The President National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs Susan Akporaiye has decried that the government’s lackadaisical attitude and unfair practices by the foreign carriers have led to about 721,000 job losses and revenue in the range of 400 to 500 million dollars.
Speaking in Lagos on Friday during a press briefing with the theme: Trapped Funds of Airlines, Unjustifiable Profiteering and the Silence on Aviation Economy Mrs. Akporiaye, pointed out that despite a series of advocates, the Nigerian travel market has continued to be at the losing end with the airlines being indifferent to the plight of travellers a.
Shend called on the government to be strategic, deliberate and direct in resolving the multifaceted dilemma that may soon cripple the air travel sector in the country.
According to NANTA President:” As we speak, it is only in Nigeria that a traveler is made to cough out over two thousand dollars for an economy ticket and also change the date of the flight itinerary for whatever personal reasons with about 1.5 to 1.8 million Naira.
“To put this in perspective, all low-fare inventories of the Airlines have been deliberately blocked to our members and this market.
Airlines, even after various engagements as partners, have seemed not to take such relationship or business history with NANTA into consideration, rather have gone ahead to make the market extremely difficult for members and in effect expensive for travelers.”
Akporaiye explained further that: “This now means, Nigeria is at a
disadvantage since the airlines seems to have mastered the art of exploiting the FOREX issue to their advantage.
Agencies are now forced to fold, leave the country or try to use other
neighboring countries to sell to their customers.
Just to be clear, in the aviation downstream sector, businesses are currently folding up and more will follow suit, this will add to the unemployment challenge that the Federal government is Wrestling with, if, urgent and precise actions are not taken to nip this development in the bud before it is too late.
She expressed dismay that it is only in Nigeria that a traveler is made to cough out over two thousand dollars for an economy ticket and also change the date of the flight itinerary for whatever personal reasons with about 1.5 to 1.8 million Naira.
Akporaiye while observing that beyond the previous notion that trapped funds could be responsible for the reactions of a few airlines which made trading on their inventory difficult and expensive, noted that the story has changed as they are now profiteering at the expense of the Nigerian traveling public.
In her words :”This of course gravely threatens our survival as travel practitioners in Nigeria. The suffocating profiteering practices by a majority of the foreign Airlines are unbelievable and unexplainable in a Nigeria Market that is ranked by many indices of IATA as one of the best in Africa and with the best post-covid recovery rates across Africa and the Middle East, the Nigerian Market should be applauded, but the reverse is the case.”
NANTA President while acknowledging Nigeria as one of the biggest markets for any airline that operates within the country, urged the airlines to respect and appreciate the impact of the traffic the market offers and seek
better ways to ensure there is mutual benefit in tandem with the current reality.
She lamented that the trade rules adopted in Nigeria that are not acceptable in neighouring West African countries are not only obnoxious but inconsistent with global best practices.
She said : Certainly, and significantly, Nigeria travel trade professionals are at crossroads with no help
from the Federal Government either through the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Ministry of Aviation to address these challenges and find solutions. We hold the stand to Government still retains the responsibility to commit to agreements with Airlines to protect the sector and call Airlines to order when there are obvious excesses from the airlines that put the
the entire industry in jeopardy, because the current fare structure and practices are exploitative to
the Nigerian Traveler as well as Agencies who provides a reasonable number of jobs for our great nation.
“This heavy cost to the Nigerian traveler is unnecessary! We strongly request, the airlines to open inventories to tally with what obtains in similar markets.”
She continued that: “Today, a willing prospective Nigerian traveler needs about N3,000,000.00 to purchase an economy ticket while date changes on some Airlines go as high as between N1,500,000.00 to N1,800,000.00.”
Akporaiye observed that the development calls for more concerns, saying
the more Airlines generate, the more they claim for repatriation of trapped funds grows.
The contributions of the air travel sector to the GDP 2021 stood at 3.6 percent representing about N6 billion, saying the 20 to 30 percent trade recorded in 2022 may stifle the sector if the excruciating business operation continues, she said.