Sunday, 28 January 2018

Foreign Airlines Rake in $1.4bn from Nigeria in 2017

International airlines sold tickets worth $1.4 billion to Nigerian travellers in 2017 despite the economic recession that impacted negatively on individual income during the period.
This was disclosed saturday by the President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bankole Bernard.
Bernard explained that the revenue generated by these airlines was evidence that Nigeria’s economy was on a rebound, adding that foreign airlines that cut back their operations and those that reduced their frequencies due to low passenger traffic occasioned by the recession are now increasing their capacity.
During the recession, Iberia and United Airlines stopped their operations in Nigeria and those foreign carriers still operating serviced the Nigerian destinations with smaller aircraft. Emirates, which hitherto operated three frequencies daily reduced its flights to one daily but it has now restored its operations of a daily flight to Abuja and two flights to Lagos from Dubai, its operational hub.
There are also indications that Iberia and United Airlines may return to Nigeria, just as Delta Air Lines would launch its Lagos-New York flight in March.
The President of NANTA, who spoke during breakfast meeting with newsmen, urged the federal government to review its Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) in a way that it would also protect the interest of domestic airlines, just as other countries introduced policies that encourage and protect their own local carriers.
Bernard also disclosed that soon, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) would introduce new system for financial settlement by travel agents to replace the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) introduced in Nigeria in 2008.
The new system is known as NewGen ISS, which is a program launched by IATA to deliver faster, safer and more cost effective and relevant financial settlement services and solutions to airlines and travel agents that rely on the IATA Settlement Systems (ISS).
IATA said that airlines would benefit from the new system because it means faster settlement, safer funds and a lower cost of distribution and also for travel agents, NewGen ISS would offer more personalised products and services, enhanced customer support and more cost-effective solutions as well as providing an enhanced 24/7 customer support to better address the needs of airlines and agents.
The NANTA President also said that IATA and NANTA had reinforced their relations. He said the association now collects charges paid by members to the global body, adding that in order to prevent non professionals and touts from masquerading as travel agents, the association has decided to introduce identity card with electronic chips that would be used to separate the real practitioners from interlopers who are largely responsible for many frauds recorded in the sub-sector.
“We, at NANTA, will be most delighted to see the ID Scheme come to reality when it’s launched in March for NANTA approved and NCAA (the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority) endorsed operators only. This would not only change the perception of the general public, but give a sense of belonging to the practitioners within the industry and be seen as true professionals that we are, which will automatically eliminate fraudsters.
“The immediate and future gains of this scheme are numerous and in due course, we shall unveil this strategic security product that will question and check the prowling of our business lines by fake and fly-by-night operators. Let me state earnestly that with this card, which has the backing of government aviation regulatory agencies, the days of spoilers in our midst are over,” Bernard said.
He also said that soon the association would have the NANTA Act, which would give legislative backing to the body.

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