no-holds-barred interview by Inside Watch Africa (IWA) with the Area Controller is more revealing, and the following are excerpts of the one-on-one chat:

IWA: Nigeria is predominantly an importing and exporting nation, yet some people say doing import and export business in Nigeria seems to be problematic. Sir, what is your take on this?

Comptroller Abba-Kura: Let me start by saying that I do not agree with the assertion that import and export business is a problematic business in Nigeria. However, whatever business endeavour anyone desires to be involved in, it is compulsory that one should have very good knowledge of the laws that govern the business. Regrettably, I have over the years observed that most people, who go into import and export in Nigeria, go into it ignorantly. My advice for anyone that desires to go on this line of business either in Nigeria or in any other country for that matter, as it would be required in any other venture, is for such a person to first make enquiries and get sufficient information about the rules and regulations that guide whatever he or she wants to either import or export before jumping into the venture. It is only by so doing and strictly adhering to the rules and regulations that the person would be able to escape what I call “avoidable problems’’ in the course of importing into or exporting out of Nigeria.

IWA: Still on advice, what in your opinion should one do to become a successful customs officer? What are the salient things to be done?

Comptroller Abba-Kura: The customs job is essentially a very energetic one thus a Customs officer is generally expected to be up and doing and must possess the ability to face diverse challenges. One is constantly confronted with such challenges because of the nature of the job. The essence and practices of the Customs job is entrenched in global statues, treaties and laws, thus in order to be successful in primary duties of a Customs officer which entails trade facilitation, revenue collection and smuggling prevention, he or she should be willing to go the extra mile and get acquainted with all the relevant global statues, treaties and laws. Fortunately, the Nigeria Customs Service traditionally gives opportunity to its officers on regular basis to undergo on-the-job and off-the job trainings and courses in order to be properly equipped for the job as long as the officer is ready and willing to learn.

IWA: You are one of those officers who have had the privilege of undergoing many courses within and outside the country. Which of the courses do you consider the best and most rewarding?

Comptroller Abba-Kura: It is true that I have undergone a lot of courses within and outside the country on various topics and I must confess that I am really grateful to God for the opportunities that the Service had given me over the years in this regard. To answer your question directly, the course I have enjoyed most are the intelligence courses I attended at different times when I was in the Customs Intelligent Unit. The courses had exposed me to so many very instructive things about the job and about life generally. There was a particular course on risk assessment and management I attended for over a year which I consider all-encompassing as far as the Customs job is concerned. We did valuation, classification and also did non-intrusive examination. I must confess that even now as an Area Controller, I still draw from the knowledge and experiences I acquired on those intelligence courses.

IWA: Apapa port means different things to different people; to some it is just Africa’s premier port. Sir, as the Customs Area Controller of this port, how would you describe Apapa port?

Comptroller Abba-Kura: Apapa port is not just Africa’s premier port in the Maritime industry in Nigeria, Apapa port is the number one port and so much is expected of it particularly in the area of revenue collection, suppression of smuggling, and in many other areas. I must give kudos to my predecessors who had over the years raised the bar of excellent service delivery at this port.   However, since I became the Area Controller, we have continued to put structures in place that have seen us raising the bar much higher than my predecessors in all area of our performance. So far in the history of this port, we have generated the highest revenues and the figures are there for everyone to see. Understanding and realizing the pivotal role that human capital will play in our quest for success, we decided to take capacity building in this command very seriously. I am glad to inform you that we have finished the first phase of the training we organized in-house in the first week of November 2019 where we trained 350 officers.

IWA: This training that you mentioned organizing in-house for your officers sounds interesting, can you please tell us more about it?

Comptroller Abba-Kura: We took them in batches and the courses taught are as follow: classification, valuation, enforcement, examination, non-intrusive examination, risk management, fast-tracking, administration, Customs in the 21st Century, among others.

IWA: What is Customs in the 21st Century all about?

Comptroller Abba-Kura: The 21st Century Customs idea was introduced by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to essentially teach officers and get them ready for the eminent disruption that is already happening in the way things will be done in the Maritime industry globally, going forward.  As a responsible leader, I consider it pertinent to keep my officers abreast of the global goings-on in our industry because if the officers don’t know where we are and where we are going, they will lag behind. Let me also inform you that this capacity building training is not only for customs officers, we are extending the training to all the critical stakeholders in the industry so that all of us will be on the same page.

