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Outrage As Foreign Airlines Block Travel Agents From Issuing Cheap Travel Tickets To Nigerians

foreign airlines block travel agents issuing cheap travel tickets nigerians

Concern As International Airlines Shut Nigerians Out Of Cheap Flight Deals In Protest Against FG

Foreign travelers are bypassing Nigerian airports and opting for those in neighboring countries in order to connect to international destinations due to the high airfares charged by foreign airlines operating in Nigeria. The National President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents, Susan Akporiaye, stated that Nigerians are flocking to neighboring countries to find cheaper flights to various international locations.

Ms. Akporiaye attributed the trend to the unjustified profit-seeking by foreign carriers and revealed that members of the NANTA lost between $450 million and $500 million in revenue in one year due to the decline in ticket sales. The airfares for international destinations have increased by almost 400% as foreign airlines operating in Nigeria blocked all low-priced ticket options on their websites and have continued to sell only the highest-priced options, making it difficult for passengers to purchase affordable tickets.

In an effort to reduce the amount of money trapped in Nigeria, foreign airlines have prevented travel agents in the country from issuing tickets from other countries. The closure of the low-priced options by foreign airlines has led to Nigerians paying as much as NGN 3 million ($7,566) for a one-way economy ticket and NGN 1.8 million ($4,539) to change travel dates.

According to NANTA, the blocked low-priced options are available in neighboring countries such as Benin Republic, Togo, and Ghana, leading Nigerians to seek out cheaper flights in these countries.

Akporiaye said;

The trade rules imposed by foreign airlines operating in Nigeria are unacceptable, not in line with international standards, and airfares are unjustifiably high. This is in response to the trapped funds. There are suspicions that there is more to it. The fares and practices are suffocating and local regulations are not enforced. No authority in Nigeria is currently stopping the practices of airlines, and NANTA members are not protected by the government or the Nigerian public.

The result of Nigerians going to other countries to take international flights is clear – they lose business as sales will not be credited to any local travel agency. The government will also lose the five percent tax it imposes on tickets. The impact of these losses will definitely be felt throughout the industry.

Akporiaye, however, noted that the foreign airlines had not increased fares, but rather shut down the lower inventories against Nigerian travellers and travel agents.

She stated,

“The fares haven’t increased. Just that the lower inventories have been taken out from the Nigerian market, but they exist in those other countries. The N300,000 fare that we can’t get in Nigeria, they are getting it in neighbouring countries. Now, let’s do the mathematics, N300,000 to N3m. They won’t mind going to neighbouring countries to fly out, especially if it’s not too far and it won’t cost them much.

“We are selling our opportunities to other countries and that’s not fair because we can’t continue to give out our benefits; we are selling our rights to neighbouring countries.

“To put this in perspective, all low-fare inventories of the airlines have been deliberately blocked to our members and to this market. Airlines, even after various engagements as partners, have seem 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 travellers.

“This now means that Nigeria is at a disadvantage since the airlines seem 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 neighbouring countries to sell to their customers. The Nigeria travel market continues to be at the losing end with the airlines being indifferent to the plight of travellers and as a body, we are left with no option but to call on the government to be more strategic, deliberate and direct in resolving this multifaceted dilemma.

“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.”

Also speaking, a former National Financial Secretary, NANTA, Daisi Olotu, said Nigerians were taking scarce dollars across the borders to purchase tickets in neighbouring countries.

According to him, the government is losing money, while the neighbouring countries are making money from ticket sales and foreign exchange.

He said;

“Nigerians are traveling to neighboring countries such as Cotonou and Ghana to purchase plane tickets in dollars due to exorbitant airfares imposed by foreign airlines operating in Nigeria. These airlines block access to their low ticket inventories on their websites in Nigeria, but make them available in countries like Cotonou and Ghana.

As a result, Nigerians are forced to cross the border to purchase more affordable tickets. This has resulted in not only a loss of revenue for travel agencies in Nigeria, but also a loss of government tax revenue from ticket sales. The Benin government, on the other hand, is profiting from these foreign airline activities against Nigerians and Nigeria.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tunde

    February 7, 2023 at 11:16 AM

    It is shame what Nigeria has turned into. Who would blame the airline companies, they are capitalizing on our fraudulent leaders because they know no matter how much they sell those tickets,Nigerians will still buy, that is the ones stealing our money.

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