Travel Agents Speak on Low Airfare after CBN Clears Foreign Airlines' Trapped Funds

Travel Agents Speak on Low Airfare after CBN Clears Foreign Airlines' Trapped Funds

  • Travel agents in Nigeria under the aegis of NANTA have foreign airlines time to reduce ticket costs
  • The association said following the complete payment of trapped funds, there was no further reason to restrict lower ticket inventories
  • NANTA said foreign airlines should reopen lower ticket inventories previously closed by the airlines due to the trapped funds

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Following the payment of the $64.44 million outstanding backlog belonging to foreign airlines by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA) has called for the opening of lower inventories by foreign airlines to reduce the price of air ticket out of Nigeria.

NANTA president, Susan Akporiaye, disclosed in a statement that foreign airlines have no justification for further restricting the inventory into the Nigerian market.

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NANTA, IATA, CBN, Foreign Airlines
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso Credit: CBN
Source: Getty Images

Nigerians resort to travelling abroad via border countries

She said that NANTA sees further restriction of lower inventory as excessive, profiteering, and unsupportive of the Nigerian government and the economy amid current economic challenges.

Recall that foreign airlines hiked fares on Nigerian routes, citing the non-payment of funds belonging to them by the Nigerian government, and removed cheaper ticket inventories, causing the price of international air travel to skyrocket in the country.

The situation forced Nigerians to travel abroad through Accra, Lome, and Cotonou routes to secure cheaper fares.

Leadership reports that the NANTA president revealed that with ROE at N1,421 and backlogs paid by CBN, foreign airlines have no further justification for continuing to restrict inventory into the Nigerian market.

She said:

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

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According to the NANTA boss, the association’s position is transparent to the International Air Travel Association (IATA). If airlines do not release complete inventories by February 2, 2024, it will address a world press conference.

She said

“CBN reached out to NANTA leadership exactly one week ago, explaining the economic issues and urging NANTA to appeal to members for patience. The National President asked the CBN Deputy Governor to let her join IATA on the call. He agreed, and IATA 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 members' patience,” she stated.

IATA disagrees with CBN over trapped funds

The development came as IATA disagreed with the apex bank over the payment of the remaining trapped funds.

The umbrella body for international airlines said in response to the announcement by CBN that $700 million belonging to foreign airlines remains trapped in Nigeria.

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N1,490/$: Foreign airlines counter CBN's claim of concluding payment of unpaid ticket revenues

“We are consulting with our airline members to verify the release of their revenues,” IATA stated on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

Emirates Airlines Set to return as CBN confirms payment of $137m reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it had concluded the payment of all verified FX claims by foreign airlines with an additional $64.44 million payment to the affected airlines.

CBN’s Spokesperson, Hakama Sidi-Ali, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

She said the new amount brought the total verified sum paid to the airlines to $136.73 million, saying all verified airline claims have now been cleared.


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Pascal Oparada (Business editor) Pascal Oparada is a Mass Communications Graduate from Yaba College of Technology with over 10 years of experience in journalism. He has worked in reputable media organizations such as Daily Independent, TheNiche newspaper, and the Nigerian Xpress. He is a 2018 PwC Media Excellence Award winner.

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