New Telegraph

Airlines’ group rescind decision on ticket sale in dollars

…as NCAA awaits security clearance on Air NigeriaNgige

The APG Interline Electronic Ticketing Agreements (IET) yesterday recalled and canceled the notice it made to its trade partners including travel agencies to issue air tickets in the United States dollars. Since yesterday, tremendous pressure had been brought to bear on APF IET and its affiliate airlines and some travel agencies to rescind the decision, which could put the Federal Government, travel agencies on a collision course. A source close to some travel agents said the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was livid over APG’s letters announcing that air tickets would be sold in dollars, starting from April 19, 2022, describing the planned action as illegal.

President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, said the travel agencies were never part of APG’s affiliates that planned to sell ticketsindollars inNigeria. According to her, airlines are squeezed because their funds are stuck in Nigeria but what the airlines have done to cushiontheeffectof theirstuck fundsisthosetravelagenciesin Nigeria are stopped from issuingticketsnotoriginatingfrom Nigeria. “This is not good for us because it is reducing our sales and the opportunity for us to service our clients properly,” the NANTA president explained. She assuredthattheairlines know that the law of Nigeria does not support airlines selling tickets in non-Nigerian currencies.

She called on the Central Bankof Nigeriatointervenein helping release the stuck funds for airlines and making dollars available. “Airlineshaveremoved lower inventory from their system because they have to source for thesefundsintheprimary market and it is very expensive.

The rate we sell in the system is not the same rate airlines get the dollars in the primary market. “So, for the airlines to break even, they stopped selling their lower inventories. The fares have not gone up but it is just that the airlines are not selling their lower inventories.

“The ones being sold are the higher inventories. We sell atN444perdollaronthesystem buttheairlines are sourcing for dollars at N590 per dollar,” Akporiaye explained. The earlier notice it was learnt led to outrage by travelers and the Nigerian authorities and one that puts enormous pressure on APG and its allies to rescind the decision to sell tickets in Nigeria’s foreign currency.

A fresh notice to its trade partners read in part: “This serves to recall and cancel the notice we sent out yesterday, April 13, 2022. Kindly disregard the said notice. Sales will be continued in the Nigerian naira. We regret any confusion the earlier notice may have caused” Aviation Metric had exclusively reported yesterday that with effect from April 19, 2022, airlines on APG Interline Electronic Ticketing Agreements (IET) GP code 275 would start accepting issuing of tickets in United States dollars and not naira.

Meanwhile, the Director- General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, has said that the aviation regulatory body is awaiting security clearance from the security agencies for the continuation of the process of Air Operator Certificate (AOC) for the planned national carrier-Air Nigeria. A security clearance is one of the multiple hurdles the carrier would scale before it is granted all the important flight certificates and one that would recognise it as an airline.

Nuhu, while speaking in his office, admitted that the promoters of the airline had applied for AOC which he said is ongoing. “All I can tell you is that the promoters of that airline have applied and their AOC which is ongoing. I don’t have any assurances of when the licenses would be. You see, when you apply for AOC or any certification, some issues that are not completely under the purview of the NCAA like seeking security clearance for the applicant, security agents do that. I don’t have control over security agencies to give such clearances. They have applied and it is ongoing, we are waiting for a security clearance,” said Nuhu. Responding to questions about the propriety of giving extensions to AOC holders and in particular airlines that already have expired licences, Nuhu explained that to renew AOC, there were certain conditions and processes that must be completed, stressing that for whatever reason, either from the operator or the NCAA, “we cannot complete those processes before the expiration of the AOC, we will extend it for them.” He reiteratedthat extension isnecessary inorder for thesystem to continue to ensure that all regulatory requirements are complied with for the renewal.

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