IWA: As customary with us in IWA, in your last word in this interview, you are allowed to and can say whatsoever you desire to say that we did not ask in the course of the interview?

Comptroller Abba-Kura: Going by the nature of my job, I am not expected to work on or base my judgement on rumours, hearsay or suppositions. So I will greatly appreciate it when people want to come forward with their complaints and do so with concrete evidence. I do not consider it fair for anyone to be judged or punished by mere rumours or suppositions. 

Having said this, my last word to the public will be, whatever the dealings they intend to have with the Customs Service, they should please try to always back it up with tenable and concrete evidence.

Bigbus Tours: The Perfect Introduction to The City – Shareena Ali, Head PR, Branding and Social Media

IWA: The first thing I will like to know is that in the past 23 years that your organization has been in business in four continents and about twenty-three cities around the world, what would you say are the main strategies that have given you the success you have achieved thus far?

SHAREENA: First, we operate in a highly competitive industry; there are lots of hop on, hop off sightseeing tour companies out there, but most of them are franchises and we are not a franchise. We are the world’s largest provider and privately-owned hop on, hop off sightseeing tour company and in the last four years what we have done is that we have consolidated all of our operations, all of our branding etc.  To make sure that we have a very tight operational model that can be transferable across cities where we operate, we have in the last 12 months launched out into Los Angeles, Berlin, Singapore and Dublin and we are able to very easily ensure the same high quality service, the same digital opportunities for customers and the same branding that we have in the other cities very quickly and give the same service and the sightseeing tour experience across all of our cities. This is something that the other sightseeing tour companies can’t do because as small franchise owners they are essentially working as small businesses, doing their own thing just under the licence brand of another competitor.

IWA: What are the new grounds that your organization is looking at breaking and conquering? What are the new frontiers?

SHAREENA: What we have done in the last few years is that we have dramatically increased the digital transformation in our industry. For sightseeing tour companies, hop on, hop off sightseeing tours, people don’t expect us to be very digital but what we have done is that we have a digital app where people can find out local city guides and also when they hop off they can track the next bus in real-time.  We also have a very consistent operating model where people can come on board and scan their tickets; they don’t have to wait and queue to have their tickets scanned. These are the things that none of our competitors are doing, so in the world of hop on, hop off sightseeing tour we can be regarded as the cutting edges innovators; something we have over the years continued to do in all the cities where we operate.

IWA: This is interesting to know because usually when you look at certain businesses, most often people kind of get very settled into the things they have always done. So it is good to know that your organization has decided take a lot of innovative steps in the way you do things. So if you were to describe the tourism industry in the UK specifically, and in the whole of Europe generally, how would you describe it?

SHAREENA: I think it is very mixed; it depends on season. We have got 23 cities, and London is one of our core cities; we also have three other core cities — New York, London and Paris, and obviously our high season is in Summer because it is warm as you know we are all about open top sightseeing and people want to see the landmarks and have the history of these landmarks told to them. The best way to do so is to have our tour guides telling the people about the cities and the landmarks so they can then hop off and explore. In London, 50 percent of our customers are American – actually African-Americans and Caucasian-Americans constituting this consistent 50 percent, while the other 50 percent being a mixture whose relative percentages vary depending on the season. For example, during Chinese New Year or Golden Week, we will have more Chinese or during Australian half term we will have more Australians so it really depends on the season and also the public holidays that different countries that are our clients observe.

IWA: So if you were to judge or rely on the various kinds of feedback you have received over the years, what are those feedbacks that have kept recurring over the years, and do you see them pointers to the fact that you are doing well?

SHAREENA: I think it is the fact that we have very strong trade partnerships. Recently we had Expedia, we have Tripod visa and Bookings.com. All of these are our trade partners. Last year, we also signed up with one of the biggest Chinese and Asian traveller’s app as one of our trade partners to sell our tickets via their platforms and the fact that these international trade partners are very keen to sell tickets is a key success for us and KPI as well.

IWA: It is very obvious that your organization appears to be very successful. However, what are those things that you consider as downtime, things that you feel as an organization you still need to work on?

