• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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NCAA warns airlines to stop selling tickets in dollars

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Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned airlines, particularly foreign airlines, to desist from selling tickets in the US dollar.

The aviation regulatory body said the action was a flagrant contravention of Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) prerequisite guiding cost of products or services in Nigeria.

According to the CBN circular issued on April 17, 2015, it directs that “Pricing of any product shall continue to be in naira only and it is illegal to price or denominate the cost of any product or service (visible or invisible) in any foreign currency.”

A statement by the spokesman for the agency, Sam Adurogboye, stated that the NCAA was disturbed by reports that some foreign airlines were declining to accept the naira as payment for tickets.

According to Adurogboye, “In other words, some foreign airlines have blatantly resorted to selling tickets only in foreign currency. This act is considered insensitive to passengers who have elected on their own volition to choose the airlines for their travel.”

This is also contrary to the provisions of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and other countries as contained in Article 8 (4), he said.

As a consequence of this action, Adurogboye said the regulatory authority had written warning letters to such erring airlines to immediately comply with the provisions of BASA and CBN directive, adding that sales of tickets and services should henceforth be offered to air travellers in naira without further delay.

He further said that the Federal Government had taken measures to ameliorate the subsisting foreign exchange issues.

It would be recalled that foreign airlines had in April this year began a regime of quoting and receiving payment for tickets only in the dollar. The situation was as a result of their inability to repatriate funds out of the country due to scarcity of the US currency.

Many travel agents were shocked with the discoveries as passengers, who usually patronise them for their travel needs had to cancel their reservations because of their lack of access to foreign exchange.

The situation was counterproductive for the sector as it affected goods all across the value chain, also giving bad image to the country.

Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Noggie Meggison, described the situation as unhealthy development driven by the biting dollars, which elevated black market rates, leaving foreign airlines facing losses on their routes and struggling to acquire exchange for routine and scheduled maintenance.