Bankole Bernard, chairman of Airlines and Passengers’ Joint Committee (APJC) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that despite challenges facing the Nigeria’s travel sector, foriegn airlines operating in Nigeria realised over $1.1 billion from ticket sales in Nigeria in 2022.
Bernard who disclosed this in a phone conversation with BusinessDay said the foriegn airlines are making good money from Nigeria, even though the trapped funds challenges still persist.
He said in the whole of Africa, ticket sales from Nigeria are still the highest.
“The airlines have sold more. In the whole of Africa, Nigeria sales is still the highest. We have done over $1.1billion in 2022. We are doing very well more than our contemporaries.
“We are a good market and a market that any airline would want to come into. Nobody will talk about the good side of this market. Nigerians are still travelling. The only thing is that travel agents are losing business to outside the country. Most of us are buying tickets from other travel agencies from around the world,” he said.
Since last year, airlines stopped travel agents in Nigeria from issuing tickets emanating from other countries into Nigeria in a bid to reduce the amount of money that would be trapped in Nigeria.
The development has since seen Nigerian travellers by-pass travel agents in Nigeria to purchase tickets from agents in Ghana and other African countries over skyrocketing fares as a result of the $744million dollar trapped funds.
Airlines also blocked low ticket inventories, leaving high inventories to be sold in naira only while the low ticket inventories on most airlines’ websites can only be bought with dollar cards. This is in a bid to caution the effect of their trapped funds in Nigeria.
Susan Akporiaye, president of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) told BusinessDay that these measures deployed by the airlines have seen airlines realise over 50 percent ticket sales in dollars.
“Since airlines deployed these measures, travellers are forced to pay with their dollar cards instead of buying through the travel agents. Buying through agents will mean you pay about N1.8million for an economy ticket to the United States and over N1.2million to London. Buying with dollar cards costs less,” Akporiaye said.
She said the foriegn airlines still make good sales from Nigeria.