SHAREENA: I think it is more of a perception issue because we are in a very competitive market and people are not as professional as they should be, except for very few establishments like us that take professionalism seriously. Therefore, when people start seeing many tour companies doing things in an inappropriate way we also get tarnished for the same issue. What we usually do is we play up our professionalism and this usually helps to fix the issues.

IWA: Are the youths part of your target market, if they are, do you have a dedicated product for them or how are you dealing with them?

SHAREENA: I am the global Head of PR, branding and social media, so the youths are my direct responsibility and target. They are the reason we are big on our social media platforms, mainly on Facebook and Instagram. On our social media platforms, we highlight the fact that we give you the perfect introduction to the city, by not only giving you an overview of all of the key landmarks to visit, but also giving you the history so that you can hop off and explore. Or where can it be better to take the perfect Instagram picture than in an open top bus where everyone can see you in the city with the landmarks behind you? However, I must confess that the youths are not our key customers, we have solo travellers, families, mission planners, and people who plan in advance and independent explorers. But millennials can be solo travellers and independent explorers and so for me they are part of our target and the best way to capture them is by showing how 23 cities formed the perspective of the customer who is uploading their images on social platforms.

IWA: How do you manage your loyal customers?

SHAREENA: We actually have multiple channels for selling our tickets, we sell our tickets via hotel concierges, via third parties like booking.com etc. and we have on the street sales. People tend to buy our tickets spontaneously when they come into the hotel or when we are on the street, so I can’t really say that we have a high percentage of loyal customers because it is whoever is selling. Obviously we have the opportunity to sell because we have got a strong brand but we believe when people have had great customer service from us and a great touring experience they want to go back on another tour in another city and that way we keep them on board by giving them great offers etc. via our CRM. We have newsletters where they get special discounts and we always have 10 per cent online booking discounts compared to street sales and when they sign up to our loyalty newsletter they get fare discounts.

IWA: How do you deal with sustainability? I am talking about health. I know that all over the world in the tourism industry, it has become a very big issue for people to look at health and all of that. As an organization do you have a corporate plan to deal with the health concerns of your clients?

SHAREENA: Yes, we have quite a few campaigns that we are collaborating with other organizations. For example, in Westminster, in London, we are collaborating with the Westminster Council to join their campaign called “Don’t be Idle”. It is a campaign where Westminster Council encourages people not to have their car engines running when they are at the traffic light point. As a bus company, we are a moving billboard so when cars see we are highlighting this campaign, it is another reminder that they should not have it on because it affects peoples’ lungs because of the air quality. So we also do not keep the engines running at the traffic light points as we switch them off. This is a big step towards air quality and helping with breathing problems when it comes to the traffic pollution. In Dubai, another city of ours, we actually use bio fuel which is a sustainable source of fuel and made from palm oil etc. So we have different campaigns and projects depending on the cities and what is available to us and we also have multiple electric vehicles, buses in Paris, in Washington which again goes a long step away from diesel buses.

IWA: On a final note, what are the key messages that you would like to pass to those who might be seeing this all over the world?

SHAREENA: I think people do not really understand what hop on, hop off sightseeing tour experience entails. What it entails is that if you come into a city and you choose to do a hop on, hop off sightseeing tour, the first thing is that you will get the perfect introduction to the city, you will get your bearings right, you will know how to plan the rest of your short period in that city in the very best way possible because not only are we giving you an overview of the city, our amazing tour guides also give you the history and the knowledge, not minding the fact that they also know the best places to have the best cocktails and the best food in that city. So you have got a local individual who has all the top tips of the city which they can give to you; so it is the perfect introduction to the city.

LET’S SACRIFICE FOR UNITY, SANWO-OLU URGES AS NATION REMEMBERS FALLEN SOLDIERS

…Lagos To Empower Widows Of Slain Heroes

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has charged Nigerians to always make sacrifice for peace and desist from actions that may divide the country along its fault lines.

The Governor said the citizenry had a responsibility to keep Nigeria on the path of sustainable prosperity and unity, saying such remained the best way to honour the patriotism and bravery of men of the Nigerian armed forces who died in the course of protecting the country.

