BusinessDay

Travel agents deny plans to sell air tickets in dollars

…say airlines source dollars from black market

Travel agents under the auspices of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, (NANTA) have denied plans to sell air tickets in dollars following the FX scarcity and inability of airlines to repatriate their earnings.

Some publications had on Wednesday reported that from 19th of April, airlines will start issuing tickets in dollars.

Reacting to the publications, Susan Akporiaye, president of NANTA said the publication is not correct as there was no quote from NANTA, showing the information did not come from travel agencies.

Akporiaye said whoever put up the publication did not consult from NANTA, if not; NANTA would have properly educated the reporter on the fact rather than generalising.

She disclosed that APG Platform which was quoted to have given the information is only a distribution Platform which can assist airlines to generate additional revenue by selling air and non-air ancillaries.

“APG is not an airline and so cannot speak on behalf of airlines in Nigeria. I am the president of NANTA and I can say that airlines in Nigeria did not tell travel agencies that they will start issuing tickets in dollars because of the FX issue of repatriating their funds.

She said information reaching NANTA shows that the letter from APG was sent without the consent of the top management of APG.

Read also: How corruption denies Nigeria of mining sector dollars

“As we speak, information from APG is saying that they will do a press release stating that the letter was sent without their consent and they will withdraw it. As we speak, the APG platform has been shut down, just to tell you that truly they were not aware,” she added.

According to her, airlines are squeezed because their funds are stuck in Nigeria but what the airlines have done to cushion the effect of their stuck funds is that travel agencies in Nigeria are stopped from issuing tickets not originating from 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 assured that the airlines know that the law of Nigeria does not support airlines selling tickets in non-Nigerian currencies.

She called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to intervene in helping release the stuck funds for airlines and making dollars available.

“Airlines have removed lower inventory from their system because they have to source for these funds in the primary 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 at N444 per dollar on the system but the airlines are sourcing for dollars at N590 per dollar,” Akporiaye explained.

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