Oman could escape worst of cyclone Luban but fears grow for Yemen

Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical storm Luban, and will probably head towards Yemen instead. (Photo courtesy: met.gov.om)
Updated 11 October 2018

Oman could escape worst of cyclone Luban but fears grow for Yemen

  • The storm is likely to develop into a category one cyclone, over the next 12 hours
  • The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen

DUBAI: Oman is on alert after the meteorology center upgraded Luban to tropical cyclone category one on Wednesday while Yemen issued a warning. 

Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical cyclone, and will probably head towards Yemen instead, Omani forecasters said.

Meteorologists warned that heavy rainfall and strong winds would hit Oman as the storm makes landfall. And residents have been warned to take precautions.

Meanwhile, Yemen, worn by an ongoing conflict that has weakened the country’s infrastructure, will face the full force of the storm.

The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen.

Oman’s Meteorology specialist, Hamood Al-Naabiya, had previously told Arab News on Tuesday that if the storm traveled towards the Gulf of Aden, the destructive effects would be less than that of Cyclone Mekunu which killed dozens in May.

In May Cyclone Mekunu ripped through the Yemeni island of Socotra, causing severe flooding, and extensive damage including six ships that sank - four at sea. Flood waters washed away thousands of animals and cut electricity and communication lines. Cyclone Mekunu then moved onto Salalah where whole areas of beach were washed away, as were roads, power cables and properties damaged.

At the end of the week, Mekunu had left 30 people dead - including a 12-year-old girl in Oman, while dozens of others were missing.

Oman subsequently announced schools in Dhofar governorate will close Thursday as a cyclone gathers strength in the Arabian Sea, five months after Cyclone Mekunu killed 11 people in the sultanate and Yemen.
“Schools will be shut as precautionary measure and to protect the students and staff... and in case residents need shelter during that time,” the education directorate in Dhofar, 950 kilometers south of Muscat, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Luban is currently considered a category one tropical cyclone.
In May, Cyclone Mekunu killed at least 11 people in southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra.
The cyclone had isolated parts of Socotra island — part of a UNESCO-protected archipelago for its rich biodiversity — with the government declaring it a “disaster” zone.


Nigeria warns Turkish Airlines of possible ban

Updated 4 min 34 sec ago

Nigeria warns Turkish Airlines of possible ban

  • Turkish flagship accused of neglecting passengers’ luggage

ANKARA: The crisis between the Nigerian government and Turkish Airlines came to a head on Saturday, obliging the carrier to meet the requirements of the authorities or face losing its stake in the African country.

Tensions flared on Friday when Nigeria warned Turkish Airlines that its flights might be banned from Nigerian airspace from Dec 16. due to “repeated cases of abuse of passengers.”

Having first denied the warning, the Turkish national flag carrier announced on Saturday that the luggage problem would be resolved and pledged to comply with the requirements of the Nigerian government.

The two parties met on Saturday in the Nigerian city of Abuja. Following the meeting, Turkish Airlines’ officials also agreed to begin the immediate freighting of all leftover baggage.

The Nigerian authority had one condition for letting Turkish Airlines in; that it upgraded its aircraft, the Boeing 737-800, to the larger and more appropriate Airbus A330 and Boeing 737-900 so that its nationals are carried in a safe and comfortable way.

The Nigerian government described the weeks-long crisis as “repeated cases of poor passenger treatment” and warned that the airline must “suspend its operations into Nigeria until such a time when the airline is ready to operate with the right size of aircraft that can transport all passengers with their baggage at the same time.”

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has been long dissatisfied with luggage management issues on Turkish Airlines flights, with bags being left behind. The authority claimed that they have been notifying Turkish Airlines for the past two weeks about a situation that has become acute.

FASTFACT

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has been long dissatisfied with luggage management issues on Turkish Airlines flights, with bags being left behind.

During a recent flight to the African country, Turkish Airlines allegedly left 85 percent of the luggage in Istanbul, angering Nigerian passengers. The excuse has mostly been about space limitation in the cargo hold as Nigerians often travel with excess luggage.

Turkish Airlines flies to four cities in the country — Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Excess and oversize baggage is charged by Turkish Airlines but the company started to not restrict the number of bags allowed to be checked-in. However, since the aircraft cannot hold an unlimited amount of luggage, people who check extra bags might not receive them at their destination because the plane reaches maximum capacity, without the airline notifying them. 

An aviation expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Arab News that the Nigerian government has been using the aviation card for its domestic agenda. 

In early December, an order was issued by the Nigerian federal court to confiscate an Emirates Boeing 777 over a ruling that the airline should pay back 8,120 Nigerian naira ($22,400) to a Nigerian citizen for expenses incurred when a ticket was canceled 12 years ago.