Sanwo-Olu spoke on Wednesday after he laid the wreath in commemoration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day held at Remembrance Arcade at Tafawa Balewa Square. The event is held yearly to honour soldiers and officers who died in the course of carrying out their constitutional duty.

The Governor observed that labour of the fallen heroes would not be in vain if citizens remained resolute in defending the unity of Nigeria.

He said: “Today’s event is very significant, because it is being held in honour those who laid down their lives to defend our country and keep it united. We will continue to celebrate their bravery and appreciate them for their efforts. As a nation, we must continue to ensure that all their efforts did not go unnoticed.

“The event is also an evidence for brave men and women that are currently serving in the armed forces, that government will certainly not forget their service to our fatherland. Therefore, to ensure that our fallen soldiers did not labour in vain, we must make sacrifice for peace and unity of this country.”

Sanwo-Olu reiterated the State’s commitment to working with security agencies to strengthen professionalism in the discharge of their constitutional duties. Lagos, the Governor pledged, will remain friendly and maintain non-discriminatory approach towards members of armed forces seconded to the State for duties.

He said the State Government had also been supportive of retired military personnel and spouses of fallen soldiers.

The Governor said no fewer than 2,000 members of Nigerian Legion, who are mainly ex-servicemen, had been engaged by Lagos Government to support security operations across the State. This, he said, underscored the Government’s readiness to continue to improve welfare of ex-service personnel and honour their bravery.

Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that his administration would be catering for the spouses of fallen soldiers through empowerment scheme of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

He said: “We do not want the wives of our fallen heroes to live in abject. Lagos Government will be supporting them through the little we can give out through our empowerment programme being run by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation that deliberately looks for widows.

“We will correct their narratives and I can assure you that widows of our fallen heroes will be targeted in our empowerment scheme. We also can have a special social programme which will target them. We will extract information and reach out to them.

“We will make sure that in our next programme, we deliberately look for all of the widows of our fallen heroes and we give them empowerment. It is for the Government to be able to give them empowerment, so that they can continue to fend for their families and themselves.”

The event was graced by commanders of all security formations in the State, and top functionaries of the Lagos State Government, including the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola and members of the Governor’s cabinet.

Canon is pleased to invite Nigerians to the second edition of Discovery Week, beginning today

A week full of even more rewarding activities for Nigerian photographers
Lagos, Nigeria; 8th October 2019 – Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA), a leader in imaging solutions, has launched the Canon Discovery Week in Lagos today.

Canon Discovery Week, dedicated to professional photographers, amateur or occasional, aims to get to know Canon users better by giving them the opportunity to interact with our team, which is more than happy to share best practices and give advice on Canon products. Customers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in various experiences that will give them the opportunity to develop their creative skills, with the support of the Canon team.

Discover the Passion that drives the team

These events and interactions include a nature photo walk led by the local Nigerian Canon photographer Hakeem Salam, Canon Academy educational workshops hosted by Canon trainers and opportunities for various meetings and interactions with Canon experts.

These workshops will be an opportunity for participants to interact with professional Canon users as they learn from them. The first workshop, dedicated to fashion photography, will take place on October 11th. The second series will be a Pro-video Workshop on October 17th, and the last one will be an EOS R Workshop, which will take place on October 18th. These interactive sessions give consumers access to tips and tricks on photography & practical knowledge for getting the best out of Canon equipment. By supporting youth to follow their passion through these accessible courses, Canon is empowering the next generation of artists and photographers in Nigeria and Africa.

Discover the value of an innovative range of products

Canon’s customer culture is based on a very active innovation strategy, aiming to always provide the highest image quality. This allows photographers, both amateurs and professionals, to develop their skills, all the while encouraging them to express their creativity and follow their passion. Throughout the week, various activities are offered to test Canon’s latest devices in real conditions such as:
• The incredible travel bundle kit – EOS2000D, includes the latest generation of EOS camera – which combines familiar touchscreen controls, unmatched image quality, and an optical viewfinder all packaged into a portable design. This perfect travel kit also comes along with two lenses to ensure more options for the best quality photo, which will help photographers tell their stories creatively and uniquely. Storage is always important; hence we have included a 16 GB SD Card for the photos to be captured on, and a Camera Bag for all the equipment in the Perfect Travel Kit. We are also launching
• EOS 90D is a fast and reliable DSLR, with a familiar, robust body perfect for sport and wildlife photographers. For everyday life,

