Experts to FG: Sell Air Tickets in Dollars to Avoid Collapse of The Aviation Sector

Experts to FG: Sell Air Tickets in Dollars to Avoid Collapse of The Aviation Sector

  • An aviation expert, Harold Damuren has asked the Nigerian government to allow airline operators to sell tickets in dollars to avoid imminent crisis
  • According to Damuren, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Aviation Authority (NCAA), first-class and business-class flyers could pay in dollars and the rest pay in naira
  • This comes as airlines are suspending their operations in Nigeria over trapped funds with the Nigerian government

With the recent crisis in the aviation industry over the $600 million trapped funds, there are suggestions that the Nigerian government should allow airlines to sell tickets in dollars or foreign currencies to avoid the imminent collapse of the sector.

A Punch report cited ex-Director General of the Nigerian Aviation Authority (NCAA), Garold Damuren, saying that Nigerians and other travellers who are flying first class and business class should be allowed to purchase airline tickets in dollars.

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Nigeria, NCAA, Airlines
Experts asks FG to allow airlines sell tickets in dollars Credit: Bloomberg/Contributor
Source: Getty Images

Economy class to pay in naira

He said those flying the economy class could pay in naira.

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The report said that the erstwhile NCC DG suggested a way to solve the crisis involving trapped funds in Nigeria, which now stand at $464 million.

Damuren stated this during an event held in Lagos at the Aviation Round Table.

He said this would help the airlines to repatriate their funds without hassles and stop the protracted issue of trapped funds and eliminate it.

Most airlines are foreign and said in April that they would start issuing tickets in dollars, not the local currency, the naira.

Airlines bicker over trapped funds

The former NCAA boss' position aligns with foreign airlines that planned to start charging passengers from Nigeria dollars for their tickets.

Under APG Interline Electronic Ticketing Agreements GP code 275, the group stated that this new policy had caused them great difficulty in recovering and repatriating their huge funds in Nigeria and other countries with forex crises.

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Damuren asked that the federal government put emotions aside and consider the airlines' plight as most Nigerians and other travellers spend dollars outside the country.

Recently, Emirates Airlines said it would suspend its operations in Nigeria, citing the trapped funds as the reason.

Nigeria releases part if trapped funds

The airline stated that all efforts get Nigeria to release the funds have been met with little response.

British Airways also suspended sales of tickets in Nigeria, citing the same problem.

Last week, the Nigerian government released about $265 million out of the $600 million.

Nigeria has been named the highest debtor to foreign airlines by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The body said of the $1.2 billion trapped funds globally, Nigeria owes about $600 million.

Nigeria is world’s most Indebted country to foreign Airlines as funds kept in CBN hit $600 million

Recall that reported that Nigeria may lose the patronage of foreign airlines as it becomes the worst indebted country to foreign airlines globally.

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The raging controversy over funds trapped in the country may snowball into a stalemate as $600 million trapped in the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria has become the highest owed by any country in the world.

According to the Tribune, as of March 2022, the trapped fund was $285 million.


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