The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, NANTA wants the Federal Government to come to the aid of Nigerians and the body to stop the strangulating fares and practices by foreign airlines operating in the country.
The foreign airlines are reported to be selling tickets over 300% and have removed lower inventories under the guise of their trapped funds.
The President of NANTA, Mrs Susan Akporiaye disclosed this at a news conference in Lagos.
Mrs Akporiaye says, a willing prospective Nigerian traveler either goes to neighbouring countries like Ghana and cotonou, Benin republic to buy lower inventory tickets or cough out about N3m to buy an economy class ticket while date change on some of the foreign airlines are between N1.5m to N1.8m.
The NANTA boss stated that this has crippled their businesses, drove their clients away and made Nigerians to travel across the borders at huge security risk to connect cheaper flights.
She stressed that, the foreign airlines under the guise of trapped funds are ripping off Nigerian travellers, adding that, with this development, the airlines are making more money and frustrating the travel agencies.
“In other countries, they dare not do this and if the airlines are so pained that this thing is affecting them, why didn’t they stop like emirates did? There seems to be more to this that meets our eye, am speaking to the present government, we are being ignored, they are ignoring their duties as government of Nigeria in protecting us”.
She also appealed to the Federal Government to encourage Nigerian airlines to explore more international routes to create a competitive environment as this would address the gap foreign airlines are catching in to exploit Nigerians.
“We as a body will gladly work with a committee set up to fine-tune how this would work, invariably we are telling the government if they don’t know how to do it, they are here, they should consult us
because more indigenous airlines would create competition and foreign airlines would not always take advantage of us or take us for a ride”.
NANTA said, if urgent steps are not taken to nip this trend in the bud, Nigeria will not only continue to lose revenue, the agencies will run out of business and will add to the unemployment challenge in the country.
Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade