Nigeria warns Turkish Airlines of possible ban

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.” (Reuters/File)
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Updated 15 December 2019

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.


Saudi fund shells out to help US cellular seafood pioneer

Updated 27 February 2020

Saudi fund shells out to help US cellular seafood pioneer

  • KBW Ventures joins ‘visionary’ $20m backing for San Diego food innovator

JEDDAH: A California innovative food company that produces seafood directly from fish cells is stepping up expansion plans with backing from “visionary investors” including KBW Ventures, the Saudi investment fund founded by Prince Khaled bin Al-Waleed bin Talal.

BlueNalu, based in San Diego, on Wednesday announced the completion of its $20 million Series A round of funding.

The financing will allow the company to develop a pilot production facility in San Diego, expand its worldwide staff, implement strategic alliances for global operations and prepare for its market launch.

The Series A round is co-led by Stray Dog Capital, CPT Capital, New Crop Capital and Clear Current Capital, each of which took part in BlueNalu’s seed round. The company secured $4.5 million in 2018 and has attracted investors from 11 nations so far, demonstrating global interest in the firm’s potential.

New investors include KBW Ventures, which supports innovative companies, such as BlueNalu, that have potential for growth and can sustainably feed the world.

BlueNalu’s A round attracted a significant number of strategic investors offering expertise and infrastructure in supply chain, operations, sales, marketing and distribution.

Strategic investors include global supply chain leaders that will provide guidance and raw material expertise to BlueNalu. These include Nutreco, a global leader in animal nutrition and aquafeed, and Griffith Foods, a global product development partner to the food industry, with expertise in market insights, food science, culinary and sensory optimization.

Strategic investors also include organizations with expertise in operations, sales, and distribution, including Pulmuone, a leader in healthy lifestyle and sustainable food products with distribution in Asia and North America; Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, a global investor and supplier of goods and services, including foods; Rich Products Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Rich Products Corporation, a leading supplier of icings, cakes, pizza, desserts, appetizers and bakery products.

FASTFACTS

• BlueNalu announced the completion of its $20 million Series A round of funding.

• The financing will allow the company to develop a pilot production facility in San Diego, expand its worldwide staff, implement strategic alliances for global operations and prepare for its market launch.

• The company secured $4.5 million in 2018 and has attracted investors from 11 nations so far, demonstrating global interest in the firm’s potential.

“BlueNalu has made considerable progress toward bringing cell-based seafood products to the world,” said Lou Cooperhouse, the company’s president and CEO.

“We have designed and executed a platform technology in which we will ultimately offer a broad array of sustainable cell-based seafood products to consumers, and our team has been extremely focused on implementing systems and processes that will be needed for cost-effective, large-scale production.

“We are thankful to the committed group of visionaries who participated in our earlier financing round and have invested again in this round, and we are eager to form partnerships with these five strategic investors, so that we can launch our cell-based seafood products in nations around the world,” he added.

“BlueNalu has demonstrated global leadership in cell-based seafood, and has the team, expertise, strategy and networks that are key to its success,” said Chuck Laue, co-founder and chair of Stray Dog Capital.

“As global demand for seafood continues to increase, and our supply continues to be compromised, we are excited at the potential for BlueNalu to play a significant role in feeding the planet in the decades to come.”

“BlueNalu has achieved a number of milestones in a short period of time, and we are proud to have backed this company since its origins,” said Chris Kerr, chief investment officer of New Crop Capital.

“We have seen extremely rapid global growth in plant-based foods, and BlueNalu is clearly at the forefront of this next generation of alternative proteins that many are predicting will have considerable growth and significant market penetration in the coming years.

“BlueNalu will offer a sustainable solution to consumers, free of mercury and environmental contaminants that will support the health, sustainability and biodiversity of our ocean. This is clearly a win-win-win for human health, sea life and for our planet,” he said.