Aviation Transport

Travel agents call for lower air fare for travellers as FG clears foreign airlines’ trapped funds

After the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released outstanding backlogs of $64.44 million of foreign airlines trapped funds, the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA), on Thursday, called for opening of lower inventories in order to reduce ticket fare out of the country.
NANTA President, Susan Akporiaye, in a statement, said foreign airlines have no further justification to restrict inventory into the Nigerian market.
She stated that the group viewed further restriction of lower inventory as excessive, profiteering, and unsupportive of the Nigerian government/market in the face of current economic challenges.
LEADERSHIP reports that foreign carriers had hiked fares on Nigerian routes ‘abnormally’ citing the withholding of its funds for the reason of removing lower ticket inventories (cheaper fares); a situation that has skyrocketed fares on travels into and outside Nigeria.
It was gathered that the situation has forced Nigerians to travel overseas through Accra, Ghana, Lome, Togo Cotonou, Benin Republic where fares are more than 50% cheaper than what the airlines are offering in Nigeria.
However, NANTA, stated that with ROE at NGN1421 and backlogs cleared by CBN, foreign airlines shouldn’t restrict inventory into the Nigerian market.
“We at NANTA view further restriction of lower inventory as excessive, profiteering, and unsupportive of the Nigerian Government/market in the face of our economic challenges.
Akporiaye disclosed that NANTA had requested IATA to prevail on all airlines operating in the Nigeria market to release all lower inventories by February 2, 2024, reminding IATA that NANTA was cooperative and collaborative when the request was made by IATA.
She said, “Anything short of full release of inventory by all airlines is now unexplainable. We view that there is more to the actions of airlines in our market.”
She made NANTA’s position clear to IATA that if full inventories are not released by all airlines by February 2, 2024, NANTA would address a world press conference, “On the unexplainable, unreasonable, unjustifiable, and unsupportive actions of airlines in the Nigeria market. This press conference would be followed by sustained social media campaigns and open letters to the government and the Nigerian travelling public.”
“Dear members, we have been patient, please rest assured that leadership is focused on the issues and the discomfort to our businesses. At this point, the release of lower inventories is not negotiable, and that is where we would stand. We are optimistic that we will achieve this, and promise to give further updates,” she added.
“CBN reached out to NANTA leadership exactly one week ago, explaining the economic issues and urging NANTA to appeal to members for patience. At this point, the National President asked the CBN Deputy Governor to permit her to join IATA on the call. He agreed and IATA joined.”
“The CBN Deputy Governor then promised that all matured bids (backlogs outstanding to Airlines) would be cleared within two weeks, again urging NANTA to call for the patience of members,” she stated.

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