• EOS M6 Mark II is a compact, yet powerful mirrorless delivering beautifully sharp images – for photographers on the move,
• PowerShot G7 X Mark III, ideal for vloggers, bloggers and anyone posting content online, the PowerShot G7 X Mark III helps you look your best with superb 4K video, a large 1.0-type sensor and 20.1-megapixel photos – all in a super-portable design you can take anywhere. YouTube live stream – Connect to a network and stream live to your YouTube channel
• RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM, which are the perfect high-performance standard zoom choice for all professionals and amateurs alike. These lenses enable photographers and videographers to capture high-quality still and moving images across all genres – from landscape and architecture, to portrait and nature, or sports and media.
• Canon Professional Camcorders XA55/XA50 Feature-packed 4K filming, Compact and lightweight with professional functions. The highly compact and lightweight XA55 / XA50 offers high quality 4K UHD image with beneficial features such as Dual Pixel CMOS AF, Canon 15x optical zoom lens and advanced Full HD image quality driven by utilising outstanding Over Sampling HD Processing.
• Canon Professional Camcorders XA40: Ultra-compact, professional palm-sized 4K XA-series camcorder with a 20x optical zoom lens Compact and efficient – XA 4K camcorder with UHD resolution and high magnification The XA40 features a 1/2.3 – type CMOS Sensor along with DIGIC DV6 image processor.
• Canon Zoemini, Canon’s smallest and lightest photo printer, which allows printing and sharing precious memories in an instant.
• Canon’s latest refillable ink tank PIXMA G Series printers: Canon PIXMA G6040 / Canon PIXMA G5040 & PIXMA GM2040. Canon’s latest range of high-volume refillable ink tank printers, small businesses or home offices can enjoy cost effective productivity and high printing yields without having to compromise on document quality.

Discover the creativity that sleeps in every photographer
Throughout the Canon Discovery Week, a mobile van will drive to a different location to allow as many people as possible to meet with Canon’s experts. Locals will have the opportunity to come to the van and get a free A4 portrait photography of themselves. This will be a unique chance for customers to discuss the essential techniques required to capture beautiful portraits. They can then choose how to print their portrait and leave with a copy. They will also be able to come with their own Canon devices and ask any questions they may have on the best way to use them and have their cameras checked and cleaned free of charge.

Discover the added value Canon can offer

Canon has become a trusted partner in Nigeria over the past few years and is committed to pursuing its growth and development opportunities in this country which represent a key market in West Africa. Amine Djouahra, Sales & Marketing Director – B2C, Canon Central and North Africa, concluded: “Building on the success of last year, “Our objective is plural: to meet and exchange with photographers, give them a satisfying customer experience by helping them become more familiar with our devices and allow us to better anticipate their ever-changing needs. We aim to maintain this meeting with our customers every year in order to sustain this essential link that allows us to refresh our offerings regularly and launch innovative products that meet or even anticipate our customers’ needs.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA).

Media Contact:
Canon Moyen-Orient
Mai Youssef
mai.youssef@canon-me.com

Canon Central & North Africa (CCNA):
Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA) (Canon-CNA.com) is a division within Canon Middle East FZ LLC (CME), a subsidiary of Canon Europe. The formation of CCNA in 2016 was a strategic step that aimed to enhance Canon’s business within the Africa region – by strengthening Canon’s in-country presence and focus.

CCNA also demonstrates Canon’s commitment to operating closer to its customers and meeting their demands in the rapidly evolving African market. Canon has been represented in the Africa continent for more than 15 years through distributors and partners that have successfully built a solid customer base in the region.

CCNA will ensure the provision of high quality, technologically advanced products that meet the requirements of Africa’s rapidly evolving marketplace. With over 100 employees, CCNA manages sales and marketing activities across 44 countries in Africa.

Canon’s corporate philosophy is Kyosei – ‘living and working together for the common good’.

For more information, log on to: Canon-CNA.com

The Special Envoy of South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa Meets with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria Today.

