NANTA blasts foreign carriers, gives Feb 2 ultimatum for lower fare inventories

  • Threatens sustained media campaigns against operators

 

Following the release of all outstanding backlogs of $64.44 million in blocked airline funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA) has said that foreign airlines have no further reason and justification to restrict inventory in the Nigerian market.

The national president of NANTA, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye in a statement on Wednesday said the group viewed further restriction of lower inventory as excessive, profiteering, and unsupportive of the Nigerian government/market in the face of our economic challenges.

Foreign carriers had hiked fares on Nigerian route ‘abnormally’ citing the withholding of its funds for the reason of removing lower ticket inventories (cheaper fares); a situation that has skyrocketed fares on travels into and outside Nigeria compared to Ghana and other countries where fares are higher by over 50% coupled with the devaluation of Naira over time.

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Nigerians pay more than normal fares from Lagos to London for instance; the same equidistance from Accra-London. The situation has forced more people to travel overseas through Accra, Ghana, Lome, Togo Cotonou, Benin Republic, and others where fares are more than 50% cheaper than what the airlines are offering in Nigeria.

NANTA, she reiterated therefore holds a firm position that, with ROE at NGN 1421 and backlogs cleared by CBN, airlines have no further reason and justification to restrict inventory in the Nigerian market.

“We at NANTA view further restriction of lower inventory as excessive, profiteering, and unsupportive of the Nigerian Government/market in the face of our economic challenges

Akporiaye disclosed that NANTA had requested IATA to prevail on all airlines operating in the Nigeria market to release all lower inventories by February 2, 2024, reminding IATA that NANTA was cooperative and collaborative when the request was made by IATA.

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She said, “Anything short of full release of inventory by all airlines is now unexplainable. We view that there is more to the actions of airlines in our market.”

She made NANTA’s position clear to IATA that if full inventories are not released by all airlines by February 2, 2024, NANTA would address a world press conference next week, “On the unexplainable, unreasonable, unjustifiable, and unsupportive actions of airlines in the Nigeria market. This press conference would be followed by sustained social media campaigns and open letters to the government and the Nigerian travelling public.”

“Dear members, we have been patient, please rest assured that leadership is focused on the issues and the discomfort to our businesses. At this point, the release of lower inventories is not negotiable, and that is where we would stand. We are optimistic that we will achieve this, and promise to give further updates,” she added.

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“CBN reached out to NANTA leadership exactly one week ago, explaining the economic issues and urging NANTA to appeal to members for patience. At this point, the National President asked the CBN Deputy Governor to permit her to join IATA on the call. He agreed and IATA was joined.”

“The CBN Deputy Governor then promised that all matured bids (backlogs outstanding to Airlines) would be cleared within two weeks, again urging NANTA to call for the patience of members”.

Wole Shadare

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