President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent a special envoy who arrived Abuja yesterday 15th September to meet President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. According to Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, Ramaphosa dispatched three special envoys to seven African countries to deliver messages of pan-African unity and solidarity as a result of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

In a bid to make amends with Nigeria and other African countries affected by the xenophobic attacks, the special envoy were deployed to reassure Head of States of Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia on South Africa’s stance on ‘No Xenophobia’ amidst the tension and violence in South Africa.

Acting South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe released a statement of the special envoy’s visit to Nigeria.

“The Special Envoy of President Cyril Ramaphosa, former Minister of Energy, Mr Jeff Radebe, has arrived in Abuja to deliver a special message from President Ramaphosa to President Buhari. He is accompanied by the Special Advisor to President Ramaphosa, Dr Khulu Mbatha. This follows a visit to South Africa by the Special Envoy to President Buhari over a week ago. The purpose of the visit is to reaffirm the cordial bilateral relations between the two countries and recommit the two countries to their long-standing historical relations dating back to the apartheid era. To this end, we express and reiterate our appreciation for the support received during the days of apartheid. It is this relationship that should inspire us to work together and build a formidable continent. The visit takes place ahead of the state visit to SA by President Buhari in October 2019. The envoys are looking forward to fruitful engagements with Mr President. It is our desire that the outcomes of the engagements will further cement the already cordial relations between the two counties,” Moroe stated.

On Sunday, South Africans sang and marched through the streets in South Africa against Xenophobia, South Africans from all walks of life joined migrants to march against the attacks on foreigners and to ask for forgiveness from Nigerians and other African nationals still in the country weeks after the Xenophobic attacks. They called for unity among Africans; Gabriel Hertis, the coordinator for social cohesion from the Africa Diaspora Forum, said they are deeply concerned about the attack, killing and looting.

“We stand together with South Africans in fighting xenophobia and crimes. We played a role in South Africa’s development and do not see reason why we should stop now. We are getting opportunities for our families and also contributing to the development of South Africa,” said Hertis

CWT Corporate Travel Brand Launch: Business Travel Management Limited unveils new Travel Management brand in Lagos.

Business Travel Management Ltd. (BTM) is proud to announce the partnership with CWT (formerly Carlson Wagonlit Travel), the business-to-business-for-employees (B2B4E) travel management platform.
Operating under the CWT brand in Nigeria, the company aims to elevate the standard of travel management in the region and, by partnering with a global B2B4E travel management platform, BTM will bring further focus and cohesion to positively impact the continent, enhancing value and service delivery levels.
Business Travel Management Ltd.’s (BTM) Predecessor travel management company started in 1979. In 1998 it joined a global travel group which evolved in 2006 to specialize in corporate travel and pushed the envelope for Managed Travel in the region. Business Travel Management Limited (BTM) has earned a reputation as a ‘one stop shop’ for everything travel related. Our core focus and strength being the provision of excellent corporate travel services to our clients, for over 20 years of being in existence. BTM has been an ISO certified company since 2008.
Our Management team consists of the most experienced travel professionals, especially as BTM is a member of the GHI Assets Group of companies (airline representatives and travel management specialists). The travel business is now in its third generation with a staff strength of close to 200. BTM has operations in Nigeria and Angola.
Benefits derived from representing the CWT brand in Nigeria include BTM’s ability to now deliver a global standard of service, travel technology and efficiencies, locally. The company continues to be the pace setter for Travel technology in the region. BTM will now have the ability to provide enhanced customer advice and services without compromising on ethics.

We will continue to operate in a developing market and improving industry standards with the support of a Globally Dominant Partner with sustainable business methodology.

“Nigeria has a rich cultural and economic heritage, especially in natural resources, and corporate travel is a key facilitator of industry here. With BTM, we would like to build on our long-standing reputation for successful travel delivery in the country, and want our brand to be as synonymous with corporate travel as Zuma Rock is with Nigeria,” said Francisco Nunez, CWT’s Vice President of Global Partners Network.

“Business Travel Management Limited is proud to Partner with CWT. There have been some very exciting changes within the global company that we are looking forward to being a part of. Our company has operated in the Managed Travel space for almost forty Years as a TMC (Travel Management Company). This is what we do best, efficient service delivery, innovative ideas and cutting-edge travel technology,” says Lola Adefope, Managing Director of CWT in Nigeria (owned and operated by Business Travel Management Limited).

“The evolution of the travel industry is inevitable. With technology underpinning everyday life it is obvious that corporate travellers are going to want the same efficiencies in their Travel Programme that they get in their every day life. Partnering with CWT in Nigeria allows our company to bring new travel technology and ideas to the table. This partnership allows Business Travel Management Limited to remain at the forefront of Travel Technology in the region” says Olufemi Adefope, Company Founder & Chairman of Business Travel Management Ltd.

Amongst the long-term goals of the partnership between BTM and CWT is for Business Travel Management Ltd to encourage Corporate Brands in Nigeria to improve the efficiency of their travel programme and experience truly professional, open and honest travel services.

At an elaborate corporate event at the Civic Centre in Lagos on September 10th, 2019, the CWT brand will officially be launched as being operated by Business Travel Management Limited in Nigeria.

After a welcome evening cocktail, and delightful entertainment the “Who’s Who” of Nigeria’s travel industry and corporate brands will sit to dine, celebrate and learn about evolution of service delivery in the corporate travel space and the new look and products from CWT.

The brand launch is sponsored by BTM partners; Africa World Airlines
Air Cote d’Ivoire, Amadeus, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air France, Emirates, Kenya Airways, Lufthansa, Radisson Blu, RwandAir Limited, South African Airways & Virgin Atlantic.

Delta to debut wholly reinvented international Main Cabin experience

First-of-its-kind service will launch for Main Cabin customers on international flights in November

Customers can expect to be impressed on board Delta’s international routes* starting this November when the airline debuts its industry-leading Main Cabin experience. Free “Welcome Aboard” cocktails featuring Bellinis to start, hot towel service and mix-and-match options for premium appetizers and larger entrees are just a few of the ways Delta is differentiating its international Main Cabin service.

“This is about investing in every single customer who chooses Delta, no matter where they sit on the plane,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s S.V.P. — In-Flight Service. “The thoughtful touches we’re investing in throughout the new Main Cabin experience were designed by flight attendants with one goal in mind: delivering an exceptional experience that our customers will rave about and one that our team, the best in the business, is proud to deliver.”

Designed to delight and create “wow” moments that feel like dining in your favorite splurge restaurant, Delta’s reinvented Main Cabin experience has been met with high marks – with increased customer satisfaction scores on the more than 700 flights it’s been tested on between Portland and Tokyo (NRT) over the past year.

A Main Cabin experience designed by flight attendants, endorsed by customers

The experience launching in November isn’t the same service Delta started testing more than a year ago. Rigorous reviews of the service through nearly 14,000 hours of flight time, information from over 1,800 customer surveys, robust crew feedback and input from a design team made up of 24 flight attendants resulted in a number of changes to perfect the innovative service for Delta’s international flights.

“With this service, at the end of the flight I know I’ve made a difference in the customer’s journey,” said Michael Miller, a New York-based flight attendant and member of the design team behind the new experience. “I know I’ve had the opportunity to not only offer an exceptional onboard experience, but also to engage with customers and create special moments for them.”

Creating magical moments in-flight

In addition to these enhancements, over the past several months, Delta has provided specialized training to its team of more than 3,000 Pursers – the lead flight attendants on international flights. Responsible for the customer experience from nose to tail, the Purser role at Delta has been elevated to include pre-flight introductions in the gate house and personal greetings at the boarding door – just a few examples of the important connections between crew and customers that lead to memorable moments and a delightful experience all around.

Also, in addition to recently upgraded amenity kits, more international onboard enhancements are coming soon — like refreshed ear buds and headsets — to further demonstrate the airline’s commitment to creating a best-in-class experience all customers can look forward to.

Delta’s new international Main Cabin service is part of the airline’s multi-billion dollar investment in the overall customer experience. In the past several years, the airline has made significant enhancements to the Main Cabin experience including free Main Cabin meals on select domestic coast-to-coast routes, free mobile messaging, free in-flight entertainment, upgraded Main Cabin snacks, the addition of sparkling wine, access to Wi-Fi on nearly all flights and refreshed Flight Fuel food-for-purchase options. Recent upgrades to the Delta One in-flight experience include the introduction of seasonally rotating, chef-designed Delta One menus with the option to pre-select first choice of entree, an Alessi-designed collection of serviceware and more.